Suki in a Shell

Chapter 1: Charm

"PERVERT!"

That was when I received a "boot to the head" so to speak... and by so to speak I mean she shoved her shoe into my face and stomped it into the ground. As I laid there getting a personal facial massage curtsey of this girl's size seven sneaker, I couldn't help but think...

"Why me?"

Once the shoe was finally off of my face and done re-arranging my eyes, nose, and month, I sat up with a slightly dizzy expression on my face.

"But I didn't even look! I wasn't even looking anywhere near you!" I pleaded as the girl, still blushing from a few minutes ago, kicked my face once more and shoved me back to the ground. I could feel my nose start to bleed.

"Don't you lie to me you little perv! I saw those lustful eyes of yours and believe me, you're not getting anywhere near me, understand!" she replied in an angry and aggressive tone. Her stance was ready for a fight, her book-bag was positioned to where it could easily smack into the side of my face, so I didn't dare get up again.

"But it was a fluke! I swear it's not like that!" I whined, feeling a bit of blood run down my face from my nose.

"Shut up!"

That was about the time were she hit me with her book-bag. Let me tell you something, math books hurt even more than usual when encased in a leather briefcase of a book-bag. I felt like I came to minutes later, a familiar face looming over me.

"Hey man, are you ok?" Izumi asked tilting his head to the side slightly. "I don't want to alarm you or anything... but you're leaving a big stain on the floor with that bloody nose."

"Oh man... it happened again." I sighed, managing to regain my strength and sit myself back up. Izumi handed me a couple of tissues which I promptly used to clean my nose up. "That's the third time this week... they're getting more frequent."

"What did you do this time?" Izumi curiously asked crossing his legs and sitting down beside me rather than stand up. He watched as I cleaned myself up of the blood that had spilled onto my shirt, and when he saw that one of my tissues were getting a little over-used he promptly handed me another one. I hadn't noticed before, but he was carrying a tissue-box in his lap as he sat.

"I bumped into her in the hallway when the both of us were going around a corner. She fell and thought that I caught a glimpse of her panties."

"Wow, that seems to be a recurring one for you doesn't it."

"It's not my fault! Half the girls in this school run in the halls, I feel like they do it on purpose too just so they can get a swing at me."

"Oh come on, that seems a little unrealistic don't you think?"

"As unrealistic as there being a school club dedicated to hating me... which there is!"

"Really?... Oh yeah I saw the flier for that. That was a funny picture of you on it."

"Izzi!"

"Sorry sorry, lemme help you up."

Izumi preceded to helping me get back on my feet. With an arm around my shoulder and a few grunts and groans, I weakly picked myself up with the help of my friend. I was still a bit dizzy since that nosebleed left me light-headed. After but a few minutes of getting myself steady, I was all set to let go of Izumi. "You ok?"

"Yeah, I'm alright, but I need to figure out a way to avoid this. I'm going to wind up in the hospital one of these days."

"Didn't you already wind up there one time?"

"No but the paramedics definitely needed to be called."

"How long did you have that cast for again?"

"Two weeks... thankfully."

Izumi nodded and handed me my backpack as I steadied myself a little easier. I grabbed my back and lounged it over my shoulder, making my way down the hall once more like nothing had even happened. Izzi walked beside me with a worried expression on his face. I'm sure I looked pretty pale. I felt pale anyway, so he had a right to be worried.

"Man, I'm guessing this has been a pretty bad birthday for you so far." he added as we continued until I reached my locker only a few classrooms ahead. I started in front of it and began to fiddle with the padlock. The cheerleaders once again put oil all over the lock, so it was going to take me awhile to get it open.

"It's just another day." I sighed with my usual dismayed tone just as I realized this prank. This happened to me at least once every two weeks or so, and it always made me depressed to see it since it usually takes a few days for the oil to actually start to wear off. "Pass me some more tissues will you."

"Sure." Izumi nodded. He hadn't even realized that he was still holding the tissue box until now, and he gladly handed them all over to me. As I tore a few sheets from the dark purple rectangular box I couldn't help but think that I should get a security system for my locker or something. Besides myself of course my locker was the 2nd biggest target for pranks in the whole school.

