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Ryou Giou

0 · 810 views · located in Airdalen Highschool

a character in “Love School Drama”, originally authored by Secret Maiden, as played by RolePlayGateway

So begins...

Ryou Giou's Story

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou
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"Is this what they call new beginnings?"



Ooooh
I shouldn't have fallen in love with her
It’s been nothing but trouble till now
I shouldn't have fallen in love at all
But I couldn't stop myself
(I gotta let her go)
Who gives you the right
To tear up my life?
How dare she be so perfect
What did I do to deserve this? (woooh)
(I gotta let her go)
How dare she be so perfect

With a beep, the music stopped playing. The ear-buds were removed and a silhouette entered the gates of Airdalen High. It was of a statuesque male wearing an overflowing black coat. Coal black hair gently swayed by the breeze. Eyes were hidden behind those sleek black-tinted sunglasses. Overall, he looked like a model who stepped out of a rock star-themed magazine. A guard inquired about his purpose and he answered with a lackadaisical tone. "To finalize my transfer documents and to get my schedule." The guard looked at the much taller male in question and in curiosity. This person was young but, would fit more as a college student because of his height, the way he carries himself, and even the unique earpiece he has. So, the name was inquired. With it, the guard could check in the database the authenticity of his claim. "Ryou Giou." The name checked out and the seemingly new student was handed a temporary ID to enter the premises without much of a hassle.

Ryou entered and went to the area which the guard told him to go to. This was actually his first time coming here. His Aunt handled the first part of his enrolment here. Now, it was his turn to finish up. The school itself was nothing extraordinary in his opinion, but he was only looking at the school from the outside. Anyway, he soon arrived at the registration office where the personnel were swooning over him. He was oblivious about it and simply processed his papers. One of the staff asked his reason for transferring. It made him pause and removed his sunglasses which revealed his silver grey eyes. That action of his made a lot of hearts fall literally but, he had no idea. "Personal matter, is there a problem?" His tone was edged with a degree of annoyance. The topic was not something he liked to discuss so; it ended there when the staff shook her head.

Once everything was finished, Ryou left the office and decided to go home. He had nothing else to do here and officially he will start his classes on Monday next week. He looked at his student ID. He will be a Senior in his attendance here. He was also informed that he will be entered into a program where he will have a Junior who will be his partner, much like an apprenticeship thing. Well, he has no issues about it as long as it doesn't hog all of his time. He had a lot of things he needed to do. He didn't go into the details of it and decided to just go with the flow when it happens. He looked at his watch. It was about time for him to go to his part-time job. After that, he would need to visit someone important to him as well.

He passed by the guard and handed the temporary ID he was given earlier. The guard nodded. He then left the premises by hailing a cab. His Uncle told him not to use his personal vehile while attending Airdalen. Well, he doesn't understand the reason, but he would do so. It was not that big of a deal anyway. As the cab stopped before him, his phone rang. He answered it. The voice on the other line was his little brother. Hikaru, what's up? Yes... I'm done." He listened as he entered the cab and once inside, he covered the mouthpiece. "Eden Drive." The driver nodded, knowing the place and went off as Ryou continued his small talk with Hikaru. He was unaware how much his life will change once he begins to attend Airdalen High School. Totally Unaware.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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ImageCassie was so happy. Aeon was going to accompany her. Things were really looking up in more ways than one. She has new friends and her request granted. It was feeling more and more like a normal life. It must be off in many ways but this was the best it was going to get for her right now and she was not picky at all. She followed Aeon to the parking lot and the got in the car. She was slightly envious of that about him. He is able to do the things he wanted without question, but that would be presumptuous of her. Why? Because, she was certain if there was an alternative he wouldn't allow himself to be tied with her.

She was taken from her inner thoughts when Aeon asked her where was the flower shop. She had a thoughtful look for a moment trying to recall. She closed her eyes as she dig deep in her memories and soon, she found it. “It's Paradiso at Eden Drive!” She said happily with a bright proud smile. She finally remembered it.

It was not long before they left Airdalen as she busied herself looking at the scenery they were passing by through the window. Then, she took out her phone as she had told Aeon that she will be contacting Hotaru. A promise is a promise as she made the call. It didn't took long as Hotaru immediately answered. Her ever loyal and dependable servant spoke out concern with what happened recently at school and her health. “I know... But, I'm fine and Aeon is with me! ” There was a sound resistance at the other end of the line but, she was persistent. “I promise, I'm fine. I just want to spend more time with my fiancé...” That was the closing deal and it was approved. She soon ended the call and released a sigh of relief. Really, Hotaru was more worried about her than her parents are.

She cast a glance at Aeon who probably heard all that conversation and her declaration of wanting to spend time with him. That was part of the truth she wanted to go to the flower shop. “Hey Aeon... You still remember our deal, right?” She asked with her usual airy hymn but one could hear a slight undertone to it. That was the foundation of their relationship and it will be until the time comes. Whether he answered or not, Cassie's attention was taken by the sign entitled Paradiso. They were finally there and she was in amazement. “There's a lot of people! The flowers must be really beautiful!” She said with excitement and could not wait to get out the car and go buy her flowers.

Once, they were parked. Cassie did not waste time and hurried herself to the flower shop. She resembles a child entering the to store with those fascinated crimson eyes of hers. But upon closer inspection, she finally found the true reason why there were tons of people, mostly girls of all ages. “Huh?” She tilted her head and saw the crowd was around a certain employee of the flower shop from the looks of it. He (Ryou) was wearing the uniform and employee ID. She would admit it, he was really handsome and cool-looking. She had never seen someone who could be in caliber with Aeon until now. Anyway, because, she was in her curious trance, some of the girls bumped into her as she lost her balance and was about to fall. “Eh? Eh!?”

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"Am I a magnet or something? How annoying..."




The usual irritating banter was here again. Ryou will never understand the thoughts entering a female's mind. What was so amazing and worthwhile watching him work here at the Paradiso Flower Shop? It also gets in the way of business as they only gather around him, throwing questions which he would never answer and never buy anything. He had told them to go away and not waste his time with their foolishness. He also has dislike about crowds. Apparently, the intended effect backfired. The girls had gotten more attached to him. In the end, he did what he does best during such moments and that was to ignore and do his work as much as possible. It was a good thing the owner still keeps him around.

There were only a few hours left in his shift. He just has to be patient until then. After work, he would visit her and tell what happened to his day. It has been a daily ritual ever since and he will not miss it. So, patience, just have patience. It has now become a mantra to him. His fellow employees would help alleviate the crowd but it causes more harm than good. It was appreciated but, he didn't want them to be hurt in the process where a few scuffles had already happened in the past. He was restocking the flowers within his personal bubble while recalling the conversation he had with Hikaru earlier. It seemed there was a class trip and since their Uncle and Aunt could not come, it falls to him. He doesn't mind doing anything for his little brother so, he asked the boss an earlier day off to accommodate the said trip. It was granted.

That was the line of his thoughts when he was distracted by the sound of some the display racks falling. He looked behind him and found someone (Cassiopeia) about to kiss the ground. By instinct, he held out his hands and placed them on the shoulders to steady and the victim instead met his chest. The event irritated him as he looked at the crowd with glaring eyes. Their over zealousness knows no bounds. "Get out." His tone was flatly cold as the crowd was silenced. He then looked at the person (Cassiopeia) he was holding. "Hey, are you alright?" He asked and finally had a good look. It was girl and the kind that will stand out. She had long flowing white hair like the snow and eyes like rubies. She was unique in a way not because she was different in a bad way. She was very beautiful and judging by her frame slightly pressing on his. She was slender and fragile-appearing.

Anyway, back on the topic, Ryou took a grip of himself and fortunately, he has a bit of that poker face. It would be embarrassing to be caught in such a moment. "It's not safe here. If you don't have anything to do here, you should go." He stated and that was when the silence his earlier display of anger was broken. There were another round of hushed shrieks and murmurs of admiration. That was when he looked away from the girl in his arms and then towards the source of the noise.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"There is always a first time for everything."



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Usually, the feeling of subtle irritation would be forming right about now. Aeon has a dislike for not being answered immediately. But for a selected few which includes Cassiopeia, he would not mind making certain allowances. So instead, he watched the Argyris Princess remember the flower shop she wants to go to so enthusiastically. Well, it was interesting watching her expression as she tries to recall. It was like watching a puppy. Of course, this minute moment of appeal did not leak out of his stoic mask.

