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Chocolate Hearts

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Valentine's Day was one of those holidays that Takeru understood in theory but in practise had never celebrated properly. This was mainly due to the fact that's he'd never properly received chocolate. The few times he had gotten chocolate on Valentine's Day it was what everyone called 'friend chocolate' or out of apparent obligation as everyone else was getting chocolate. It had never bothered him though, especially considering for the last several years he hadn't been particularly interested in anything.

So he was understandably thrown when a meek sounding voice said his name and he looked up to see a girl he didn't recognize standing at his desk, holding something in her hands.

"Th-this is for you!" she said quickly, almost throwing the small package at him before darting off, face red and pigtails bouncing behind her.

He blinked in surprise before looking down at his desk and what she'd handed him. Chocolates. Inside the clear plastic wrapping were chocolates, and they certainly didn't look store bought.

And it wasn't the last time it happened, happening several more times before lunch break, each instance just as baffling to him as the last.

 

"I don't get it, why are they giving me chocolate," said Takeru, leaning back in his chair as he ate lunch. "I mean, I don't even know these girls. I'm not even sure some of them are in my class."

"It's probably because they like you," said Yusaku.

"But they don't even know me. I don't even know them."

Yusaku shrugged, "Then it's probably because you're cute."

"What?" Takeru squeaked, dropping his chopsticks in his lap as he stared, gaping, at Yusaku.

Yusaku cocked his head slightly, giving him a curious look. "What? I have working eyes you know," he said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"You're not the only one who's become popular with the ladies," said Ai. "You should see Yusaku's haul."

"Yusaku got chocolate?"

Yusaku's cheeks flushed slightly. "I guess hanging around you has, softened my reputation," he said, looking at Takeru. "People actually gave me chocolate this year. I guess I'm not nearly as, unapproachable, as before. Too bad I don't like chocolate. Do you want mine?"

"I-Yusaku it's rude to re-gift chocolate like that. And what do you mean don't like it?"

He shrugged, "It's too sweet for my tastes. Dark chocolate is fine but most of this stuff isn't." He sighed, "Maybe Kusanagi-san will want it, I'm sure he can make something with it."

"Yusaku you're so mean."

"Why? At least then it'll get eaten. Besides, it's not like I knew any of those girls either."

Takeru sighed, he supposed Yusaku did have a point. And really, there was only one person who wanted-hoped-to get anything from, and they weren't at the school.

"I suppose," he said.

 

"Kusanagi-san, is that, chocolate?"

Yusaku pointed to an open box on the truck counter, half filled with small chocolates of various shapes and kinds.

"Ohhh! Kusanagi-san do you have an admirer?" asked Ai, wide eyed as he looked up at Kusanagi.

The man laughed and rubbed the back of his head. "Looks like this old man still has game, I found it when I got here this morning."

"So who's it from?" asked Takeru as he sat down, setting his bag at his feet.

"Well, according to the tag, it's from Ghost Girl. So how have your days' been?"

"Yusaku actually got gifts, from girls!"

"Ai!" Yusaku slapped his hand down on the duel disk only to late as Ai gleefully spilled the beans, face squished up in a very giddy expression.

Kusanagi raised an eyebrow, "Oh really?"

"It's not what you're thinking," said Yusaku defensively. "Besides, Takeru got chocolate too."

Kusanagi looked over at him and he shrugged, "It's true. Yusaku said it's cause they think I'm cute."

Kusanagi laughed. "So does this mean there's dates in your futures?" he asked.

"No!" Takeru and Yusaku said in unison, cheeks flushing slightly in embarrassment.

"I-I should get going," said Takeru, grabbing his bag as he stood up. "I have, things, to do. S-see you later Yusaku!"

He sure hoped none of the girls asked him out on a date, he didn't want to look like an asshole when he inevitably turned them down.

"Takeru, is everything alright?" asked Flame.

"It's nothing. I just...you remember Kiku?"

"The friend from your home?"

Takeru nodded, "Yeah her."

Flame was quiet for a moment before making a noise of understanding. "You want chocolate from her, don't you?"

Takeru's cheeks reddened and he nodded. "It's just, she's back home and I'm here."

"Why don't you call her? I'm sure she'd like to talk to you, especially today."

"Are you sure it won't make things, to obvious?" he asked.

"Isn't that the point?"

 

As Takeru arrived at his small, rented place he dropped his bag at the door before making a beeline for his laptop. Before leaving home Kiku had installed a messaging program on his tiny laptop so that they could talk, though much to Takeru's shame he hadn't used it all that much.

