SPOILER: Takes place immediately after chapter 135 when Nodame jumps into his arms. A different sort of take on this chapter and what comes next…This will be a multi-chapter fic and I'm not quite sure where it's going, but I am Nodame/Chiaki to the core so you can just imagine. :D

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written for Nodame. This is dedicated to Et Cetera Et Cetera, who is an awesome author—read her stuff!

Chapter One: Blackness

Chiaki held the delicate body to him. Finally he could touch her, feel that she was there by his side. And he felt strangely happy to really give up pretenses, to allow his feelings to be out in the open.

His hands traced the line of her back. They would fulfill her dream. They'd have their concerto and she wouldn't leave him. Not now. Not ever. And, in that way, they'd fulfill his dream, too. He smiled against her hair, breathing in the surprisingly clean scent of her hair. When he spoke, it was softly.

"Baka." At his voice, she merely snuggled in closer, perched on his lap. He held her even closer as he continued. "That's what we have."

She shifted, looking up at him with her large, liquid eyes. "Love?"

Time seemed to freeze and his throat tightened as he fought his natural impulse to deny it. Still, he couldn't get the words out. He nodded briefly. Rather than breaking into a big grin as he expected her to, the smile on her face seemed to grow slowly into a soft, endearing expression that he had hardly seen on her. He wondered if now was the time to readdress her proposal. He opened his mouth.

And suddenly he was no longer on the piano bench, but falling backward with his hands searching. Nodame was gone and he floundered about frantically, searching for her. Panic welled as he fell through blackness alone. Had he lost Nodame once more?

With a gasp, Chiaki sat straight up in his bed.

A dream?

His breath came in pants. Damn. His head dropped into his hands as frustration mounted once more. He needed her.

Ever since Kuroki had informed him of Nodame's response, he hadn't been able to get his mind off of her. Well, if he were completely honest it had been since she had disappeared after her proposal.

Night had never felt so black. He flopped back on his bed, staring at the ceiling blankly.

How had things gotten so messed up?