Authors notes: Finally the fic comes to an end..And not throughout the whole thing is there even one hamburger mentioned.. *L* I know I have serious mental issues but that's what makes me a half decent writer.. ^-^ Anyways, read on and let me know what you think of it!

The Devil And The Hamburger In My Bed
Chapter 3
By Chibi Nuriko

"Juri?" I hear Shiori's soft voice calling from outside my door following a few soft knocks. As I look over at my clock I notice I've completely overslept. I silently curse myself for not being awake and ready to take Shiori out as I had promised. I only hope she's not too disappointed in me.

When I open my door I find that I almost immediately get lost in her eyes. "Gomen nasai," I softly say as she wraps her arms around me tightly. "I had a hard time sleeping last night and I guess I slept a little later than I was supposed to ne?"

"It's okay," she assures me. "We can always just go out some other time if you'd like." The disappointment was evident in her voice as she said that.

"Well if you can just give me a few minutes to get dressed we could go for a walk or something. I mean since I don't have anything to do until fencing practice." I notice I still feel shy around her, almost as if I'm scared to say something wrong all the time. When the smile returns to her lips I relax and bend down to kiss her. Knowing that she was actually looking forward to being with me, and that I'm the one making her smile fills me with a sense of euphoria.

I dig through my dresser looking for something half decent to wear. I notice Shiori is laying on my bed now and I'm tempted to crawl back into bed and simply lay with her all day. I walk towards her and kiss her deeply before disappearing into the bathroom to change. I'm not exactly why the idea of changing in front of her embarrasses me so much but I still feel uncomfortable with it.

When I’m finished changing she stands up from my bed and looks at me approvingly. The smile on her face is almost predatory as if she’s about to devour me at any moment. Not wanting to take things too fast with her I fight the urge to tackle her down onto my bed. “You ready?” I ask as she takes my hand in her own and leads me out the door.

I was very surprised that she didn’t take her hand from my own as we got into the student courtyard. I figured she would try her best to hide that we were together, but I was glad she didn’t. If she had no problem with people seeing us walking around holding hands than she must really be serious about me this time. When I finally come out of my thoughts I realize the silence between us if very awkward. There’s so many thing I want to ask her but I’m still too scared to push her away from me. I’m not ready to loose her yet.

”A penny for your thoughts?” she looks up at me curiously. She must have realized how lost in thought I was.

”It’s nothing really. I was just thinking about our past and everything that led us up to this point. Mostly how glad I am to finally have you after all these years.” I reply leaving out the darker details of my thoughts.

”Do you really want to know why I have always been so mean to you?” she takes me by surprise as she says that. She points over to an old tree and we sit down under it. I lean against the trunk of the tree and she sits in front of me and lies back against me.

”Where did that come from?” I ask as I wrap my arms around her waist pulling her closer to me.

”I figure you’ve probably been wondering how I can go from being so mean to you, to being your girlfriend so I thought you might want an explanation.” I feel her rest her head on my shoulder and when she doesn’t get any response from me she continues. “Ruka was always head over heels in love with you. When you and him we’re together I was horribly jealous that my best friend took the guy that I was in love with. I had no idea at the time how you felt about me. I never knew the extent of your love until Ruka told me before his death. I was always jealous of you and I wanted to take everything that made you so great from you. You had Ruka, you became the captain of the fencing team, you were always so tuff and in control. I wanted to be like you but I always fell short. I was nothing in comparison to you. I thought I could break you, and then people would finally pay some attention to me.”

I can feel my mouth going dry and my mind hardly wants to believe what it’s just been told. Shiori was jealous of me? She thinks I was tuff when I spent all my time hurting and doting on her? She thought I had everything and I had nothing! All that stuff, it never mattered to me. There was only one thing I’ve ever wanted, and now she’s here in my arms.

”I don’t know why you wanted any part of my life Shiori. I was never anything but fake until now. I wasn’t tuff or strong, at least not emotionally. If you wanted all that stuff, all you had to do was ask. You’re all I’ve ever wanted.”

”I know that now,” she says meekly. “After he died I realized all that. I finally knew you would be the one to love me, and that you would give me everything I could ever want. It was never a competition to you like it was to me. You never tried to be better than me, you were just better because you never lost sight of yourself as I did. I let my fears and insecurities blind me, but now I know everything I didn’t before.”

I didn't say anything to her after that. We sat there in comfortable silence while everything she told me sunk in. A part of me didn't believe what she was saying but it didn't matter. I was so desperate for her she could have told me she was the Devil and I wouldn't have cared. So I did the only thing I could think to do. I wraped my arms around her and held her as tight as I could in hopes that she'd never leave me.

Eventually I realized I still had to go to my fencing practice though I was almost ready to say to hell with it. I didn't want to end my time here with her. I just wanted to sit here with her in this one perfect moment, the one I've looked forward to all my life. But unfortunatly as captain of the team I couldn't just skip practice to be with my girlfriend.

