Washed Up

Important author's note: this story is a collection of roleplay logs. This means it is not completely in story format, with some events missing, or played out through some other means. I will do my best to fill in the details (please read them, you'll be lost otherwise). It also means the PoV will change sporadically every other paragraph between Momo and Kaidoh.

My roleplay partner is Happiestwhen, who will write Kaidoh (and she's awesome at it), and I will write Momo (I also write Hazue). Any other people who might have written the log with me will be mentioned and credited as well.

The premise of the roleplay is that they are washed up on an island after a boat crash, 7 years later set after canon events. Me and Happiestwhen have also written logs that happen before they are washed up, so I will post these too for a more cohesive timeline. It will span several years. Each log (posted per chapter) will be dated, rated, summarized and hopefully put in chronological order.

Enjoy the huge amounts of MomoKai!

Authors: Celianna (Momo) & Happiestwhen (Kaidoh)

Rating: K

Events leading up to this log: none, this is the beginning.

Date: Momo and Kaidoh are both 4 years old and in kindergarten

It was already almost spring, but Momoshiro's parents had moved, and he had to change schools, so this is his first day of school, once more. At the wee little age of four years old, Momoshiro was going to enter the classroom for the first time. Unlike most students who would be nervous to speak in front of the class, Momoshiro himself had no problems being outgoing and introduce himself. He could take on anyone.

"Class, we have a special guest today, he'll be joining our class to play with us from now on!" announced Yamada, his new teacher.

Momoshiro, who is standing at the door, simply smiles and struts into the classroom. As soon as he does, a bunch of students start whispering to each other, wondering what their new classmate would be like. He flashes them all a dazzling four-year-old smile, and he even waves at a girl. He walks up to the front of the class, standing next to his very tall female teacher.

"Everyone, this is Momoshiro Takeshi, from now on, he'll be joining Rose Class! Why don't you introduce yourself, Takeshi?" asks Yamada gently.

Momoshiro grins at his classmates and pounds his fist on his chest, before giving them a thumbs up. "Hiya, I'm the coolest boy you'll ever meet, you can call me Takkun like everyone else does!" For sure, everyone would love him. He's always had lots of friends, he could always charm anyone. "Yesterday, I found this huge beetle thing, and I took it home with me, who wants to see it!?"

Suddenly a lot of kids in class started laughing and raising up their hands, mostly boys; they wanted to see Momoshiro's beetle. Yamada simply laughs and pats him on the head; he's got short black hair, he is not yet at the age in which he cares about his hair, so his mother cuts it really short for him every month. Momoshiro folds his arms over his chest as he watches the laughing faces with wonder; he always knows how to act to make everyone fawn over him. Always.

"I guess that would be a neat thing to bring to class one day, don't you think, class?" asks Yamada. The class roars with agreement. "Okay class, now please welcome Takkun!"

"Welcome to Rose Class Takkun!" they all call out at various intervals, and at varying pitches of tones. Momoshiro notes one quiet girl who simply mumbles her welcome, looking down at the floor she's sitting on. Ah well, he'll charm her later too.

"Why don't you join the group Peach? I'm sure they'll love having you." Yamada points to the small corner on the left side of the class, where three rough and loud boys are talking animatedly together, as well as a girl—the quiet one who mumbled her welcome.

"Yes Takkun, come join us!" yells out the biggest boy. "I'm Koki!" he introduces himself. "That one is Masaya," he points to one with a very long looking face, "and that is Shinichiro," he points to the one with freckles, "and that is K-chan," finished Koki with a devious smile. Upon the mention of her name, K-chan tenses up and shies away from Momoshiro.

"Hello K-chan!" greets Momoshiro friendly. It's always a good idea to make the first move when people are too shy to do it on their own!

Kaidoh pulls at his skirt nervously, wrinkling the line of pink ducks that walk along the hem.

"Nice to meet you," he replies, his voice very quiet, but very polite. When he looks up to meet Takkun's eyes, he's startled to see how happy he looks to be talking to him. Most of his classmates don't look at him like that, especially not the boys in his class group, but this boy seems different. He seems nice, and Kaidoh smiles back at him.

Momoshiro ignores the rowdy boys next to him for a bit, to listen to the polite greeting in return from K-chan. He smiles at her; girls are always so easy to get along with, better than boys at least. He sits down right next to her, staring at the ducks on her skirt.

"Hey K-chan, do you like beetles? I'll show you my collection if you want!" he says excitedly. "I've got a big one, a small one, and a blue one, and one that is dead, and one that I buried in my backyard, and another that got eaten by a cat, so I guess I don't have that one anymore. And I've got this one with a really cool shiny colour! Ooh, I've caught a few fireflies as well, they're so cool, their butts light up! I wonder how that works, do they swallow a christmas light or something!?"

"You talk a lot," Kaidoh says, but he doesn't mind; he thinks Takkun is funny. And Kaidoh likes digging for bugs out in the sandbox on the playground, although usually all he finds are ants. Takkun's collection sounds a lot better than that. Beetles are cool. Too bad his mother doesn't let him bring any into the house.

"You should ask Yamada-sensei about the fireflies," he adds. "She knows everything."

"Really?" Momoshiro turns away from K-chan and looks at his teacher. "Yamada-sensei, do fireflies swallow christmas lights!?" he asks in a very loud voice that the rest of the class stops talking.

Yamada simply chuckles at the question, and then starts to explain why and how fireflies glow; it's definitely not by swallowing christmas lights. Everyone listens intently, being quiet, and gasping when they hear the conclusion. Momoshiro already feels right at home in his new class, and he's in a group with a polite girl as well! The boys don't look bad either, Momoshiro likes loud people as well.

Soon enough, it's time for a break, and the class can go outside and play. Before Momoshiro can even talk to K-chan, he's whisked away by the three other boys, and promptly forgets about her. They lead him to this big wooden playhouse on the playground, and soon he's climbing with the other boys, laughing with them, and even getting into scuffle fights with them. Momoshiro is feeling good, and he's smiling and laughing out loud as if he were there for years.

Then as he stands in the small little tower, giving him a perfect view of the entire playground, he sees one lonely girl in the far, far end of the playground, sitting crouched down into the dirt, there's even some on her skirt. It doesn't look like she's got any friends to play with.

"Look, K-chan is playing by herself again," mocks Koki as he sees what Momoshiro is looking at.

"Does she always do it?" asks Momoshiro.

"Yeah, no one likes her. She's such a girl! Always wearing stupid dresses and skirts."

Momoshiro doesn't know what wrong with that.

"Come on guys, let's go stomp on her dirt!" says Koki and he gathers the other two guys. Momoshiro simply tags along, wondering what he should do. He doesn't like to start conflict, but he also doesn't like crossing friends he's just made. And hey, maybe they're just playing with her.

Momoshiro lags behind as he sees the three boys crowd around K-chan, it's like they're those birds he's seen on the cartoons he watches; they're circling her, preying on her.

