Battle of Love

A/N: Sorry this update took so long due to a case of writer's block, school, and downright laziness.

"I think confrontation is healthy, because it clears the air very quickly."

"You guys are going out?" Amu asked the question as if it was the strangest thing in the world. Her eyebrow was raised in disbelief at her two closet friends as they informed her about their also new found relationships.

"Well don't sound so surprised, you are going out with Ikuto, remember?" Rima retorted at her friend's reaction, causing a tinge of pink to decorate the pink headed girl's cheeks.

"Can you blame me? You both seemed utterly disgusted with them, and constantly bickered and quarreled around them. You guys were at one another's throats and now you're more than okay with each othe-" Amu placed her index finger against her lips and paused for a brief moment, contemplating over something unknown to the two girls sitting in front of and beside her desk. The group was currently in class, supposing to be taking part in a self-study period since their teacher was currently running errands; however nobody could give up the chance of consequence-free socializing with friends.

A sly grin graced itself upon Amu's lips "Then again… I guess continuous bickering and quarreling like old married couples lead to something, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised" Amu looked for her friend's reactions and they weren't disappointing the least bit. Rima, who only displayed her embarrassment in certain situations (when she is choking on a peanut butter sandwich), had cheeks a flaming red, almost as red as Amu's but I believe a certain blue headed male would disagree with that statement. Utau sported a similar shade and was at a loss for words over the realization that her moron of a brother was rubbing off on her precious Amu.

"W-we didn't argue like old m-married couples!" Rima stuttered out, causing Amu to surpass an amused laugh. While thinking, the pink headed girl had come to realize that she finally had something over the pair. When Ikuto and she had started dating a week before, the two hadn't let the fact rest and continued to tease her about it to no end. Now she had the chance to do to them what they did to her and you were crazy if you think she wasn't going to use it.

"I wonder if this means we'll be going on group dates now" Amu pressed on, a smirk similar to Ikuto's decorated her face.

"As if Ikuto would want to share you" Rima retorted, clearing her throat slightly and recollecting herself along with it.

A tinge of pink appeared upon Amu's cheeks, she wanted to say something back, a smart or witty comment to bring things back into her favor but instead she just sat in her desk, trying not to blush any further while hoping for her brain to function soon. Rima had caught her off guard; the pink headed girl had not suspected her friend to recover so quickly, leaving her dumbfounded and giving Utau some time to also regain herself as well.

"Yeah, he'll probably just kidnap you again like last time so you guys can go make out in the park" Utau cut in before Amu could even think of some words to say. Rima scowled and Utau scrunched up her nose in disgust at the mental image playing in their minds.

"…ew…" They said in unison, causing the tinge of pink to spread on Amu's cheeks.

Then suddenly they stopped, each pressing an index finger against their chins and contemplating over a thought passing through both of their minds.

"Wait a minute…" Rima began.

"I'm going to kill him!" Utau finished, standing up abruptly and slamming her hands down on her desk, drawing unwanted attention to the small group. Rima shot them a 'What, you've never seen an angry girl before?' look, while Amu shrunk in her sit.

"We didn't make out in the park!" Amu whispered defensively.

"Did you want to?" A voice spoke out of nowhere; you could practically hear the amusement in it, causing Amu to almost jump out of her sit. A chuckle followed the action and Amu didn't even have to look up to know who the voice belonged to or know that the person was sporting a smirk on their lips.

"Are you going to answer my question, Pinkie?" Ikuto leaned forward onto Amu's desk, secretly loving her deer in headlights reaction more than he probably should.

"Ikuto, you sly fox!" Utau yelled before swinging at him, in return Ikuto leaned back before her hand could connect with his face, fueling her angry when he sent a victorious smirk her way.

"Always a pleasure to see you too, dear sister" Ikuto replied, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Utau gagged at the reminder that she was related to such a person and pointed an accusing finger in his direction. "How dare you show your face here after what you have done!"

Ikuto raised an eyebrow at his sister. "And what exactly did I do?" he asked innocently.

Utau crossed her arms and glared daggers at her brother, clearly agitated at his display of guiltlessness. "Don't act like you don't know! You took my Amu's innocence you sneaky weasel!" Utau had raised her voice toward the end, grabbing the attention of everyone in the classroom, much to Amu's misfortune.

Amu shrunk further in her sit as she began to hear whispering around them, she wished silently to crawl under a rock and die or maybe for a lightning bolt to miraculously appear and strike her dead, but unfortunately it was a beautiful day without a cloud in sight and there weren't any rocks large enough nearby.

"I don't think whatever we do is any of your business, Utau" Ikuto returned his sister's glare.