"Hey, I gotta get back so I can change for practice," I whisper softly in her eye. I watch as her eye close and I can hear her whimper slightly when I loosen my hold on her. After a minute she reluctantly stands and offers her hand to help me up. I take hold of it, but not to help me stand. "Will you come watch me?" I ask as we begin our walk back to my appartment.

"I'd be glad to," she squeeze's my hand in a manner that's meant to comfort me. Yes, I truely am lucky to have been given this chance. I don't know why but I found myself sending a silent 'thanks' to whoever may have been listening.

Much to my dismay we return to my appartment much, much too soon. I lean against the wall not ready to leave her company just yet even though I know I'll see her again shortly at practice. She moves closer to me and wraps her arms around my waist and rests her head on my chest. "Your heart's beating so fast Juri," she softly says.

"It's all because of you. When the girl I love gets close to me it gets like that." I reply as I tilt my head forward to look at her. Out of the corner of my eye I see one of her friends walking down the hall so I'm hesitant to kiss her like I'm desperate to do. But she looks up and when she sees the desire in my eyes she simply pulls me down and presses her lips firmly to mine in a mind blowing kiss. When we part I think I hear her whisper 'I love you' to me but I'm feeling so weak in the knees I can't be sure of anything.

"You should go get dressed for practice now," she smiles as she softly pushes me into my door knowing that my brain isn't really functioning properly at the moment. I just nod kind of dumbly and eventually I manage to close the door behind me. I lean against it heavily trying to regain my composure but I'm quickly brought out of my stupor when I hear her voice on the other side. I know it's wrong to be listening in to what she's saying but I can't help it.

"I can't believe you just kissed her!" I hear a voice, which I'm assuming belongs to her friend I saw just seconds ago, say.

"Why are you making such a big deal of it?" I hear her reply and a slight smile forms on my lips. She's really not denying it.

"You kissed her!" The voice said again.

"I thought we already covered that," Shiori snaps at her friend. 'Thats my girl,' I think as I smiled proudly.

"Are you really serious about her this time or are you just using her again?" There's a long pause here and I get kind of nervous. 'Please God don't let her say she's using me again,' I think to myself. But the silence gives it away before she says anything. If she were serious it wouldn't take her so long to answer would it? 'No...No...No,' is the only thing running through my mind now. Who cares if I live in denial? I just heard her say she loves me a minute ago so I have every right to be in denial...right?

"Of course I'm just using her," I hear her whisper. It's so soft and sounds as if it pains her to say it. Please God let this be a joke. I think she's saying something else now but it's to late. I'm lost again. It's gone to fast. Where'd my happy stupor go?

I fall to the floor clutching my fists, daring the tears to fall. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe she didn't mean to say that. Practice. Right, I have to get ready for practice. And she'll be there waiting for me, smiling, and telling me she loves me. She'll make it all better. Yes denial is good. Denial is my friend.


Have I ever told you what a bitch denial is? I guess it only sticks around long enough to make you think you have some hope, to lift your spirits just enough, so when you fall flat on your face and your world shatters it only hurts a million times more. She never showed up at my practice. Hell it's been a month and she hasn't shown up anywhere. But its okay, because amazingly enough now that I'm not in denial anymore things are looking up again.

'I always believed that only a miracle could make her love me. I've spent so many years hoping she would one day be with me. When I realized she could never love me I cursed myself for believing I finally found my miracle. Looking back on it now, that day when my heart shattered, I realize that's just what I found though I was too blind to see it at the time. Wether she actually did or didn't love me will always be a mystery to me but I've learned the most important lesson from it all.'

I stop writing briefly and look around my room at nothing in particular. I feel pretty silly for writing my thoughts into a journal, but then I know my journal is the only thing that can't mock me for being such an idiot all these years. Before I let myself get too lost in thought I pick my pen back up and continue writing.

'I've learned that there's a time to move on and let go of the past. It's time for me to let go of Shiori. I'm thankful for the little time I did have with her but now I know I can't spend my life in love with her. Actually, I realize it wasn't her I was in love with but the image of perfection I had created for her in my mind.'

I place my pen on the desk as I feel tears streaming down my cheeks. Slowly I remove the locket I've worn around my neck for all these years. Opening it up to reveal the picture of Shiori I slowly trace my thumb over it before finishing my writing.

'Now as I sit here crying I can smile through the tears because I know it's the last time I will cry over her. Miracles do exist and it doesn't take the Rose Bride to harness the power of them. My miracle was finally letting go. While it's still hard to move on from the pain I've felt all these years I know I'll be just fine. It's almost as if I'm reborn and able to breathe for the first time in my life. I'll never forget what I have learned from this, and now I am free.'

When I close my journal my attention goes back to the picture inside the locket. The picture of a girl that dominated my life for way too long. "Goodbye Shiori," I whisper as I close the locket and let it fall, knowing I'll never open it again.

As I crawl into bed I find myself thanking whoever it is out there once more for giving me the strength to close that chapter of my life. For the first time in too long, I fall into a contented sleep. And even more importantly, for the first time in memory, I was glad to be alive.


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