Koki kicks up some dirt with his shoe, and it fizzles up into the air and lands on K-chan. "What are you doing, K-chan, are you baking a stupid cake again? I bet your mommy loooooves eating it."

Kaidoh's whole face scrunches up. "Shut up!" he yells, his voice going shrill, and then he's wailing, already on the verge of tears. "You're so mean!" He protectively throws his hands over the mound of dirt at his feet and frantically looks for Yamada-sensei but the playground is big and he can't see her. He tries to glare back at Koki but it's hard to look angry or threatening when there are tears in his eyes.

Koki simply laughs, and then he pushes Kaidoh away to the side, and starts to stomp on his pile of dirt. The other two boys join in as well, and soon there's nothing left, nothing but crumbled dirt.

Momoshiro stands on the side and watches with wide eyes. He doesn't really know what to do; he doesn't want to stomp on K-chan's dirt pile, but he also doesn't want to stand up to three boys who are his friends. He looks over to the girl, who is now sobbing, and Momoshiro feels bad; he doesn't want to make girls cry. Maybe he should call the teacher …

Kaidoh just sits in a crumpled pile. He rubs the back of his hands over his eyes, trying to stop the tears, because he's a boy and he shouldn't be crying so much over something this stupid. He shouldn't be crying at all, but he can't help it. He worked hard on that cake, packing the dirt together tightly and using a twig to draw circles and swirls on the top.

But why should today be any different from every other day?

Kaidoh used to hide out indoors, playing in the toy kitchen in the corner of his classroom. He liked pretending to scrub dishes and prepare plastic food dinners, or fold and unfold the colorful towels and napkins. He liked how quiet it was, and no one ever came in to mess up his things or make fun of him. Yamada-sensei had caught him hiding there a few times but she had just smiled and then taught him how to fold the cloths up into flowers and birds. Then she took him by the hand and urged him to go play outside with the others, her voice calm yet stern, and unwavering in spite of his protests.

And it is always the same; as soon as the boys notice him, he becomes their target. Kaidoh is like a game to them. They laugh at his skirt and his hair or the way he doesn't want to play tag with the rest of the boys, and inside likes weird things they tell him he isn't supposed to like. But Kaidoh is just four-years-old so he doesn't know any better.

"Leave me alone," he howls and pulls his handkerchief out of his pocket and dabs at his face, wanting to hide behind it.

Momoshiro finally steps in. "Yeah guys, I saw this really weird bug on a tree a few minutes ago, let's find it!"

The boys stop terrorizing the sobbing little girl, and Momoshiro leads them away so that she's finally left alone. He might not have saved her cake, but at least they didn't hit her or anything. His mother has told him to never hit girls. Never.

When Momoshiro distracts the three with some weird flying ant, he slips out unnoticed and runs back to K-chan, and hopes she's still there. She is, holding a handkerchief, and looking sadly at her dirt. For a few seconds, Momoshiro doesn't know what to do. He isn't used to crying girls, and he certainly doesn't want to her to cry more. So he looks around, fumbling with his fingers and rocking back and forth on his heels, staring at the back of her dress. Then next to him, he sees a patch of small wild flowers growing, and he leans over the fence to try and pick one. He picks a small blue one, he doesn't remember what they're called.

Momoshiro walks up to K-chan and stands in front of her. "Here," he says. He sticks out his bandaid covered fingers, clutching the tiny little flower. "Those boys were mean." He rubs his nose and tries to smile at her.

Kaidoh sniffs, his eyes still red and wet, and he takes the flower. It's tiny and perfect and Kaidoh holds it close to his chest. His breath catches in a hiccup as he tries to speak again.

"Blue is my favorite color," he says softly, his voice shaking.

Momoshiro scratches the back of his head as he laughs. "Oh cool, lucky! Mine's red. Though it kinda looks like blood, and that's kinda scary, but they draw hearts in red, so that's pretty!" He sits down next to K-chan in the dirt.

"What were you making?" he asks.

"I was making a cake," Kaidoh says. He wraps the flower carefully in his handkerchief and sticks it in his pocket, careful not to crush it. Then he draws in a mound of dirt with his palm and carefully packs it into a pile. "My mother won't let me bake for real. She says it's dangerous. But this way is fun too!"

"Oooh, I like cake," says Momoshiro with a smile. "Maybe she'll let you bake one when you're older! And then you can make one for me, I love cake!" Momoshiro likes pretty much any kind of food, but cake he'll never say no to cake.

"How old are you? I am—f-four!" Momoshiro took a second to count in his head, then sticks up four fingers at K-chan.

Kaidoh smiles back at him. "I'm four, too," he says. "But my birthday is soon!" he adds proudly. "I'm third oldest in our class." He piles on another layer of dirt, making a multi-tiered cake. Takkun is really nice, he thinks. He doesn't say Kaidoh's cakes are stupid. In fact, he likes them! It makes Kaidoh feel better.

"That's cool, so you're like … older than most of us!" Unfortunately, Momoshiro doesn't remember his own birthday, but he knows it'll be awhile before he turns five. He continues to grin at K-chan. "Are you holding a birthday party? I want to come! Then we can eat real cake. Though this is pretty too." Momoshiro pokes a hole in the dirt and draws a small heart shape into it.

"I think so!" Kaidoh's eyebrows crinkle together. "My mother said I could. I don't know when though." He hesitates a moment and then says, "Of course you should come, Takkun, because you're my friend."

He uses a twig to scratch out some diamonds around Takkun's heart. Then he starts placing small rocks around the base of the cake. "What kind of cake do you like best?" he asks, as he lines the rocks up, one by one. "This one can be whatever you like."

"I like …" All kinds of cake, really. Momoshiro finds it hard to pin-point one out. "I think I like chocolate the best. Which one do you like, K-chan?" Momoshiro wonders how hard it is to bake a cake. It shouldn't be that hard; K-chan makes it seem easy!

Momoshiro helps decorate the dirt cake with the rocks as well, and he finds himself enjoying it a lot. He mostly just play fights with people, or plays hide and seek, but this is fun too. He thinks he'll enjoy being K-chan's friend. Especially if that means he'll get cake.

"Oh," Kaidoh says, "I don't actually eat cake... It's too sweet. I just eat the fruit off the top. But I like to make them!"

He puts the last rock in place and sits back to admire the cake. It's leaning a little to the left but it still looks pretty good. Kaidoh likes the heart on the top the best. "Thanks for helping me," he whispers.

"No problem, but—how can you not like cake? That's weird, haha! What kinds of fruit do you like then? I like strawberries the most, with lots of sugar and chocolate on them."

"Strawberries are good," Kaidoh agrees. "I like all kinds of fruit. Except for plums." He crinkles his nose. "Those taste weird."

"Oh, I don't think I eated them before." Momoshiro still doesn't know a whole lot of fruit. His mother has been teaching him some of the names though. He also knows his name means peach. "What about peaches then?" he asks. "Do you like those?"

