Three weeks had passed since the last time Nagihiko and Rima spoke, it you could call their argument in the hall speaking. It had also been around this long since Amu had found out the truth, and regardless of what she had said she had been treating Rima a bit distantly since then. It had also been around the same amount of time since everyone starting giving Rima harsh, judging looks and Fuyuki started to be much more quiet. Under normal circumstance, perhaps he would've been ridiculed for crying like a girl, but everyone had been pretty sympathetic about it. Especially the girls, who were now lining up to date him. Rima supposed they'd be dying to date Nagihiko too, except for the fact that they were all convinced he was dating Tadase.

Rima herself, however, was not getting any sympathy from anyone. Lately, the only one who would talk to her was Amu, and even that was strained. She had never expected for this to happen when she proposed having such a relationship with Nagihiko. All she had wanted to do was make him feel better, and somehow all of this had happened….

Tadase and Nagihiko had been as close as ever, constantly denying the rumors but not really caring as the girls went off on their wild rants, or more accurately titled, fantasies.

Rima had also been experiencing a lot of hate. Thumbtacks in her shoes (not that she ever didn't notice them) and letters of hate stuffed in her bag (not that she really cared). It probably should have been expected; Nagihiko was one of the most popular guys in he school, and Rima had obviously hurt him. It would be surprising if they didn't do something like this to her.

Rima tried not to let anyone know how much everything was affecting her, but sometimes it was pretty impossible. It was very hard to hide how much her chest ached when Nagihiko looked at her with his pained eyes, as though he were questioning why she would hurt him so much.

Throughout the past three weeks, Rima was constantly arguing with herself. Although she was trying her hardest to make herself hate Nagihiko, she just couldn't. And although she would desperately say that she hated him over and over again, she just couldn't bring herself to feel that way about him.

You can't choose who you love, after all

Although Tadase had hoped being out of his relationship with Rima would make Nagihiko feel better, he was sadly mistaken. If anything, Nagihiko seemed even more upset.

And maybe he had forgotten somewhere, but Tadase was friends with Rima too, and right now Rima was unhappy as well. He had been so worried about helping Nagihiko, he didn't even stop to think about what Rima might be feeling. This whole time, he had let one of his friends get hurt just to help the other. And while it was true he cared more for Nagihiko, Rima still was important to him as well.

If he had been paying more attention, maybe he would have noticed it sooner. Why had it taken him so long to figure out that Rima was in love with Nagihiko?

Of course the two weren't speaking right now, but Tadase could tell her feelings by the looks she would give Nagihiko when his back was turned. Anyone could tell what a look like that meant.

And of course Nagihiko still loved Rima. No matter how much he said he hated her, or insulted her, even if he slapped her and was filled with anger at her actions, he still loved her.

But now, wasn't it a little late for them? Was Nagihiko supposed to forget everything that happened just like that? How in the world would this end up well?

Tadase would never consider himself a matchmaker by any means, and it had never been one of his goals to set up couples, but right now Nagihiko was in love with Rima and Rima was in love Nagihiko and neither one was going to try to fix things at all. Even though he didn't want to pry into others' business he wanted to help his friends, and the only way he could help them was to make them talk to each other.

So, even though it was a bit too much like Yaya for his liking, her was going to have to try to get them to talk. But unlike Yaya, who would lock them in a closet or send love letters to the both of them, he was going to have to do something much different. He was just going to talk to both of them, and convince them to talk to each other and give the other a second chance.

This was by no means going to be easy, but he could figure something out. After all, he always did.

Well... almost always

"What did you want to talk to me about, Tadase?" Rima asked testily, crossing her arms over her chest as she stared at the boy across from her. The two were on the roof of the school, having gone up there after Tadase had asked to speak with her.

"I'm surprised you didn't make a crack about me asking you out." Tadase said with a small chuckle. Rima frowned.

"I didn't think it would be appropriate given the recent situation."

"Oh, well that's probably right," Tadase muttered, smiling slightly as he walked over towards Rima before sitting down on the fence at the edge of the building. He patted the floor next to him and she reluctantly sat down next to him.

"So, what do you want to talk to me about? You want to yell at me like Nagihiko did? Do you want to call me a slut too?" Rima said bitterly, hugging her knees to her chest. Tadase shook his head.

"No, not at all. I want to give you some advice."

"Advice?" Rima asked, her eyebrows arcing in a skeptical way. Tadase nodded slightly.

