Disclaimer: I do not own S.A, only the plot for this fanfic. I do, however own Yahiro… in my head. ;)

Just Say the Word

If any one of her neighbors heard the ruckus she was creating, they'd think that her flat was being robbed. Well, getting rid of all the trash (Hmn. Funny how she considers them trash now) Yahiro gave her with as much noise as she could cause the stuff to create was kind of therapeutic. She picked up the empty fishbowl sitting on her bedside table, "Well that goldfish did not last a week," she muttered to herself. She remembered begging Yahiro to buy her a goldfish when he accompanied her to a summer festival a few years back. When Yahiro finally caved in she of course chose the fattest in the bunch, even when he warned her that it won't last a week. "Stupid know-it-all!" she hissed, remembering his smug grin when they found the fish belly up a couple of days after. She stared at the fishbowl intently, and in her eyes it was slowly forming a very strong resemblance to Yahiro's head. She threw it at the bottom of her trash bin, rubbing her hands together like a criminal mastermind when she heard the glass reach the bottom with a satisfying crash. Now let me look for something else to smash.

Yahiro heard another smash and despite himself, he cowered. "What has gotten into her?" he whispered to himself. Everything was fine between them last night when he brought her to Saiga Group's New Year's party. He glowered at her when she tried to speak to him instead of using her sketchpad and she responded by blowing raspberries at him. She'd look longingly at him and he'd avert his gaze, afraid that she'll somehow see the emptiness he kept inside. So yes, everything was fine with them. Until he drove her home.

She was sleepy and he let her lean on to him while he was driving. Then she looked up to him and whispered that she loves him, almost like a prayer. He looked at her, and he felt a sudden wave of guilt—of self-loathing even. How could a woman as perfect as Megumi love someone as damaged as him? He didn't know how to respond to her, so he went to his go-to answer. He gave her a lopsided grin, "As always, babe."

The effect was instantaneous. She recoiled from him and fumbled to open the passenger door even as the car was just pulling to a stop.

He hurriedly got out of the car and tried to chase after her. "Hey! Megumi, wait!" He caught her wrist before she could go inside the lobby of her apartment complex. He forced her to face him. He was bewildered. "What's going on? Hey," he gently lifted her chin, urging her to look at him but she just dropped her gaze. "Did I do something wrong? Please look at me."

Megumi looked at him, and then shook her head. "Did I do something wrong?" he repeated.

"N-no." Megumi answered voice barely audible.

His temper flared when he heard her voice. "I told you to use your sketchpad!" he shouted at her.

Megumi's face went beet red, "You're not the boss of me!" she shouted at him.

"I thought you loved your voice? Why are you wasting it by shouting at me?!" He shouted back.

She scoffed, "What do you know about love Yahiro?"

Before he could answer her, she spun around and sped to the elevator.

And now he's at her front door, fighting the urge to just walk away and go home. The old Yahiro would have done just that without batting an eyelash, but through the years he valued his friendship with Megumi more than he dared to admit to himself.

He finally decided to ring her doorbell after he heard that the crashing already stopped. I'm such a wuss, he silently chided himself.

"I have faced more intimidating people. Heads of state. Business tycoons. I can handle this. I can handle this," he murmured to himself. He rang the bell again, now with renewed confidence.

The door burst open and Yahiro felt as if the blood drained from his face.

Megumi would have doubled over with laughter if she was not so furious with him. He was as white as a sheet.

She leaned on the door frame, put her hand on her hip and glared at Yahiro, "What do you want?" she asked him menacingly. When he opened his mouth to answer, she hissed, "And don't tell me to stop using my voice or I swear to god, I'll scream."

Yahiro raised his hands in surrender, "I got it. I just came here to, uhm. I really didn't understand what happened last night. I want to talk. Please," he sighed, "I'll be leaving for Hong Kong this weekend; I don't want to go without knowing that we're okay."

She looked at him intently, gave him an imperceptible nod and swung the door open.

She looked at him with unveiled disdain and Yahiro could not stop himself from fidgeting.

"So…" he started. She just raised an eyebrow.

"You came here to apologize?" she asked him.