Kaidoh smiles. "I like peaches too, of course! Sometimes we get peach jelly for dessert at lunchtime. It's the best."

"That sounds good!" Suddenly Momoshiro wants to eat from Kaidoh's lunch. "Want to share lunches with me!?" he asks, way too cheerful and excited, and there's this toothy grin on his face. "I'll give you something in return ... uhh …" Momoshiro leans over back to the iron fence, to stick his hand through the wire and pick another blue flower. "These." Girls like flowers, so it's not like K-chan will hate it. He offers it at K-chan.

"Sure," Kaidoh agrees, and then, as the second flower is presented to him, he exclaims, "Wow! Thanks!" His eyes light up like he's just been told a secret. No one else gives him things, especially not pretty flowers.

Seeing K-chan all happy at the flower makes Momoshiro feel happy too. It makes him want to give flowers to K-chan every day, and maybe he should! K-chan takes the flower from his hands, and Momoshiro notes his fingers are as long as his own; aren't girls supposed to have smaller hands? Oh well, she's older, so of course she's going to have bigger hands.

Soon the school bell rings, and everyone is hauled back inside.

Momoshiro, being in group Peach, shares some of K-chan's lunch, which is actually really delicious. She tells him his mother prepares her lunch for him every day, and now Momoshiro is convinced he should give her flowers every day in return as well. K-chan seems happy that Momoshiro talks to her, as he can tell that the other members of group Peach aren't all that fond of her.

In fact, you could say that Koki and the rest pretty much bullied K-chan. They call her too girly, too wimpy, they make fun of her dress, they call her dirty names, and they sometimes even pull at her brown hair. Momoshiro can't quite tell them to stop, but he can however, put bugs in their food, and cheer K-chan up with another flower.

Because as his mother had told him; he should never make a girl cry. And Momoshiro likes seeing K-chan smile. He doesn't like to see her cry.

Momoshiro's first day at school passes by, and he even goes out and asks K-chan if they can walk home together. Her eyes light up with sparkles and she eagerly nods her head. They walk home, with Momoshiro talking the entire way through, about bugs, cake, peaches, and even flowers. K-chan doesn't say as much in return, but she looks happy at least, and that makes Momoshiro just as happy. He's glad to have made a good friend!

He soon figures out that the three boys in his group aren't friends at all, even if they pretend to be. Over the days, they've been nothing but nasty to K-chan, and bully her excessively. It makes Momoshiro feel mad, and sometimes he tries and trips Koki when he's not looking in return. On one particular day in which the guys flipped K-chan's skirt and made her cry, Momoshiro gives her three blue flowers, and asks her if she wants to go to his home to see his bug collection. Through flowing tears, she agrees.

"Mom, mom, MOM!" shouts Momoshiro when he enters his home. He kicks his shoes off and runs to the living room to greet his mom. "Mom I brought someone with me today!" He runs back to the front door to try and get K-chan to follow him. "Come on, let me introduce you to my mom!"

Momoshiro grabs K-chan's hand and pulls her along with him; he can't wait to show her off to his mother. "Look mom, this is K-chan, my friend! We're going to look at my beetles today!"

His mother smiles and she bends down her head a little to look at the two little kids. "Hello there K-chan, it's nice to meet you, I'm Takeshi's mother, my name is Kagome. Do your parents know that you're here?"

Kaidoh blushes and looks down at his feet. He didn't even think about telling his mother. He'd been so excited to go anywhere with Takkun that he'd forgotten how his parents had sternly told him to always come home on time or call if he can't. His mother especially gets worried. She says four is too young to walk home alone, but Kaidoh doesn't understand. Their house is close enough to the school to walk, and Kaidoh knows the way. He likes walking, sometimes even running. He never wanted to ride the bus with the other kids.

"I forgot to tell them," he says bashfully. "I'm sure they won't mind though." His mother has been trying to get him to make friends, and while there have always been girls in Kaidoh's class willing to fold origami with him or sit next to him during music class, they don't invite him home, and Kaidoh is too shy to invite them over to his house either. Luckily, Takkun is the opposite of shy. Kaidoh's so happy to have met him.

"That's okay, we can just call them up and tell them you're here, do you know your parent's phone number?" asks Momoshiro's mother.

Momoshiro is starting to get a little impatient, swinging his arm as well as K-chan's back and forth; he wants to go to his room and show her his bug collection already! He turns to smile at her. "Yeah K-chan, tell us, so we can go to my room already!"

Kaidoh recites the number slowly and Takkun's mother dials it and hands the phone to him.

"Hello?" he asks when it picks up, and immediately hears his mother's worried voice. She frantically bombards him with questions and he answers each calmly, happiness creeping into his voice as he tells her how he's come over to play at Takkun's house and he's fine and having fun and don't worry, he'll be home in time for dinner.

Then he hands the phone back to Takkun's mother. "My mother wants to talk to you too," he says politely. His mother fusses over him a lot, not wanting him to be in strange homes with strange people. She knows all the neighborhood mothers on a first name basis and has their numbers on a memo pad by the phone in their kitchen. She'll probably ask Takkun's mother her standard list of questions about their family and tell her not to let Kaidoh watch too much TV.

Momoshiro finds this very boring, and he pulls K-chan away to let the grown-ups talk it out. "Come on, let's go, I don't want you to be forced to go home already!" Still hand-in-hand, Momoshiro guides K-chan up the stairs and to his small bedroom.

"Welcome, to my bedroom!" he says excitedly. There's a futon lying on the ground, and he kicks it away to the side to make space for the both of them to sit on the floor. Then he finally lets go of K-chan's hand and hurries over towards his desk. There's a bunch of glass jars and plastic containers cramped on top of it. He can already hear the various buzzing and noises of the bugs; he's caught quite a lot lately.

Momoshiro grabs the jar with the firefly in it, then he turns to his window to put down the blinds. "Look, it's a firefly I caught!" He puts the jar in the middle of the slightly dark room, and waits for it to light up.

Kaidoh glances nervously at Takkun and then back at the jar and then it happens: the firefly's body glimmers with soft yellow light. It brightens until the whole jar seems to be glowing.

A smile spreads across Kaidoh's face and he tugs at the sleeve of Takkun's shirt. "That's so cool!" he whispers in awe.

"I know, isn't it!?" replies Momoshiro in a happy voice. He looks at K-chan and sees her smiling too, and that makes him feel really happy and awesome. He should show her bugs every day if she can smile like this!

Momoshiro scrambles up from the spot on the floor and goes to retrieve more bottles, and places them down in a circle around them. Animatedly he talks about what they're called, what they do, where he found them—and some he doesn't even know the name of. He likes seeing that look of admiration on K-chan's face the more bugs he introduces her.

"Oh, and I caught a butterfly yesterday!" he says, suddenly remembering. The jar is on top of his nightstand; he'd been keeping it separately. Inside is a large gorgeous blue butterfly. Its wings gradually grow from vivid cyan blue, to a deep purple. When it flaps its wings against the glass, it looks like pixie dust. He walks over to K-chan, and offers the jar.