Soon enough, Cassiopeia had finally remembered. It was a shop named Paradiso and he was also right on the assumption it was the one on Eden Drive. However, Aeon has a rather different interpretation for its popularity. it was due to the ones gossiping about it were all girls giggling as if they found a new toy of sorts. Well regardless, he had told the white-haired girl beside him that he will accompany her and that is only to be expected from him who is her fiancé. In any case, he started the car.

Once, they were on the move. The Argyris Princess made a phone call to Hotaru. Aeon was certain that the overprotected servant would be against this particular trip especially with the incident at Airdalen. He could hear snippets from the other line who was objecting, but Cassiopeia was not going to back down. Then, it was stated she wanted to spend more time with him. It was a given and knowing the girl has no bone of deception in her body. He found that endearing to the point of unavailability. He knew that she was feeling embarrassed about it, so he didn't say anything or averted his eyes from the road.

Then, the question was asked. The arrangement they had come to terms with before accepting this relationship they are in right now. He has not forgotten.

“I do, always.” That was Aeon's simple answer. He would have never entered this engagement business if it weren't for that deal. Ending that thought, they had finally arrived at the said flower shop and that effectively switched Cassiopeia's attention. He could really tell that she was excited. Well, he would not keep her waiting for too long then. Finding a free spot, he parked the car and was about to tell her to wait until he opened the doors. However, she was like an exuberant child which reminded him of his brother. She stepped out and went ahead towards the shop where there was a large crowd. It was like there was some kind of celebrity or something along those lines.

Once everything was settled with the car, Aeon followed Cassiopeia to the store where his earlier conclusions were right. This was popular because of that toy (Ryou) and that toy (Ryou) was holding someone of his responsibility. He could already hear the onlooking crowd composed mainly of females gazing at his profile. They were already discussing facts about his presence and appearance which he could not care about less. Right now, he was concerned about the white-haired maiden being held by the taller male (Ryou). Those mauve eyes of his met the man's (Ryou) gaze. It held a glint of warning but, that stoic face of his never faltered.

“Cassiopeia.” Aeon started as he walked towards them. “Come.” That is all he said as he took her hand and dragged her out of the man's (Ryou) arms. Now, she was in his arms and his gesture was much like protecting her from something he considers as a threat. The onlookers seemed fascinated by the scene as it was very rare to see three very beautiful people all together like this. “We are here to buy flowers.” He stated in his usual neutral tone, but to a trained ear, it was clear there was distaste in there, probably directed to the man (Ryou). It also seemed to imply that he had heard his (Ryou) words in relation of not having business here.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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ImageCassie braced herself for the impact and she could already hear the scoldings she would receive from Hotaru. She would also feel rather depressed causing Aeon another trouble. She should have been more careful and paid attention to her surroundings. But, there was no pain. Instead, there was something warm pressing on her face. She opened her eyes which she had closed by instinct and saw a rather imposing and sturdy... chest?

“Eh?” She managed to say in confusion as she raised her head and finally noticed that the man (Ryou) she was looking at earlier was now holding her securely. He (Ryou) was looking at the crowd around them with anger and even declared for them to get out. She felt sorry for them being spoken like that. Then, he looked at her. Their eyes met and she found his eyes very beautiful. It was like looking at the moon. “So pretty...” She murmured as he asked if she was fine.

She blinked her eyes and then smiled warmly. “Yes, I'm fine! Thank you.” Just like that, he (Ryou) continued on saying that she should go if she has no business here, saying that it was not safe here. She wondered how it could not be. This is a flower shop, right? Then, there was another series of shrieks and shouts. She has an idea who they were clamoring about. Then, she heard her name. She looked over her shoulder and saw Aeon approaching her. “Aeon!” She stated with a bright smile. It was because she was right on thinking about that. He then took her hand and pulled her over to his side, precisely to his arms. Somehow, she feels like a stuffed toy in the arms of a very possessive owner. Well, she could be wrong, knowing Aeon's detachment. Then, he said that they were here to buy flowers. She remembered once more her purpose here and looked towards the other guy (Ryou).

“Ah yes, I want to look for some flowers!” She didn't pushed away Aeon's protective embrace. “Will you help us? My name is Cassiopeia by the way.” She said happily and then looked towards Aeon. “This is Aeon. Nice to meet you!” She turned back at him and reached out a hand of hers as for a friendly handshake while still being held by Aeon as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"A meeting, is it just coincidence?"




Ryou was not sure if it was a good thing or not. The one who cause a stir was a rather beautiful man (Aeon). He (Aeon) has a certain elegance to him which would make him perfectly fit for those Japanese theaters where the man plays the beautiful female lead. He (Aeon) is handsome and beautiful, no wonder the female crowd was abuzz and he was fine with someone and if possible to take all the attention away from him. It also seemed that the girl (Cassiopeia) in his arms was an acquaintance of hers. She (Cassiopeia) was very happy by the looks of it calling the man by the name Aeon. They must be together.

There was no hesitation when this Aeon guy grabbed the white-haired girl from him. It was not like he was going to hold on to her or something. He raised his hands up as if to surrender. He would not openly admit it though that he did like holding the girl (Cassiopeia). The guy (Aeon) also stated that they do have business here unlike the others. They were going to buy flowers. This was backed up by the girl who was rather excited about it. He could tell by her jubilant expression and those red eyes which should be scary but instead looked like glittering gems to him. But what truly caught his attention was the two still interlocked in an embrace. She (Cassiopeia) was not even pushing the guy (Aeon) away. Are they a couple?

His thoughts was stopped at that when the girl introduced herself as Cassiopeia. It was a rather complex yet beautiful name. The origin was probably a Greek mythology. Heading back at the topic, she also introduced the guy (Aeon) which he had already caught earlier. She (Cassiopeia) then reached out her hand for a handshake. He looked at her hand and then back to Cassiopeia. It was then he took notice of the uniform the girl or rather both of them wearing. It was from Airdalen High School. It seems he wouldn't be starting at that school without knowing anyone then. It is still not sure if they were classmates or would even have time to get to know each other more.

"Ryou" He stated as he held her (Cassiopeia) hand and did the handshake. He could already tell that she had soft hands that had never done any hard labor. It was fitting like that of a very well-bred and pampered girl, probably an upper echelon in society. It was a good thing that she doesn't appear haughty or have a superiority complex in a way. That is how he sees it at the moment. He could also tell that the Aeon guy was from the same ranking in society the way he carries himself. He has an idea they might not get along very well, judging by their subtle interaction. He released Cassiopeia's hand. "Sure, let me help you. What kind of flowers are you looking for?" He said while looking at another fellow employee to handle the rest.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"Just any other day, that is what I like to say."



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Many of their spectators felt that they were watching a film shooting or something of that sorts. After all, it was really rare to see in their own opinions, three beauties at one site along with the subtle sparks between the two men. It was at least very dramatic. However, this was not picked up or possibly ignored by the female among the trio. Cassiopeia was still usually upbeat and amiable about the situation. That was one of her strengths. It was to divert everything into a positive thing even if it really wasn't. As such, the brief tension was transformed into polite and friendly introductions take care of by her.

The man was named Ryou. However, Aeon could already see that from the name plate worn by the Flower Shop's employees. It seemed Ryou would be the one to assist them. He was not certain if that was a good thing or not. Currently, he has a feeling of being uncomfortable and that does not sit well with him. But... He looked at Cassiopeia who was very fervent in this request. He let her go and he meant that in a physical way since he was still embracing her. It would be a hindrance in her choosing the flowers she likes. Although, he was also not certain what prompted him to act like that. Well, it was of no consequence. They are bound of an agreement anyway. As for him, he trailed behind them while looking around him from time to time.

Flowers had the habit of reminding him of a funeral. It is why he does hold a dislike towards them. Adding to that, their beauty is momentary. Their fate will always wilt. However, he did not want to disappoint Cassiopeia who was really eager and likes such plants. After all, he has certain obligations he would need to act out as her fiancé. Yes, that was all there is to it. His thought ended at that when his phone rang. “Excuse me.” He stated to her before stepping away for a bit. He still has a line of sight of the two as he answered his phone. Judging from the number, it was an overseas call.

“Andrew.” Yes, he has a clear-cut idea who had called him and even the purpose. “Focus.” He said with an edge of underlying annoyance. Of course, nothing showed upon his stoic mask. It seemed Andrew had strayed away far from the point of discussion yet, again. “I see. I will be there.” He ended the call not waiting for Andrew to say his goodbyes. He knew well that it would be convoluted with exaggerated words of longing, care, and love. It was irritating but also be endearing at certain points of life. Of course, he would not admit that to Andrew ever.

