To Be Herself

The sky scape of New York City rose all around her, the sound of traffic blared in the background and cars whirled around her as she walked down the cracked sidewalk. Her bag was hung over her shoulder and a determined grin lit up her face. She was finally here, she was in America, not only that but in one of the most famous cities in the world. She had used some contacts that Shizune's Father had here in the States. Now she was attending a small university for the hearing impaired, getting a degree in counseling and sign language.

Misha walked down the street, heading for her apartment. She lived by herself, living off the funds her parent had saved away for her. Though most of the money she had came from scholarships she had gotten from attending Yamaku.

She paused for a second as she thought of the school she had graduated from and smiled slightly. She had never managed to get together with Shizune, though they had remained good friends over the years. She remembered their last moments together, standing outside the school, their backs to each other, holding their hands up in the air as if they were musketeers. Though as Shizune had mentioned, they had needed a third member. Both of them agreed that it should have been Hicchan, but he had fallen in love with Lilly, leaving them alone to run the Council. Shizune had gone off to the University of Tokyo, that had been two years ago. Misha will admit that she missed her best friend and first love. But she had enjoyed her years in the States. She had had a couple of lovers, beautiful girls who had satisfied the long dormant desire within her. But none of them had given her what she really wanted. Validation.

For the years she had spent with Shizune she had lost a sense of self, becoming mired in the near physical force that was the busty deaf President of the Student Council. And even though the two had long been separated, Misha had yet to discover who she really was. Even the degree she was chasing was something born from her time with Shizune.

She sighed as she made her way into her apartment and hung her jacket. She shook out her hair, her famous drills swinging back in forth. She sat down at her desk and began to study. Such was her nights, studying and thinking of what she wanted. Wondering if a answer will finally come and from where. But for the most part she just thought of the past and how things might have gone differently if she had just let go of her attraction to her best friend...

A week had past and Misha found herself taking her regular route through Central Park. She loved the forest like park in the center of the city. It calmed and allowed her to forget her troubled mind for a few moments everyday. She slowly approached one of the small lakes and sat down on the brick wall that kept people from falling while walking along the bridge. She sighed contently and stretched her back. She had lost quite a bit of her weight since her time coming to the States, part of which was helped by the fact she hadn't had the money to buy her usual amount of food.

She felt good, physically she felt better than she had all her life, She was still curvy but not quite as plump as she had been. She looked out at the lake, pushing her hair back as she smiled. This was one of those moments, one where she just knew that everything would be alright.

"You know... You shouldn't sit on that." The voice cut through all her thoughts and she nearly fell as she whipped her head around. Behind her stood a young man, he appeared to be no older than she was, his dark hair fell around his eyes, the soft grey shining in the faint afternoon light. He wore a black leather jacket over a dark green shirt, and kaki tan pants. His hands rested behind his head as he stared past her, a soft smile lighting up his in-shadowed face.

"It would be a waste for a pretty girl like you to fall in and ruin those awesome drills." He finished finally, his eyes shifting to her, his smile widening a little. Misha cocked her head and finally laughed.

"Wahahaha~ I have perfect balance! So have no fear, mister." Her laughed shook her whole body, he was cute but she felt no attraction to him, no more than she felt for any man. But he did have a nice voice, soothing.

"Such confidence, I am impressed." He chuckled lightly under his breath as he moved and sat down next to her, still not looking directly at her but focused on the sun shining off lake, his hair still shrouding his face somewhat.

"Since you feel it is so safe, I think i shall join you." Misha just looked at him and turned to stare out at the beauty before her, almost forgetting he was there. Noticing he was shifting a little, swinging his legs over and allowing them to rock back and forth. Finally she couldn't stand it any longer.

"My name is Misha." She gave her name as if to bait him. She couldn't just sit there and not speak to the man. He looked over at her and for the first time looked her in the eye.

"You can call me Miles, Miss Misha." He looked back off to the lake, both of them settling into a comfortable silence.

The weeks went by quickly, winter began to settle in. For the first few she would meet the boy she only knew as Miles and they would sit on the bridge and speak. She told him about Japan and her experiences at Yamaku. She was surprised when she first told him she was only interested in woman in an attempt to dissuade him from any funny ideas. Only to have him laugh and said he figured she was with the way she had watched one girl the day or so before. He told her about himself in return, how he was the son of a military man and had travelled all over the world with his family. How he was going to school for a degree in physics but he didn't have a clue as to what he would do with it. Finally he told her that he was into guys himself.

Misha had been shocked. But she couldn't help but laugh, she had never had a gay guy friend before. It had seemed to cliche to her. But it had strengthened their friendship in ways that was shocking to her. She had friends of course but Miles had quickly become one that occupied the same level of respect Shizune had held with her. She felt nothing but friendship for him but he had quickly become her guide in the world. So much so she feared she was losing herself like she had with Shizune.