"For you, because you like blue," says Momoshiro. "You can keep it."

Kaidoh takes it gingerly and stares in amazement. He's never seen a butterfly with colors this vibrant, not even in the butterfly pavilion at the zoo or on the nature channel. It must have been really hard to catch! He tears his focus away from the jar and looks back at Takkun like he's some kind of superhero. "I love it," he says.

Momoshiro sits down next to K-chan with a wide grin, and he wiggles back and forth on his legs. He's happy K-chan likes it, no—even loves it! He likes giving things to her. Especially pretty things.

"It's as pretty as you," Momoshiro lets slip out. Or maybe K-chan is even prettier. She has a very pretty smile, and cute pink cheeks, and her eyes are a dark blue, and her brown hair looks soft. He sort of wants to touch it. Momoshiro brushes some of her hair away from her shoulder to expose her neck and her cute little dress. Of all girls he's met so far, this one is the first to like his collection. He smiles at her vibrantly.

Kaidoh's whole face goes red. "I'm not pretty," he protests. Boys aren't supposed to be pretty, he knows that much. They're supposed to be handsome or cool. Like Takkun is. Takkun might be the coolest person Kaidoh knows. After all, he probably has the best bug collection in the whole world and that counts for a lot.

But Takkun doesn't call Kaidoh pretty the way the boys at school do in mocking, jeering tones. He says it with a smile, like it's a good thing, like maybe it doesn't mean what Kaidoh thought it did, and just means that Takkun likes Kaidoh the way he is.

So Kaidoh smiles at him and says, "You're pretty too," because he's been taught that it's polite to return compliments.

Seeing K-chan turn red, and then call him pretty too, makes Momoshiro in turn go red as well. He laughs out loud as he scratches the back of his head; it's the first time someone called him pretty. That's nice, really nice! He's always liked certain bugs because they were pretty, so it's nice to know someone likes him because he's pretty too! But K-chan is prettier.

Momoshiro happily throw his tiny arms around K-chan, his fingers fiddling with the ruffles of her dress, and he hugs her tightly. "I like you, K-chan!" He wants to stay friends with her forever. The firefly in the jar dances around again, like a little glowing light.

Kaidoh feels warm and safe and he can feel Takkun's heart beating, and he's just really happy like this. Takkun's house is fun and full of cool things and Takkun is nice and fun and cool too. He's like a really cool beetle. The coolest one, even.

"I like you too, Takkun," Kaidoh whispers, breathing out a short puff of air and squeezing him right back.

The two little kids spend a couple of more hours chatting with each other, laughing, playing, K-chan even gets to stay and eat dinner with them. But then she has to go home, and Momoshiro's mother drives her back. Before leaving, Momoshiro tells her she should come over every day, and he'll have a new bug to show her too!

K-chan doesn't reject the offer; after that, they walk to Momoshiro's home every day, hand in hand. And true to his word, Momoshiro has a different bug to show as well. He even gives a few to her, since she likes them. Momoshiro likes seeing K-chan smile whenever she in his room, looking at his bugs, or even simply talking to him. He's had friends before of course, but not one who was so easy to get along with like K-chan. He really likes her.

Which is why he gets so angry whenever she gets bullied in class by Koki, Masaya and Shinichiro. Those three have it out for her. They make fun of her pretty dresses, her beautiful hair, and the way she likes to play house. It annoys Momoshiro. He can get along with everyone, but he can't get along with anyone who makes fun of K-chan. He tells them off a few times, as good as a four year old can do. And they listen too; Momoshiro has gotten popular within the class in no time, and they don't want to get on his bad side.

But when Momoshiro's back is turned, the bullying continues like it's never stopped before. Momoshiro doesn't know, he doesn't know K-chan still runs off and cries alone in a corner when he's not there. If he knew, he'd probably have stolen their lunch boxes and threw it into the trash. That, and hurt them. Hurt them real bad.

On one particular day, Momoshiro wakes up to find it raining outside. His mother lost her umbrella, so she doesn't have one to give to Momoshiro. He's soaked and completely wet when he arrives at school. He laughs it off, then shakes his head around like a dog to dry himself off a bit. K-chan kindly offers a handkerchief she keeps with her, and Momoshiro happily uses it, and tell her he'll make his mom wash it for him, so that he can return it to her nice and clean.

At the end of the day—after giving K-chan her daily flower—Momoshiro stands at the exit with K-chan, looking out at the rain.

"I don't have an umbrella," says Momoshiro sully. Obviously, both of them already know this, but he feels like saying it anyway. "You can't walk home with me today because you'll get wet too. I don't want you to get wet." His tiny hand feels like reaching out to hers, but he keeps it hanging at his side.

Kaidoh's face scrunches up and he shakes his head, opening his blue umbrella into the rain. It's covered with friendly-looking zoo animals; snakes and pandas and kangaroos.

"We can share," he says, and lifts the umbrella over them both. "Just stand close to me and we'll both stay dry."

"Okay!" exclaims Momoshiro enthusiastically. He huddles up right next to K-chan, their arms touching, and he reaches for her hand as well, slipping his fingers in between her and smiling. Hers feels slightly colder than his own, but that's okay, if he keeps holding it, it'll be warm!

"Then let's go, K-chan!" Momoshiro tugs at her hand a little and starts to walk.

Kaidoh walks along with Takkun on their normal route back to Takkun's house. The rain is steady, and Takkun is careful to navigate them around the big puddles, all the while talking animatedly about the bug he'll show Kaidoh today. Every afternoon it starts out as a surprise, but by the time they reach Takkun's house, he'll have described the whole thing in detail, unable to keep it a secret any longer. It doesn't ever make it any less exciting for Kaidoh to see.

They turn the corner and are about to cross the road into Takkun's neighborhood when Kaidoh hears a high, plaintive meowing coming from the bushes next to the sidewalk. He pulls on Takkun's hand to stop him.

"Did you hear that?" he asks curiously. The bushes rustle slightly and a small orange kitten emerges. It seems to bristle up as the rain droplets soak into its fur and then it looks straight at Kaidoh and meows again. Kaidoh's eyes get very wide and very shiny and he looks over at Takkun, not sure what to do.

"Oh, it's a cat," says Momoshiro. He looks at the small drenched animal; it seems to be shaking and trembling. "It looks cold, come on, let's put the umbrella over it." He pulls K-chan along so that they're close enough to the small kitten, who doesn't seem to be running away from them. No, it stays perfectly still when they stand right in front of it, and the umbrella is now shielding it from the rain.

Momoshiro hand slips out of K-chan's, and he bends through his knees, reaching out to the kitten with his hand, wanting to pet it. "It looks scared. Do you think it's lost?" Maybe it had lost its way from his mother, and was simply wandering around the streets in the rain, hoping to find her again. It makes Momoshiro feel sad and want to protect the small furball.