"I know you need help right now, and lately I've forgotten that as your friend I should be helping you too," Tadase said apologetically, a slight frown on his face, "I'm going to give you advice on how you can fix things with Fujisaki-kun."

"Yeah, like that will do any good. I don't think Nagihiko will ever talk to me again," Rima scoffed, an irritated look on her face. She stretched her legs out in front of her as she leaned back against the fence. She tilted her head back as she closed her eyes, her chest rising as a small chuckle left her throat. But even though she laughed it off, there was no humor at all in her tone. It was obvious to Tadase that the prospect of it happening hurt her more than she was letting on.

"It's true that he's really mad at you right now but… I'm sure Fujisaki-kun will give you a second chance. If you tell him your true feelings, that you love him and admit you've made a few mistakes he would certainly accept your apology."

Rima opened her eyes and gave Tadase a questioning look, "Whoever said I was going to apologize?" After a moment she added, " And why do you think I love him?"

"You should; I know you want to," Tadase replied, looking Rima straight in the eyes so forcefully that she had to look away. "And it's fairly obvious you love him; I can see it in how you look at him. Its just like how he looks at you."

Rima leaned back against the fence, letting out a small sigh. "I think it's too late to apologize; I've made too many mistakes by this point that I can't fix them all."

"No, that's not true. Nagihiko will forgive you," Tadase said certainly, because he knew it was true, or at least it would be if Rima told him how she really felt. This whole time Rima had been lying about her true intentions, well, at least for a little while she had been. Now that she realized she was in love, things could work out for them.

"How can you be so sure?" Rima asked, obviously not thinking there was any way for him to forgive her. "I mean, look at what I did to him! I rejected him, and then entered a relationship built solely on sex! More than that, I slept with Fuyuki as well and gave Nagihiko gonorrhea!"

"Ah, but you're forgetting the most important thing," Tadase said with a small smile and a shake of his head.

Rima raised her eyebrows. "And what's that?"

"Nagihiko loves you."

Rima couldn't think of what to say. How could he still love her after everything she put him through? Hell, she was even starting to hate herself.

"I'll try to convince him to talk to you, but if he does you need to tell him the truth… all of the truth, alright?" Tadase gave Rima a look that clearly meant that he meant what he said. He wanted her to tell him her feelings completely, even that she loved him.

Rima wasn't sure if she would be able to do it, but she nodded. She would be able to think things through, and could decide how much she would say when the time came.

She just didn't want to get hurt again

Nagihiko felt that he had been doing well in his efforts of forgetting everything that had happened. He was moving on without Rima just fine, and even though he'd get upset when someone talked about love or relationships he was fine for the most part.

Well, sort of.

… Okay, not really.

Needless to say, he had been acting odd. He was more reserved than he used to be, and a bit more restrained as well. He was rather ashamed of his outburst in the hall, and had been doing his best to not create another scene like it.

Part of him also wondered how Rima was taking all of this. If she was more upset than she seemed, or if she really didn't care as much as she acted like she didn't care. Nagihiko knew Rima was skilled at putting on an act, pretending that nothing mattered. Maybe she didn't care at all about what she did to Nagihiko, but maybe she cared about what everyone was saying about her.

But that was besides the point. He was no longer interested in dating Rima. He didn't have to put up with her selfishness and promiscuity any longer.

Or, at least he thought he was done with her. But then, all of a sudden, his plans were completely changed.

At first he didn't know that Tadase was scheming anything. He did figure it out pretty quickly, though, considering the blond was fairly bad at keeping secrets. Nagihiko didn't know what Tadase was planning, but he did know that it probably involved him and Rima (because Tadase barely meddled in the affairs of other people, but he had been oddly involved with this whole situation).

But when Tadase asked to speak with alone during the lunch break, he had no idea what was up. Of course some incredibly small part of him that was not to be listened to at all supposed maybe he was confessing (Tadase, after all, didn't seem the mind the rumors at all). Although Nagihiko was not gay and definitely not interested in pursuing a romantic (or sexual) relationship with him, or any male for that matter, he felt like if such a thing started between them Rima would be awfully peeved, or at least judging on how she acted earlier. Maybe if the two pretended to be going out it would make Rima think about things a little bit….

Nagihiko voiced his thoughts to Tadase before the blond could say what he wanted, and was met with a very dumbstruck look. For a second Tadase just stared at him, before he shook his head and gave him a particularly annoyed look.