One day they were sitting in a small cafe when she said something.

"Hey, Miichan am I my own person?" She looked down at her black coffee, a horrible habit she had gotten into since she had come to the States. She didn't noticed the shocked look on his face, she finally looked up when he answered with a stutter.

"M-Misha! Of course you are, You have to be one of the most individualist people I have ever met." This time it was Misha who was shocked, so much so she laughed.

"Wahahahaha~ Me?!" She rolled her shoulders with laughter, so much so she was nearly crying. She stopped though when Miles firmly took her by the shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes.

"I have never met such a unique and stunning girl. If I wasn't into guys I would have asked you out in a heart beat. Where do i begin? On your hair, how the bright pink works on you, as if you were born with it? Or how your drills seem to be a natural formation of hair as if everyone could have their hair like that. Or your laugh and how infectious it is? Or how you sign, your hands gracefully cutting through the air or should I speak about how much you care for people? Should I go on?"

Misha merely sat there in surprise, could she be that special, she thought. She merely shook her head trying to speak. These where the words she had always wished she had heard from Shizune... She merely looked at him. He took her silence as permission to keep speaking.

"Misha, you need to let go of the past and see just how special you are. I wouldn't befriend someone who is a follower. You are your own person and I am honored to know you." It was at the word special that she finally broke down into tears, she leaned into him as his arms wrapped around him.

"Maybe now you might understand..." She barely heard him as she wept into his chest, years of pain and loneliness overcoming her. Maybe now she could truly live.

Winter came on strong, That day was the start of something new, Misha had always been bubbly but now there was a spring to her step, her voice no longer cracked and her laugh was no longer the loud powerful thing it once was, now it was a beautiful musical candace that drifted merrily throughout a room. She was no longer loud, instead she spoke with a confidence that would surprise those who once new her. Miles was there for her every step of the way, his natural confidence a constant inspiration for the pink haired sign language translator in training. That was another change in her, she no longer threw herself into her studies with a detached sadness. But with a passionate desire to be the best at what she was good at. She was Misha, a woman all of her own.

It was January now, snow covered the vast city, allowing Misha to wear her favorite jackets. She had just come from a amazing date with a girl that Miles had introduced her too. Somehow he just knew what she would like, and the two had hit off greatly. They had even planned out their next date already. She was on her way to meet with Miles for drinks, her treat for doing such a great job helping her out. When she spotted him at a street corner.

"Miichan~" She called out, her smile bubbling over as he turned and waved her over. She skipped up to him and threw herself into his arms.

"Thank you Miichan, She is amazing." He laughed and patted her on the head affectionately.

"Actually I just got a text from her, saying the same thing about you." He grinned down at her, nearly laughing at the look of joy that crossed her face. Before it would have been shock but Miles was glad that she took situations like this with more pride than she used to.

"I knew she was something special! Wahahaha~" Miles merely smiled and motioned for her to follow, they crossed the street still speaking of the date.

"Misha you are the special one, how many times must I tell you that?" He said with mock annoyance. She merely rolled her eyes.

"I know Miichan, as long as I have you I know I shall never forget." To her surprise he shook his head.

"No, you should know it because its true. I could never have asked for such a good friend such as yourself. Just be yourself ok?" Misha looked at him and nodded, another bubbling laugh escaped her lips as she skipped ahead, never noticing that the light had begun to change. She was about to turn to Miles when she heard it, the loud siren of a honking car. She stared at the bright lights that blinded her, the reality of the situation falling upon her in the moments that she has left. Time stopped, and her life flashed before her, all the pain and sadness. The loneliness she felt for so long as she tried to gain Shizune's love. Coming to America and walking through life as if she were a shadow. Meeting Miles and feeling the spark of life once more being ignited. Her last thought was that at least she had been happy.

Suddenly Misha was in the air, pushed out of the way, She twisted at the hit, her eyes going wide at the sight of Miles standing where she had been. A look of determination lit up his eyes and as she fell to the street she swore she saw him say thank you.

The skies were overcast, the soft light of the sun dimmed by the thick New York clouds. Before her was a grave marker. It had been a couple of years since that night. Misha had a slight smile as she stared at the grave of her greatest friend. The man who had helped her see just how special she was, the friend who had saved her life at the cost of his own. She later learned that the reason he had said thank you to her was because he had never had many friends before, after meeting his parents. His father was one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States Military. He had moved almost twice a year and had rarely ever associated with anyone. He had been all but forsaken by his father for refusing to go into the military. She had been one of his few friends, possibly the only real one. She knelt down and placed her hand on the stone, reading the words that his family had been asked to be put onto it.

"Be yourself" Misha whispered. His last words to her...

AN: This is the second of my Five story series! I hope you enjoyed it! Hopefully I shall have the next one up soon~