Story Title: Fight or Flight

Author: Hikari no Vikki

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Description: A boy grows into a man and experiences the stages of young love, loss, and revival. Written for my Pre-AP English class in 2008.

Author's Notes-

Date written: January 24, 2008. Amazing what you find when you look through your computer, huh? :D We had ten vocabulary words that week we had to use in a story. They should be underlined. See if you can spot them! (Hint: They're underlined. :D)

It had always been stereotypical when it came to our story. Our first meeting was when we were three, our first play-date as preteens was awkward but manageable. We were best friends for life. I had thought it would be the same with romance, but, lucky for my heart, I was wrong.

"Gabriel," she said to me one day when we were fifteen, "what do you think of love?" I felt bemused. Love? I was more concentrated on growing to think about things like that. Then again, the girl had way too much time on her hands. "What?" My answer was somewhat faint, as I was making some custard at the time, my attention elsewhere.

"You heard me Gabe." Her statement was curt and sharp, almost like a hiss. Clearly she had said it so I would pay attention. Selena was always so very clever. I edged around the conversation long enough to get the custard finished. She left me alone about love after that.

Fifteen turned into sixteen, and sixteen to seventeen, by now I was a adult by my country's standards. Now it was me that had too much time on my hands and Selena so little. My heart began to crumple at the loss of her presence, and so I took what little currency I had and bought myself a nice little place and got myself a job as a blacksmith in town, putting my desire to work with my hands to good use. I had less time on my hands now but I still had far too much for my liking.

I sought out Selena one morning, with the intent of asking her the same question she had asked me before. But I knew from before that I had to wait, but I had to be quick, lest someone else notice her beauty and turn my love for her into a blood feud that would last lifetimes.

She was at the outskirts of the village, scrubbing her clothes and folding them so she could take them back to her home to be hanged. She was doing so in a rather strange manner, her eyes dull and lifeless. It worried me. She had always seemed so happy… I missed the wild, cunning girl I knew as a child.

And then I remembered the strange note she had sent me the morning earlier. The cryptogram. We had made up the little code when we were children, and it surprised even me that I could still read it, but the memory of the actual form of writing it had eluded me.

So I was lucky to find her here.

I approached her from behind as she sat in the washing cubicle. I cleared my throat. "Selena?" She jumped, and the bucket tipped over. I managed to catch it before any major amount of the water spilled. "Sorry if I startled you." She turned to look at me.

"Gabriel?" I nodded, putting the bucket upright again. "Yes?" "I thought you got my message." She turned away a little, trying to hide the light blush on her cheeks.

"I did, but I have regrettably forgotten how to reply. How silly of me." I made it sound like I had "forgotten" instead of the fact that I really had forgotten. My soft, sensual voice surprised even me, but we both knew what we wanted. She was blushing even more furiously now, and an amused grin began to tug at the corners of my mouth a little every time her cheeks flushed.

"Of course, how silly," she laughed, still looking away, "but I bet you're just saying that because… because…" "Because I wanted to see you?" She stiffened. "Yes and no," I told her. It was a safe answer. My heart was thudding so heavily against my chest that I was afraid that the feeling inside it would culminate at any moment and force the words that lay just past my lips out and at her ears like a slingshot.

"I did want to see you, but I needed to hear it in person. I can't just have the words on paper, though I can savor those forever." The feeling inside me had basically hijacked my brain and took custody of my heart's actions. The words began to flow out of my mouth in a soft but steady stream.

"Do you remember what you asked me two years ago?" She shook her head, her head still down but her eyes flicker in my direction. "No, why?" "Because I need to know, right from your mouth, 'What do you think of love,'?" Her head finally looked at me. Her eyes were once again vibrant, but with shock and surprise hiding within her irises.

"I… I… I l-lo-love…" She was stumbling over the words. Then she took a deep breath and practically shouted at me as soft as could in a whisper, "I love you!" I smiled. Apparently the feelings in her heart and been in culmination too.

"I love you too. Now my lady, curtsy for me. It is custom after all." She gave something that sounded like the cross between a scoff and a laugh. "Custom, ha. No, we'll save that for later. For now, I just want you." Then she took one of my hands and kissed it. "They're ice-cold!" She hissed in surprise. I didn't say anything after that. I just smiled.

Love, I knew now, was a flight or flight instinct, something that you either took or left as is. I was glad I fought. I was glad I had taken it. I was glad I hadn't left love behind.

Yes, very glad.

I cute little short story, I think. Could've been better, but I did write this a while back and that what reviews are for, no? :)