Back again with another Hiiro no Kakera story. I love this anime… I want to write more stories and now that I made the first step, I think I can try again and again. Aw, and by the way, any comment/review/point out/advise will be very welcome! ^_^

Head-canon (after episode 11 from season 1)

Disclaimer: I don't own Hiiro no Kakera. I own the title and the plot of this story. Also I don't own the cover image; I found it on the Internet so the credit goes to the original artist! This is non-profit story and I'm not making any money from it.

Easy as Breathing

Tamaki's P.O.V.

"Back again?" A soft voice, with a hint of joy, suddenly filled the small room of the storehouse, making me jump.

A strong light lit up the area after a split of second, causing me to realize that I had been reading in the dark for a long time now. That only means that I must have spent the whole day trying to learn more about the Tamayori-hime and gather as much information as I could about my ancestor.

At first I had thought the research of the truth wouldn't be a hard task, but when I started spending all of my free time inside this little storehouse, with days passing fast and showing zero progress, I had no choice but changing my first belief; but I didn't give up and to my luck, I did have some progress.

Even though everything I found out was like a tangled knot of jumbled information – much of which still cause me pain and confusion and revealed old secrets – I have to admit that, I have at least accomplished something. So, I won't give up… it's more vital than ever to learn, to know everything, as much as I can. By getting the knowledge I might be able to wake up as the Tamayori-hime and thus release the true power of my friends...

Abruptly my thoughts ceased ... my friends? I wondered, pondering on those words. Shaking my head, I smiled brightly. To them I may be only the Tamayori-hime, but to me they are my friends.

I lifted my eyes to meet the two violet orbs which were watching my every move; instantaneously I felt uneasy under his intense gaze. He was standing at the small corridor with his arms crossed and leaning with his shoulder against the nearby wall.

"Takuma… arigatou." I thanked, my voice coming out as a mere whisper.

He made a hasty smile and moved to sit next to me on the floor, taking a book and scanning through the pages. The comfortable silence broke as he stated, "You don't have to press yourself so much, Tamaki."

"Huh…?" I replied, casting a quick glance in his direction.

His were eyes locked on the book in his hands, but his blank gaze gave me the feeling that he wasn't reading. It was as if he was using the book as an excuse to avoid any eye contact between us; I couldn't blame him. I was feeling a bit awkward too… as much I tried to deny it, his presence was making me nervous; it had been for a long time now. And after the last time we were here… my heart skipped a beat as the memory gushed forth from the depth of my conscious.

It was when I had found the old legend about the Oni and the battle which lead to his doom. It was like I had fallen into a dream or something, reading out loud, with a voice that wasn't my own. Then I suddenly stopped as the document was destroyed and was forced back to reality, only to see Takuma in a way I never thought I would ever see him.

I shivered at the memory. He was totally defeated… conquerable, but also angry and disappointed at the same time. I didn't know what do, it was the first time I was seeing him so… sad… almost broken. I tried to remember the feeling when I held his hand. For an unknown reason my palms started to sweat and I clenched my fist trying to ignore the strange sensation.

"You don't have to push yourself so hard to learn everything about the past. You should take some rest too, otherwise you will collapse," Takuma whispered, dragging me out of my thoughts only to make me sink deeper into my memories.

I knew he was right; I push myself to my limits, so that I will be able to help and protect my friends. But how can I stop now? The thought that I'm the Tamayori-hime is enough to make me restless. Then I learn that I keep everyone's true power limited, simply because I haven't woken up as a true princess yet and the last week I learnt that Takuma…

I swallowed hard, knowing that it was my duty to do my best. They are my friends, all of them: Takuma, Mahiro-senpai, Surugu-san, Yuuichi-senpai, and Shinchi-kum… they are my guardians and always do their best to protect me but… I'm the Tamayori-hime, I have to protect them all. I have to wake up my powers and make them stronger, as well as protect Takuma from the Oni inside him. I promised him that everything would be ok and that I would banish the demon away from him, just like my ancestor did all those years ago. I plan to release everyone from this fate … I will set them free from the chains of duty that they had no choice in.

With my heart racing, I wondered why I had made such promises to them all; promises that I knew I would never be able to keep. I still have a long way ahead of me and I have no idea how I will be able to become a true Tamayori-hime. But a promise is a promise, so I have to do my best by studying and to keep trying, until I find a way.

"I will be ok, Takuma," I assured him, smiling warmly as I wished I could be as sure as I sounded."Besides I'm not alone, I have all of you by my side."

And that was so true. I had everyone with me, ready to do anything to keep me safe and willing to give up their very lives to save mine. I'm more than grateful but that makes me want to do something in return.

"And you are with me now…" I wanted to slap a hand over my mouth, but I wasn't able to stop myself from saying more.

Sure I was happy Takuma was with me, even if his presence distracted me a little, and I don't want to think of why he is doing it. I saw Takuma cheeks flush, but I had no time to wonder why, as he turned to face me. A strange flash shining in his eyes and his voice was strong and decisive, "I will always be by your side protecting you, Tamaki."

Feeling my cheeks heat up, I offered him a sheepish smile and lowered my head, murmuring, "Thank you."

"Even if that means that I have to protect you, from yourself," he teased, chuckling at his own joke.

"Huh?" I stared at him in utter confusion.

"When was the last time you ate something today?" he asked slyly, a warm smile lighting up his features as his expression became softer.

"Umm," I hummed awkwardly, knowing that I wouldn't be able to lie to him.

