A/N: AU, and features shonen-ai (light boys love) meaning yes, Tadase and Ikuto are gay. Rated as a precation for future language and themes (meaning no lemons, sorry :P).

~oOo~

Tadase stepped off of the bus, squinting as bright light filled his vision. He adjusted his grip on the bag slung over his shoulder, walking slowly into the warm summer air. As his eyes adjusted to the sunlight surrounding him he looked around, taking in the bright blue ocean in the distance.

"This is awesome, huh?" Tadase looked to his right to see his best friend Kukai surfacing from the bus energetically, a hand held over his eyes to block out the bright sun. There was a large grin on his face, and Tadase could already tell that the other was dying to go swimming. Unfortunately that would have to wait.

"Yeah, it's quite peaceful here," Tadase noted. The air around him was calm, silent except for the occasional chirruping bird or rustling of trees' leaves in the wind. In comparison to the city, with the many flashing lights and loud horns emerging from the thick traffic covering the streets, this quaint town was practically heaven. As far as Tadase could see there was green grass and occasional tall trees. Several small roads, most of them made from dirt, went off in various directions, some snaking up the small mountain behind the train station, while some headed to the small town a short ways to the left.

"Yeah, things are pretty calm here; you better not make the town too crazy."

Tadase turned around to see Nagihiko stepping off of the bus, carrying his suitcase in one of his hands. He dropped it to the ground and pulled out the handle, opting to pull it the rest of the way.

Kukai scoffed. "Like we ever make things crazy."

"Hotori-kun doesn't cause a ruckus, but you freak out over every little thing," Nagihiko said, resting a hand on his waist as he stared at the brunette. Kukai laughed, and hit him on the back playfully.

"Dude, I am not like that at all!"

"I'd have to agree with Nagi." Tadase glanced back over his shoulder to see Amu joining them, struggling to carry her heavy pink duffel bag off of the bus. "You're pretty loud and excitable. And kind of stupid."

"Hotori! Make them stop picking on me!" Kukai whined, sticking out his lower lip playfully as he looked at his best friend with pleading eyes. Tadase looked away.

"They're not saying anything that's not true."

"Dude! That's harsh!" Kukai exclaimed, an aghast expression forming on his face. Tadase chuckled as he looked back at his friend, giving him a small smile.

"Anyway, should we get going now, Fujisaki-kun?"

"Probably. My Aunt's likely waiting for us," Nagihiko replied, glancing towards the nearby town.

"Dude, we have to walk?" Kukai complained, his shoulders slumping dejectedly. Nagihiko sighed.

"Don't whine, it'll only take a few minutes. Nobody owns a car here anyway; there's nowhere to drive to." Nagihiko started walking in the direction of the small town, obviously knowing where he was supposed to go.

"Fine," Kukai mumbled, grumbling a few complaints as he followed after the other boy. Tadase chuckled, and after a brief look to Amu, who seemed somewhat amused as well, the two began walking to the town.

"Hey Nagi, what's your Aunt like?" Amu called ahead to Nagihiko as they walked. Nagihiko slowed down to let her catch up before speaking.

"Well, she's kind of like my mother, except a lot less traditional. That's not to say she doesn't abide by our customs, she's just a little bit more lenient about most things. Except for when it comes to the inn, though."

Nagihiko was referring to the inn that his Aunt ran. It had been passed down through their family for generations, and would be passed down to his Aunt's daughter when she retired. Because it was located in a small town it was not often busy, but they did get a lot more business during the summer. For as long as he could remember Nagihiko would go to help out at the inn during his summer breaks, and this year his Aunt suggested that he bring his friends along.

Tadase thought the deal sounded pretty good; he would have to do work around the inn, but he'd get to stay there for free. And it was better than staying home and dealing with his mother's mood swings all day. And now that he thought about it, she had been awfully moody since he asked to go on the trip.

When he told her where he would be going, she got incredibly angry and told him no straightaway, although she probably would have done that no matter where he went. It took his father several days to convince her to let him go, and although most of the conversations took place behind closed doors Tadase had caught the occasional "what are the odds" and "you're just too paranoid." Tadase had no clue what his mother thought he'd get up to, but it sounded like she doubted that he had an ounce of common sense.

Even after his mother had been convinced she seemed very wary of him, and Tadase was incredibly glad to be out of the house for a few weeks. Even if he had to work, it would be much more relaxing than dealing with his mom.

"As long as she doesn't force you into a skirt," Amu muttered, drawing Tadase's mind back into the conversation and earning a chuckle from Kukai.

"No, she doesn't make me wear a skirt," Nagihiko replied with a somewhat thankful look on his face.

"Lame! It's always so funny when we visit and your mom's making you dress like a girl!" Kukai laughed. Tadase wasn't sure why, but Kukai always seemed to find Nagihiko's cross-dressing past incredibly amusing.

