Keeper of Secrets: Oh dear lovey... ((hands over hanky)). Yay! My other stories do need a little love I think. And I have a tendency to read the previous chapters before going in and starting on a new one. So that's why they're fairly connected.
merrymowmow: Why thank you! I really liked your review!
bekah: Oh my, thanks. I didn't get around to posting the sequel for a while which then made me forget my characters which then caused more delay. So... now I'm hoping it comes out well while I try to get back on track.
Katie: YAY! An accomplishment! Hahahahahhaa. Yeah, I get stuck up with repeated errors like that and sometimes I don't catch them on my scan editing before the update. Ack. As for the story getting in your head, don't worry. I have a tendency to call people Sho sometimes. Hahahahahahhaa. Ah, that's so dumb. And they don't know what I'm talking about either. "Hey, Sho... I mean... Ryan...O.O;;"
ahem: My mom liked the alternate ending to (which was the original) mostly because she liked how Sho waited at the thomb for three years just for Rei to come say goodbye. She thought it was cute. But I believe my 'mole' when they say that the ending was sudden and.. well, sort of unexpected and pointless.
BitterSweetDragon: Hahahahhaa. Thanks. I realized though, I tend to kill a lot of my characters just cause I like to kill them. I don't really have a reason. Ack. I'm so dum. I've got to stop doing that. :P
Nachzes Black-Rider: Hahahaha. Aren't we all Gods? Oh yes... thanks. I hope you find the urge to read the sequel all the way through too. ((begs))
DaemonGirl: NO NO! It's not all over love! There's still a sequel! Save tears for later!
Callise: Hahahhaaha. You're such a sap. I love you. Maple tree!! Gaahahaahaha. Thanks for reading it. I always looked forward to your reviews and such because you really took time to tell me what you liked. I appreciate it so much. And I'll give you the comfort to expect more fluffyduff in the sequel. Things aren't going to be as stressful most of the time.
poppendol: Yeah, you have the same opinion as my mole. He didn't like the death and Rei finding someone else either. Hahahaha. Ko... he spoke!
girl-in-shadows: Yay!
Mishi-chan101: Ag, thanks for the constructive criticism. Hope you offer up more golden nuggets in the future!

Author's Note: Gah Thanks for all the reviews. They trickled in slow, but I got em. Yay! Anyway, hope you all realize this is here and don't get confused. This is just a short prologue. Let me know if you think the characters are OOC because I honestly don't know anymore. ((slamshead))


Prologue

I don't think I'm comfortable with you dating Rei anymore.

That's all my mother had to say after the whole thing was done with. I thought she would have been able to tell that everything they said was complete bullshit, but she didn't. She just went with the flow. I sniffed again, wiping at my nose and slipping off of the bed. I grabbed another tissure and blew as hard as I could then sat on the floor, trying hard to keep the tears back and not doing a very good job of it. She never said I couldn't date Rei, just that she wasn't one hundred percent sure she was fine with it, which meant I was going to see him anyway. At least in two weeks I would see him; once school started back up. It kind of sucked that after two months of not getting to hear his voice or see his face, the first time I actually get the chance, he's crying and screaming at his parents.

--

I closed the door quietly, switching the bag of ice to my other hand to stop them from going numb. I grabbed one of my sweatshirts from the ground and wrapped it around the cold sack, bringing it to Rei who sat silently on the side of my bed, staring at the ground. I took the wet rag from over my shoulder and pressed it to the cut on the side of Rei's face, frowning when he flinched and glared at me.

"Stop it!" he demanded, turning his face away so I couldn't get to the wound. I tried to turn his face to me, but it wouldn't budge and he was pushing against me with his hands, trying to keep me back. I started begging him to let me get in closer, to let me look at it and take care of it, that it was starting to swell and bruise, but he wouldn't listen. I don't know when my pleading turned into sobs, but I found myself hanging on his arm and crying against my fists, the wet clothe hanging down. "Stop crying like that," Rei barked, his elbow bending a little. I crashed into his shoulder, immediately latching onto his shirt and burrowing my face into his neck. He bristled under me, prickling, and his hands flew back to my chest, pushing me again, but I wouldn't let go. "Stop crying on me! Stop it!"

I quieted down quickly, holding onto him and just taking in the musky scent on his skin. He wasn't holding me back and I could tell by the angle of his jaw against my cheek that he was leaning his face away from me. "Rei-"

"What did they tell you?"