I began to imagine my locker plain as can be in the hallway, then suddenly a member of the football team approaches with a can of spray-paint and, all of a sudden, five or six giant laser cannons protrude from the sides of my locker and begin to charge themselves. Their fine, red, round, points beginning to glow as they prepared for attack. The football player starts running as the lasers blast at his feet, forcing him to dance as I suddenly walk along and laugh as he runs.

"That would be awesome."

"Yo Tahei, you alright?" I heard Izzi call over to me as I suddenly snapped out of my daydream and inched back to reality. I saw my hand still trying to pull out tissues out of a now empty box. I had pulled each one of them out while I was daydreaming.

"Don't call me Tahei!" I growled as I began to situate the 50 or 60 tissues I unconsciously ripped from the now empty box. I tried putting most of them around my palm as I grabbed onto the padlock. This of course was to try and wipe away some of the oil that was dripping from it.

"Sorry, but it's pretty much the only way to wake you up when you daydream like that." Izzi excused as I vigorously worked to get my padlock oil-free. He could only watch this endeavor from beside me and look up to see the graffiti that riddled my dark blue locker. Most of the students had already written something in spray-paint or marker already. Things like "chump" and "perv" and stuff of that nature. No, I don't want to clean it off. Why? Because they'll all just write it again the next day. "Besides, you call me by a nickname, don't you? What's wrong with me giving you one?"

"Because Izumi to Izzi is a friendly nickname. It's just weird if you go from Taruhei to Tahei." I responded after I began to struggle to pry the tissues off of the padlock. Turns out the padlock wasn't covered in oil after all. It was covered in rubber cement. "It sounds too cutesy. That kind of a nickname is something only my girlfriend should call me."

"If you get a girlfriend." Izzi interjected as he looked the other way to avoid my vicious gaze. I was particularly sensitive about that subject, and Izumi knew it. Once he looked back, he saw how much I was struggling with my locker and leaned it a little closer to examine it. With a disgruntled look on his face, he looked over to me. "Want me to get the locker hammer?"

"Please." I sighed, collapsing on the floor exhausted and emotionally drained. Izumi proceeded to dial the padlock on the locker next to mine. This was his locker, and it had a hammer inside it that he kept in there for times like this. After he had finally managed to open it with a few failed tries at the combination. He opened it and reached inside for a small, dull, iron hammer attached to a wood handle.

"You know I totally forgot why you made me keep this thing in here until now." he chuckled as I hastily took the blunt object from him and stood myself up once more, bracing myself for a swing.

"Yeah, rubber cement is definitely a new one for the cheerleaders." I responded as I abruptly began to smash my padlock with the hammer in question. I would do this for about five minutes straight before smashing it into two separate pieces on the floor.

"What are you going to tell the guidance councilor when you request a new padlock?" Izumi curiously asked, tilting his head slightly as I bent down to grab my broken lock.

"I'll tell her that it got flushed down the toilet by the seniors. She'll believe that after what happened last week." I smiled as I clenched my fingers around the tissue-covered pieces now in my hand. I felt victorious over my adversaries and their little prank.

My name is Taruhei Asakawa. In case you didn't catch it by now, I'm quite literally the most hated person in all of Perch Point High. Why you ask? Well I can explain that.

You see, about a couple of years ago, I was crushing on this girl near the end of middle school. Yeah, it was a time filled with confusion, drama, and hair in the most unwanted places. Anyway, one day, near the end of the year, I tried confessing to this girl in a private location. She was on the cheerleader squad just as she is right now in high school. I know it was a crazy idea, but hey, I was young and... well...younger and foolish. Very... very foolish.

What I didn't know, however, was that this girl was already dating one of the biggest jocks to this very day. When she rejected me and told her boyfriend, well, let's just say this didn't sit right with him. He got all his friends to kidnap me the next day when school was about to start. Now I know you're already taking guesses as to where they put me, right? A trash can? My locker? The girl's locker room? Ding ding ding, we have a winner.