"I'll make sure to tell my mother so that next time you come over she prepares an extra skirt," Nagihiko retaliated darkly, causing Kukai to gulp and shiver slightly, knowing full well that Nagihiko always carried out his threats.

"Is the ocean here warm?" Amu asked suddenly, deciding a change in topic wouldn't hurt. Nagihiko nodded.

"Usually it's pretty warm. We can go the beach another day if you want." Nagihiko said brightly, as he walked briskly towards the town, "It's nice because it's not really crowded up here usually."

"Oh, that does sound nice," Amu said happily,a slight bounce in her step as she tried to keep up with Nagihiko. Tadase couldn't help but smile at her cheerfulness.

The group passed a small house as the walked along the rode, and an old woman sitting on the porch waved at the group. "Hello, Nagi-kun! Its nice to see you again!"

"Ah, same to you! Stop by the inn sometime!" Nagihiko said brightly, waving back to the woman who smiled happily.

"I will!"

As the group continued walking, Kukai asked, "Are you like popular here or something?"

Nagihiko shook his head. "No, it's a small town so everyone knows each other very well, except for…."

Nagihiko trailed off, and didn't show any indication that he was going to continue with his sentence. Tadase, curious, prompted him to continue with an, "Except for…?"

"No, perhaps it's better if it don't talk about it," Nagihiko muttered, shaking his head. "It doesn't really matter anyway."

"Alright..." Tadase replied, somewhat uncertain but not really worried. If it mattered, Nagihiko would say something.

As the group neared the town a faint rumbling could be heard and Tadase glanced over his shoulder to see a motorcycle heading in their direction. Nagihiko glanced over his shoulder as well, and surprised Tadase by scowling.

As the motorcycle approached Tadase noted that it was being driven by a tall male wearing all black and dark sunglasses. Judging by his figure, which was rather skinny, Tadase would guess that the rider was around his age. For some reason as the motorcyclist passed Tadase paused and watched him go by, unable to look away. The man seemed to be looking back at him from beneath his glasses, but Tadase obviously couldn't tell if he actually was. For a moment, Tadase felt a chill run down his spine.

But of course, that was only for a small moment. By the time Tadase had blinked the motorcycle was several yards ahead of them and turning a corner away from the town.

"How could that guy wear all that black? It's like a million degrees out here!" Kukai exclaimed, his eyes wide in shock.

"It's not that hot," Amu said with a chuckle, shaking her head at her friend's exaggeration, "And he's probably used to the weather if he lives here."

Tadase couldn't think of anything to contribute to the conversation, so he remained quiet, noting that Nagihiko wasn't speaking either. The long-haired boy's face appeared normal enough, but Tadase felt as though he were somewhat nervous. Had the rider worried him, or was something else amiss? Or perhaps Tadase was just imagining it and nothing was wrong with him at all.

Tadase couldn't help but notice that there was an uncomfortable feeling stirring in his stomach, almost as if he were nervous himself. That was odd; what did he have to be nervous about? Was he apprehensive about staying in a strange place, or was it something completely different?

Tadase shook his head; he was just anxious at the prospect of being somewhere new. And that was nothing to worry about; he got along with others just fine. He was certain that the summer would go off without a hitch

Well, Kukai would probably say something stupid and cause a bad situation, but that happened all the time anyway, so it didn't really count.

The group continued walking for a few more minutes, and while Kukai might have been complaining about it (which Tadase really didn't get, as he was always so active) Tadase was actually really enjoying himself. Having grown up in the city, he had never really gotten to visit small towns like this, and the sight was really quite fascinating. It was nice that everyone seemed to know everyone else, and that the town was so small that you could probably walk all the way across it in less than half an hour. It was nice being able to look out and see the sea, see the bright blue water sparkling and rippling under the hot summer sun. And he had never seen so much green in his life; as far as the eye could see he saw grass, trees and flowers in every direction. The bus had long since passed from their vision, and besides from that one lone motorcycle there were no other vehicles in sight.

Well, even though he was enjoying himself, Tadase could see where Kukai was coming from. It was rather hot (making him glad he had chosen to wear a short sleeved t-shirts and shorts) and his bag was quite heavy (he did have several weeks worth of clothes in it, after all).

Even Amu, who always tried to stay optimistic, was beginning to loose it. A layer of sweat covered her skin, and she had pulled her hair back in a very messy ponytail, desperately pushing up her sleeves and fanning herself, her duffel bag hanging of one shoulder. "Hah-how long until we get there… Nagi?"

"A few minutes," Nagihiko replied promptly, not even breaking a sweat as he swiftly walked forward.

