The voices hammering on the door grew angrier.
“Go away!” Noriko shouted. She had barricaded it in case anyone found a key.
The pitiful remnants of what had once been Ageruman Kuritina lay crying her heart out in a corner, and Noriko had no intentions to let anyone see that.
I didn't want this. Never this way. I wanted to be your rival and friend. I always admired your strength. Kuri, please come back! But Noriko doubted the proud and strong blonde empress would return any time soon, if ever.
In that corner lay a small girl, sixteen years old, with something dying in her heart. There was not a trace of the billion dollar empress left. And, if Noriko was honest with herself, Kuri hadn't played that card for a long time now. She was truly her friend, and far too fair to do so.
Now her friend lay broken in a shuddering heap on the floor. Noriko couldn't remember when she last had seen so much pain. Please come back!
There was nothing she could do. For the time being Kuri would stay crying her heart out, and Noriko could only wonder what had made the tall beauty chose to break up with Urufu. That they loved each other so much it sometimes was painful to watch was obvious for everyone around them. The absurd promise from a day ago just couldn't be the reason.
Noriko rose and fetched the other blanket she had stashed away behind a whiteboard. She blew out a deep sigh before she dared the distance to Kuri.
“Get well my friend. We love you.”
With those words Noriko covered the shaking body with the blanket.
Kuri continued crying, but she wrapped herself in the blanket and curled up until only her feet stuck out.
I'll stay with you for as long as I can stand watching your pain. I'm sorry, but it just hurts too much.
There was a little shame competing with Noriko's need to be with people who celebrated Valentine in a more sane way. In the end shame won, and she sat down where Kuri had found her a little earlier.
The door bounced three times.
“Go away!” Noriko shouted again. This was going to be a long afternoon.
Kyoko stared in stunned incomprehension at the locked door. Club members, together with some other people from 6:1 were the first to arrive at her side. It didn't take long until large parts of 3:1 were here as well, and they all stood banging on the door.
From the inside Kyoko heard Noriko's voice, but rather than letting them in, Ryu's sister shouted at them to go away.
Why? Why didn't you tell me.
Hearing Noriko shout at them to leave made Kyoko both angry and relieved. At least Kuri-chan wasn't alone in there. Still, above all Kyoko couldn't understand what had driven her best friend to break with the man she had called the love of her life.
Is there such a thing? Could you really meet that someone you'll spend the rest of your life missing if you're not together? Then Kyoko thought of Yukio and drew a long breath. Maybe. And if that maybe was real, then she couldn't afford leaving him hanging in fear of what she needed to tell him. If he wanted her despite her barrenness she'd follow him to the end of the world.
From inside the room she could still hear Kuri-chan's hulking sobs, each of them twisting a knife in her heart.
I'm sorry, Kuri-chan, but if this is you after fifty years of experience, then I'll never let Yukio go as long as he stays with me. It was harsh, but it was the best she could do. I'll make your sacrifice worth it.
Kyoko left the group of students banging on the door and took the stairs to the entrance floor. A bit at a loss for what to do, she opened and close her shoe-locker a few times before she grabbed her loafers and changed.
She still had Urufu's giri chocolate in her hands when she left the building, but by then any thoughts of him were forgotten as she raced to find her own boyfriend. Her feet directed her, and her fear.
The things she had hinted at could very well scare Yukio away, and now she was frantic to find him before they did.
While she ran Kyoko relieved the feelings of listening to Kuri-chan break down where everyone could hear.
Out of breath she suddenly saw her haven, the only haven right now. Maybe he was there.
Kyoko threw open the door, but this early in the day no students occupied the place. Her home room teacher would scold her later, but right now she lacked the strength to return to school.
She was crying inside.
James had just looked at her swollen face and the box of chocolate she hugged to her chest before he opened the door to the inner room.
Urufu's chocolate, which she never had a chance to give him in his classroom.
An hour and a half she spent there alone, and now her tears had run out of sound.
Outside she saw the club members filing in.
James shoved Yukio inside and shook his head at the others. Then he closed the door.
Yukio! Lovely, wonderful Yukio! Beautiful Yukio! My Yukio!
He just stood there, waiting for her to speak.
“I love you,” she said. “I love you so much I don't have the words to say it.”
“I love you too. You're the best that ever happened to me.” Right now he was only hers. Not Urufu's friend. Not a member of the club. Not a student in 6:1. Just Yukio, her love.
“Yukio, please, if a day ever comes when I forget to tell you how much I love you, please, please, please remind me so I never forget again!”
He sat down beside her. Hugged her. Kissed her.
“I will,” he promised. “I never want to see us broken.” He kissed her again.
“Yukio, what will happen to them now?”
He shook his head. “I don't want to think about that right now. I don't want to know.”
A hand reached out for her cheek. It was soft and warm, and above all it was Yukio's hand, filled with strength and tenderness. “I'll talk to him. I promise.”
Kyoko met his eyes. It's not your fault. Your best friend is hurting, but it's not your fault. “Yukio, it was Kuri-chan who broke off with him.”
“I know, but maybe if he begs on his knees. Damn, he's so full of himself it's probably just good for him to do some honest begging.”
That made her laugh, a little.
“Yukio, I still don't understand it.”
Something in his eyes caught her attention. Sadness, and a part of him that was older than his years.
“I do, a bit,” he said. “My parents still help each other when I need something. So they're not complete strangers.”
Ah, I forgot Urufu and Kuri-chan are grown-ups. “So you think adults think in different ways than we do?”
“They do. I just don't know how. Guess if I did I'd already be an adult,” Yukio said and grinned. “I know something else as well. I love you. I don't want to lose you. I know I hurt you when I didn't care about children, but please see the good part!”
Good part? “Continue.”
Yukio looked at her, and Kyoko could almost feel how great cogwheels in his head linked together to make sure he didn't say something wrong. “I love you, not what you can do for me. Not even what you can do for yourself. Only you. That's how greedy I am.”
And right now, that was the best he could have said. Kyoko left her chair flying and buried herself in his embrace. I belong here. I'll stay here.
Then Yukio's phone blared alive and killed the mood.