They barged in on the locker room when nobody was around, and they tossed me into a locker which they could tell was being used by someone. This of course was indicated by the shampoo, the towel, oh yeah, and the sports bra inside of it. Once they tossed me in and shut the door. I was practically trapped. The locker wasn't even fastened with a padlock, but regardless there was really no way to open it from the inside. At least an hour passed before I started to hear footsteps entering the room. I peeked out though the small holes of the locker trying to see what was there, a trickle of sweat running down my cheek and a steamy breath escaping my throat just barely. I heard a soft voice say only one thing that would seal my fate.

"Hang on guys, lemme grab my towel."

You know where I'm going with this right? Yeah, the girl who said that owned the locker I was in. She proceeded to open it, found me inside, and then she commenced the immense beating that I would receive soon after with a few remarks mixed in between each punch and kick to the groin such as "pervert!" and "geek!" and "I'm calling the cops!" you know, the usual. I swear, I got such a beat-down that day that my kids are going to inherit my bruises.

"Yeah, I remember now, that only happened a couple of years ago, right?" Izzi questioned as we continued down the hallway as the bell rang. That was our queue that the students were free to leave the school building now.

"Yeah, all the girls got to where they hated me and only though of me as a peeper. Eventually the rumors spread to all the guys in the school and basically everyone started making up rumors from there." I sighed, rubbing the back of my head and adjusting my backpack slightly as we walked. "I became the #1 target for that stuff, and what's worse is that I make it too easy for them by not even defending myself."

"That's gotta be rough man, I'm sorry." Izumi apologized. Izumi was the only guy in the school who would hang out with me after that incident two years ago. He was one of the friends that I had since kindergarten. I wasn't surprised that he wasn't phased by the incident. He was always cool like that. In fact, Izumi is a pretty cool person all around. He never complains when I ask him for money yet he nags me when I don't repay him. He doesn't mind me chilling at his house yet he does know when I overstay my welcome. He doesn't even whine when I ask him for help on homework yet every so often he forces me to do it myself. He's like the perfect friend. He's not a pushover yet he's not an uptight maniac. He's not strict yet not laid-back.

"Anyway, I did manage to get you something for your birthday. My parents visited Okinawa recently, and during their trip they got me this. I didn't really think I'd use it, but maybe you'd get a kick out of it." he continued as he stopped in the middle of the hall. I stopped in my tracks at the sound of a present. Izzi always gave out a decent present. He always knew what game I wanted, what manga volume I wanted, what amount of money I wanted, this was sure to not disappoint.

"What is it then? Come on hand it over!" I impatiently replied as he slid off his backpack and reached into it. He rustled around with it for only a few moments before gaining an expression of "aha!" and started to pull something out.

"Here it is." he smiled, reaching upwards and revealing my gift.

"Huh?"

It was a slit of paper. A small, rectangular slit of paper that was gently and slightly folded backward around each of it's sharp corners. The slit of paper precariously floated in mid air by a single strand of red threat. This thread was tied through a hole punched in the top of the paper and tied itself at each of it's ends. The paper rotated itself around slightly so I could see it's front. Curious Japanese wording was written on the front. Two symbols shown in plain sight. I looked closer at these symbols to read them.

"Yokubou... that's the Japanese kanji for the word 'desire'."

"What is it?" I inquired as I stared at the slit of paper, it continuously twirled about in the still air, which was at the very least odd.

"It's known as an amulet of avidity." Izzi explained, gently caressing the paper in his hand as he held it's string in the other. His backpack was on the floor now and his fingers motioned themselves from the string to the paper. "It's a wishing charm. Legend has it if your will is strong enough, it'll grant you a single wish under the full moon. A single wish no matter what it is, it'll always come true."

"That seems a little cliche doesn't it?" I disregarded, rubbing the back of my neck slightly at such a sketchy gift. "People only use those to express their desires. They rarely come true because of them."

"But it really does work!" Izzi protested, suddenly getting a bit agitated by my disconcerted attitude. He seemed like he was actually serious about this whole thing, which was rather odd to me because I hadn't seen Izzi serious about anything besides his own homework... which was more you could say from me.

I cautiously took the charm into my hands and curiously gazed at it. It wasn't really an impressive gift, which was, again, a first for Izzi. However, maybe this was a good thing after all. Not only did it show that Izzi wasn't completely materialistic, but it showed that he actually cared about me. Although... I probably would have preferred a video game. "So what are you going to wish for? Huh?" Izzi suddenly intruded from my thoughts. I shook my head slightly snapping myself back to reality to answer my friend's question. I couldn't help but think this over a little. What was I going wish for? A new bike? Money? Something else came to mind, but I didn't want to mention it.