"Why would I apologize if I don't know what I did wrong?" Yahiro answered petulantly, suddenly irritated by the fact that he had to grovel and ask for her forgiveness when he has no idea what he did to make her mad. Maybe it's that time of the month, he thought to himself. He couldn't help but smirk.

Megumi made a tsk-tsk sound, "You really have no idea, do you?"

"If I had, do you think I'd ask?" he said sarcastically. It was apparently the wrong thing to say, since Megumi's face turned beet red again. "Okay. We're not getting anywhere with this. Can we talk like normal people?" He went on when she didn't answer, "Can you use your sketchpad, please? All this talk, I don't mean to scold you but it's going to strain your voice."

She nodded slowly, and reached for her pen and sketchpad from the coffee table. She was writing so fast that Yahiro didn't want to imagine how it'll be like if she actually said whatever she's writing to him.

"Megumi—"he stopped when she raised her left hand and gave him an I'm-not-done-yet look.

After a few seconds, she raised her sketchpad, "Did you ever consider that I might be tired with just being your friend? I always tell you that I love you and you just acknowledge it as if I'm telling you that the sun will shine tomorrow. My love for you has become a given. I don't want it to be just that. I really can't stand this unrequited love thing. I can't be just your friend. If you can't love me back… please stop making me hope that there's more for us."

Yahiro looked up and saw that Megumi's eyes were brimming with tears. He wanted to kick himself. His greatest weakness, aside from being an unfeeling jerk, is that he can't stand seeing a woman cry.

"I'm sorry, Megumi," he said, his voice somber, "I never thought…"

Megumi tried to write on her sketchpad, but her hand was shaking so bad, she threw her sketchpad aside. "I'm hurt," she started, "because I can never seem to be content with what we have. Every day I keep on thinking that maybe, you'd love me a little more." She looked so angry, so frustrated with herself that Yahiro wanted to reach out and hug her. Her sobs were growing louder, but she was trying very hard to compose herself. "Every day for the past ten years. Every freaking day. I'm stupid. I'm so stupid that I didn't see that much as I love you, you're still in love with someone else."

"This has nothing to do with Akira!" he protested.

She smiled sadly at him. He barely heard her say, "If you think that, then you're as blind as I am."

"So you basically told him that he's an unfeeling jerk who is still holding a torch for Akira and is in a way exploiting your feelings for him?"

Megumi looked at Tadashi, amazed at how he can chomp on a huge bite off of the burger he's eating and give out a very spot on review of her predicament.

"Basically." she said with a sad smile.

Tadashi looked up at her from his plate, struggled to swallow a particularly large slab of meat, "And what did he say?"

She sighed. What exactly did Yahiro tell her? He half-heartedly denied that he still has feelings for Akira, but that was expected. He never admitted to having them in the first place. What was she trying to accomplish confronting him like that- laying out all her frustrations and blatantly asking him to love her or leave her?

"Well he denied being in love with your wife, if that's what you want to know."

Tadashi looked at her intently and she had to avert her eyes.

"I never saw him as a threat Megumi," Tadashi said, "so no, that's not what I want to know."

She sighed again. She stared down at her tea cup. "It's what he didn't say back that hurt the most," she whispered to herself.

"I'm sorry?" Tadashi said, perplexed.

"Nothing." She looked out the window, trying to find the right words to say, or even the right words to think. Perhaps using her sketchpad to communicate was not so childish, after all. When she didn't know what to say, she just drew symbols to say that she's out of words. She erased her mistakes. She thought through her choice of words. When she wrote on her sketchpad, she could think before she put anything on paper. Writing was safe. Writing was distant. That's the reason why she only used her sketchpad when she's with Yahiro. She's scared, every time she talked to him, that she'd just blurt everything out.

"I just need time to be away from him. Away, from everything, you know?" she told Tadashi. She knew he'd understand. Of all her friends from S.A, Tadashi's the only one who disappears on a regular basis much to Akira's annoyance, blaming it on the need to be alone and to think. To be honest, she thinks he's just suffering from a severe case of wanderlust.

Tadashi nodded, and then smiled mischievously. "How does Hawaii sound?"

There. Please tell me what you think. This is going to be short, about 3 chapters or so. I hope you enjoy.