"You were in the storehouse all day," Takuma pointed out the obvious, "You may have already missed lunch but I won't let you miss dinner too."

Standing up, he put away his book and held out his hand to help me up. Placing my hand inside his, Takuma helped me to my feet.

"Thank-" I started, but closed my mouth when a wave of dizziness hit me at full force. My vision became darker and I missed my step, as I wobbled. Holding my head and with eyes shut, my body became too heavy for me to carry and I frowned as I felt myself fall through the air.

"Tamaki?!" I heard in the distance, but I wasn't able to respond as everything went blank. I should have been frightened, but the strong arms around me prevented that feeling from arising as I was laid against something warm with a slight pulse.

When I started to recover from my sudden blackout, I tried to remember what had happened and why it had happened. Of course it wasn't really hard to find answers. Takuma was right, I did press myself too much the past few days and the lack of food today only added to my weakened state; it would take some time and a lot of rest for me to regain my strength.

"Idiot…" Takuma's voice was a whisper, barely audible.

Getting ready to reply to the rude comment, I opened my mouth slightly, but snapped it shut when he continued, "You are like a puzzle to me… Every time I think I get to the conclusion that I finally get to know you… then you do something that makes me realize I was wrong…"

I ignored the urges to ask him what he is talking about, hoping that he would continue with what he was saying and opened my eyes, looking straight at the handsome man in front of me. I knew Takuma hadn't realized that I had woken up and he was murmuring to himself. Only then did I realize that I was sitting on the floor in his lap, resting my head on his chest and the slight pulse I was hearing was his heartbeat.

Bushing a brilliant red, I thought of how close we were and reveled in the feeling of Takuma's arms wrapped protectively around me as he gently ran his finger through my hair. The blush darkened at the uneasy, intense feeling, but I found myself enjoying the warmth of this closeness. I felt so calm and relaxed to the fullest as if nothing was more important to me than savoring this moment. Never before I had ever felt this safe and protected. The seals, the artifact, the Tamayori-hime and Onikirimaru… all faded into a distant memory.

"Sometimes you are so clumsy… causing a lot of trouble… and then you stand up straight and determined to do whatever it takes. I will always protect you… something that started out because of a duty I couldn't deny... now turning into my greatest desire…"

He continued whispering, talking to himself without knowing that I was able to hear him. Those words were like music to my ears, but I tried my best to stay still, knowing that I wasn't supposed to be awake. However, my tries were futile as I couldn't stop myself from smiling at his sweet words.

I was completely and utterly happy, but my happiness multiplied tenfold when Takuma did something that caught me entirely off-guard. Warm and gentle lips were pressed against mine and I couldn't help myself from responding, but his lips stopped and pulled away, inquiring, "Tamaki? Are you awake?"

Shifting into a sitting position, I avoided eye contact, "Umm."

"Next time I will make sure you will get more rest. I won't allow something like this to happen ever again," Takuma stated flatly.

"I'm s-sorry… umm… t-thanks," I muttered, feeling both upset for leaving his embrace, but also relief for doing so.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?" Takuma snorted, a smile showing his true feelings.

"I will be ok…" I stood up with Takuma doing the same.

"Whatever, but if I can't change your mind then I will be with you, to catch you every time you fall," he said nonchalantly, shrugging as if it were no big deal.

Smiling brightly, I turned to leave, but stopped as he caught my hand and pulled me back onto his lap, hugging my protectively.

"W-what…?" I gasped, blushing furiously as I found myself in his arms again. The same uneasy feeling filling my chest, but a feeling of want overwhelming my being.

"You are very cute when you are blushing…"

My eyes widened in shock.

Takuma smirked and leaned forward to whisper in my ear, "You're also really cute when you are pretending that you are still asleep…"

I froze mortified. So he knew? He knew that I was already awake and was able to hear him? Then why had he kept talking?

"Takuma… I-I…" I stammered, not being able to find the right words.

"It's ok," Takuma smiled and then chuckled at my awkwardness. He tightened his arms around me. "Worrying doesn't suit you."

"I'm not worrying about anything…" I protested but I knew that I had already lost this battle with him long ago.

I averted my eyes, blushing madly, trying to avoid his intense stare.

"Nah, you're unbelievable," he said casually, lifting his hand and tilting up my chin.

He held a serious look and was peering into me; his dark violet eyes fixed deeply on my golden brown orbs, enough for my heart to palpitate at lightning speed. They were as clear as crystal, and just as zeal. I felt so naked under his gaze.

Somewhere in the sky, fireworks sounded. And that was when Takuma crushed his lips onto mine.

Time seemed to have come to a standstill as we moved our lips gently. I could taste the mint in his mouth and they were able to make me forget how annoying he was. A hand snaked around my waist, while the other behind my head. I could feel his warm and soft lips smiling against mine. The kiss was urgent, though, as if he was trying to express all that he felt for me. A tingle of happiness shot through me; an alien but rapturous feeling...

And for the first time since I came to Kifu village, I felt that everything, from my complicated past to the newborn feelings inside me, would be ok! Within Takuma's strong arms everything was easy… just like breathing

I wrote this story for a good friend of mine. PrincessWindNight this story is for you. (Aw, I'm so proud of you! - you know why ;)... I think you will love it!

My special thanks and credits to a great friend of mine (if you read this story, you know who you are), for helping me with the last scene! Also I want to thank my lovely beta, scarlet700, for proof–reading my story!

Please review and tell me what you think! ^_^