Anyway, he would have tell Cassiopeia that he would not be able to accompany her during the weekends as she pleases. His little brother, Brinx will be coming home tomorrow and as it would also appear, his father as well. His presence is heavily summoned by the patriarch of the Shirokami Family. Aeon could already guess that something will be mandated to him which would add more to his current workload. However, he was not the kind to complain about responsibilities as long as it would allow Brinx more time to focus on being a child. There would also be a chance that his father would request for him to bring Cassiopeia for a visit. Arranging his thoughts, he went back to where Cassiopeia and the one called Ryou are. "Have you chosen.” The usual monotone question of his as he looked at the Argyris Princess.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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Cassie had a brilliant smile on her face as she was now going to be assisted in buying the flowers. She really did not notice the odd tension between the one who introduced himself as Ryou and Aeon. In her opinion, there was nothing out of sort, even when Aeon had embraced her. She was guessing it has rather to do with being protective and in her time with him. Aeon does possess such a trait even if he doesn't show it openly or even admit it blatantly. She finds that adorable. In terms of Ryou, she rather liked him as she could tell from their handshake that he was a hardworking person. But, he was also gentle seeing as he works in a flower shop. Then again, she might be assuming too much with those obvious observations of hers.

Anyways, she followed Ryou once Aeon lets her go. Her eyes looked around with a happy glow. There were a lot of different flowers and she does feel that she was in a paradise. The name of the shop was fitting in every sense. “I would like some pink and red carnations.” She answered while taking interest on some beautiful red roses. The carnations will be given to Varthur at his internment. She had decided to go and Aeon was not stopping her at all. That was enough for her to push through it. “If they could be arranged in a basket, it would be a great help.” She added with a smile but there was a faint amount of sadness lingering in her tone. It made her wonder if it would be like--- Her thoughts were interrupted when Aeon excused himself for a bit.

She gave a cheerful nod and had a noticeable concern on her face. She was not ignorant of the responsibilities that Aeon was carrying as the First-born son of the Shirokami family. A lot is expected from him. She was also one of those who have expectations placed on him. Here she was dragging him for his time, even when he could have done more than just being with her. Unlike him, there was no burden of inheritance or anything like that. There was only one thing that is expected of her and it will happen soon enough. She released a soft sigh and focused herself at the task at hand which was buying flowers. “Uhm, Ryou could I also have a bunch of blue irises?” She asked with a tone similar that of an uncertain child.

Anyways, her shopping continued on that manner. She even took the liberty of asking various things about the flowers which took her interest. Ryou was nice and knowledgeable to give her multitudes of information even more about the flower language. She even asked for a certain flower that would show gratitude. He was really helpful and she was enjoying herself really. And soon, Aeon asked her if she had chosen. He seemed to be done with the phone call. She looked at him with a fulfilled smile. “Yup! All done!” She had already paid for it and everything had already been arranged. There were a lot of various flowers, hopefully it will fit in Aeon's car. She got a bit carried away. But, she can't help it. She really likes flowers. Suddenly, she had a look that she remembered something. “Here, for you.” She handed Aeon a single pink rose. It meant thank you.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"Responsibilities are what they are."



The gesture of receiving a gift was nothing uncommon when it comes to him. People who he has no connections with had the tendency to provide him with unnecessary things for the sake of establishing rapport for business dealings. To him, it was as common as the sun that rises from the sky. This is to be expected in the world which he had been introduced to. However, there was something different from the rose which Cassiopeia was giving him. It could not even compare to the luxurious gifts he had in the past. But right now, he sees it to be the most precious. “Thank you.” He took the rose and then looked at the rest of the flowers which she bought.

It was rather a lot. However, he was not going to tell her that. As long as she likes, it was not a trouble for him to accommodate her preferences from time to time. “If you are ready, let us go.” He noted as he lead her and the staff which included Ryou to the car, so they can place her purchased flowers inside. Once, everything was in order. Ryou gave them the standard thank you speech for the customers. He simply gave a nod and waited for Cassiopeia to finish her goodbyes. She always had the unhindered appreciation of people and trust based on the goodness she perceives in them, even if those people don't know it as well.

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When it was done, he waited for her to enter the car before he did. Soon enough, they were on the road. The first destination, the Argyris Villa built for her. "I would like to inform you that I might not be able to accompany you during the weekends.” He started as he recalled the phone call he had received from Andrew. His eyes were still on the road while the rose she gave him was placed on his right breast pocket. “My brother will be coming back along with my father, tomorrow.” He was certain that she was well aware about the relationship between him and his father, the renowned and unmatched Business King of the World, Akihiko Shirokami. In truth, he would rather not meet with his father. But, it could not be helped.

There was a red light at the intersection as he stopped the car. He took the opportunity to look at her. “There is also a possibility that I might require you companionship at the request of father.” It is true that him and her have an agreement about their relationship. Regardless, this was an official matter between the Shirokami and Argyris families. He would not even be surprised if an engagement party was held to formally announce this union. “In any case, do not hesitate to call me if you ever need my assistance.” He knew that she has the tendency to never bother him as much as possible. That would be good for him. However, she is his fiancée and he has a responsibility towards her. So, he would have to make it clear. “That is an order.”

His face was emotionless as ever, but those mauve eyes of his held a degree of stern sincerity. There was a green light as he faced forward once more and drove the car. Soon enough, they reached the villa. Servants were already at the gates waiting to escort their mistress. “Good night, Cassiopeia.” He noted as he waited for her to leave the car and have her flowers taken as well. Once their goodbyes were done, he took his leave and went back to his place, the high-rise condominium known around the district to be the home to only elites. Upon his return, he went straight to his place which is located at the top floor.

There were no one to greet him like the servants he had grew up with back at the Main House. It was something he preferred, honestly. Many would have conclude that he probably was used to being pampered and being given what he wanted without a drop of sweat. However, it was far from how he deals with things. Everything has a result and Everything has a cause, he must pay on his own. In any case, Andrew would be returning and would begin his duties once more. That would be the only servant he allows firmly on his side, despite the overzealousness. Taking a seat on the living room sofa, Aeon loosened his tie and gazed at the documents, he had left on the table. There was work to do and so he will do it probably for the rest of the night. It was yet again another task needed to be completed, that is all.

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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Cassie's smile just got brighter as Aeon took the rose she offered. She knew that it could not compare to the other expensive gifts that Aeon had received. But, her feelings of appreciation is reflected in that one stem of pink rose. He then glanced at the flowers she had brought. She laughed nervously while biting her lower lip. She was expecting a few words of reprimand about spending too much or something like that, but he simply told her that if she's ready they could go. She blinked her eyes a couple of times as it was a bit unexpected. Usually, Hotaru would scold her about getting carried away with buying things, that she should be more conscientious. A few moments of processing that Aeon was not going to reprimand her, she then nodded happily. “Yes, let's go home!”

She followed Aeon to the car where the flowers she purchased were placed inside. She would be placing the rest of the flowers around the villa as decorations. It was a little too bland and dreary for her taste. She was certain that the color provided by these flowers would cheer it up. When it was all done, she turned to look at Ryou. He had been very helpful to her and gave her useful trivia about the flowers she had bought. “Thank you for everything Ryou!” She said with a cheerful tone as she took his hand and shook it up and down, a handshake. “I really like you! So, let's be friends, okay?” She declared with great sincerity coupled with her ever jovial self. She was yet again her ever assuming self, but may be that was fine for now.

After saying her goodbyes, she entered the car and once Aeon started it, she looked out the window and waved energetically towards Ryou. “Bye bye!” She was much like a child at that moment. The Paradiso Shop was soon out of her sight as she settled herself inside the car. She released a happy sigh and inhaled the smell of the wonderful flowers at the back. That was then Aeon informed her about his little brother and father coming back to Japan tomorrow. That was good news on the part of his little brother. But, she was not sure about his father. His Papa is good friends with Aeon's father, so she believed that the renowned Akihiko Shirokami is a good and loving father. It seemed to be different since Aeon does not like his father that much.

