Thanks to my readers especially to Aruzen, Anigal201, arcticflames, aznistic, MuseErato and george w. bush for saying that you think I should continue this fic.

Being accused of plagiarism really sucks bad. I honestly say that this is an original work of fiction.

This chapter's for you guys.

Chapter 7: namie : traces of the unknown

I headed for my room straight after dinner. I just didn't feel like talking to Dash.

During the meal, he was cheerful but I could see that it was forced. I let him ramble on until he eventually ran out of things so say. I mean, how long could one go on about the weather?

We sat there in silence, eating our noodles and watching the television. There was no other sound expect for the occasional buzz when I switched the channels mentally.

"It's funny." He spoke but I didn't bother to turn around. "He likes Autumn but she happens to like Isaki."

Looks like Dash got rejected too.

"I'm done. Good night." I told him as I dumped the bowl into the bin.

I locked the door after me and threw myself down on the bed. I could hear Dash moving around in the kitchen, the sound of running water as he washed the dishes and the inevitable crash when he dropped a plate.

He is such a useless person, why can't he just wash up without breaking anything for once? Granted he did just save my life back there but still I can't help but feel a slight irritation towards his cowardliness.

Dash always runs away when faced with a confrontation. Kit plays him for a fool all the time and even when Isaki's jock buddies bully him, he just lets it happen.

Of all the million in this country, why do I have to be linked to him? Did I forget to mention that when Dash 'created' me, he unintentionally set up a link between the both of us? That's right, if he dies, I cease to exist too.

Don't ask me why, blame the piece of screwed up machinery he was building. In his enthusiasm, he overloaded the circuit and blew the whole thing up thus I was born.

Actually, no, I have no clue as to how I was created, that's just my theory on it but one thing I am sure of is that I don't belong to this world.

We walked to school together the next morning. It was a dark morning with grey clouds dominating the vast sky; I guess it would rain today.

"Hurry up Dash, I don't want to get wet!"

He didn't hear me as he marched on. "Dash?" He was looking ahead intensely and deep lines ran across his brow.

"Dash?" I touched his arm and he snapped out of his daze and smiled. "Hai?"

"Could you walk a little faster? It looks like its gonna rain anytime soon."

"Sure." Another smile and then he was lost in his thought again.

You've noticed that I've started calling him by his first name now, after the incident yesterday, it some how seems more appropriate.

He did save me after all.

We made it to school just in time to avoid the rain and guess who was the first person we saw? Dash's darling.

"Hi." She said, smiling brightly at us.

Dash was his usual overly polite self.

I scowled at her.

Autumn glanced at the windows "Lucky you guys didn't get caught in the rain."

"Not everyone has their own personal chauffeur." I said in a rather loud voice as Dash hastily dragged me away but not before he told Autumn that I was joking.

He pulled me behind a row of shoe lockers and hissed "Can't you at least try to be nice?"

"Being nice wasn't exactly on my to do list today." I replied coldly, glaring at him.

Just then, Isaki arrived leaving a trail of water as he walked.

"Isaki, I need to talk to you." I heard Dash say. He pulled the very wet Isaki into the closest bathroom.

I folded my arms and counted to three. On reaching three, there was a yell followed by Dash and Isaki scrambling out of the bathroom. It so happened that was the girls bathroom.

He pushed Isaki into an empty classroom and slid the door shut. As if that was going to keep me away.

I went up to the door quietly and slid it open a crack so that I could look inside.

Isaki was sitting on the edge of the teacher's deck and squeezing the water out of his clothes onto the floor. Dash was standing stiffly before him and his expression was grave. It must have been

something Dash said for I saw Isaki's jaw fall open and then he shook his head. He clasped Dash on the shoulder and Dash, he-

What the hell is he doing?

That baka was kneeling in front of Isaki and bowing!

Isaki too, was as stunned as I was as I saw him try to pull Dash up at once.

I pressed my ear to the door and I caught the words 'Onegai shimasu' being repeated over and over again.

Isaki sighed, "Okay, okay, I'll ask her out, please get up."

On hearing that, I understood what Dash was doing. He was begging Isaki to ask Autumn out. He had given up all his pride to pled with his friend just to make her happy.

What an idiot! I snorted and left before they discovered my eavesdropping.

Really Dash, I wonder if you have any self-respect at all.

School went as usual though I noticed that Autumn was smiling to herself throughout class. Isaki must have asked her out already.

Kit was stealing glances at Autumn so I threw an eraser at him.

It wasn't mine though; it belonged to the girl beside me and she wasn't angry with me. In fact, she even thanked me for giving her the opportunity to talk to Kit.

After the last bell, I walked home alone. I didn't wait for Dash; I didn't know what to say to him after witnessing the incident earlier.

Without him dragging along behind, I reached the apartment pretty fast. I was climbing the stairs home when the pervert (Yup, the same one that I pulled the prank on) came out of his apartment.

"You girl, you tricked me!" He snarled as he approached me.

I stood my ground; he obviously didn't know how strong I was.

"The drink you gave me made me so sick I couldn't go to work for a week!" He less than a metre away and drooling all over the floor.

"How do you intend to make it up to me?" He leered; he was only a foot away from me now.

I clenched my hand slowly, pondering where I could hit him. The nose would have be good but then I didn't want to kill me. The eye? Hmm, that's a good spot.

He lunged for me but just as I was about to deliver the blow, an arm shot out and shoved him back roughly.

"Leave her alone." He growled, positioning himself between the pervert and me like a barrier.

I was honestly astonished.

I have never seen Dash like that before.

His eyes were smouldering with rage and I felt an fearsome aura radiated from him. He was drenched from head to toe and even his bag was soaked.

At the moment, I totally adored him.

Defeated, the pervert slunk back into his apartment but not before hurling curses at us.

"Are you okay?" He asked, looking at me with concern.

I could only nod.

Was this the same Dash that I had been living with for the past months?

Back home, he went into his room. No doubt he had to be changing out of his wet clothes.

I sat on the couch, staring in the direction he went. That's twice he saved me. Yeah, I know I had total control of the situation back there but still...

Maybe I was mistaken, maybe Dash isn't the coward I thought he was.

Well, I guess I should thank him. Though I was perfectly capable of defending myself.

I stood up and walked over to his door, not bothering to knock, I pushed it open and entered his room.

His jacket hung limply on a chair while his shirt was on the floor. His back was facing and he dried his hair with a towel.

I approached him silently and then I saw it.

On the small of his back, he had a tattoo. It was some sort of symbol with flowing arcs cascading down his back bone and ending in a bolt shaped curve.

I reached out cautiously to touch it and then I drew back. Entranced, I took in the curves of the tattoo and once more, my hand reached out.

I touched his skin lightly and he jumped.

"Don't move." I whispered, tracing the lines slowly with a finger. He shivered and I knew it wasn't from the cold.

I removed my hand and he turned to me. He eyed me curiously, holding the towel in front of his body shyly.

"Who exactly are you?" I asked, not sure anymore if I knew the person standing before me.

He smiled crookedly, brushing his damp hair away from his face "I'm Dash."

From the day I met him, I don't think I ever knew the real Dash until now.

For the first time, I've seen the man inside and you know what?

I think I have a crush on him.

To be cont'd.