More whispers sprouted from the new statement and Amu looked to her friend Rima, who was suspiciously quiet throughout the whole argument, for help. But the minute Amu saw the devilish wide grin spread out upon Rima's face and the amused look in her eyes as she watched the scene play out in front of her all hope was lost. She was enjoying it!

"Like hell it is!"Utau yelled back at Ikuto.

Not able to take the arguing or growing whispers anymore Amu finally spoke before Ikuto could respond with anything that could lead to more misunderstandings. "Guys! People are starting to misunderstand be quiet!" she whispered yelled to them.

As if Utau had been snapped out of a trance she finally took notice of the people and whispering around them. She started to say something but bit her lip, stopping herself. Utau glared at her brother one more time before muttering something close to "remember what I said" and taking her sit, not wanting to embarrass Amu any further.

Amu sighed in relief "one down, one more to go" she said to herself and turned her attention to the blu-headed male in front of her.

"Ikuto, what are you doing here?"

Suddenly the bell rung, signaling the end of class and Amu cursed her luck. "Of course the bell rings after I have things under control"

"Funny how things work out, hm?" Ikuto said as if he had read her mind. Ikuto grabbed Amu's bag and hoisted it over his shoulder and held out his hand for her.

"I wanted to walk you to your next class, isn't that what boyfriend's do?" he shot a smirk to the two girls beside her, scoffs were heard and Amu giggled while taking his hand.

"I suppose so."

"Hey, Ikuto why do you and Utau always fight?" Amu asked the blue-headed male waiting patiently beside her as she tried to remember her locker combination. "Right Right Right, 34 Left 4 Right 26? No"

"Ugh!" Amu exclaimed after her fifth try. "Was it 24 instead of 26? No. 32? No." Ikuto chuckled at her frustration before gently moving her to the side and taking over.

"That's just how Utau and I show that we care." He simply said after he got the locker open, on the first try might I add. Amu stood there, practically gaping at him for being able to do what she couldn't, and so easily too.

"Hmph" She muttered to herself as she put in a math and science book. "So you guys communicate by arguing and yelling?" Amu raised an eyebrow at him while she closed her locker.

"It's better than not talking at all, don't you think?" Ikuto flashed a smile as he took Amu's hand in his, squeezing it slightly as he started leading her down the hall.

Amu leaned her head against Ikuto's shoulder and giggled. "Oh I see, you guys must be close then!"

Ikuto laughed and planted a kiss on top of Amu's head, the simple action causing the girl's heart rate to speed up. "I guess you could say that."

The couple made their way down the hall, hand in hand, each enjoying the other's presence. Ikuto would say something funny, Amu would laugh, both oblivious or ignoring the constant stares they were receiving from their peers. Amu and Ikuto had only started dating a week ago and it would be lying to say that the first couple of days weren't hectic for the pink-headed girl.

The news of the new found couple had spread like a wildfire, leaving Amu in the ashes. At first it was just getting used to Ikuto, which wasn't really that hard since he had already been constantly around her and in some ways treating her like a girlfriend. It was just getting used to the new attention that had made Amu a bit nervous. Ikuto was pretty popular and had a reputation of being a total "bad boy". If it wasn't the girls talking about how sexy he was, or how his eyes were so "dreamy", it was the guys spreading rumors about him skipping class to see an older woman he was dating. Of course they were all wrong, but that didn't stop the rumors from forming.

As expected, the moment Ikuto and Amu had first walked down the hall, just as they were doing now; they had became the center of all the new gossip around the school. Assumptions were sprouting from left and right, more rumors grew out of them, each and every one of them never straying far from the reason everyone thought they were together; Amu was just a plaything for Ikuto's entertainment and was just going to get thrown away sooner or later. The couple had gotten threw it, with Ikuto holding Amu's hand every step of the way, reassuring her when doubts began to cloud her mind. And now, one week later they are walking down the hall, more like a stroll some would say, stronger and more in-love than ever. The stares were still there, and so were the rumors, but ultimately everyone pretty much accepted them. Well, must.

They carried along, in their own little bubble, uncaring to the outside forces around them. "You're going to the library for self-study, right?" Ikuto asked Amu as the turn to her destination came into view.

"Yeah, you have ma-"

"Hinamori-san" And then their bubble was popped.

Amu had stopped dead in her tracks the moment she heard the voice. She knew that voice. Heck she probably could never forget it, and the smile that came along with it. Nor those ruby eyes that had appeared to know her so well, yet betrayed her so easily, no they were all and forever burned into her memory, haunting her.