"I'm sorry, but you've lost it. What in the world would that accomplish?" Tadase didn't wait for an answer. "No, I am not pretending to date you just to get back at Mashiro-san."

Nagihiko sighed, a slightly disappointed look on his face. "Well, I just figured it would bother her. She seemed really upset about the rumors the day this started."

"Why are you still obsessing about this?" Tadase asked, leaning back in his chair as he stared straight at Nagihiko. "I thought you didn't care about Mashiro-san anymore?"

"I..." Nagihiko couldn't answer. If he was really trying to forget Rima, he shouldn't be thinking about her at all, right? Even if he said he wanted to make her feel how he felt, that would just mean he still cared about her enough to try to make her feel something. He shouldn't be trying to make her feel bad, because he didn't care at all about her anymore.

"You're still in love with her," Tadase answered for his friend. Nagihiko however, did not like this answer. As much as he may have felt that way, he was not going to admit to himself that he still loved Rima.

"No, I am not in love with her," Nagihiko said stubbornly, his voice calm and steady. Tadase gave him a skeptical look as a girl in the front of the classroom laughed loudly. He glanced at the front of the room, before turning back to Nagihiko.

"What do you take me for? I know you well enough to tell that's a lie," Tadase muttered, pausing to think for a moment before speaking again, "Are you trying to convince yourself that's how you really feel?"

"It's how I feel," Nagihiko replied, trying to sound as though he were certain of it but finding that his voice was wavering too much for it to seem that way. "I don't like her at all anymore."

"You know that's a lie," Tadase insisted.

Nagihiko didn't reply for a very long moment, in which Tadase wondered if he had finally gotten through to him. The door to the classroom slid open during this pause in conversation and none other than Rima and Amu walked in.

Rima glanced towards the back of the room before quickly turning away, not wanting Nagihiko to catch her looking. Nagihiko stared at her, and maybe in that moment he noticed that Rima did look sad. Maybe he noticed that she was unhappy with the way things were.

But life never goes easily, and complications always ensue.

Two of the girls from the front of the room were quickly approaching the two boys, looking bashful but yet giggling with excitement. Both boys were very confused until one of the girls started speaking.

"I'm sorry, you're probably really annoyed with everyone talking about this all the time but we just wanted to say that you two really do make a perfect couple!"

Tadase's face blanked. Annoyed did not even begin to describe how fed up with all these untrue rumors he was. "We're not a coup-"

"Thank you," Nagihiko cut in brightly, grinning up at the two girls. "That's really sweet of you to say."

The two girls began giggling once more, as Tadase shot Nagihiko a very sour look. "Fujisaki-kun, I'm afraid you're giving people the wrong idea here."

Nagihiko smiled at Tadase. "No, I don't believe I was."

Tadase saw Nagihiko's eyes dart over his shoulder, and the blond turned slightly to see what Nagihiko was looking at. He saw Rima.

It suddenly all made sense; Nagihiko was just trying to piss Rima off again. Tadase was very mad suddenly; he had told Nagihiko he didn't want to pretend to date him, especially not just so he could upset Rima. This was seriously getting out of hand! Maybe it would be better for him to get Yaya involved after all...

Tadase fumed, trying to keep a straight face but finding it difficult, "I really don't think-"

"Um, I know this is really personal but..." the other girl cut Tadase off, shuffling her foot as she stared at the floor, "Would it be alright if I asked you two to kiss?"

Tadase could hear a loud snap as someone broke a pencil in half, and he didn't have to see it happen to know who it was.

Tadase shook his head fiercely, his eyes wide. "No! That's way out of line and-"

"Oh don't be a stick in the mud, Hotori-kun. It'll be fine," Nagihiko said brightly, smiling at the blond. Tadase's mouth dropped open. Never mind before, now this was getting out of hand!

"No, I'd really prefer if we didn't kiss!" Tadase exclaimed. Not only would this complicate things, but he was also sure that Rima would kill him if Nagihiko went through with this. Actually, he was pretty sure there was a chance that it might happen anyway and nothing had happened yet.

"It's not a big deal," Nagihiko replied smoothly, and even though it appeared to the others he was looking at Tadase the blond could tell that he was actually staring at Rima. "It's just a little kiss."

