Rizreviewer, I'm sorry this is so late. Coming back from spring break brought unprecedented amounts of homework. Again, this is for you!

Me no own.

"Jeez, what was that about?" Dojo wondered aloud. Kasahara messing up wasn't anything new, but she had never acted like such a little kid in front of him before. She needed to grow up and stand on her own two feet.

Guilt immediately swelled in his chest as he remembered the events of the previous day. It was the rookies' very first raid, and a tough one at that. It was enough to make even the bullheaded Kasahara a little shaky.

Making his way down the stairs to the break room, Dojo frowned. No, that wasn't right. No matter how intimidating the MBC could be, Kasahara had seemed fine, even directly after running into a gunfight. She had natural courage, and determination to see her goals to the end. Rappelling down the side of a building was a walk in the park to her. So what on Earth could have struck such fear into her eyes when he asked-?

"He wants to go out with her." The voice echoed in the empty stairwell. It came from above him. Dojo turned to find Kasahara's roommate, Asako Shibazaki, smiling down at him like an angel.

Dojo didn't know her well, but he knew her reputation; sharp as a tack, an ace clerk, and looks that any woman would kill for. But as he stared into her seraphic expression, he found something unsettling there. It was the look of someone who knew a secret.

At his bewildered look, she continued. "Tezuka asked Kasahara out. Isn't that funny? They hated each other." A chuckled escaped Shibazaki's lips. "Iku is flipping out! But you know what I did? I gave her a push. Tezuka gets MY approval." Leaning on the rail with her face cradled delicately in one palm, Shibazaki smiled. "What's YOUR opinion of this recent development, Instructor Dojo?"

Dojo stared, barely caring that he hasn't been able to get a word in edgewise throughout that whole time. Kasahara... And Tezuka? It was inconceivable. Letting alone the fact that Hikaru hated the girl's guts, he just couldn't see it.

In any case, there's no way she'll say yes, Dojo thought automatically. She's in love with-

There was absolutely no excuse for believing that with such certainty, and Dojo knew it. He tried to picture it; how it would feel to watch his corporal grow out of her silly obsession and go out with a nice guy like Tezuka.

He didn't like it, and there was no excuse for that, either.

"I'm their boss, not their mother," Dojo finally said. He turned away to hide his face. "I'm not interested I'm what they do in their free private life."

"Hmm." Dojo could have sworn that Shibazaki almost sounded disappointed. Then he heard the words that made the least amount of sense out of all he'd heard that day.

"In that case, are you interested in me, Instructor Dojo?"

His eyes were back on hers in an instant, and his eyebrows arched high on his face at the look of pure contentment on Asako's face.

"I'll be very loyal and attend to your every need," she smiled. "How about it?"

Dojo looked at her hard for a long minute. This was the most gorgeous woman in the entire library asking him out. She had a wicked figure, a keen mind, and a passion for her work. She was perfect.

So why didn't he feel anything over the shock of the news about Kasahara?

"I'll pass," he replied. "I don't think I can take the competition of a literal army of jealous men."

Shibazaki pouted. "Aw. You couldn't be bothered to fight them off? You must not be that attracted to me."

That got Dojo's smile back in place as he walked away. "Don't be silly."

"Are you interested in me?"

The words haunted her, but not as much as Dojo's answer. It was far from the first time Shibazaki had been turned down. In middle school, boys and girls alike had scorned her. They had seen her heartlessness at work, and wanted nothing to do with her. Even if she hadn't asked anyone out, she knew that she would have been rejected. That almost hurt worse than an actual rejection.

However, Dojo was the first person to turn her down since high school- her big transformation into the new Asako. She listened, she cared, she knew everything about everyone, and she was a total knockout. What man could resist her?

Apparently, short men in high places.

It wasn't like her heart was broken. She had only meant to stir things up a little- the look on his fave when she told him about Tezuka and Kasahara was priceless! However, her question had been sincere. Sure, she had viewed the instructor as a prospect, and it might have hurt her feelings, but she kept that to herself. Nobody rebounds faster than Asako Shibazaki. But her pride took a huge hit, and it brought back some of the old insecurities.

Was her facade weakening? Had he seen through to her ugly self? What could possibly have-?

Shibazaki looked up from applying her nighttime beauty mask to examine her snoring roommate. There wasn't anything extraordinary about Iku. Nothing at all. She was a total tomboy, sleeping with one arm slung over the edge of the bed and drool shining on the corner of her mouth. Shibazaki turned back to the mirror, subtly checking her figure. Her looks were a weapon of destruction masking her true devious nature. It was the perfect lure... at least, that's what she had thought. What did Dojo see in Iku that made her more appealing than THIS?

"... Stupid jerk," Iku muttered in her sleep. "I'll show YOU an armlock..." Still fast asleep, Iku reached out and decked an invisible Dojo, a triumphant smile forming on her dreaming face when she took him down. "Heh..." She fell still again with no further movement except for her snores.

Seriously- how in the world? Was there something wrong with Dojo? Like a severe lack of taste in women?

Shibazaki sighed and finished preparing for bed. It felt bad to be thinking of her good friend this way, but it wasn't personal. It was simply a fact of life that men drooled over her like dogs. The fact that Instructor Dojo didn't jump at the chance to be with her confused her deeply. It just didn't make sense, and she did not like it when things didn't add up.

"You're a strange one, Kasahara," she whispered. "Just what is it? What draws his eye?"

Lying awake that night, it hit her. Of course. There was only one thing that would rationalize a healthy adult male turning her down for a lesser beauty. That would make her the most captivating individual in his life.


The one thing she had resigned herself to never having. People like her didn't deserve the kind of romance that spanned time and space.

But simpletons who chased their dream prince all the way into a war did. The only things standing in their way now were Iku's stupidity and Dojo's pride.

"Hmm," Shibazaki pondered, a sly grin crossing her features. "We'll have to do something about that, won't we?"

Yay! I'm done . Anything else for me, people? Writing is the only thing keeping me sane right now. Read and review, and fight the MBC.


Moony/Maya Koppori