Ikuto had heard the voice, noticed when Amu had abruptly stopped, and was now feeling the trembling of her hand in his. His eyes located the owner of the voice and the reason for Amu's actions. He instantly became angry at the sight of Tadase, standing innocently in their path, with what seemed to be a genuine "smile" on his face as if he were their friend and had never done anything wrong.

"What do you want?" Ikuto said harshly, since Amu still seemed to be apparently frozen in place.

Tadase shot a glare his way at the tone of his voice and replied just as harsh. "I don't believe I was talking to you."

"You didn't have to, you're talking to my girlfriend." Ikuto stared Tadase in the eyes at the last part, giving Amu's hand a reassuring squeeze as he did. Tadase cringed a little at the mention of the two being together, but brushed it off like it was dust on his shoulder and tried to talk to Amu once more.

"Hinamori-san why aren't you saying anything?" Tadase's voice held what seemed like real hurt, "aren't we friends?" Ikuto scoffed, earning him another glare from the male.

Amu had kept her head down the entire time, too afraid to face those ruby orbs that had been avoiding her for a while now, but the remark about the two being friends had been too tempting and she had raised her head, meeting Tadase's eyes. The moment they met she instantly regretted it because the look on his face actually seemed like he was hurt. And for some reason, something stirred deep within her, pulling her towards him, telling her to comfort him and listen to his problems like old times, while her mind screamed at her to be angry, to yell at him for all he had put her through. Yet she did neither, all she did was stand in the same spot she had been in when she first heard the voice, holding on to Ikuto's hand as if it was a lifeline.

"I guess that answers your question" Ikuto said as he began to lead Amu away from the scene. They hadn't even made it an inch away from Tadase before he started speaking again.

"Hinamori-san he's just playing with you, you're going to get hurt." Amu bit her lip, almost wanting to cry when she heard the slight desperation in his voice.

"I can't hurt her any more than what you've already done. Now do us all a favor and back off because you'll have to be stupid to think you'll ever be taken back. You missed your chance." Ikuto said, growing more annoyed with the blonde with each passing minute. His words had carried two different meanings that he had hoped would make Tadase back down, but from the looks of it he had no intention of doing so. He gave Amu's hand another squeeze, this time more for him than for her.

Tadase's right eye twitched slightly, anger forming deep within him as he stared coldly into Ikuto's eyes. "How dare he! Who does he think he is? Some kind of saint?" Tadase thought irritably.

"How about you back off? This has nothing to do with someone like you. I knew her long before you set your disgusting hands on her, so stop burying your nose into other people's business." Tadase said between gritted teeth, he reached out for Amu.

"Hinamori-san, don't you want to go back to how things were with us? Don't you remember? Aren't I your bestfrie-"

It happened in a flash, before Amu could realize the hand that had been giving her reassuring squeezes was no longer there and before Tadase found himself harshly shoved against a locker door, staring up to the deadly look Ikuto was giving him. And if looks could kill, he'll be six-feet under by now.

"Don't you ever touch her." Ikuto hissed, his voice laced with venom. Tadase resisted the urge to flinch when he heard it, his fear instantly turning into rage for being treated in such a way.

"Or what?" Tadase spat.

Ikuto's eyes hardened. "Or I'll rip out yo-"

"S-stop it you guys!" Amu abruptly cut in before Ikuto could finish his threat. Both males were surprised to find her between them, a hand pressed against each of their chests in an attempt to keep them a part.

Amu suddenly felt small under their stares, the sudden courage she had gained in an instant that resulted in her actions had already faded, leaving her somewhat unsure. "Oh what did I just do?" She thought worriedly to herself.

Amu had been passive throughout the whole ordeal, pretty much letting Ikuto speak for herself since she was too afraid to. She hadn't known what to say to Tadase, or rather she didn't know the right thing to say. Her mind was telling her one thing, while something deep within was telling her another, rendering whatever was to come out of her mouth untrustworthy.

She knew it was wrong and possibly dangerous to think of "going back to how things were" with Tadase or even to think of how things could had been if Saaya had never been in the picture, but once again it was too tempting and her mind wandered. "Would things have continued as they were? Would we had become something more?" It had occurred to her at some point that if such things had taken place, chances are she wouldn't be with Ikuto. The realization had saddened her greatly. She loved Ikuto and enjoyed being with him but a part of her she discovered wasn't completely over Tadase as she had thought. She cursed that part.

As Amu pondered over her thoughts, she became oblivious to what was happening around her before it was too late. She had heard the thud that was created when Tadase was shoved roughly against the locker, she saw the look on his face but the one Ikuto was giving was… frightening. Amu had sprung into action, knowing she had to do something before it got too out of hand and now that she did do something she was once again left with the same problem as before.

A brief silence came over the three as Amu thought of her words. She dropped her hands and cleared her throat to buy her some more time before she dared to speak out.

