Counting Stars (Shizuku's POV)

1.1 A Hunter X Hunter fanfic by Cielo-chan 2002

He's amazing.

It's been three years since I joined the Geneiryodan and it's really uncanny that I have not forgotten my first impressions of him: snobby, prissy, know-it-all, mama's boy.

Was I so wrong!

Shalnark is the most approachable person in the team, always smiling. That constant smile would brighten up my ho-hum moments; and come to think of it, I would really love it if he were the first person I would say "Ohayou!" to, and his very becoming expression would jump-start my day!

The thing is, I wish that he wasn't so generous with his emotions. Call me selfish, but I really want him to smile just for me. I hope he knew how much his gait means to me; yet he wears it all the time, for everybody, so their day would be nice too. For that, I think he purposely looses in playing poker. I'm no ace in card games, but he's making me look good.

From my place here, sitting on a petrified crate in this damp, dusty, crammy, hideout (it's not that I'm complaining, but it IS quite inconvenient if one would speculate on convenience), and I can see him having a flustered look. Despite the ill at ease expression, there remains a shadow of a smile. It's cute.

I tried changing the topic of my stream of thought. I turn to the massive person beside me – whom I have dubbed, by the way, as my "otoutousan" – "Franklin, do you think Kuroro-sama would have us search places in partners again?"

He looked at me, turning his head ever so slowly, with a grin that looked almost like it was stolen from Hisoka (read: Freaky), "Why do you ask? Is it because you don't want to go with me anymore and go with Shalnark instead?"

I immediately felt my face turn red, afraid that one of our team mates might hear him, "Franklin! Keep it down, will you?" "Whether I keep it down or not, the way you act is already making your, should I say, 'admiration' too obvious."

Not wanting the risk of being overheard even further, I got off my place on the crate and went outside.

A landscape of rubble and debris welcomed me, and the livid glow of the waning moon made the place seem cold, contrasted to the inadequate, yet warm candlelight from inside. I sat on one of the massive slabs of concrete.

I simply don't know what came over me, but... oh, how do I say this I was really annoyed at Shalnark, being all brains, and, well, brains! I found him really irritating whenever he would play Kuroro-sama's role when the latter's not around. Then of course, I thought that I didn't hate him to a point that I'd kill him (he may be stronger physically, but all I have to do is to catch him unawares and Deme-chan would do the trick!) and considered him as a simple comrade. It's normal to care for your companions, right? Then I decided, I admired his being so smart, since it has served us to our advantage in multitudes of occasions, and he's nice. It's not out of the ordinary if I notice his qualities (and weaknesses), and yet like him.

But I don't find it typical if you ever start loving someone such as him.

I took my glasses off and started polishing them. I suddenly felt Shalnark's presence behind me, and my heart started dancing, so fervently, I could hear it in my ears. I put my glasses back on. I started swinging my legs and swaying my head from side to side while humming a tune I barely knew, trying hard to prevent an adrenaline rush and make me dance for joy, knowing that I'm alone with him!

I felt the sugar die out of my blood and I smiled. I can't exactly recall the last time I felt so giddy about someone, that tingling sensation when you know you love them so much you could reach they sky! And speaking of heavens, the stars' numbers were definitely overwhelming. I challenged myself to count them.

I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard the familiar "bleep-bleep- bleep!" of a cell phone low on battery. I turned to the source of the noise and there he was, with an uncomfortable expression.

The smile was still there.

"I was hoping you would come join me since you stepped out," I could not believe I spoke, with the same placid look I wore everyday, "I got bored so I started counting the stars." My mouth went faster than my head.

He scratched the back of his head, "Haha! Well, how many have you counted so far?" He casually approached me, and he hopped right beside me. I shifted a little as in not to make him fall off – not when he's this near!

I counted on my fingers and honestly answered, "I was around thirty until your cell phone made noise. I lost count after that." I thought that he found me stupid, not being able to count some stars. I twiddled my thumbs on my lap, attempting to release another sugar rush as our arms brushed together.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you," he said, apology etched in his voice.

"No. You couldn't have guessed I wanted company, so it's ok." Shalnark can be so sweet at times, I guess it's one of the many things that attracted me to him.

"Shizuku?"

I only got to mutter a small, "Hm?" at the thought of him speaking my name, knowing he said it, it would ring forever in my memory. I looked up, hopeful that he would say something I wanted to hear...

"Um, what if I told you something now, would you remember it tomorrow?"

What I wanted to say was, 'As long as it's from you, Shalnark, I'll keep it for as long as I can!' Yuck. What would he say if I said that? All that came out of me was, "I don't know. I guess I would. But once Franklin tells me, that means I forgot it. What is it, anyway?"

There, he looked really lost in his thoughts. I guess I shouldn't put my hopes up too much. Perhaps he knew that I loved him, and he's thinking of a subtle manner of how to say that he didn't feel the same. Oh, I wish that he would simply say that he hates me, that he's got nothing to do with me, all that straight to my face and get the pain over with.

"Well, Shizuku," Oh great, here it comes: "I just wanted to say that I like you more than I comrade, more than a friend, and more than a sister."

Nobody knew how tense I was until he said it. My heart knew what he meant, and a great weight had been lifted out of me. I felt so light, yet heady. The silence filled my ears, and I could swear that Hisoka failed to put up a card pyramid again.

I wanted to run. I wanted to fly, and all I could do was lean on Shalnark's shoulder, and stay like this forever. But then I thought, what if I answered back? Surely, now that I have heard what I wanted, he wants something back from me.

He was about to count stars himself, and before he became too absorbed in his activity, I lifted my hand to his cheek and neared myself to kiss him.

Not a deep kiss, of course. He might get offended and take his words back. Besides, I'm not an expert kisser, but I just wanted to show him that I love him. I leaned on his shoulder once more, savoring the moment as I closed my eyes.

"I'm glad to hear that..." I guess my thoughts spoke out too loudly... I then asked him, "How many starts did you count?"

"Only one Shizuku, just one."

I guess I lost count for a simple reason: I cannot measure my love for him; as countless as the stars in the sky.

2 THE END

Notes: Sorry if that was so teeny-bopper. Well, Shizuku's a girl, still a teenager (nineTEEN), and her emotions do have the possibility of being as vibrant as that of any teenage girl.

Reference? Myself of course! = p