"Seriously I don't-"

Apparently it was the day of ignoring and interrupting Tadase though, because Nagihiko didn't wait for him to finish and reached out and grabbed the side of his head. As Tadase's eyes widened drastically Nagihiko leaned forward, his face getting closer and closer to his best friend's. Tadase could feel Nagihiko breath on his mouth, and a horrible feeling filled his stomach. This was not good, he was going to throw up. There was no way he was going to let this happen.

Nagihiko brown eyes bore into Rima's golden ones before he closed his own and closed the space between him and Tadase.

Tadase could feel a light pressure on his lips.



Rima's couldn't move. Her body was frozen in place. Her hands clenched into fists, shaking violently as she struggled to contain it. Her chest hurt, she could feel a warmth building beneath her eyelids. No, this was not happening. She was not loosing Nagihiko now. Why had Tadase told her to confess to Nagihiko if he was going to do this? How could she have dared to get her hopes up?

Nagihiko's lips touched Tadase's for approximately one second, probably not even that, but even for only one second Tadase couldn't handle it. Such violent emotions had sparked in his chest during this measly one second that he couldn't handle it any longer.

He moved quickly and aggressively, his open palms meeting Nagihiko chest. "Stop acting like an idiot! What in the hell will this accomplish?"

Nobody spoke throughout the whole room, staring at either Tadase or Nagihiko in shock. Everyone except for Rima, that is, who was struggling to hold in her tears and was staring at her feet.

Tadase sighed, breathing deeply as he tried to calm himself down. He knew why Nagihiko had done what he did, and he honestly wasn't really mad because of the fact that Nagihiko had kissed him. Nagihiko was his best friend, and he didn't really care if the rumors got worse because of what happened. He didn't care if he was branded gay, and while he definitely wasn't gay he wasn't exactly revolted by the idea of homosexuality; it just wasn't for him.

No, he was mad because of how stupid Nagihiko had been to kiss him, and for the reasons which he did.

"Come and talk with me in the hall," Tadase said, not giving Nagihiko a choice as he stood up and began to walk from the room. Nagihiko followed after him, deliberately not looking Rima's way. The two walked down the hallway in silence before finding a nearly deserted are.

"Look," Tadase muttered, leaning closer to Nagihiko so that any possible onlookers could not hear what he was saying, "I know why you did that, but you seriously need to stop with this crap; it's getting ridiculous! And now you haven't just hurt Mashiro-san, but you may have hurt me as well. Did you ever think of that? Did you ever think that your actions might be causing me problems?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't even think of that... I apologize for all the rumors I've started and fueled," Nagihiko muttered abashedly. Tadase shook his head.

"Oh, well I don't really care. But imagine if you had put Souma-kun through something like this; do you think he'd be so accepting?"

Nagihiko thought about it for a moment before speaking. "Probably not."

Tadase nodded. "Exactly. If I wasn't more understanding, you could have lost your best friend because of all of this."

Nagihiko definitely had not thought about it that way. All that had occupied his mind was Rima and how to get back at Rima and how to make Rima feel as hurt as he had been.

Well, and then there was the part of him that wanted her to be so jealous she begged him for a second chance.

"Look, I'm not going to pretend like I know exactly what you're going through. I have been in love before though, contrary to your belief. I know sometimes love hurts, but that doesn't mean you just give up on it when you go through a rough spot. You have to talk about your problems. How do you expect the other person to know what you're thinking if you won't say it? You never talked about anything with her, so why did you think she would know how you felt about this? You still won't talk to her about any of this, after everything. You're still running away from her, afraid of confrontation."

"I know you were in love before, but that was when you were in sixth grade! Things are a lot different than how they were then; this isn't some petty childish emotion. I really, truly loved her. You can't understand how much every word of rejection hurt me! I can't go through that again!"

Tadase stared intently at Nagihiko, almost disbelievingly, for a long moment before turning away. Letting out a deep sigh, Tadase spoke slowly. "I guess it's time for me to be honest with you, isn't it?"

"What? Honest about what?" Nagihiko was incredibly confused. What had brought this on?

Tadase chuckled lowly for a moment, before turning back to his friend. He gave him a small smile before speaking. "About my first love."

"You mean Amu-chan?" Nagihiko asked, knowing that this was the obvious answer. Tadase shook his head.

"Do you recall a few weeks ago when I said that I didn't still have romantic feelings for my first love?"

"Um..." Nagihiko thought about it for a long moment, his mind tumbling through many memories trying to find the right one. After a moment, he remembered their conversation at the mall that first day. "Oh, yeah. I remember. What, you were lying about that?"