"Tadase…" She said, testing what seemed like a foreign word to her tongue before looking him in the eye. Something she hadn't been able to do for a while now. At the same time the hand that had recently dropped from Ikuto's chest snaked its way back into place, Amu intertwined their fingers.

Tadase looked back at her, a hopeful expression adorned his face and Amu squeezed Ikuto's hand to give her the courage to speak her words.

"I'm sorry" She gulped.

"What?" The hopeful expression had dropped from his face, being replaced by a mixture of emotion that Amu couldn't entirely read. Hurt, confusion, anger… and something else. Had Tadase really thought she would take him back? Well it wouldn't be too surprising since her thoughts had wondered the same thing.

"I…I just don't think I can handle being anything with you right now" Or ever. But you don't mean that. Amu bit her lip, knowing that what the second voice had said was true. No matter how hard she wished for it not to be. She waited to hear what Tadase had to say, but he didn't look like he was going to say anything so she continued.

"And plus… I have something going for me right now…" She gave a small smile to Ikuto that helped lighten his mood. "And you do to… with Saaya." Amu had said the name calmly, despite the bitter emotions she felt towards it.

"But Ikuto's going to hurt yo-"

Amu held up her hand to silence him. "Ikuto has done nothing to hurt me"

"Yet." Tadase retorted harshly. "You think you know him so well but there are quite a few things he is hiding from you."

Something flickered in Ikuto's eyes upon Tadase's claim, but before he could say anything Amu abruptly shook her head "No".

"I don't want to hear this from someone who is quite good at hiding things themselves" her voice held slight anger to it, and she found herself not wanting to be near Tadase any longer.

"Now if you will excuse us, I have some studying to do and he has a math class to get to" She said before practically dragging Ikuto down the hall with her in an attempt to get away as fast as possible before Tadase could say anything else.

To Amu's surprise he hadn't uttered another word like she had thought. She stole a quick glance at him and found that he was just standing in the middle of the hallway like they left him. She didn't stop, instead she kept going and even picked up her speed, resulting in her missing the turn to the library.

Behind them Tadase stayed in place, as if glued to the floor. He appeared still, if you disregarded the fact that he was slightly trembling. He seemed calm, despite his fist displaying long-turned white knuckles hanging by his sides. Suddenly he lashed out, hitting a nearby locker with his fist, creating a small dent.

Then, he straightened himself out, racking a hand through his blonde hair before walking off as if nothing happened. Of course, all of this was left unnoticed by the retreating couple.

"Amu" Ikuto said, trying to get the pink-headed girl's attention. It had occurred to Ikuto moments later after they had already passed the library that Amu hadn't realized she missed the turn.

"Amu" He said once again, but she still continued to walk, ignoring or not even realizing he was speaking to her.

"Amu!" he raised his voice a little louder, hoping she would hear him this time. It seemed to have worked since she finally did stop. Her honey orbs filled with confusion peered up to his azure ones, causing a small smile to form upon Ikuto's lips.

"You passed the library, you know"

"Oh", was her only reply. A tinge of pink formed on Amu's cheek and Ikuto chuckled before he lead her back down the hall. When they got to the library, instead of opening the door and walking Amu in, Ikuto pulled her into a corner, using his body to cage her in.

Ikuto's actions had taken her aback, she didn't know how to respond but quickly settled on avoiding eye contact while her heart rate sped up. "He's so close" she thought, already feeling the blood rush to her cheeks.

"Amu" His voice sent chills down her back. "Look at me."

Amu bit her lip and kept her eyes planted to the floor, not wanting to meet his gaze.

"Amu" Ikuto said once more but she didn't budge.

Ikuto tsked and leaned over Amu's shoulder; he could feel her tense up as he did so. "Please?" He whispered into her ear before blowing a gust of air on it.

Amu gave a small yelp before shooting her hand up to cup her ear. She had expected to see a smirk plastered on Ikuto's face when she looked up, instead she met eyes filled with determination.

"I won't hurt you" Ikuto looked her straight in the eyes.

"W-wh-" But a finger was pressed against her lips, silencing her.

"I will never hurt you" his voice was firm, yet his eyes held a softness that Amu knew was only for her.

"I-I know" she stammered out.

Ikuto smiled before brushing his lips against hers, engulfing her into a kiss as sweet and gentle as their first one.

"I just wanted to make sure you knew."

A/N: I would like to apologize again for how late this chapter is and if anything is too poor-written, I was in a rush to update the story. This chapter will have another part to it due to it being way too long if I continue (it would had been over 4,000+ words!). Anyway, hoped you enjoyed and thanks for reading!