It seemed that Aeon won't be able to accompany her to Varthur's funeral. It was fine, she understands. She will not be alone anyway since Hotaru will surely come along with her. Plus, Aeon has to be the perfect heir to the Shirokami. It is also partly why their engagement was accepted easily by their families. It won't be long now before a formal announcement is done. So, she understands if Aeon's father asked for her to visit or something along those lines. “I don't mind. Don't worry about it. This is to be expected...” She was fine tagging with Aeon, but she was not overly fond of those high-class parties. She feels a bit too restricted and it feels everything is fake, despite the glamour and all that. They stopped at a red light and those eyes of his looked at her.

She gave a soft giggle at that. Aeon was truly a worrywart even he tries to hide it with that stoic face of his. “Sir, yes, Sir.” She stated while doing a mock salute. Soon enough, she was at her villa where the servants were already coming towards them. This is where they will separate ways for now. “Say hi to Brinx for me.” She then gave Aeon a kiss on the cheek. This was a normal thing to do, isn't it? “Don't overwork yourself. Good night, Aeon.” She then exited the car at the same time her servants had taken all of her things from the car, and like that, he was gone. It made her wonder what would happen tomorrow. Hopefully, it would be good for Aeon and her, she wished as she entered the villa's proper with the servants tagging along and at the main doors, Hotaru was waiting for her. "Welcome back, Elle." She smiled brightly at this. “Yes, I'm home, Hotaru.”

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Character Portrait: Aeon Shirokami Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Elegy Argyris
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"Everything is different, but there are things which will remain the same."




It does not take a genius to see that the girl (Cassiopeia) was either short on some brain cells and compensates with being happy all the time or was simply naive to a fault which would mean an early grave for her if she doesn't toughen up. His observation of the guy (Aeon) was more simple, an a**hole. He was pretty much sure that they won't hit it up, more like they'll cause friction with each other leading to possible explosions. The most logical solution to that, avoidance, it's a virtue. He finished his prospects about the two and began leading them to a myriad of flowers meticulously arranged within the shop. He could see well that Cassiopeia was very interested with the flowers. That brought out a gentle presence about him. It was different with Aeon who appeared to be more of a watchdog.

He then heard Cassiopeia's request of carnations. He went towards the colors she preferred and began picking up the best ones among the bunch. "Sure, we can do that." She must be buying these ones as a gift as she asked them to be in a basket, but he did notice a hint of sadness in her voice. If this was to be a gift shouldn't it be a bit happier? Unless... it was for someone dead or about to... He could relate to both situations very well, but he didn't point that out because he was no therapist and should not dwell on another people's business. Aeon then excused himself for a minute. He could care less as he prepared the carnations.

There was then another request, blue irises. "No problem." He stated and called a fellow employee of his to help in preparing the flowers. It went on like that with Cassiopeia picking the flowers she likes and would occasionally ask him about it. Since this is his job, he took the time getting to know the flowers they sell, along with the so-called flower language. It was helpful on a situation like this. He also honestly enjoyed conversing with the beautiful albino girl as he would describe her. She was greatly interested in the flowers and didn't have any underlying motives unlike the others. He got tired of doing small talks because of it.

Their conversation ended when Aeon returned and ask if she has chosen. She happily answered and if by his standards the Aeon guy comes off as a douche bag. To her, Aeon was like a knight in shining armor. She gave Aeon the pink rose which he had told her used mainly to show appreciation, a thank you. He let that thought go and plus, their business is done for now. He was carrying the many assorted flowers that Cassiopeia bought; even some of his co-workers were carrying some as well. They followed the two to the car as he raised an eyebrow. There was no doubt about it this couple was heavy-loaded. The car was nice by standard and was greatly expensive. Airdalen students must be very at the top-most tier in the social hierarchy.

They put the bought flowers inside the vehicle properly and when it was done. He thanked them which was normal courtesy. "Thank you for your purchase. Come back again." It was standard but, Cassiopeia's manner of saying goodbye was a bit different. She waved like a hyperactive child and declared they were friends. It was refreshing to see such personality. It reminded him that days will get better eventually. "Yeah... See ya." He muttered once the car was out of his sight. He wondered what her and that guy's reaction will be when they found out he was also attending the same school. It will be interesting to say the least, but for now, he continued with his shift.

When he was done, he went straight ahead to Mary's Grace Hospital located at another town. It took a while for him to arrive, but he still came. It would have been faster if he had his bike. The nurses, doctors, greeted him. He greets back. They were used seeing him every day. He stopped before room 304 with the name underneath it saying, Ichimura Kasane. He entered the room and saw a delicate-looking girl with her long dark brown hair spread around her like a veil sleeping still on the bed with tubes stuck on her pale white skin. The beeping of the machine which kept her alive echoed within the room. He took a seat on a chair nearby her bedside and placed some of the flowers he got on the table nearby. "Hey, I'm back sleepyhead..." And there, a small smile appeared on his face with his eyes showing affectionate longing and sadness.

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Character Portrait: Raiden Kon Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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Mai



Mai woke early the next day as she did always at exactly 7:30 in the morning. Rolling around in her bed she stared at her ceiling before slipping out of bed. Rubbing her tired eyes she glanced at herself as she passed the mirror and was shocked at how terrible her bedhead was. Walking back to face the mirror directly she grumbled a bit at her hair, combing through it with her fingers in hopes of it going back to normal. Sighing Mai went to the bathroom to wash up then went back to her room to get dressed.

Opening the door quietly she wore a simple graphic tee that, like with most of her clothing, was a bit too large length wise. She wore dark stockings that disappeared under the edge of her shirt while her shorts were nearly hidden. Pulling at the shirt Mai quickly went to the kitchen to get breakfast ready for both her and Raiden. Finished up breakfast at around 8:40, she noticed they would have to restock on food if Raiden’s parents were coming over. I wonder what sort of dinner I can make for them? biting at her lip Mai set the table before knocking on Raiden’s door lightly. “Ah breakfast i-is do-one.” she said quietly. Turning away she quickly sat down to eat but waited in case Raiden decided to join.

In truth she still wasn’t used to the sleeping schedule at his home. The place certainly has become her home but at times it felt foreign to her. Eating her breakfast Mai placed her dishes in the sink and washed them. Stepping out into the hallway Mai pondered what she should do first in terms of cleaning. I should go to the store first. Who knows how long that’ll take me and I don’t want Raiden to rush home to help me shop. Nibbling on her finger Mai glanced at Raiden’s door then at the clock. It was a little past nine now so the shops should be open now. Shrugging Mai went back to her room to tidy it up before leaving. Heading to the door Mai stepped out before stepping back in shivering slightly. I’ll need a jacket and maybe a hat.

Frowning ever so slightly Mai went back to her room for what felt like the umpteenth time to grab a jacket. Even this was slightly too big but it was quite comfortable and it kept her pretty warm. Smiling a bit Mai checked to see how much money she had on her person and what exactly she’d need in terms of food. I shouldn’t get to much. Tugging her jacket closer to her body she didn’t bother trying to zip it up all the way. Going into the hallway she made sure to leave a note for Raiden in case he wasn’t sure where she had gone. Finally stepping out of the apartment Mai wondered just where exactly she needed to go to reach the market.

Biting her lip as she always did when nervous she thought of asking Raiden but she shook her head. I need to stop relying on him. Swallowing a lump in her throat the small girl walked in the direction she assumed would take her to the market. She had walked through the neighborhood a couple of times since she got her but it was still easy for her to get lost. However Mai thought she’d know the ways by now so she didn’t try to force herself to ask for directions.

30 minutes later



And lost she did get. Nibbling her finger Mai walked around like a lost child. The poor girl was on the verge of tears but the way she was going felt familiar. Looking around there were a few shops around but none of them were the ones she was looking for. With it being the weekend as well as the time in which most people head outside there were streams of people walking this way and that. Mai glanced about in search of some familiar landmark. Due to her small stature many of the people around her didn’t notice Mai being there and the small girl had to do her best to get out of their way.

“Wah.” backing away closer to the stores she bumped into something soft yet firm. Quickly turning around to face it she realized she had nearly crushed flowers. Looking up she noticed she stood before a flower shop by the name of Paradiso. The sight and smell of the flowers outside helped to calm her down but suddenly she bumped into again when a group of giggling girls rushed inside. “Ah w-what?” doing her best to hold back tears of frustration Mai got closer to the doors to the shop and saw that the girls were swarming around a certain area but they moved as whatever had their attention moved.