"No, I didn't exactly lie about anything. I just led you to believe that my first love had been Amu-chan, when in actuality she wasn't the first person I loved."

"What?" Nagihiko asked, his eyes wide. Tadase had loved someone else, before Amu? But they had been friends for all these years, since kindergarten, and he had never even uttered a word about it! More than that, there had never even been any indication that Tadase held such feelings for anyone. "But I've been with you since the beginning and you never said anything about it!"

"Well actually, remember how when we were in kindergarten you hadn't told me your secret yet and to me, as well as everyone else, you were a girl?" Nagihiko noted that Tadase refused to meet his eyes at this point and wondered what that meant. And also, what did what Tadase was saying have anything to do with anything? Really, it wasn't relevant at all!

Wait... he didn't mean...

"I was your first love?!" Nagihiko asked, his eyes wide in shock.

Tadase nodded and spoke quickly, frantic to clear things up before Nagihiko got the wrong idea. "I'm not trying to imply anything! I stopped feeling like that when I found out your true gender! You've been nothing but a friend to me since the time I found out!"

Nagihiko was incredibly relieved, but still a little bit confused. Why was Tadase suddenly telling him all of this? He asked him, and Tadase smiled weakly.

"When I said my first love didn't last, I wasn't lying. But if you were talking about Amu-chan, I couldn't say the same thing."

It took Nagihiko a moment to process what Tadase said, but when he did it hit him straight in the face. What Tadase was saying...

"You really... after all this time?"

Tadase nodded, a sad look on his face. "I haven't stopped loving her since the sixth grade."

It took a moment for the full force of what Tadase was saying to sink in. Tadase had never stopped being in love with Amu, contrary to what he had told everyone else. He had watched the girl he loved be pried from his grasps by someone he viewed as a brother, and he was stuck watching helplessly as it happened. He was forced to acknowledge the loss he had faced everyday, he had to face the mistakes he made every time he went to school or hung out with his friends. And, worst of all, he had to pretend like he had never been hurt. He had to force himself to try to forget his feelings for Amu, to simply be her friend and never let himself hope to be anything else.

"Everyday I'm forced to face my pain, but yet I'm unable to do anything about it, because no matter what happens I know Amu-chan really does love Ikuto and Ikuto really does love Amu-chan. The two people I care the most for are happy, and what can I do about it now that won't cause either of them pain? It's much too late for me to try to do anything. I can never be with the person I love, no matter how desperately I try."

"I never knew..." Nagihiko muttered, giving Tadase a sympathetic look. Tadase shook his head, a sad smile faintly visible on his lips.

"That was my intention."

Tadase was quiet for a moment before he spoke once more, and this time Nagihiko could tell he was thinking out his words very carefully.

"What I'm trying to tell you with all of this is that... sometimes the person you think you love is really the person that you do. At first I was reluctant about the thought that you and Mashiro-san were really meant to be, but after everything that's happened I kind of think you two aremeant for each other."

"I doubt that," Nagihiko murmured, trying to laugh but finding himself unable.

"No, I'm actually fairly certain that you two are meant to be together. You are what she needs."

"What she needs?"

"Ah, well, when you love someone, you want what's best for them, right?"

Nagihiko nodded. "That's what I've always believed."

"Well, on that line of thought, sometimes people don't know what's right for themselves, and someone else must force it upon them." Tadase replied softly, looking straight into Nagihiko's eyes.

"I don't understand," Nagihiko's voice came out so quietly Tadase could barely hear it. Given his tone, he knew Nagihiko understood completely, but he was going to say it anyway.

"Mashiro-san is in a lot of pain, and she has been for a long time. She's probably been hurting since her parent's started fighting, maybe even before that. Although she doesn't act like it, inside she's just like a scared little child. What she needs right now is someone who loves her for who she is and can help her overcome her demons." Tadase stopped, and Nagihiko knew what his next words were going to be before the blond utttered them. He stood there in silence, not knowing how to respond as Tadase told him something he wasn't sure if he could stand to hear. Acknowledging it would just make him feel guilty, wouldn't it? It would make him realize he had acted like a child, that he was in the wrong as well.

But somehow, he knew that it was true and was going to force himself to accept it.

Tadase continued one last time as Nagihiko pondered his words, "I can no longer fight for my love, but you haven't reached that point yet. You still can get it back if you try hard enough."