"Maybe the mom cat is around here," he says, and Momoshiro looks around for any sign of her. But through this dense rain, he doesn't see anything.

The kitten winds its way around Takkun's legs, still mewing desperately. Kaidoh feels his heart tugging in his chest. It's just so cute. He wants to help it, and pet it, and hold it close, and keep it forever. He suddenly feels a lot of things.

"Can we take it with us?" Kaidoh blurts.

Why not," says Momoshiro with a shrug. "My mom lets me keep all kinds of bugs, so why not this?" Momoshiro pets the kitten, the fur feels wet and rigid under his hands. He really want to dry the kitty off. He swoops it up into his hands and stands back up straight, cradling it against his chest. The kitten claws at the fabric of his shirt and mews some more.

"What should we call it?" asks Momoshiro as he smiles at it in his arms.

Kaidoh looks at the kitten and then down at his skirt which today is embroidered in tiny red and yellow flowers.

"How about Rose?" he suggests in a small voice. "Like Rose class." He doesn't know if the kitten is a girl or a boy, and maybe Rose is supposed to only be a girl's name, but why should it matter? He's a boy and Takkun still thinks he's pretty, so maybe a boy kitten can be named Rose, too.

Momoshiro grins. "Sure, Rose! I like it!" He pulls the kitten away from his chest, its claws snagging onto the fabric and shooting loose with a few snaps.

"Here, why don't you carry Rose? I'll hold the umbrella!" Momoshiro gently offers the kitten to K-chan, and already has one hand out that folds itself over K-chan's hand that is holding the umbrella. It feels softer each time he touches it.

Kaidoh feels really good about holding Rose, and curls his arm around the kitten, hugging it to his chest. It's small and soft and so light in his arms. He's never held one this young before, so he's really delicate. He doesn't want Rose to get scared and jump away and he doesn't want to hurt it either.

As they walk the remaining three blocks to Momoshiro's house, Kaidoh feels warm and happy in spite of the rain. He's got an adorable kitten in his arms, which is really cool, and he's got Takkun at his side, squeezed in close against him, hand over his and an umbrella between them, which is even better. He doesn't even care that it's raining. He wouldn't care if it rained all week.

Momoshiro carefully watches K-chan as she snuggles the cat close to her chest, and she squeezes his hand in return. He feels something pop and sizzle around in his stomach; he's never felt it before. But it feels kind of nice—it feels really nice! He can't help but smile and inch closer to her. Not because it's raining, or it's cold, but because he likes being close to K-chan, and when he sees her smile back at him, it makes the sizzle in his stomach go crazy and flip flop everywhere.

It doesn't feel bad at all.

However, those happy bubbly feelings burst when he arrives at his home. His mother starts yelling at him, demanding why he brought back a cat. Little Rose claws at K-chan's shirt as it gets scared of his mother's high and loud voice. Momoshiro tightens his grip on K-chan's hand. He's scared, he feels like he's done something wrong, but doesn't really know why his mother is so angry at him. He brings bugs home all the time, what's wrong with a kitty?

Eventually, his mother forces K-chan to go home and leave Rose behind. Momoshiro looks at her with tears in his eyes as she disappears into the rain. He feels bad, he feels really bad, like he's nauseous and he's going to throw up. His mother yells at him for two more hours afterwards, after that she simply starts ringing a bunch of people to ask them if they wanted to take in a cat. Eventually she gets a hold of Yamada, his teacher, and she agrees.

Next day at school, Momoshiro brings Rose with him, and K-chan is delighted to see her again. He still feels a twinge when he thinks back on yesterday, and how horribly wrong it went, but when he sees K-chan playing with Rose, that twinge is swiped away by the current of a strong electricity flowing through him. He plays with Rose like the rest of the children in class, all the while having goose bumps on his arms, despite it not being cold.

It's a weird feeling, but Momoshiro finds he doesn't hate it. He really likes it. He really likes K-chan.

These feelings that Momoshiro is so new to simply keep building up as more days pass, and he spends all of them with the little cute girl of his class. Sometimes he secretly goes to Yamada's house together with K-chan to play with Rose (she kept the name). He really likes these days. Momoshiro showers K-chan with several flowers a day, most of them are blue.

Sometime later, Momoshiro returns K-chan's handkerchief, and teasingly ties it around her head, and says she looks cute like this as well. K-chan blushes and takes it off, but thanks him for cleaning and returning it.

More than a month has passed since he first joined the class of Rose, and met K-chan. K-chan has told Momoshiro that her birthday was coming up, and obviously, he was invited. Feeling giddy with excitement, he drags his mother out to the store so he can buy a present for the girl. He can't wait to give it to her and see her face. He feels bubbly and twinkly all over just thinking about it.

The night before K-chan's birthday, Momoshiro stares at his ceiling with a stupid grin on his face that won't go away. He can't wait to go to her birthday party!

"Happy birthday!" Momoshiro shouts out loud as K-chan opens the front door to greet him. He wiggles back and forth on his shoes, smiling at her, and hiding a small little present box behind his back.

Kaidoh smiles at Takkun as the door swings open. He's been smiling so much lately his face might stay stuck that way.

"I'm so happy you came!" he says, his cheeks going pink. Since his party is on the weekend, his mother let him dress in play clothes instead; baby blue overalls with frilly cuffs and a light green t-shirt with a cat on it. She comes to the door as well and smiles in greeting at Takkun. Kaidoh's mother looks happy too, and she's been worrying and fussing over Kaidoh less and less.

"We've really been looking forward to having you here," his mother says cheerfully, her eyes seeming to disappear as she smiles. Takkun bows his head politely.

It's an understatement. Kaidoh has been excited all morning, asking his parents every fifteen minutes or so if it's time for his party yet. He's ready to play games and have fun and do all kinds of exciting party things and now that it's finally time, he eagerly tugs on Takkun's shirt to pull him inside the house. "Come on!"

His mother had tried to coax Kaidoh into throwing a big party and inviting his entire class to come celebrate, saying that five was a big year and he could have a special party with everyone together, but Kaidoh had politely refused. There was no way he wanted Koki and the others to come to his house. They'd ruin everything. They probably wouldn't even want to come in the first place.

No, there was only one person Kaidoh wanted to invite, only one person he really wanted to spend his birthday with. He just wanted Takkun and no one else, so his mother had reluctantly agreed.

"Today's a special party," Kaidoh whispers conspiratorially as he pulls Takkun inside. "For best friends only." Takkun giggles when he hears this. They go into the kitchen and Kaidoh shows Takkun the presents he's already received from his parents; a pop-up picture book about Japanese beetles, an elaborate tiny doll house which Kaidoh is pleased to note includes a tiny stove that even opens and closes, and a cool suction ball game with neon catcher's mitts and even a target board to hang on the wall and score points. Kaidoh's father had been trying to teach him how to play since this morning, but Kaidoh hasn't been able to hit the bullseye yet.

"What do you want to do first? Oh, did I tell you? My mother made a cake!"