"I don't know, I'll have to think it over." I sighed. I wasn't really going to think it over... or was I? To be honest I was having a dispute with myself as to take this seriously or not. On one hand wishing charms were a stupid superstition that only to gullible believed in. On the other hand if this charm actually did work it could make my life so much better. No more bullies, no more pranks, no more cheerleaders putting rubber cement on my locker. Ok that's it... I had to make a stupid wish on this thing.

"Don't think you can hide it from me. I know what you're going to wish for." Izzi smugly said with a slightly evil grin on his face. He his eyebrows jumped up and down at this like he knew me and had me all figured out like an unsolved mystery. "A girlfriend?"

A metaphorical stab to the heart, that's what Izzi just hit me with. It was a very sensitive subject that I didn't want many people to mention. Ever since I entered middle school practically all of the student population started pairing up. Boys the girls, cheerleaders to jocks, nerds to female nerds. You know the drill, right? Normally a guy like me would want a piece of that action, but no, instead every friday night I would end up over at Izzi's wasting the night away with endless rounds of Galactic Battles. My life sucks.

I immediately smacked Izzi upside the head for the mere mention of that subject. As I used my palm to strike the back of my friend's head with fierce rage and blind, momentary anger. Izzi let out a yip of pain as he hunched down and grasped the spot I hit him. With a slightly nervous giggle about him, he looked up with a half smile. With a weak voice, he responded to my blow with...

"I deserved that one."

"Are we still on for your house tonight?"

"Totally! I got everything prepared. I guess you're not even going to celebrate a little with your little sister?"

"Nah, she'll just make me do chores around the house and stuff. Maybe she'll even throw a single streamer up into the air and yell 'crappy birthday!"

"I still don't get why she hates you so much."

"The same reason everyone else hates me."

"Really?"

"Yeah, you know that locker the girls were in? She was in there too. After all she's only a year younger than me. She's totally just as convinced as everyone else."

"That must be rough."

"Why do you think I ask to be over at your house so much?"

Well anyway, now that school was out it was time for me to take my separate route over to my house. I was spending the night over at Izumi's for my birthday and I wanted to get there before my sister. God knows she's going to give me the guilt trip of leaving her all alone in the house and how she's going to get me in trouble with my parents. Like I cared though, she's only out to scare me and both of us knew it.

It was on my way out of school that I ran into some trouble though. Practically everyone evacuated from the building like there was a fire. If I didn't know any better I'd call the police or something to make sure there wasn't a criminal roaming the halls that everyone was running from. I was nearly alone on the slightly eerie grounds. Beyond the fence was my exit and to the left was my home. I was just about to go when...

"Well well well. What do we have here fellas?" I heard a familiar voice toll. I couldn't help but feel an instant form of depression that hit me like a baseball to the head... right before I got hit with a baseball in the head.

As this stupid piece of sports equipment collided with my skull, I started to remember who that voice belonged to. It was something that I usually heard before I got my head tossed in the trash can... at least I hope they were trash cans. I turned over to this incessant chatter that I finally recognized as one of the four wonders of Perch Point High. This person was none other than Shugi.

Shugi was known as "one of the four wonders of Perch Point High" in other words, he was one of four of the biggest, toughest guys in the whole school. He was also the most aggressive too. You couldn't go less than a month without getting a "visit" from this guy... and believe me, It's never just a "visit". Seeing this guy was enough to strike a punch of fear into me, and an even bigger punch to my legs which were vibrating noticably at this point.

"Um... he-he, hey Shugi, what's up?" I curiously asked as innocently as possible. I had nearly forgotten by this point that Shugi and the rest of his team had football practice. Him and his stupid-haircut friends. Seriously one of them had a mowhawk and another a really ugly bowl-cut. How they get all the ladies I'll never know.

"Come on Asakawa, you know you said you'd pay me today. You remember that soda I bought you at lunch? Time to pay up." Shugi threatened with his low, intense, and seemingly-friendly voice. Don't let it fool you though. Shugi is subtle with his threats, that's how he gets you. As he slightly adjusted his dark-blue varsity jacket he extended his hand over towards me.