Even though Mai was never one to go near crowds she was curious as to what had their attention. Just as she was about to enter the flower shop a different group of girls left the shop nearly hitting her with the door. Jumping back quickly Mai tripped over her feet and fell on her bum. It didn’t hurt much but she felt like she was sitting on something so she carefully stood back up and saw that she had hit a small bundle of flowers when she jumped back and sat on them. “Ah wah.” she could barely voice her guilt in words. Her head was swimming with so many thoughts many of them centering around how the shop would react to her messing up their flowers and the fact that she was lost made her feel even worse. I wish Raiden was here. I just need directions to the market. It was quite obvious from the way Mai was flittering about that something was worrying her.

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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"And who might you be?"




Another normal day for Ryou. He clocked in for his shift at Paradiso and as to be expected. It was bustling with activity which was mostly those incessant noisy females. There were a lot more than the average which he could link to the appearance of those two schoolmates (Cassiopeia & Aeon) of his. They might be expecting them to show up here again. He really didn't care either way. He just really want to do his work in peace, but that was obviously impossible. His only means of accomplishing anything was to ignore them as always, and so he did. He busied himself with the watering, preparing, restocking, and any tidbits needed to be done. He also did the work that could be left tomorrow, since he would be taking day off to accompany his brother for his class trip.

Speaking of that, it made him remember the little scenario back at the house earlier. Aunt Margarette was wallowing in self-pity and regret of not being able to come with Hikaru for the trip. She repeatedly said that she wanted to see the fishes so much. She also apologizes consecutively to him and he without end always tell her that it was fine. It was not an obligation or a bother, if he can do anything for Hikaru then he would do so. The discussion only ended when Uncle Takahiro intervened and distracted his wife with another topic like the business trip they were going to tomorrow. He was also reminded by his Uncle to watch over the house and his female cousins which he assured the older male, he will do.

That all happened during breakfast and when finished, they went on their own activities for the day. His Aunt went to do some grocery shopping with Hikaru and Trixie. His Uncle was meeting up with a client which would probably take all day once more. Reisha has training for her gymnastics club since they were going to enter the inter-high competition. Him? He was going to work and dropped Reisha off to her training camp. That girl seemed to prefer him chaperoning her if it would be possible. He doesn't see anything bad about that, she is his family and it was along the way anyway, so there was no hassle. But, he could not say the same thing about crowd around the store.

"I almost don't envy you, Ryou." A fellow co-worker whispered to him. He scoffed at this commentary. It was already tiring everyday to handle this kind of situation. Normally, he should just get used to it, but he just didn't like it at all. These girls circling around him as if he was a free meat to all. If it would be okay to manhandle them he would have, but that was just wrong in many ways. "You can have them." He gestured to his fellow worker who gave a small laugh and a shook of head. His attention was then taken by a sound of something falling down. His eyes narrowed dangerously. It was probably because of these girls' ruckus. "If you're going to destroy this store, leave." His tone cold and hard as he glared at the girls who instantly stilled their movements.

He released a frustrated sigh and went towards the source of the sound. There he found some of the flowers were crushed and the cause was apparently a very small girl (Mai). She was unnoticeable if it were not for her white hair which reminded him of Cassiopeia. Are they related? "Oi..." He called out to her. He was not going to tell her off since he could guess that this was because of those zealots of a crowd. Rather, it aggravated him that a kid got mixed in this all. "Are you okay?" He asked as he picked up the crushed flowers and glanced at her. He could sense that something was wrong. She seems worried about something. "Are you hurt?" He went down on his knees so they could be at least be at a level. "What's wrong?" He asked while gently placing a hand on her head, a soothing gesture. "Are you separated from your parents?" Yeah, he definitely thought it was a kid around his brother's age.

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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Mai


Mai turned her head this way and that a look of guilt aparent on her face. Biting her lip the small girl reached for the flowers when a voice called outz "Oi..." At the time her back was slightly turned towards the stranger so she flinched just the slightest at the questioning note in the voice. From the deepness of it she could tell it was a man and all Mai could think was, Why a guy? Why couldn't it just be an old oba-san. Swallowing a lump in her throat Mai turned to face this person and was astounded by the way he looked.

The man was a giant towering over Mai who felt inferior and small, like a bug. So this is how they feel. Now she knew why all the girls were here thanks to his looks Mai was sure he could take anybody. Of course she cared little for it rather she could only think of his height at the moment. It was easy to see that Mai was flustered at him being there. She really had no idea of what to do at this point. She didn't want to speak since that would mean this tall person would hear her stammer and hate her even more. So when he started to ask a series of questions regarding her well being all Mai could do was shake her head no to the first two questions.

It seemed she faltered with the third one but she went into near shock when a hand placed itself on her head, closing her eyes tightly in reaction. Brining her hands up as if to move it Mai stopped not sure if it would anger him. Mai simply couldn't fathom why the giant was touching her head. "Are you separated from your parents?" Just hearing those words made Mai flinch. It could be worse but that would explain the head patting. Finally opening her eyes Mai's mouth opened and a blush added more color to already tanned skin upon realizing the giant had to get down on his knees just to be level with her.

Why am I so short! Was the only thought runing through her head but she knew she'd have to answer the giant. Taking in a deep breathe Mai's hands returned to her side pulling at her jacket. The small girl wanted nothing more than to pull up the hood of her jacket and dissapear from this situation. Well it's now or never. Her mouth turned into a thin line of determination and she peeked at the man before her. Mai looled away just as soon as her bright eyes made contact with his pale ones. It took Mai a few times to get her voice out, probably making herself seem like a fish out of water.

"Ah um I-I g-go-ot-t l-los-st. Taking out a list of things she needed to buy Mai showed him the grocery list before continuing. "I-I j-just n-ne-ed to f-ind-d t-the mar-ket." Despite her hard stammer Mai managed to relay her problems to the giant. In a way a bystander could look at the two of them an imagine a refined larger dog bearing down on a clueless puppy. The poor girl was shaking just the slightest as could be seen by her shaking hand while she presented the list to him.

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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"When you see someone in trouble, you just have to."




It was very obvious to him that the little girl (Mai) was nervous and apparently scared of him. That was not totally unexpected by him. He remembered someone telling him that he was scary so, he should smile more. It was one of his fondest memories. This showed lightly in his eyes as it held a gentle warmth. One would wonder if it was towards the girl, but a deeper insight would lead to know that it was more of a faraway look than anything else. It was only briefly though as he shake those memories away and focused at the task at hand which was the trembling girl. He removed his hand from her head as it must be providing more discomfort than anything else and simply waited.

One of his fellow employees approached him. "What's wrong?" Ryou glanced at the other male and gestured that there was no trouble and in response the co-worker nodded in understanding as he focused on gently reprimanding the fan girls to give Ryou space. He was thankful for the help and returned his attention to the girl who seemed to be gathering her courage. This made him believe that she must be an extremely introvert and shy person. He softened his features and waited and soon his patience was rewarded. Her stammering words were a bit incoherent but, he managed to string it together. It seemed she got lost and needed to go to the market. That was quite a tall responsibility for a child like her. His parents were rather lazy, not around, or just extremely want to have their daughter learn household chores.

He took the handed list and nodded thoughtfully. "I see..." He stood from his position and motioned for one of his co=workers to come close. They then shared a few words. He would be leaving for a while to accompany the little girl. It was not a bad deal for him as it would also allow him a prelude of peace away from the harping attention of those girls. Plus, he had done most of his workload so a few hours away, won't be bad. He might also see his Aunt, Trixie, and Hikaru around there. "I got you covered, man." Ryou nodded as he removed the apron which served as his uniform and gave a small smile of thanks before facing the small girl again. "I'll take you there."

He reached out his hand to her. "My name is Ryou and what's yours?"

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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Mai


Glancing around the tall man it seemed the commotion she caused alerted another employee. At the moment Mai felt bad that she made the guy take time away from work, but it seemed the two were on good terms and the tall man returned his attention back to her. In doing so Mai made sure to avoid eye contact. All the while Mai certainly did wonder what was going through the giants head. He must still think me a child, but I’m not. If she had the courage to then Mai would probably be pouting and throwing a tantrum at being thought of as a kid. Letting the tall man take the list he nodded his head in a thoughtful manner. "I see..."

Head tilted to the side ever so slightly Mai wasn’t sure what to make of his words. Standing to his full height Mai took a step back and forced her eyes to follow him. Seeing him speak with the co-worker from before Mai began to nibble on her finger averting her eyes from the two when she couldn’t bear the notion of being seen staring. From where she stood, which wasn’t that far really, Mai could hear snippets of what they were saying and when the giant took his apron off Mai’s mouth opened slightly.