Tadase left him at this point, and Nagihiko was left to ponder everything that had been said.

He was very thankful for Tadase at this moment, and was going to have to thank him a thousand times over but it still wouldn't be enough to make up for everything he had done. The words Tadase had said to him echoed in his ears, bounced back and forth throughout his brain. And they were true.

He was childish. He was stupid. He was stubborn. Rima had treated him badly, and he had treated Rima badly. But suddenly, it didn't matter what she had done. He shouldn't have acted like he had. Hitting a girl was never the right thing to do, and neither was doing cruel things just to spite her. There was no way Rima had slept with Fuyuki just to hurt him, and maybe he was a little vain to think that that could have been her reasoning.

But yet, it didn't seem like she didn't care for him either. Would she have agreed to such a relationship if she truly hated him? Would she be so upset at the idea of him dating someone else? Would she cry at his words if he truly meant nothing to her.

Maybe she hated him, maybe she didn't. It didn't matter anymore; Nagihiko had spent all of his time whining like a baby about everything. He was too scared of rejection to even talk to her, and had let all his worries and doubts build up inside of him until they were too much to hold. There was one simple way to fix all of this: to talk to her.

And Tadase's words filled Nagihiko's mind once more, and he truly knew them to be true.

There was only one thing Rima needed.

Rima needed him

"Hey, thanks for everything."

"Oh, no problem."

"I actually have some advice for you as well."

"Really? What is it?"

"Well, I learned it's not good to keep things bottled up. Eventually it becomes to much to hold in."


"And in my opinion, your cause isn't as impossible as you think it is."

There's always a reason for our love, after all...

sometimes we just don't recognize it

"So you think everything's going to be fixed today? Why do you think that?" Amu inquired after school, sitting on the desk and swinging her feet back and forth. She leaned forward curiously, and Tadase just smiled at her.

"Yeah, I'm positive of it," he answered certainly. "I just know."

"I'm glad! It's been driving me crazy to see them like this!" She exclaimed happily, a small laugh leaving her mouth. She was so earnestly happy for her friends that it made Tadase happy as well. Her happiness seemed to be contagious; no one could frown while she was laughing.

It was simply one of the many things he loved about her.

"Yeah, I could tell you were really unhappy with how in the dark you were about everything."

"It sucked! I'm just surprised you figured it out and I didn't notice a thing for the longest time! You're pretty smart!"

"Thanks." Tadase couldn't help but feel his heart pound a little at her words, a feeling he felt often around Amu but could never take any permanent joy from. She was always so nice to him, no matter what happened. And even though she didn't feel for him what he felt for him he knew she did love him. Just in a different way.

"Do you want to grab something to eat on the way home?" Amu asked as she picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder, prepared to head home. It sounded like a pretty good idea to Tadase, but the advice Nagihiko had given him earlier lingered in his head.

Tadase smiled as he began walking forward, following after Amu. "That sound great. Besides, I have something important that I want to tell you."

"Really? What? Is it about Nagi and Rima?" Amu asked curiously, stopping briefly to look at him. Tadase shook his head.

"No, it's about me."

And for some reason, Tadase didn't even feel nervous, and he knew he wasn't making a mistake. Maybe finally, after all this time, telling Amu the truth would make him accept the fact that they were never going to end up together. Or maybe it would give him just what he hoped for.

But, as Amu hooked her arm with Tadase's in the usual, friendly way she did with everyone else, maybe he didn't even care. He knew, whatever happened, he would be okay.

Because even if it hurt, love was the best thing someone could have

The silence throughout the room was so thick that Nagihiko thought if he still had his naginata he could cut it with the weapon. Well, of course that wasn't actually plausible but it sort of seemed possible in this situation.

It was ironic, he supposed, that they were having this discussion in the same classroom he had confessed to her in several weeks earlier. But maybe it was good. Maybe he could simply view this as a new start.

Between that point and now the snow had all melted, and the cherry blossom trees were now in full bloom. It had a sort of melancholic feeling to it, the changes that had undergone both the outside world and the two of them during this time. But somehow, Nagihiko knew it was for the better.

Nagihiko knew there were a thousand things that he should say to Rima. He should apologize, first and foremost, but that wouldn't be enough. He also had to tell her how he felt about everything that had happened, how she made him felt, and why he had reacted so violently. He needed to tell her that he was there for her no matter what happened, and that even though he was hurt he still loved her. He needed to receive an apology himself, and somehow he knew that he would someday get one.