Momoshiro's eyes lit up at the mention of cake. "Really? Oh, I don't know, play first, or eat first … argh, both sound good!" But then he remembers something else; he hadn't yet given K-chan her present yet.

"No, I have to give you my present first!" says Momoshiro. He stands right in front of Kaidoh and lifts up his hand; a small pink gift box with a white bow on top is clutched inside of it. "This is for you."

Kaidoh's mother walks in at that time, and sees the gift exchange, and decides she should get the camera out. It's nice to see Kaidoh having a friend that isn't a girl, she's really happy he has managed to make such a close friend as him, so she wants to capture this moment forever. She disappears real fast to retrieve the camera.

Anxiously, Momoshiro waits for K-chan to open it as her small hands take it from his. "My mom told me to get you a toy, like a doll or something, but I hope you don't mind this one. I wanted to give you something you could carry around every day!" Then, a bit more reluctant, "If you wanted a toy instead, I can still go out and buy one …" What matters is that K-chan will like the gift.

Kaidoh smiles shyly and opens the box. It's a peach. He picks it up and turns it over in his hand. Actually, it's some kind of clip. Kaidoh isn't sure what it's for. Maybe for paper?

He looks up at Takkun, confusion showing on his face. "What do I do with it?" he asks.

"It's a hair clip! To keep your hair out of your face, since you have long pretty hair." Momoshiro takes the clip from K-chan's hands, then stands next to her. He opens up the pink metal pins, and slides it into K-chan's hair, pushing away the hair from her face, and letting it sit above her right ear. He clicks it into place and smiles. He can see her face more clearly this way, and the hair clip looks adorable on her.

"Happy birthday, K-chan!" says Momoshiro again, before he smooches K-chan's cheek.

Kaidoh's mother takes a picture at that moment, capturing their first kiss for eternity. She's so happy that her son made friends with someone so cute.

"Thank you," Kaidoh whispers, after the flash has gone off. His cheeks are red and he feels warm all over, and he thinks he should be saying more than thank you, but isn't sure what to say instead. Takkun had kissed him, which was surprising, but nice, and Kaidoh liked it. He liked it a lot. He likes Takkun a lot.

Kaidoh's really glad that Takkun's here spending the day with him. He's having a really good birthday, and the party's only just started.

"This is the best present," Kaidoh says, and means it.

"Of course it is, I bought it for you," replies Momoshiro while grinning. "Now let's go play!"

Momoshiro drags K-chan towards her newly awarded presents. They browse through the Japanese beetles pop-up book as they huddle next to each other on the couch. Momoshiro points at every single one of them, saying he'd catch them for K-chan and give it to her. He'll give her anything. K-chan even gets him to play with the doll house, and Momoshiro is quite fascinated by all the little things, and they spend an hour simply checking out all the rooms (it even has working electricity!). Next is the target board, with kid-sized darts. Momoshiro misses everything, and they end up sticking in the wall, but K-chan doesn't seem to mind at all.

When it's time for cake, they sing a small birthday song together, and Momoshiro stuffs his face full of the delicious two-tiered cake. He notices K-chan eats her share of the cake very slow and very polite, as if she's handling a delicate piece of ice sculpture, and he feels a bit guilty eating like an animal, so he slows down a bit. His face does end up covered in cake though.

Kaidoh laughs out loud when he looks up from his plate at Takkun and sees him covered in icing and cake crumbles. He looks ridiculous, but Kaidoh likes how happy he is when he's eating, always enjoying everything completely. He doesn't care about doing things the polite way, and Kaidoh wishes he could be more like that too sometimes.

"You're such a mess," Kaidoh chides, and takes his napkin to carefully wipe at Takkun's mouth until it's clean again. "There," he says when he's finished, still very close to him. "Perfect."

Momoshiro blushes a bit at having K-chan take care of him like that, but he smiles nonetheless. "Thanks," he says bashfully. He scans K-chan's face for anything to clean up as well, but doesn't see anything. She's as clean and perfect like always.

So Momoshiro sticks his finger into the icing of the cake, then childishly rubs it on her cheek while laughing, saying she needs to get dirty too. He takes this moment of surprise, by quickly licking the icing off her cheek with his tongue. He wipes at his mouth with the back of his hand as he laughs, then runs away.

"Hey!" Kaidoh exclaims, chasing after him. This turns into a game of tag from room to room that only ends when Kaidoh's mother finally catches up with them and scolds them both for running in the house.

Kaidoh looks guilty and apologizes but once his mother's back is turned he giggles, playfully nudging Takkun in the arm.

Momoshiro playfully nudges her back, until he's tickling the girl. Immediately, he finds out that she's very sensitive in her sides, and he has quite a lot of fun pushing her onto the couch, running his fingers along her side until she's gasping for air from laughing so much. Momoshiro can't help himself; hearing her laugh is addicting. Seeing that smile on her face makes him feel happy, and it feels like he's got a ton of beetles crawling around in his stomach. K-chan is better than any bug he's caught.

"It's too much!" Kaidoh sputters, trying to grab at Takkun's hands to stop him from tickling so mercilessly. He can't stop laughing; his sides ache and his head feels all fuzzy, but in a good way. He's laughing so hard he actually starts tearing up a bit. Finally he is able to catch both Takkun's hands in his own, and pushes him back against the couch and climbs on top of him.

"I win!" he exclaims triumphantly.

Momoshiro grins at her; he can't let a girl win and top him, now can he? But as he tries to struggle out from underneath K-chan, he finds out she's actually pretty strong for a girl! Frowning at the sudden revelation, Momoshiro uses more force, and then he's thrown K-chan off of him, as well as himself, and they fall off the couch. Momoshiro lands right on top of K-chan, almost squishing her, and their tiny heads knock against each other.

Hearing the commotion from the living room, Kaidoh's mother returns, and she scolds the two boys for making such a ruckus. They meekly apologize, but when her back is turned, they start wrestling with each other again.

Momoshiro is half aware that girls shouldn't like doing these sort of things; but K-chan is special. She's the best girl there is, and he's having too much fun trying to tickle her, and get on top of her to really care about it. K-chan seems to be having fun as well; she's always smiling and giggling. He kind of wishes it was her birthday every day.

Eventually they tire themselves out; they've played all day long, and they're still little kids, so their energy is depleted by five PM. Momoshiro is too tired to go home, and K-chan's mother offers to let him stay the night. Eagerly, he agrees to this, and even his own mother allows him to stay. Even though he's tired, he stays in K-chan's room and they talk and play all night long.

They even sleep together in the same bed, and after they finally close their eyes to get some rest, Momoshiro snuggles closer to K-chan and puts his small arms around her. He likes holding her close like this. It was the best day ever.

Momoshiro leaves a small kiss on her forehead before he drifts off into sleep.