"Ah, okay…" Amu panted, stopping briefly to catch her breath. Nagihiko sighed and stopped. He walked backgrounds several steps (he was ahead of the others) and grabbed the duffel badly from her shoulder, hoisting it over his back with ease.

"Oh, thank you Nagi! I love you!" Amu mumbled, rather disorientated. She smiled largely up at him as he walked away, shaking his head at his best friend's stupidity. "You are amazing! The best ever!"

"Dude, will you please stop hitting on him? It's kind of creeping me out," Kukai muttered, shuddering slightly with a disgusted look on his face.

"I'm not hitting on him!" Amu exclaimed, her eyes wide in shock. "He just did me a huge favor!"

"You do kind of sound like you're hitting on him Amu-chan; you did say that you love him," Tadase muttered, pausing to wipe off his forehead with the back of his hand before continuing on, falling into step with Amu.

"Like a friend! You know I don't feel like that about Nagi!" Amu replied loudly, her eyes wide, "Besides, we all know Nagihiko's into some girl that lives here!"

"What?!" Nagihiko shrieked, spinning around wildly to stare at the others. The group had reached the outskirts of the town, so a couple of heads turned to look at the group. Upon seeing who had made such a loud sound they would smile and shake their heads or raise a hand in greeting. "I do not like anyone! Especially not a girl in this town!"

Kukai brightened, an excited look on his face. "Oh yeah, what did his mom say her name was? Mashiro Rima?"

Nagihiko's face reddened drastically. "Gah! No! Don't say that! I don't- don't say anything in front of her or I swear to god!"

"Oh my god he's totally into her," Amu giggled, trying to hide her laughs behind her hand. Unable to make eye-contact with him, she ducked her head. Tadase chuckled as well, trying to hide it from his friend and failing miserably.

Nagihiko spun around, knowing his situation was futile, and began speed-walking away. It would have been a much more effective exit if he wasn't carrying a hot pink duffel bag, and if he didn't have a natural sway in his step.

"Mrs. Mashiro Nagihiko," Kukai choked out between laughs.

The group of three laughed as they followed behind Nagihiko, trying to calm down in order to not disturb the townsfolk.

After a minute or so Nagihiko stopped, and the group congregated around him. The Fujisaki inn was a very large, traditional looking building. From what Tadase could see, located at the side of the building was a small shed. "What do you have a shed for if there are no gardens to maintain on the grounds?"

"It's for the small shuttle we keep to ferry people over from the bus stop," Nagihiko replied.

"Wha… what?" Kukai replied, his face blanking as he stared at Nagihiko.

Nagihiko turned to look at him, cocking an eyebrow skeptically, "Yeah, you didn't think we'd make our guests walk all the way to the hotel, did you?"

"…what."

Tadase was fairly certain Kukai was about to start something (if the incredibly angry look on his face was any indication) but his chance of doing so was cut off by Amu who was facing the opposite direction.

"Wait," she said slowly, her voice brimming with excitement, "Mashiro bakery?"

"Gah! No!" Nagihiko exclaimed, spinning around quickly as Amu headed towards the building. He grabbed her shoulder and desperately pulled her back, dragging her towards the inn. "We can go there later; we need to tell my aunt we're here first!"

"Ah, but Nagi," Amu whined, craning her neck to try to get a better view of the building.

"Knowing my luck, my aunt will probably invite her over tonight anyway," Nagihiko muttered, a slight grimace on his face. Amu brightened up.

"Really?"

"Probably."

Amu grinned as she grabbed her duffel bag from Nagihiko. Tadase had to admit that he was excited about meeting the girl Nagihiko liked; he had never seemed to be interested in anyone, even though he was quite popular at school.

Well, Tadase wasn't interested in anyone at school either, even though he was very popular as well, but that was with great reason. It was pretty hard to find someone to date in a society so single-minded. If he was interested in anyone, chances were they wouldn't ever give him a chance.

Anyway, if Nagihiko had a girlfriend, it would very interesting to find out which kind of girl he liked.

Nagihiko slid open the door to the inn, calling out, "We're here!" into the large foyer.

Immediately, a loud sound was heard as someone dropped something. A woman's yells we're heard as a little girl with indigo hair raced out from one of the rooms and charged forward towards Nagihiko. "Nagi!"

"Manami-chan," Nagihiko exclaimed as the girl dove into his outstretched arms. "How are things going?"

"Things are good! Well, I think I just broke a plate, but that's not a big deal! Oh, but Rima-chan has looked really cranky since she heard you were coming," Manami said brightly as she pulled back from Nagihiko's arms.

"That figures," Nagihiko mumbled dejectedly, grabbing his suitcase as he entered the building, the other three trailing in after him.

"Nagi, it's nice to see you again!" A woman stepped out from the room the little girl had previously entered from. She was tall, a little on the chubby side, with medium-length indigo hair and kind brown eyes. She wiped her hands off on an apron hung around her waist as she approached the group, a bright smile on her face. "Introduce us to your friends!"