But just not today.

Because Nagihiko and Rima had all the time in the world, and none of this serious stuff had to be dealt with today. Instead of all the words that desperately needed to be said, and would be in time, Nagihiko said something that he had wanted to say for several years.

"Why don't we go look at the cherry blossom trees together?"

And Rima seemed to understand he wasn't pushing everything away forever, but simply temporarily. She knew they would have to talk about them, what she had done with Fuyuki, the kiss he had shared with Tadase, and every word that had been left unsaid, but she didn't really mind. Because now she knew what her "lust" for Nagihiko really was, and what Nagihiko's feelings for her were.

And really, was it all that hard to apologize and admit you're wrong when it earns you something so very precious?

Rima smiled, the first real smile that had appeared on her face for a very long time.

"I'd like that."

Rima wondered why Nagihiko would stay with her after everything she put him through, and she wondered why she was giving him a chance after what he did to her. Her parents had fought all the time, and neither had ever given the other a second chance, but maybe that was the problem. Had they forgotten how much they meant to the other, had they gotten caught up in all the petty arguments and useless vanity that neither could forgive the other or apologize for their mistakes?

Rima had always been afraid that Nagihiko would hurt her, and leave her like her father had left her mother, but she now knew she was wrong. Well, he had hurt her, but he wasn't running away, he wasn't acting like he had done nothing wrong. And, even after everything, he hadn't left her.

He loved her more than her dad loved her mom.

"And you have to take me for a parfait, Na-de-shi-ko."

Nagihiko stared at her for a moment before Rima laughed. And before he knew it, he was laughing too. After all these years she still had the same old jokes.

But, she hadn't forgotten, and neither had he.

And even if he tried, he never could forget

Love was funny, Rima thought. Some people gave it up for selfish vanity, while some would struggle for it but find themselves unable to obtain it.

Love hurt, but anyone who felt it would never give it up, even the pain of it all, for anything else. The feeling of loving someone so much that sometimes your chest just ached and you had to cry was better than being empty. Maybe life would be easier if you didn't experience love, but it would surely be a hell of a lot more boring.

Rima thought her parents were incredibly stupid to give up such a great thing just because neither one wanted to apologize. She would apologize a thousand times just to see Nagihiko smile at her, and feel his arms wrap around her body.

Really, all she had wanted was love all along.

And she wouldn't give it up for all the money in the world.

The End

"Oh my god, Utau! They kissed and I missed it!"

"What are you still freaking out about this for?"

"DUDE! Nagi and Tadase kissed! How are you not freaking out?"

"Seriously Kukai, you need to calm down right now or-"

"They're meant to be, Utau! It's their destiny to get together and I missed their first kiss!"

"First and last kiss..."

"NO! Don't you dare say that! Utau, I swear to god never say that again! Do you know how much it would hurt if I missed their only kiss?"

"Calm down; are you like a closet Fujoshi or something?"

"Shut up Utau! I'm not a rotten woman! Their love is just so great it transcends the gender barrier and-"

"What the fuck? You've been reading Amu's yaoi, haven't you?"

"They fucking kissed and I missed it. I MISSED IT! There's no reason for me to live anymore, just leave me here to die!"

"What the-?"

"I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of my feelings!"

"Seriously, I'm getting scared. Stop flailing like that! And what in the world does that even mean?"

"I just have a lot of feelings!"

"Are you crying?"

-sniff- "Nagase forever! Their love is legendary! Why does fate ruin such beautiful things?" -sobs-

"... Fuck my life."

A/N: Haha, surprise ending. XD And it's up to you to decide what goes down between Amu and Tadase; Rimahiko gets all their shit figured out and ends up together, though. (Sorry Kukai, your otp has been destroyed.)

Thanks for making it to the end of this god awful story. I got writer's block every time I sat down to write EVERY chapter. I am not even exaggerating. But I loaded up on sugar today and was so hyper I somehow managed to finish this. (With over 6k words, sorry).

I should be posting a new story soon, and it will be Takuto. But, rimahiko will have a small role in it. :)

I'd appreciate reviews a lot~ You have no idea how much they make my day; even if they're like one line or even one word they put me in such a good mood. Thanks again for reading; even if you never reviewed I really appreciate it (I especially appreciate it if you reviewed, lol).