A/N: So I'm back with another "Life" installment in my series (If you haven't read the previous ones, don't worry. This is story is not related to the others). This time around I'm going drive my focus towards the same feel the first and the second one had (or at least try =D). I will admit that the third one didn't feel as it lived up to my own personal expectations. It didn't really feel as though it reached its full potential. With this one, I'm going to take it nice and slow; that means no set upload schedule unfortunately. The upload won't be as consistent really (that's one of the pay offs for this choice). Also I'm going to explain why I but a numerical number beside my Life stories if they aren't sequels to one another. Answer is simple, it's to show the order they were written in. Plus it will also show how my growth as a writer developed X) (hopefully). Also, after this one, I'm going to take a break from writing these long "Life" stories. Because I've officially run out of topics to write on, but fear not for I will not stop writing these life stories lol. There is still the "Life oneshots" which I will continue as long as I continue to expand my views on different aspects to life. After this one is done; I will be starting another series I've had in mind for quite a while now, but ONLY after I finish this story. Thanks to all the long time "Life" series readers. I really appreciate all your reader ship and I really appreciate all the feedback you humble readers give me =). Thanks and enjoy this brand new installment


Life IV: Bonds of Life

-1- Fading Bonds

They sky wears an atmosphere of gloom, clouds settles in. Long hair blows in the chilling breeze, the slim shoulders of a girl shake with the cold breeze. She stares up at the sky standing in a short grassy field; she stares up at the sky as a distant bell rings. School is over, after school clubs begin as the football team rushes past her. They begin their practice and she walks off to the side benches, walking out of their way. She looks at each of them, active, fit and so filled with life in their passion for football. The image of the boy rushes past her mind as she remembers his brown, partially spiky hair sticking out to his right side. The boy's facial feature, his dark brown eyes, a strong yet soft face; one that of someone looking for a chance, a chance for change. She shakes the thoughts out of her head as she knows now that he is but a distant shell now. Her connections with him, her bonds with him were slowly disappearing away. And all she wanted to do was to walk back into time and fix that one mistake of her, so that she could prevent their bonds from ever weakening, so that their lives could continue like they used to be. Tears swell in her eyes as she rests her head against her hands, closing her eyes and letting them fall out. 'Why did it all turn out like this? I should've been there, I should've stood my ground' are the thoughts which race through the girl's head as the tears race down her cheeks. And one boy stands witness to this all standing and watching from afar. He sees a girl in despair and regret, he sees the friend who once tried to keep him on the clean path to life; but the darker path won in the end, and their connection, their bonds began to weaken. The boy begins to make his way towards the girl.

She sits there crying suddenly interrupted by the firm grip of the boy on her shoulders. He lays his coat around her shoulders, a warm gesture from a somewhat cold friend to the girl. "What are you doing here by yourself Nakami?" asks the boy.

"Nothing" replies Nakami wiping away her tears in a hurry. Yet she craved for more tears to escape, she craved for this heavy sadness to escape her along with all her tears.

"Doesn't look like nothing to me" again speaks the boy as he wipes a falling tear from Nakami's cheek.

"Why would you care Katsuo?" asks the girl as the Katsuo sits down beside her. He moves in a little closer to her letting their shoulders touch. A touch she once didn't mind was now a distant feeling, now these actions of kindness were no longer of a friend but of a stranger to Nakami. "I just wanted to talk to you Nakami, is that wrong?"

Nakami looks towards the football team now hard at work. She nods yes; she thinks it's wrong, she thinks it's wrong to continue on any further like this. "And why is it wrong?" asks Katsuo.

"Because there is nothing left...there is nothing left between us. Our connection we once bore is now fading, everything is going downhill."

"Our connection...yeah...maybe it is fading" replies Katsuo putting Nakami a bit on the edge. "Why did our connection begin to fade?" asks Katsuo.

Nakami is quiet.

"Was it because of something I did?"

Nakami is quiet.

"Probably something I did, righ-" and Nakami interrupts Katsuo saying, "No, it was something I couldn't do."

"What?" asks Katsuo in confusion.

"I couldn't stand by your side, instead I ran away. I ran away leaving you for the sharks, I ran to save myself and abandoned you, I am the reason...that our connection is fading" Nakami speaks in silence as a new tear falls down her cheek. "But I also made my choice that put you in this position" speaks Katsuo reaching for Nakami's hand. He takes a gentle hold of it as he puts his other hand on top of hers, slowly moving it up to his face and pressing it against his cheek."What are you doing?" asks Nakami trying to resist, her strength fails her as she also yearns for his touch. "Why is it connections make us who we are today? Why?" asks Katsuo leaving Nakami without words, she has no response.

"Do you know Nakami?" asks again Katsuo.