I felt my heart drop. I felt my heart drop straight out of my chest and land with a faint squish in my feet. Then it crawled under the bed and hid. I wanted to hide too, hide away from that question. It hurt me to hear those things come out of his parents' mouth, but how would it feel to be their son and have those things said about me? How would I react if my mother scrounged up every last dirty bit of my past and tried to scare Rei away with it? How could a parent be so cruel? And they even came right out and said they were ashamed to admit that Rei was their son and that they had disowned him so long ago they ceased to think of him as one. They hated Rei. They didn't come here for my safety; they came here to make sure Rei remained miserable. They came here to hurt Rei and that was it. Now Rei wanted to know what they said.

"What did they say?"

"They just said things I already knew."

"What did they tell you?"

"They weren't really talking to me. They were talking to my mother."

"Sho! What did they say?"

I flinched, Rei's voice loud in my ear. He had snapped his face back to me and screamed it in my ear and I could feel his neck getting hot on my forehead. I felt the tears coming back. I hadn't seen Rei in so long and he was mad at me. I just wanted to hold him and let him kiss me and tease me like normal and be happy, but we didn't have that chance. We didn't have that privilege. I wondered if maybe he had changed while I was gone; if maybe Rei didn't want to spend time with me like he used to or if maybe he had found someone else that he liked better. The tears stung.

"They told my mother that you were twenty-four and that I was sixteen and it was statutory rape if we had ever had sex. They said you were a prostitute and that it would be easy for you to have contracted something. They said you were putting me in danger just by being with me. And I'm sorry I'm crying even though you said not to, it's just that I missed you-"

"I missed you to," he interjected, his body seeming to melt underneath me, and, finally, his arms came up around my body and clung gently to my shoulders. "What else did they say?" I gave out a shuddering breath and leaned back, looking at his face and going back to my previous task of trying to clean the cut on his cheek.

"They said you had a history of being belligerent to the people around you and that it was likely that you would abuse me or take things out on me. They tried to tell my mother that you just weren't a good person in general. They were really circulatory on their points. They kept going back to the STD thing because they thought it was good leverage." I wiped gently at the cut, trying to clean out the blood in the skin and then pressing the ice against it. He put his hand on top of mine and dropped his head into my stomach, sighing.

"What do you think?"

I ran my hand through his silken spikes and sighed. When he had burst through the door I had almost thought it was someone else just because he had cut his hair. Now it was a short crop cut, still just as pleasurable to run my fingers through, it just wasn't such a prolonged sensation. And then his glasses, the small ones on his face that had no rims so it almost didn't look like he was wearing them at all, the glasses that were now sitting broken on my desk, had disguised him even further. He'd barely gotten in three words to his father: "You fucking bastard-" when his father had turned and slugged him hard in the cheek. I'd never seen anyone topple like Rei did. He barely had time to react. It was hit, down. The moment the fist was connected with his cheek, Rei hit the floor. It was instantaneous. Rei didn't even get back up; he just laid there for a minute with his hands over his face and groaning. That's the when the commotion started. His mother started screaming incoherent things to him and my mother was screaming at the father for hitting him and the father was screaming right back. I was yelling at Rei to see if he was all right and trying to get to him through the arms of the mother and then struggling to get him to stand so I could get him up to the room. Now finally I was upstairs with him alone and we could finally talk. It didn't seem like the most ideal way to greet each other, but it was something at least.

"I think they're wasting their time. I think you're wasting your time worrying over it too."

But he couldn't stay and he ended up going home shortly after his parents took off, giving me a hard hug by the doorway and kissing my temple for at least ten minutes before he finally pulled himself away and made his way to his car. I watched him leave; pushing my head against the doorframe and wishing that tomorrow was Friday and I could go see him and not have to leave until Sunday.

Yet as soon as I walked into the house, I was reminded that I was still two weeks away from that deadline by my mother who stood rigidly in front of me with her arms crossed in front of her chest and her face set in a mix of anger and disappointment. "Why didn't you tell me he was a prostitute?" she demanded.

"He isn't anymore. He wants a better life for himself and he's making changes. He's a mechanic now and he works part time as a bartender at a club," I responded, glaring at her. He wasn't a bad person because he was a prostitute. He wasn't anything because he was a prostitute. He was just Rei. I had never looked down on him because of that.

"What if he really is sick and you don't know it?"

"It doesn't matter because we don't have sex!" I yelled at her. She fisted her hands and threw them down to her sides, returning my heat ten fold.

"I don't care if you have sex or not, I care that there's a possibility that you will contract something from him. It doesn't just take intercourse to get an STD, Shojin Ono. And don't you yell at me!" she screamed, heaving, her brow furrowed into a knot between her eyes. "All I'm going to say is that I don't think I'm comfortable with you dating Rei anymore. That's all I'll say about this." Then she turned and stomped up the stairs. After her door slammed, I attempted to gulp down the lump in my throat and made my way quickly to my room before she could catch me crying.