He turned to face her then the words "I'll take you there." falling from his lips. At first it didn’t register what he had said and then there was a short moment of confusion. Take me where? To the market? Shaking her head slightly realizing the stupidity of her own question Mai brought her hand back to her side pulling at her jacket. Glancing up at him it was then that she noticed his outstretched hand. "My name is Ryou and what's yours?"

Mai’s mouth opened and closed and for a minute or two she stared at his hand. It had been a long time since anyone had ever offered their hand and introduce themselves, let alone ask for her name. She could feel the corners of her lips curl slightly at the idea of being acknowledge even if he saw her as child. A light blush spread across her cheeks and with a shaking hand Mai reached for his. Taking the ends of his fingers Mai shook his hand and was shocked at the difference in size. Had she taken his entire hand Mai’s would have disappeared within his own grip. Turning her head away Ryou Mai pulled at her jacket again before finally introducing herself. “Ah I-I’m M-Mai. P-Pleased t-to ma-ake y-you’re a-acqu-ain-tance.”

Pulling her hand away quickly so she was no longer in contact with Ryou, Mai wasn’t sure why he was helping her. While she did want to ask him the small girl decided it would be best to just take this offer of charity. Hopefully this time she'd be able to remember the route to the market. She knew the way that led her to this store but to the market was an entirely different matter.

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Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Mai Kon
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"And then, we met."




ImageMai, so that's her name. It fits her. The handshake she did was short and rather odd. She just shook his fingers, but that also made it obvious to him again how small she really is. It made him wonder if she was getting enough nutrition or what not. One thing he could say though, she acts nervously but, it does make her endearing to him in a way. She's cute. This is based on his sole belief that she's a kid. "It's nice to meet you Mai." His tone considerably kind which matched the gentle expression on his face.

"Here." He handed her back the grocery list. He then pointed at a certain direction. The market is that way." He said before starting to lead the way, but then he remembered something. His pace was rather considerate. His long legs could get him anywhere faster than any average person especially against his current companion. That's why he slowed his pace to make sure that she won't feel the need to catch up with him. Instead, he matched his with hers.

He also took the easiest and safest route to their destination. He would also occasionally tell her directions which would be easy for her to recall along the way. He would even add a few landmarks for easy recognition. Then, they finally arrived at the market. There was a huge crowd and it was understandable. It's during around that the market is abuzz. It would not be hard to get lost in that sea of people. Still, it's remarkable as the wave of people circled around them because, they couldn't help but admire him in all of his glory.

He couldn't just up and leave her here. It was like throwing a piece of meat into a sea full of sharks literally. The noises and hype of the market created a very lively scene. "What do you need first?" He asked as he looked at her. It would be best to assist her in shopping as well, but before he could hear her answer. "Ryou-kun?" He looked at the person who called him and it was an elderly. It was one of the meat vendors, Fuwa-san. He did some shopping with his Aunt, so he was a familiar face to some of the vendors. "Good day, Fuwa-san."

"Good day! So, what do you need?" Ryou gazed at Mai. "She's the one in-charge." He stated with an amiable tone as Fuwa-san looked at her and smiled courteously. "I see, so what's does the cute missy needs?"

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His voice and expression were so kind; it made the small girls stomach flutter. It was an odd sensation for her to experience for she never really received such kindness especially from strangers. It must be because we're strangers. Had it been Raiden Mai knew she wouldn't feel funny but she never expected her cousin to be incredibly kind, just enough to not hurt her feelings, at least Mai hoped so.

Taking back the grocery list when Ryou pointed to the direction of the market for a brief moment she thought he was only going to tell her. Almost ready to panic she realized he was walking away which meant he was leading the way. A small smile on her lips she had to jog a short distance to catch up to him. Looking up at him Mai was thankful he had slowed his pace but she also felt bad for making him do this. I must thank him later, but how.

Ryou was kind enough to tell her where they were going as well as pointing out the landmarks that would help her. Nodding along with his words Mai made sure to store all the information for later use. For the most part they didn't come across much trouble and soon they arrived at the market. Mai had hoped it wouldn't be so busy but it was a false hope. Considering the large crowd of people walking this way and that Mai saw Ryou's hand swinging at his side and was tempted to grab it for support. However the idea of grabbing a stranger’s hand let alone a man's hand that wasn't Raiden seemed outright terrifying to her.

Stepping closer to her giant guide Mai was ready to answer when someone called out his name. It turned out to be an elderly woman who made Mai relax slightly. Elderly people somehow calmed Mai down, she preferred their company over anyone else’s. Startled slightly at the fact that the elder woman, who she guessed was Fuwa-san by the way Ryou called her, asked her the same question Ryou did. Mai blushed at being called cute and missy and it was surprisingly obvious too despite her skin tone.

Averting her eyes from Fuwa-san Mai dug into her coat pocket and pulled out the list. Getting closer to the woman Mai handed the lady the list, "Ah I-I j-just n-ne-ed a f-few c-coo-king i-in-gred-ients." The elderly woman smiled at Mai's stutter and took the list from her small hand. "Oh I see well then you can already cross off something’s. You'll find what you're looking for right here." She said pointing to her own stand. Mai smiled back shyly and looked around for what she needed. The way she went about it most certainly would make them question her age. Mai examined the meat as if she had done this many times before. Taking a few things Mai had her selection of meats and so she paid Fuwa-san.

The next items on the list were seasoning and spices, vegetables, fruit and some cleaning supplies. After an hour or more passed Mai's money was just about spent but she got what she needed. Carrying quite a few bags Mai made it known that she wasn't as weak she looked. Even Ryou had to carry one or two bags which made Mai feel bad, however that feeling of guilt was overrun pride knowing she got what she came here for. They stepped away from the bustling market and to a somewhat quieter section of the area. Focusing her attention on Ryou Mai glanced away as she had been doing for the most part of their trip to the market. “T-Thank y-you f-fo-or c-com-ming w-with m-me, b-but I-I m-mus-st g-go ho-ome n-no-ow.” In saying so Mai thought of reaching for the bags he carried but she decided against it least he physically stopped her from doing so. They had enough physical contact during introductions as well as when she was bustled about in the markets crowd.

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"I might as well..."




Not helpless as he thought she was. Ryou watched Mai with keen interest. He thought he might need to intrude in some of her shopping or even provide insightful tips once in a while. There was no need for that at all. Mai seems very familiar with the things she wants to buy. It was quite impressive in his opinion especially from a kid like her. He still thinks she is around the age of his little brother. It seems that kids nowadays are smarter. That's a good sign for the future really. Back to the topic, he accompanied her throughout the market. He was more like a bodyguard making sure that she was not lost among the sea of people, taken advantage of, and would even haggle for some of the prices on her list. It was something he had learned from his Aunt. One must always find ways to save money of course.

The rest of the shopping trip went without a hitch. It was relatively peaceful and relaxing in a sense for him. There were a few who would approach him and start small talks. He casually ended it before anything would start. It's a good thing they aren't persistent as those who always come at Paradiso, so he could say well, that it was not much of a trouble. He didn't want to involve Mai in it because someone just finds him attractive or something along those lines. Speaking of which, it seems that they had everything on her list. He was once again impressed that she could carry more than one shopping bag. She was not weak as she appears which reminded him never to judge a book by its cover. He did took the some of the heavier shopping bags, but didn't took it all. She seems to take pride in the things she does on her own. This is from his observations and so, he would not take that from her. They were soon in the area of the market where there are little people.

She then thanked him and stated that she has to go home. That was a given. His concerns were the shopping bags she has to carry. She is stronger than she seemed but, it would be a bit hard to walk back to her home or even by commute by herself. He was about to speak when--- "Nii-chan! Nii-chan!" His attention was instantly taken as he looked at the direction behind them. There his Aunt, Trixie, and Hikaru were walking towards him, well the latter was sprinting. "Hikaru..." The little boy instantly latched onto his legs and looked up at him happily. "Nii-chan! I'm so happy to see you! Did you come and see us?" Hikaru asked brightly that was then he noticed shopping bags on his big brother's arms and then there was another person with white hair near Ryou.

Anyone could tell right away that Hikaru and Ryou were brothers because of their facial similarities. It also means that Hikaru will grow into a handsome man as well, the difference he has the bright golden eyes. "Ryuu-nii!" This time a tad bit taller than Hikaru latched to his other leg. It was none other than his cousin Trixie who had long blonde hair and green eyes. She was a year older than his brother. "Trixie..." He noted. This is something he had anticipated. There was a chance he would bumped into them. "This is a surprise, Ryou-kun. Aren't you supposed to be at work?" And there was his Aunt Margarette whom Trixie clearly took after. She then took note of a white-haired girl beside his nephew. "Oh, who is this lovely friend of yours?"