Nakami nods no, Katsuo releases her hand as she retrieves it immediately. "It's because, without our connections to others, there will be no bonds, and without bonds, we can't even begin to fathom the lonely life we could lead" speaks Katsuo. The boy now turns to face the girl, "You reached out to me, and I reached out to you, we both made a connection. So why don't we get that bond back? Why do we hesitate?" asks Katsuo.

Nakami thinks about the questions Katsuo posed and says, "Because we're just...we're just humans". Katsuo looks away from Nakami out towards the practicing football team and then asks, "But why is our nature so? Why is human nature so full of imperfections? It caused the downfall of our bond; it causes the weakening of our connections..."

"It just is" replies Nakami and a moment of silence settles in between them. "I wish...I just wish I could go back in time and change what happened between us" says Nakami.

"Don't we all? I wish so to" replies back Katsuo thinking, 'Had I made any other choice than the one I made that night, will things have been different? Had I chosen to break my connections with Aimi-chan on the first day we met, would Nakami and I have ended up like this?' yet Nakami wonders her own thoughts of what could've been different and how things could've occurred differently. She looks back in time pondering her time with Katsuo together to the present.

One year ago.

The sound of the bus roared in Nakami's ears as it approached a group of students neatly dressed in their school dress. The boys and the girls go on as so did Nakami, going to the near back of the bus taking a seat. The ride was somewhat long having no one to talk to, having no one to listen to. It was her first day of junior high school. All her other friends went onto different junior high schools than her; leaving her in a school filled with complete strangers. The bus rode on for a few more stops before reaching its destination. The massive number of students got off quickly rushing into the building, a huge line up was present in the main hallway, everyone was checking their classroom numbers they were assigned. Nakami checked hers and quickly made her way for the entrance ceremony into the gymnasium. The seats were arranged into proper order; each class had a specific spot of the gym reserved for them. She made her way towards her class's spot taking a vacant seat beside a boy. He sat still as a rock, not moving one bit, only breathing like a human would. The boy seemed nervous, Nakami picked up on the fact he was the shy type right away. These types of people were normally shy of the opposite gender, making it harder for them to socialize with them. Nakami in a sense felt like she wanted to reach out her hand offering it to the boy and say "Hi" to him, but she sat still in her own thoughts. The principle came up to give his welcome speech and one that of expectations the school has of each student present. The students then clapped as the principle finished his speech, at the end of the opening ceremonies, every student got up giving a respectful bow to the staff and faculty of the school as they returned it. The students rushed towards their lockers, it was a whole new world for Nakami, seniors running about to get to their classes. Other students loitering in the hallways only to be scolded at and rushed to their classes, while some would be searching their lockers for the materials they need for the next class and some would simply carry everything in their bags. Nakami preferred to keep her materials in her locker, less strain on her body and she was quick enough to get the materials she needed for her classes.

The school bell rang, homeroom starts.

Everyone got up and gave a bow to the teacher as she entered the classroom, greeting everyone a good morning. They all sat back down and she began to write on the board of what is expected of each student in the class, the classroom rules, the amount of homework students can expect, what their homeroom would normally cover and finally the upcoming election for class president. Nearly every student's feature lit up at the sight of class president, it was an authority of near absolute power over other students in their class and so many aimed for it. While there were some who wanted the power to abuse, there were others who wanted the power to help and some existed amongst the student body who didn't care about the position at all. Following the position of the class president, there was the vice-president of the class; which would normally be awarded to the runner up in the votes for the class president. The only downside for this system was that for first years in Junior high, the teacher picked out two students who would compete out of the class rooster. Meaning the freedom for anyone to compete was restricted until their second year, anyone lucky enough to be picked would also have higher expectations from everyone to fulfill. The teacher took out the class rooster taking a look over it and examining it carefully. The rooster contained the name and the picture of the students, she skimmed her fingers over two random pictures shouting out their names. Everyone held their breath in anticipation, their hearts beating fast on the edge to the point that it was hurting their chest due to all the build up. The teacher opened her mouth to speak when everyone took in a deep breath.

"Nakami Tetsyuo and Katsuo Reika will be the two students to compete for the class president position this year" spoke the teacher as everyone's face fell in disappointment. "Will Nakami-san and Katsuo-san please stand up and show yourselves to the class." and every student immediately started looking around searching for the two. Nakami rose from her seat feeling several stares being directed at her, then she also looked around for her competitor, Katsuo.

The rest of the students looked around as well and the teacher again called Katsuo's name only to get a response a few minutes later. A boy started to slowly and shyly rise from his chair, the same boy who sat beside Nakami in the opening ceremony is the boy who is her competition. Everyone threw him a weird glance picking up on his shyness and then looked at Nakami as though they had already chosen their class president at first glance. Katsuo now stood looking down at his desk and then up at Nakami, she smiled at the boy holding out her hand towards him, "Let's do our best" spoke Nakami as the boy who once hesitated, finally reached out for her hand grabbing a hold of it gently and shaking it. The boy and the girl stand staring at one other; the girl standing with high hopes, and the boy with secrets of despairing past.