"Uh... I don't remember anything like that, in fact you usually only take to me when you're going to mug me." I corrected. Just to let you all know, I totally knew he was using this soda thing as an excuse and he was just trying to get some cash out of me, but my brain was on panic mode and I didn't know what to say exactly. I tried to put on a good smile to stay on Shugi's good side, but that in itself is just impossible.

"Oh don't worry about it man, you don't have to remember, because I do. You know, that twenty-dollar soda that you got two weeks ago. I was all passing by and decided to buy it for you out of the goodness of my heart. Now it's your turn to pay me back." Shugi laughed. He was being very friendly which made me the most scared. Normally he'd be demanding his money by now which made me wonder when his top was going to blow. It was like having a bomb in the middle of a room with no timer on it and you in it. A constant state of panic was what I was feeling.

"Twenty-dollar soda? Wow, inflation sure is getting to us huh." I joked, trying to stall as I looked for a way out. The football field was on my left, but no, Shugi's gorilla gang would be there. To my left was the east exit to the school and the equipment shed. Maybe I could hide out there if I barricaded the door. No, I tried that two months ago and they locked me inside. What to do what to do, I was about to pay another visit to Miss Mohara, she's the nurse I go and see every time the jocks get a few "kicks" out of me.

"Hey! Leave him alone!"

A siren's voice sounded. The bell that would toll for me, and toll for me to get the heck out of here. Someone that I didn't quite recognize the voice of. Which is odd since I've heard practically every girl's voice when they kick me and call me names. This was new though, new and fresh. A sudden wind burst through the air, carrying the faint scene of lilac. A few girls I know use that same shampoo. I started to turn to see my guardian angel. I'll admit at first I thought it was going to be Izzi, he's the only person I know of who would dare to go up against Shugi for my sake, and it certainly wasn't my little sister. She's just as bad as the others... "Pick on someone your own size!" she uttered. As I carefully turned around subtlety, I found who was rescuing me.

It was someone donning my school uniform, the girl's uniform actually, but it did belong to Perch Point High. The wine-red, plaid skirt started to rustle slightly in this newfound wind, and a bow of a similar shade of red swayed back and forth against her egg-white blazer. Long, brown hair swayed in the whisking air; eyes of genuine and slightly empathic fury covered her beautiful, chocolate brown eyes.

"Butt out Ayaka! This punk is getting what's coming to him." Shugi excused nearly ignoring the damsel trying to defend me. Shugi proceeded to grab my shirt and draw back his fist, I closed my eyes bracing myself for impact, but that was mostly a force of habit. What I didn't know would happen was what happened next. I felt a slight tug on my shirt to the right, and suddenly no tug at all. It was like someone had let go of me and tossed me to the ground. With a hard impact to my rear, I opened my eyes to enlighten myself on what was going on. The girl from before stood slightly to my right, while Shugi was hunched over in a subtle way to the left.

"I said no! People don't deserve to be treated like that. How would that make you feel if someone tried to take money from you by force. Wouldn't that make you feel helpless, insecure, or... I don't know... nerdy?"

"That does it. This girl is an angel."

"You lucked out this time Asakawa, believe that I'll be back tomorrow." Shugi threatened as he began to walk off-scene. The girl loosened her current stance and looked over to me, bending down making sure to situate her skirt correctly for doing so. She stared at me blankly like she was examining me. After only a moment of silence, she delicately smiled and spoke.

"Are you alright? That must have been rough. Do you need help getting up?" she genuinely asked. I couldn't believe this. I was awe-struck, no, shocked, no all of the above that I was getting this kind of treatment from a girl... a girl from my school.

I could only nod, my mouth refused to move until my brain could fathom what was going on. Maybe she was going to help me up so she could kick me down. No, she helped me up and didn't kick me. That was a first. She stood awkwardly as we both stood on the middle of the school-yard. The girl scratching her head and looking around uncomfortably as I stared directly at her, watching just in case she did in fact want to kick me. "Um... yeah... I'll cya later." she responded afterwards, and started to walk off campus. I didn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. There was no possible way for me to...