Ryou took this chance to properly start the introduction. He did wonder if Mai was bothered by the sudden appearances of his family. She did appear not to be too good with people unless she was focused in what she was doing. "Aunt Margarette, I just took a break. This is Mai. She got lost in front of the shop, so I offered my help." He stated as he glanced towards Mai and then he did the same thing to his family. "Mai, I want you to meet my Aunt Margarette." His Aunt gave a small wave and kind smile on her face. It was apparent that she was not Japanese at all. "Hello Mai..." Ryou then proceeded to introduce the two kids who were still latching on his legs. "This is my little brother, Hikaru." The said boy simply gave a nod of a head and then tightened his grip on his brother's pants. "And this is my cousin, Trixie." She was different from Hikaru. Trixie released Ryou's leg and went towards Mai with a bright smile. "Nice to meet you!"

Margarette than looked at the shopping bags Ryou and Mai were carrying. "Are you done with shopping?" Ryou gave a nod at this. "Yes." He then asked his own question. "How about you?" Margarette shook her head as the kids looked away a bit ashamed at this. He could already guess. They probably stopped by the toy store and got caught up with that. "Ryou-kun, sweetie why don't you help Mai here with her bags to her house? Would it cause you problems at work though?" Hikaru was about to say something about that. He didn't want his brother to go. Ryou noticed this and patted his head. "I'll be back soon. See you at home." Hikaru nodded happily at this. "Okay, Nii-chan." He released his brother's leg. "I already had it covered Aunt Margarette." He then looked towards Mai. "So, where are we off to?"

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Tilting her head upwards Mai risked looking at him in the eye. Upon doing so it seemed like she was startled from such a simple action but it could also be from the sudden child-like voice calling out. "Nii-chan! Nii-chan!" Ryou turned around immediately while Mai peered around him to see a child springing towards them. Frightened at the incoming body Mai stepped back slightly but it seemed she needn’t worry in the least bit. The small girl heard a name being muttered but she didn’t quite catch it. The boy latched himself to Ryou’s leg "Nii-chan! I'm so happy to see you! Did you come and see us? the boy pestered Ryou with questions. Considering Ryou was being called Nii-chan Mai guessed that the two were siblings unless Ryou was simply like a brother figure to the smaller boy.

When she thought about it she really couldn’t call him a smaller boy since she wasn’t much taller than he was. The two looked very similar to one another so she ditched the idea of Ryou being a brother-figure. The only difference between the two of them was that the boy had golden eyes unlike his brothers grey ones. I wonder if he’ll become just as tall. The very idea made Mai’s head hurt, she certainly wouldn’t want to look up at another Ryou. Then again if she grew height wise as well as body then Mai assumed she wouldn’t have to worry too much about looking up. Realizing her train of thought made it seem like she and Ryou would see each other beyond today. Of course that was unlikely in her view.

Then another child latched onto Ryou’s legs but it was a young girl with blonde hair and green eyes. Tilting her head slightly Mai wasn’t sure what her connection was to Ryou as they didn’t look very much alike. This is a surprise, Ryou-kun. Aren't you supposed to be at work?" Glancing at Ryou she felt bad again for having taken him away from his work. He could get fired for all I know. Looking to the source of the voice Mai couldn’t help but stare in awe of the woman’s beauty. Mai then realized the blonde girl looked very much like the one who had just spoken. "Oh, who is this lovely friend of yours?"

Knowing that the attention was now centered on her Mai ducked her head allowing for her hair to fall over her face. A light blush covered her cheeks at the praise in the woman’s curiosity. I’m getting all sorts of compliments today. Mai thought it a bit ironic really considering just the other night she criticized her scrawny body. To the older woman it seemed like Ryou and her were friends but Mai wasn’t so sure. Friends weren’t easy to come by for Mai but then she remembered Cassiopeia and how the similarly white haired girl called Mai her friend. Aunt Margarette, I just took a break. This is Mai. She got lost in front of the shop, so I offered my help. Nodding her head along to his words Mai seemed lost again but it was more so the lost kind that occurred when a conversation was going on around you.

Ryou then introduced the three new people to her. Aunt Margarette greeted Mai while his brother gave her a nod. When he got to his cousin, Trixie stepped over to Mai who in response stepped back slightly at the bright greeting. “H-Hell-o.” offering them a shy smile and a small wave. After the greetings Mai didn’t pay much attention to the conversation but then it was centered on her again. Ryou-kun, sweetie why don't you help Mai here with her bags to her house? Would it cause you problems at work though? Once again Mai was startled this time by the idea of having to take a guy to her home, or more precisely Raiden’s home. What if he’s still there? The small girl began to panic a bit but forced herself to calm down by nibbling on her finger. Ryou wasn’t against the idea and Mai certainly didn’t have the courage to say no, she never had in the past but she was working on it.

"So, where are we off to?" Looking away for a moment Mai pointed in the direction of her home. All they needed to do was head in the same direction she came through. Putting the grocery bags down Mai wrung her hands for a brief moment before picking them up again and walking towards home. It looked a bit awkward for Mai to carry so many bags but the girl herself was used to it. “Ah t-th-is w-way.” she mumbled quietly to Ryou. Mai wasn’t quite aware of the fact that he may not have heard her but that was fine. She mumbled a few more times as they walked but it was quietly. Finally they reached the entrance to the apartments.

Mai stood where she was glancing around as she tried to figure out whether to take Ryou to the apartment door or if she should just take the bags now. With her back to him Mai’s face scrunched up in thought. Suddenly turning to face Ryou Mai stumbled back a bit but managed to stay on her feet. “Ah I-I c-can t-take i-it fr-om h-here.” Not once did she look at Ryou but before she could reach for the bags he carried a voice called out along with the appearance of an old woman. Looking up through her bangs Mai saw that it was the old woman who lived one floor down from her and Raiden. A look of worry crossed her face for Mai did not want to interact with people any further. That and this woman often had stuck her nose in her business from time to time. When she first moved in with Raiden the old lady thought he had gotten himself a girlfriend and Mai nearly had a nervous breakdown or so that’s how she felt from the embarrassment of it all.

Today was no different from back then or any of the other times. It seemed the old woman had a knack for doing so at just the wrong moments. Seeing Ryou with bags and Mai with bags she quickly came to the conclusion that Ryou was someone close to Mai but wasn’t family nor friend. A playful smile appeared on the old lady’s face along with a blush at the thoughts going through her head. Mai groaned inwardly dreading the words that were to be spoken by the old lad. [b] “Oh how cute having your man go shopping with you. Oh I remember the good ‘ol days with my man. Say handsome be a gentlemen and help this young lady to her apartment, keep her company if you’d like.”[/color] Her tone of voice hinted towards other things and after the old lady went on her way Mai was shaking. Not out of anger, well maybe a bit, but out of embarrassment.

It was like her childhood years after she moved away from Raiden were occurring all over again. A furious blush covered her skin and it seemed Mai was on the verge of tears. Biting her lip hard Mai looked away from Ryou. “Um I-I’ll t-take t-those b-bags n-now.” She wasn’t sure if Ryou was feeling embarrassed or differently but the old ladys words would have hinted towards Mai’s actual age. Mai didn’t want to look at Ryou for fear of what would occur but she hoped he’d take it all as a joke. In a way Mai liked the fact that he thought she was just a kid, it made things a bit easier knowing he didn’t see her as a woman, not that she looked much like one. Oh what have I gotten myself into? I just had to get lost.

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"It always goes that way, don't they get tired of it?"




Ryou heard Mai without much of a hindrance. He had always been the kind to hear everything that a person he is with. "We'll be going then." It was much like, he always pays attention to them. He then turned his back on them but not before giving them a small wave. "Be careful you two!" Aunt Margarette called after them while HIkaru and Trixie waved their hands with such energy. Ryou looked over his shoulder as a form of saying see you later and then, they were retracing their steps to Mai's house.

The walk was mostly silent. She did mumble which sometimes he could notice by the way she acts. He would ask her what's wrong. Their conversation usually starts from that. It was fine by him. This was a nice change from the busy flower shop where everything starts with Kyaa! Kyaaa!. It was downright annoying and damaging to the eardrums, so an escape from that was a welcome thing. Time passed by and they were soon at her house which is actually an apartment. They stopped at the entrance and he glanced at her. He could tell that she was thinking about something. He does have an idea what it could be as she opted to end their shopping trip with her taking the bags in his possession.