"Ah, this is Souma Kukai," Nagihiko gestured to the brunette, who raised a hand in greeting, "Hinamori Amu," Amu smiled and bowed to the older woman, "and Hotori Tadase."

"Nice to meet you," Tadase said kindly, smiling as he bowed his head.

"It's nice to meet you all; it seems like Nagi has very nice friends," she smiled, "You can call me Oba-san."

"Thank you for letting us stay here," Amu replied brightly, trying to make it seem like she wasn't struggling to hold her bag up, although it was obvious that she was straining her muscles in her attempts to hold it up.

"Oh, well thank you for helping us out! It's always very busy this time of the year and we could use the extra help!"

"No problem at all!" Amu wheezed, struggling to keep her bag off the ground, before giving in and dropping it to her left. Unfortunately, Kukai had been looking in the other direction, as well as Amu, so the bag landed on his feet with a loud thud.

"Holy craaa- what in the world is in that thing?" Kukai exclaimed, his voice an octave higher than it ever should be as he doubled over, desperately pulling his feet out from under the bag.

"Oh, sorry Kukai!" Amu's eyes were wide as she squatted down and desperately pulled on her bag, "It's just clothes, and a few other things, but it's awfully heavy, don't you think?"

"Just clothes?" Kukai asked, tears in his eyes as he wiggled his feet, "Do you have a dress made out of cement or something?"

"Now young man, you can't be asking a lady what's in her bag," Nagihiko's aunt scolded him, a slight frown on her lips, "And why is a young woman carrying her bag when there are three strong young men around to help her?"

"Oh, well Nagi did help me with it part of the way," Amu insisted as she put the bag in front of her (and out of the way).

"Manami, show them to their rooms while I clean up that broken plate. And you," Nagihiko's aunt raised a finger to point at the visibly unhappy Kukai, "carry Amu-chan's bag for her."

Nagihiko's aunt walked off into the other room

"Why do I have to?" Kukai grumbled as he reached down to pick up her bag, struggling for a moment before getting it into his arms. Between that and his own bag hanging off of one of his arms he could barely walk, and did a sort of crab-walk as he followed the others down a hall.

"It's really not that heavy," Nagihiko said, giving Kukai an exasperated sort of look. Kukai glared at him, or at least did the best he could while carrying the "not-so-heavy" bag.

"Here's Amu-chan's room," Manami smiled as she gestured to a room on the right of the hall, and Kukai hurriedly shuffled into it before dropping the bag to the ground, breathing heavily.

"Thank God!" Kukai panted, putting a hand to his chest as he doubled over.

Tadase glanced inside the room briefly to see that it was a small, traditional style room with a shelf, closet, small table, and a futon. Nothing much.

"And Kukai-kun and Tadase-kun's room is across the hall!" Manami said brightly, pointing to a room a few feet away from Amu's and on the opposite wall.

Tadase opened the door to the room to find that it was more or less like Amu's, except it was a bit larger and there were two futons inside it. "Oh, it looks nice."

"Nagi's staying in his room down the hall. It's next to mine and my mom's," Manami said brightly, pointing towards the far end of the hallway. "You guys can get unpacked and then meet us in the faculty lounge in half an hour."

Upon seeing the confused looks of the other three, Nagihiko pointed towards where his family's rooms were and said, "It's right there. You should be able to tell which one it is when you walk down there. The door will be open too."

"Cool! We'll see you later," Kukai said cheerfully as he wrapped and arm around Tadase's neck, pulling the boy into their shared room. Nagihiko rolled his eyes and walked down the hall, Manami skipping ahead of him happily while babbling about something.

"Don't let him break anything, Tadase," Amu muttered seriously. Tadase gave her a sad look in reply.

"I don't... I don't think I can promise you that," he replied seriously, his voice low. Kukai gave them both highly unamused looks.

"Can you stop acting so seriously about this?!" Kukai threw both his arms out as he exclaimed, "I'm not that stupid!"

There was a loud thunk as Kukai's hand hit the hard wood of a dresser, and the boy cried out as he hugged his hand to his chest. "Ow! Goddamn it!"

Amu snickered as she entered her room, shaking her head. Tadase shut the door, trying his hardest not to laugh. "Are you okay?"

"Not a word, Hotori," Kukai muttered as he turned away, walking over to his bag while cradling his hand, "Not a word."

~oOo~

A/N: Be patient, the Takuto will start soon. ;)
Sorry I haven't uploaded anything in so long. OTL Life is a bitch. I'm advising you all to never take an advanced chemistry class in HS. It literally sucked my life away for the past few months.
Anyway, please review if you liked it or have any constructive criticism. Thanks for reading. :3