"Believe it."

I could only walk home afterwards. Well, not really home, I decided to go directly to Izzi's house since I had wasted so much time at school. Who cares what my little sister would say. I'd get in trouble either way if I told her or not so I might as well go the easier way. Besides, Izzi had a phone so I could call her if I felt generous enough. Oh who am I kidding, I'm too much of a sucker to not call her. I don't know why I try, but I do, and she lets me down each time. You'd think I'd learn by now, but no.

Fast forwarding to Izzi's house at approximately 11:30 at night. Izzi and I had a cool party filled with chips and soda and galactic battles of epic proportions, but unfortunately it was a school night, and Izzi had a bedtime. After a little convincing from Izzi's mother, I got to spend the night and go to school with Izzi in the morning. I was currently in a sleeping bag, hands behind my head staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night. I couldn't get to sleep for some reason. Maybe it was because it was my birthday, maybe it was because of that girl at school, maybe it was because I managed to drink six cans of Mt. Fizz in one night. Who knows, maybe all three. Anyway, I was lying awake in the slightly lit-up room. I only had the light of the moon to give me partial night vision, which was enough to count the specs on the ceiling.

"Which I have done four times now."

I turned to the side and looked up slightly to stare up Izzi's dresser. Izzi was sound asleep about a foot above me in his own bed as I slept at the foot of it beneath him. I sat up in my sleeping bag slightly to grab a photo I noticed was on the dresser.

It was a photo that I remembered all too well. It was me and Izzi about three or four years ago before everyone started hating on me. Izzi and I were still closer than ever and the carnival was in town. We managed to go four consecutive rides on the mountain thrasher roller coaster without barfing our lunch. I was the first to do so, which forced ten bucks out of me over to Izzi because that's what he betted. He knew me too well at that time, and he still does. That's what makes him such a reliable person. The photo was of him and I leaning on each other's shoulders, giving a peace sign with our free arms and winking into the camera. A slightly noticeable sickly feeling to my skin. I was partially sick nearly the rest of that day after that roller coaster bet. Izzi really was close to me, we'd been best friends for I don't know how long anymore. This got me to thinking about that one girl from school, the one who saved me from Shugi. That one girl, what was her name.

"Shugi called her Ayaka. That must be her name."

Ayaka, the name of an angel, at least that's what I thought at the time. To be honest it's hard to recall everything that happened during that time, but I do remember feeling safe in her presence, which was rare with any girl I came across. With other girls I had a constant sense of danger, but with her... it was more like a sense of serenity. Could this be fate? No, I don't believe in fate. Love? I barely know what that stuff is. It's not like I've had practice with it. Coincidence? Maybe, just maybe that could be it. It was a really awesome coincidence at that. This got me thinking as to how little I know about love in general. I mean I thought I knew love two years ago when I was crushing on that cheerleader, but that didn't last long before her boyfriend shoved me in a locker and ruined my entire high school life. I wasn't exactly sure what love was. Where it came from, how it happened, what exactly it is. I didn't know any of it. However, I'd give everything I had to experience it. Just once, even for a few seconds. If I felt it I knew I could understand it. That got me thinking to one thing.

"The wishing charm."

I instantly sat up from my sleeping bag and directly behind me to see the window. The moon was completely full. Now was my chance. I only had a shot at it, but if it did it's job, it would be completely worth it. I slipped out of my bag like a caterpillar and creeped over to my backpack sitting in the bedroom corner, digging out Izzi's birthday present to me out of one of it's side pockets. Bingo, I felt it in my hand, and thrusted it out of the pocket to stare. For some reason, it was slightly different than I had remembered. Was there always a hot-pink boarder around the sides of the paper? I didn't remember, and I didn't care. I was hell-bent on making my wish tonight while the conditions were met. Now if I knew my japanese folklore correctly, you were suppose to place the paper between your hands in a praying gesture. Look up at the moon, close your eyes and make your wish aloud. Maybe you were suppose to say it three times, I wasn't sure, but I didn't want to take the chance so I did the three times thingy.