It was stopped mid-way as an elderly woman assumed and piped in between them. She believed that he was Mai's boyfriend or something along those lines. Does this lady have cataracts or something? It would be a crime for him to do that. It would be considered pedophilia and that is a crime. He does admit that he does reckless things which would be warrant illegal but not to the point of those kind of things. He was about to say something but decided against it as he noticed that Mai was more bothered about it than him and the old lady was soon out of their sights. It was better not to make a bigger scene about it. "Mai, I'll take these bags to your door." He stated as he did not relent his hold on the bags and really it would not be that hard against her.

"See it as my apologies for letting you be put on spot like that." He was either naturally dense or he was truly certain that Mai was just a kid and the old lady was just that, old with blurry eyesight. He followed Mai to her apartment door where he placed it at the foyer when the door was opened. He then stepped away from the door. This was as far as he would go. He was not the kind to intrude and seeing that she had reached her limit for interaction due her introvert qualities, this was fine. "I'll be going now." He prepared himself to leave but not before remembering something. "If you need anything, just drop by at Paradiso." He noted with his casual air. His features softened a bit, but just a bit. "You did good today, Mai." He sincerely said that as praise should be given when it's due. This was more of about her interactions than the actual grocery shopping but it could also be interpreted that way.

"See you around then." He then took his leave and was soon out of the area as he returned to his work at the Flower Shop.

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"Mai, I'll take these bags to your door.” Mai flinched just the slightest and gave him a meek no of the head. Picking up her bags Mai quickly went to the door of their apartment and set her bags back on the floor. Digging into her pocket Mai pulled out the house key and with a small jingle of the lock the door swung open to the reveal a small foyer. Stepping inside Mai walked in a short distance past the foyer and placed her bags down. Looking over her shoulder she saw that Ryou had stopped in the foyer and was placing his bags down. Turning to face him Mai dropped the key back into her pocket as she stared at him not sure of what to do. "I'll be going now.” Even if Ryou wasn’t aware of it something those words made things awkward but chose to ignore the feeling and nodded to his words.

Just as he was to leave Ryou spoke again making her turn back around to listen. "If you need anything, just drop by at Paradiso.” A light blush came to her cheeks. It was safe to say she had made a friend but it was unlikely that she’d ever go to him for help. Then again once could never tell until the moment arose. Looking up at him she saw that his features had softened slightly and she wonder if he was thinking of his brother when he looked at her. "You did good today, Mai." Mai’s head tilted slightly to the left a bit suspicious of his words. She wasn’t sure why he was praising her and she assumed it was because in his eyes she was just a kid who went shopping more or less on her own. Still despite the praise Mai said nothing. Once he left Mai wondered if she would ever come across him again. The idea was highly unlikely as she’d most likely just pass by Paradiso every time she went shopping. Plus Raiden would be with her the next time or so she hoped.

She didn’t like inconveniencing people, especially strangers, but since it was also Raiden’s food she didn’t think of it as inconveniencing him. With a tired sigh Mai set about to putting the groceries away and wondered what she’d make for dinner. Glancing at the clock she saw that it was nearly one in the afternoon. Was I gone for that long? After the groceries were put away she noticed Raiden wasn’t home which meant he was tutoring that girl he had been talking to the night before. Shrugging her shoulders Mai went back to the kitchen for the leftover from last night to eat for lunch. With all the walking she had done Mai hadn’t realized she had worked up quite the appetite.

After lunch Mai washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. Once she was done with that she found herself standing in the center of the apartment wondering where in the apartment she’d clean first. Deciding the living room to be the best choice Mai got the cleaning supplies and got to work. Eventually she got around to the majority of the apartment and every now and then she had trouble due to her short stature. The small girl glanced at the clock wondering when her cousin would be back. She wanted to get the apartment clean and there were places she could reach and areas, or rather an area, she could not venture in which was Raiden’s room.

Frowning Mai put away the cleaning supplies and peeked into his room. Upon doing so she immediately stepped back and scurried to her room. I’ll just leave it to him to clean. Looking around her room Mai realized she didn’t have much stuff inside that really made it hers. Going to her desk Mai shuffled through the doors and thought about maybe writing a letter to her mother. Happy with this she took what she needed and went to the living room to work. After the majority of the letter was done her hand was cramping and she was tired. Yawning Mai leaned back from where she sat and climbed into the small sofa they had. Hugging once of the decorative pillows close to chest Mai closed her eyes and was soon sound asleep.

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"It is only with him, I could be at ease."




The Class Trip was today and to best say the morning started with Aunt Margarette apologizing once more for not being able to accompany Hikaru. Ryou managed to settle the lady down for her to hand the packed lunches. Really, it was no trouble for him to spend time with his little brother who was ecstatic of that idea as well. Hikaru woke so early in the morning and would not remove himself by Ryou's side. It was a typical brotherly moment for them as their female cousins commented on wanting to go as well. It was impossible since Reisha has club practice while Trixie will be having her check-up with with the doctor, hence why their Aunt couldn't come. His Uncle was on a business meeting with a client even on weekends. He should be working today, but took a day-off in order to accommodate Hikaru who was looking forward to the trip.

"We'll be off then." He said as they were now outside the house. Hikaru did the same. "See you later Auntie, Reisha-neechan, Trixie-chan." The little boy waved his hand happily while the girls returned the gesture with cheerful smiles. They were off to the meeting place with Ryou holding Hikaru's hand. The people they walked passed by would both look at them with curiosity and an obvious red tinge across their cheeks. It was very notable to the girls while the men would be gaping. Ryou had managed to hear some people saying that the boy was his son and his wife was a lucky woman to have a beautiful family. It made him wonder if he looked that old to have a family of his own. It's true that Hikaru and he looked strikingly similar with only a few features setting them apart. Then, he did notice, he was far taller than anyone. That could have lead to the misunderstanding that he was the father.

"Nii-chan, are you sure it's okay that you're with me?" Ryou looked at Hikaru who was gazing at him with controlled fear. His eyes softened as he patted his little brother's head. "I wanted to be here. So just enjoy your day, okay?" Hikaru brightened immediately and happily nodded. "I will Nii-chan!" The smile on Hikaru's face was enough for Ryou. No matter how things might get troublesome, he was fine with it. They soon reached the meeting place where he was greeted by Ryou's homeroom teacher who was a female. The said teacher blushed at immediately seeing Ryou. "Oh... Good morning, I was expecting Miss Margarette. You must be..." Ryou gave a small nod as a greeting and introduce himself to clear any hesitation on the teacher's mind. "My Aunt has another appointment. I'm Hikaru's Brother, Ryou. It's nice to meet you."

The other parents in attendance who were mostly girls began to gossip like they were still in their high school days. It wasn't everyday they could see and even have a chance to interact with someone like him, a vision as many had stated which Ryou had outwardly retorted as nonsense. He only hoped that when Hikaru grows older, he will not be subjected to this kind of troubles. Hikaru was without doubt looked like their mother who was quite the admired beauty by many when she was still alive. The teacher gave an understanding nod and coughed a bit. She seemed flustered in Ryou's presence. "It's very nice to have you here with us Ryou-san. I'm sure Hikaru-chan is also happy, right?" Hikaru happily nodded his head in agreement as Ryou gave his little brother a small smile. Somehow, there were a few women who fainted which made Ryou wondered what had caused it.

The trip proceeded as scheduled and Ryou was constantly talked to by the mothers about random things. He answers them as briefly and politely as he could. It was a good thing that Hikaru would always want him near which gives him the perfect reason to leave the older women. Their trip has brought them to the aquarium where Hikaru was truly excited in seeing the different fishes. He was also entertained by the things he was seeing. He could say that the trip was rather relaxing even with the occasional talks with the women who seemed interested on him. He could never understand females most of the time, especially these mothers. They have children and husbands, why would they be interested on another? That was adultery and he has no interests on any of them. There was only one woman on his mind right now.

"Nii-chan! Look at the sharks!" The tugging of his little brother on his hand made him look at the sharks swimming inside their aquarium. "Are you scared of them, Hikaru?" The boy shook his head and smiled brightly at Ryou. "Nope! I'm with you!" Hikaru always manages to make Ryou smile and there was it again, a small smile only for his little brother.