The next day when he goes home, he misses K-chan terribly, and hopes he can sleep over every day. They don't, but afterwards Momoshiro gets to stay over at K-chan's place a few times, and K-chan sleeps over at his house as well. Those are the best days in his small short life. They play a lot, and Momoshiro finds out K-chan is quite into getting rough and dirty with him lately, as if she's feeling more comfortable around him so she doesn't feel the need to be polite. Momoshiro has no problems with this; he actually likes wrestling with her!

This blissful state of friendship lasts for a while, and it's been more than two months since Momoshiro first met K-chan—almost three! He's shared many, many wonderful moments with his dream girl, and they spend almost every waking moment together. And sometimes in their sleep as well. It makes Momoshiro extremely happy to know she wears the hairclip every single day. Every time he looks at it, his heart thumps right out his chest, and the biggest beetle crawls around inside of his stomach.

But what Momoshiro doesn't know, was that K-chan is still getting bullied in class by those three little boys from their group. He doesn't know, because they do it behind his back, and K-chan never tells him about it. He thought everything was fine. Until one day he found Koki had dragged K-chan behind the school building.

Koki rips the hairclip out of Kaidoh's hair. "Look at this, you've been wearing it every single day like some girly girl!" He waves the hairclip in front of her, taunting her.

"Give it back!" Kaidoh demands, but his voice is trembling as he does. Koki is growing up faster than him, and he's taller, bigger, and his voice is much louder when he yells. He terrifies Kaidoh, but the hairclip is a precious gift from Takkun and if something were to happen it, Kaidoh would never forgive himself, and he guiltily worries Takkun wouldn't forgive him either.

"Give it back or else !" he repeats, but his voice squeaks out, sounding more like a sob than a threat. "It's mine!"

Koki simply pulls at Kaidoh's long hair, and then pushes him onto the ground. The hairclip is still firmly clutched in his hand. His other two lackeys appear as well, and they're grinning like two little devils, crowding around Kaidoh like vultures.

Kaidoh's eyes well up with tears. He scraped up both his elbows when he fell but that's not what's making him cry. He feels so angry and scared, and helpless most of all. He glares up at Koki, wishing his eyes were lasers and could make him disappear, wishing he could disappear himself.

He musters up all of his strength to yell, "Leave me alone!", or at least, he tries to yell, but instead it bubbles out of him like a whimper. The boys just laugh, and Kaidoh hides his face in his hands and cries.

It's that shrill crying voice that alerts Momoshiro to K-chan's whereabouts. He's been trying to find her ever since the bell rung, but she disappeared. Until he heard her voice, and he dashes towards the back of the school building. What he sees makes him choke up and clench his little tiny hands into fists.

K-chan is on the ground, her elbows are bleeding, her hair looks unkempt, and the bastard trio is standing around her, laughing at her, mocking her. It makes Momoshiro bubble over in rage. He starts screaming at them, and launches himself at the leader.

Koki is caught off guard completely as Momoshiro jumps on his back. He's thrown down to the ground, and his face is getting clawed at by Momoshiro's fingernails.

"You leave her alone!" Momoshiro cries out. He starts to bash Koki's nose, and then little boy yelps in pain and throws Momoshiro off of him.

Masaya and Shinichiro finally join in, and they grab Momoshiro's arms to prevent him from fighting back, but Momoshiro is much stronger than them, and seeing K-chan helplessly whimpering on the ground makes him the most angry he's ever been. He bites Masaya's arm until he draws blood, and the boy lets go immediately. One arm free, Momoshiro kicks Shinichiro right between the legs, and he doubles over in pain and cries out loud.

Koki stands there, looking like a deer caught in headlights, not knowing which way to run off to, and he simply stares at Momoshiro, scared out of his wits. Momoshiro stomps over to him, then rips the hairclip out of his hands.

"Don't ever touch K-chan again," he growls at Koki. Then he pushes Koki away, and runs back to K-chan to help her stand up.

"Come on, let's leave these stupid lamers alone." Momoshiro takes K-chan's hand and gently pulls her up to her feet, and guides her away from the school building.

Kaidoh's lower lip is still trembling and his eyes are still wet, but he feels stronger with Takkun next to him, like nothing can ever hurt him; Takkun won't let it happen.

He gives Takkun's hand a squeeze and then pulls him into a tight hug. "Thank you," he says, the words quiet and inadequate. No one's ever stood up for him like that before, and Kaidoh thinks Takkun is even more amazing now, something he hadn't thought was possible. He wishes he could be that brave and strong.

"You were so cool just now," Kaidoh says with his face buried into the crook of Takkun's neck. He doesn't want to let him go.

Momoshiro strokes K-chan's hair, simultaneously picking out a few crumbs of dirt. He doesn't care about looking cool or showing off this time. He simply wanted them to stop bullying her. He wants to protect her, and make sure no one hurts her. Ever.

"If anyone bothers you, and I'm not there, just punch them right in the face," is Momoshiro's helpful advice. He then slides the hairclip back into her hair, to move it away from her glowing face, still buried into his neck.

"I know you can do it, you're pretty strong," says Momoshiro with a giggle. K-chan has topped him several times already when they were play fighting. Who knew a girl could be so strong? But he's kind of proud of that, and he hopes K-chan will be strong enough to fend off any bullies. That is, if he's not there to witness it, because Momoshiro is sure to not let anyone touch her while he's still around.

"Don't let anyone make you cry, okay?" Momoshiro pulls back so he can smile at K-chan's face. "I'll make sure to hurt them if they do!"

Kaidoh sniffles and wipes at his face with the back of his hand. "I'll hurt them too!" he says with a small, nervous laugh. He isn't sure he could actually do it... He's never hit someone before! But being with Takkun gives him the confidence to do anything. He's not going to be weak anymore. He vows to punch Koki square between the eyes if he dares touch his hairclip again.

He walks back to the playground with Takkun, their hands clasped tightly together, and Kaidoh says, "Come on, I need to make you something." He drags Takkun over to the fence where he begins searching the ground until he finds a very thin, and very round pebble. Then he takes a stick of chalk off the ground—yellow; someone had been using it to scrawl sunflowers onto the playground's patio—and draws a star onto the face of the pebble, before handing it to Takkun.

"It's a medal," he says simply. "Because you're the best."

Momoshiro simply laughs out loud and takes the pebble from K-chan's hands. The best—of course he's the best. But only for her.

"Thank you!" says Momoshiro happily. Then he tilts his head to the side and kisses K-chan's cheek again.

That day, when Momoshiro walks home again with K-chan, he stores the pebble away in a very special and small box, and puts it underneath his bed. It also marked the day that no one ever called K-chan names again. Or pushed her around, or did other awful stuff to her. Not a single word was said; everyone seemed to be afraid of crossing Momoshiro, the little boy who beat up the three strongest boys in class.

Of course, their teacher Yamada had found out, and Momoshiro was forced to stand in a corner for the entire day, and his parents had to come over to apologize for his behaviour. Though back at home, when Momoshiro told them the story, they secretly cheered on for their son.