I placed my hands in a praying gesture, making sure to situate the paper between my hands like a sandwich. I stared at the especially bright moon tonight. Was it always this bright? I didn't remember, and I still didn't care. As I gazed upon it's silvery luster, I closed my eyes, bowed my head, and meditated on my wish. My crossed legs fidgeting slightly since I had positioned my foot on top of the sleeping bag's zipper, and it kinda stung.

Screw the locker defense system, screw the money, screw the new bike, screw everything. I knew that if this wish would come true, I wouldn't need any of that crap. I could stand the bullying, I could stand the pranks, I could withstand it all as long as I had this one wish.

"I wish for true, unconditional love." I muttered softly, making sure Izzi wouldn't hear me. I took a moment to open one of my eyes to see if he was indeed still sleeping. I wouldn't want him to start laughing after he found out what I was wishing for. God knows Izzi was a good friend but he would still do that. "I wish for true, unconditional love. I wish for true, unconditional love."

I made sure to add the "true" and "unconditional" part to the wish since I didn't want this to turn into a situation where I would be cheated because I worded the wish incorrectly. You know, like how a guy wishes to be the ruler of the world and then he turns into a ruler used for measurement. Or how a guy wishes for a million bucks and then is suddenly handed a bag full of money that was stolen... which just so happens to be a million bucks. Nu-uh, not on my watch. I was getting the wish I wanted and that was that. I hoped that this wish would get that one girl who saved me today to like me. Then again I guess I should have wished for her to like me specifically. Oh well, I already made the wish, no turning back now. I guess I dozed off or something after that, because I don't remember much of anything else. I only remember that I was disappointed because nothing immediately happened after I made my wish. No glowing, no flash of light, no nothing. I ended up tossing the charm aside and getting back into my sleeping bag.

I woke up the next morning in a bit of a daze. For some reason my head was slightly aching, my body was a little heavier than usual, and I also remember waking up in an uncomfortable position. I ended up sleeping on my back, which was horrible considering I was a side-sleeper. However, as the sun's beam dotted down on my face from the window and blinded me to no end, something was off. I woke myself up and tried to move around. Everything was there, and my neck wasn't stiff or anything, but something was still off.

"Why is my arm so heavy?"

my left arm was unusually stiff. Either that or just plain heavy. This really didn't make much sense since it was just my arm, so I decided to investigate. I started to situate my free arm around to unzip my sleeping bag, and once this was done, I promptly pulled the covers from on top of myself and looked down at my unmovable arm. I gasped, my jaw unhinged itself from the sheer awe.

There was Izzi, my best friend, huddling against my arm. His own arms wrapped around it like it was a blankie or a stuffed toy that you sleep with. He looked so comfortable with it too, he looked so relaxed as he blissfully slept while cuddling my left arm. As the sun hit his face without covers to protect him. His face twitched slightly as he started to wake up. With a yawn of enervation and a set of slowly, tiredly, lazy eyes carefully opening themselves. Izzi freed one of his arms from hugging my own to rub out some junk from his eye. You know, the stuff you usually wake up with.

"Morning Tahei, you're up early." he moaned as he apparently didn't realize where he was. My jaw managed to slightly come back towards the top of my mouth a little as the awe was starting to ware off.

"Don't call me Tahei."

That was what I was about to say before I realized that wasn't the point. The point was Izzi was in my bed.. er.. sleeping bag, hugging my arm and sleeping dangerously close to me. I gulped, totally speechless for about a full minute as Izzi tried to wake himself up. I gave up and had to ask.

"Um... Izzi."

"Huh? Yeah?"

"Why are you sleeping right next to me hugging my arm?"

"Huh?" he moaned, rubbing a little more stuff out of his eyes before looked down to see his arms coiled around mine. He tilted his head slightly like he was trying to remember when he did this. He smiled subtlety, and looked over towards me with the same smile and yet somewhat tired eyes. "Oh yeah, that's an easy one."

"Well..." I signaled, waiting for his answer. Izzi only responded by laying back down as if he was about to go to sleep again, he looked up at me with a fully-awake face, gave me a smile, and responded with...

"It's because I love you... silly."

I instantly froze. A chill raced it's way up and down my spine three times over. My expression was motionless until my eye began to twitch. Only one word came to mind.

"What..."

What.

"WHAT!"