Momoshiro doesn't really care that lots of students in the class stopped talking to him, or playing with him—though he's kind of happy to know they leave K-chan alone as well. It simply doesn't matter to him; he's happy spending time with K-chan, walking home with her every day, giving her little trinkets, staying over at her house or at his, and he's even gone out a few times with her to catch bugs. For four year old Momoshiro, life was pretty good.

Until a few weeks later, when his parents tell him that they will be moving again soon. Something about his father getting fired from the job, and he's taking back his old one. It hasn't sunk in yet; Momoshiro was only half listening, as all he wanted to do was run out and go see K-chan and play with her.

But then that fated day arrives, and it's Momoshiro's last day at school. His teacher already knows, and it standing in front of the class with Momoshiro next to her to announce the news.

"It's been a short three months, but we all had a lot of fun in those three months you were here, Takkun," says Yamada. A few disagreements could be heard from a specific three boys at the back. "But unfortunately, Takkun has to move away and go to a different school now. So this is his last day. Be extra nice to him class!"

Momoshiro looks down at the ground and he feels sad, he feels like crying; he doesn't want to move away. He wants to stay with K-chan and play with her every day. He really likes her. WIth a sullen expression on his face, Momo walks over to the Peach group, and he sits next to K-chan, not even looking her in the eye. He's really going to move, his parents have already found out a new school for him, and they're moving back into their old home, which is far, far away from this place.

It sucks, and he really hates it. He wants to run away with K-chan.

Kaidoh scoots across the floor a little, moving closer so that his leg brushes up against Takkun's as they sit side by side. He takes Takkun's hand and squeezes it tightly, the feeling of his palm against his own comforting and familiar. He doesn't want to let go. He suddenly feels like there's not enough time.

"Don't go!" he whispers. "I don't want you to go." Not now. Not ever.

"I don't want to go either," says Momoshiro sully. "Can't you come with me?" he asks with childish and hopeful dreams.

Kaidoh blinks and starts to cry. "I don't think so," he admits, and wishes it weren't true. He can't really imagine life without Takkun anymore. It may have only been three months, but they have been the three best months of his life so far. It's not fair! It's not fair that Takkun has to go.

"Promise you'll come back," Kaidoh says hesitantly, his voice cracking. There's a piece of string in his pocket from when his mother had been teaching him to crochet, and he pulls it out now and wraps it around Takkun's finger, tying it into a delicate bow. He takes the other end and ties it around his own finger. It's a little loose, tenuous at best, but it will hold for now.

"There," he says, "now we're tied together! Now you have to come back." His voice doesn't crack this time. It doesn't even waver.

Momoshiro smiles at the flimsy thread around his finger. "Yeah," he says. "Forever!"

The rest of the day, Momoshiro stays tied to K-chan and doesn't leave her side. The string looks fragile, like it can break any moment, and his stomach feels so heavy as if he ate way too many burgers at once. He gives K-chan one last blue flower from next to the fence, and he feels very sad giving it to her. It's the last one. The last he could ever give to her.

And then just like that, school is over. K-chan is walking next to him, and their hands are clutched together, the string dangling between them. It's weird, it feels like Momoshiro is leaving K-chan behind for good with each heavy step he takes on the pavement. Why did his parents have to move again? He's never been this happy before! He's never liked someone this much before …

They don't say much on their way to Momoshiro's house, probably because both of them would burst into tears if they said anything. Even when K-chan stays over for a bit and plays at his house, they don't say much. There's no more laughter, and when Momoshiro looks into K-chan's dark blue eyes, all he can see is the same depressing feeling he's got simmering in his stomach.

K-chan leaves to go home, and Momoshiro promises he'll visit her before he leaves. The string eventually slips from Momoshiro's finger when they pull apart, and he stands there looking at the ground for a while, staring at it, even when K-chan is out of sight, he stands there like a zombie.

The weekend is moving day, and Momoshiro's parents have packed everything, they're ready to go to their old home. Momoshiro asked them to drive by K-chan's home so he can still see her one last time, and they drop Momoshiro off in front of K-chan's house.

"K-chan!" Momoshiro yells out as he dashes towards the front door. He can't reach the doorbell so he pounds his tiny fists on the door instead. "K-chan, I've come to see you!"

The door opens slowly and Kaidoh peeks around it. But it's really Takkun standing there, not merely his wishful imagination! Kaidoh's eyes go wide and his heart starts racing.

"Takkun..." he says, and his breath hitches, and then he can't just stand there anymore and swings the door open wider before rushing through it and crushing Takkun into a hug, his hands clinging tightly to his shoulders.

Momoshiro drapes his arms around K-chan as well, and hugs her back just as tightly. "W-we're l-leaving now," he says through small hiccups. He can already feel tears well up in his eyes. He doesn't want to leave! Stupid parents!

"I promise I'll see you a-again, okay? I will!" says Momoshiro. He hugs K-chan tighter and buries his face into her dark brown hair to stifle any sniffles and tears. "I definitely will!" he says a bit more confidently. He grabs K-chan's hands and brings it up to his face. "I'll come back and marry you!"

"But—" Kaidoh starts to protest. But boys don't marry other boys, do they?

But Takkun doesn't do anything with him the normal way. He kisses Kaidoh and calls him pretty and tells him he likes him all the time! So why not get married too? There's no one else in the world Kaidoh would want to be with. With all the fearlessness that comes from being five-years-old, he's pretty sure that's not going to change. No, he knows it won't!

"Okay," he agrees, quiet like he's sharing a secret, and then he repeats it, a bit louder this time: "Okay! I'll wait for you." In Kaidoh's still young mind, Takkun won't be gone for longer than a month, maybe two, and Kaidoh can be strong for even that kind of impossibly long time.

"Yeah, then I'll give you all the flowers and bugs in the world," says Momoshiro. He's smiling, but he's also crying. He's going away for real now, but he's sure he'll see her again. One day. Momoshiro will make damn sure of it.

"Takeshi, hurry up!" his mother yells at him from the car.

Momoshiro squeezes K-chans hands tightly and he sniffs a few times. "I'll definitely come see you again!" And to seal the deal, Momoshiro doesn't tie a string around their fingers, but instead he hastily puckers out his lips, and smacks them against K-chan's. His face is completely red, he's still crying a little, and there's a mix of butterflies and beetles swarming around in his stomach as he pulls back from K-chan.

Kaidoh stares at him wide-eyed and feels his whole face burning up. He's going red right up to his ears. His lips feel like they're buzzing with energy. He doesn't know what to say. He can feel Takkun's pulse pounding in his hand and Kaidoh's sure his is too. This is hard for both of them, he knows. Kaidoh isn't even the one who has to move away.

"Remember that I like you most of all," Kaidoh says, his voice catching on the word 'like'. He wipes the tears from Takkun's cheeks with his hand. He doesn't want Takkun to leave, but Takkun's words are still ringing in his ears, happy and hopeful. Takkun's never told him anything he didn't mean with his whole heart. Kaidoh will see him again. This isn't the end.

"And I like you too." Sniff.

One day.