"I just hope she's online," he thought as he dropped into his chair and took the laptop out of sleep mode. To his surprise and joy, the mark next to her name was green, indicating she was online.

 

Kiku! ^.^

Takeru! What a surprise, I was beginning to think you'd forgotten that I'd given you this.

eheehe sorry. Ive been real busy. Hey you wanna face time? It's been a while an I wanna talk to you face 2 face.

Sure thing, gimme a moment to set up, you sure you remember how to do it ;P

Hey!

 

A few clicks and a few moments later, Kiku's smiling face appeared up on the laptop screen.

"So how's your day going Takeru?" she asked.

"It's, going," he said, rubbing the neck of his neck nervously.

A mischievous smirk crossed her face and Takeru felt like he was being stared down by a cat. "Did you get any chocolate from anyone? I mean it is Valentines Day after all."

A lump formed in the back of his throat and he swallowed hard, the idea of telling Kiku that yes he had gotten chocolate from other girls suddenly becoming a terrifying one.

"Ahh well, I did get some, but I didn't even know the girls," he said. "My friend Yusaku said they probably think I'm cute."

"Is that so?"

"Well I mean, I don't know why else they'd give sweets to a guy they've never spoken to before," he said. "Do you?"

"Mmm that sounds about right," she said with a nod. "So, is that, all you got?"

Takeru nodded, "Yeah, it's still more than I expected to tell you the truth."

Kiku 'hmm'ed' and for a moment Takeru could swear she looked, disappointed.

"Ah so, how are things going on your end?" he asked quickly, hoping to change the topic. "You do anything fun today?"

 

They chatted well into the evening, until Kiku was called away for dinner-and she suggested that Takeru do the same.

"So," asked Flame as Takeru finally retrieved his bag, and by extension his duel disk. "Was your chat with Miss. Kiku enlightening? You certainly were talking for a long time, so long in fact I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me."

"Flame, come on you know that's not true," he said. "I just haven't talked with Kiku for a while. And with exams coming up soon we'll probably both be busy again anyways." He sighed, "Hey Flame, I think Kiku might have been upset about something."

"Oh?"

Takeru nodded, "Yeah, do you think I said something wrong?"

"I wouldn't know, I couldn't hear what you were talking about."

 

 

Takeru stared at the box sitting on his door step, a box that had not been there that morning when he'd gone to school. It was addressed to him, so it wasn't like it had been mis-delivered. But he wasn't expecting anything. As he picked it up he saw the address of the sender and he gaped, it was from his hometown!

Excitedly he rushed inside, tossing his bag onto the small couch before sitting down with the box, eager to find out what was inside.

Inside it was full of small packing peanuts, which soon littered the floor as he pulled out the real contents, a letter and a small wrapped package. It was, chocolate. Well, not just chocolate, but small cookies and other sweets too. As he opened the attached letter his eyes widened, he recognized the handwriting, it was Kiku's.

 

Takeru,

I've never sent stuff like this through the mail before, so I hope it gets to you safely.

Happy Valentines Day, I hope you like them, I made everything myself.

Kiku

 

Wait...Valentines Day?

He looked back at the chocolate and the sweets, then at the note and felt the colour drain from his face. "Flame, I think I know why Kiku was upset," he said.

"Oh?"

"She sent me Valentines Day chocolate. I think, that she was expecting me to get it ON Valentines Day. And then we talked and I didn't say anything about it to her. Oh no, I must have seemed like such an asshole."

"I highly doubt that Takeru," said Flame. "I'm sure miss Kiku would be very understanding."

Takeru whined as he looked at the chocolates sitting in front of him. Well, it would be rude not to at least try them.

The chocolates were small and each one was wrapped in a tiny piece of wax paper, the ends twisted up neatly. The cookies were packed into a small bag, decorated with a pink ribbon. The sugar coated candies were in their own bag, each one a different colour.

Takeru couldn't believe it, she'd done all this for him. It wasn't the first time she'd given him chocolate for Valentine's Day, but this was the first time she'd done this much, or been this decorative about it.

He stared at the sweets thoughtfully, even the treats he'd gotten from his classmates hadn't been this fancy looking. Did this mean... His cheeks flushed at the thought, no way, there was no way she felt that way about him. But then again she had gone through all this trouble to make and send him sweets and had seemed a bit disappointed when he didn't say anything about them.

He supposed he should at least give them a try, hopefully they tasted as good as they looked. He went for the chocolates first, opening the small bag and pulling out a small wrapped candy. The candy itself didn't look all that fancy, just small squares of chocolate, but from the rough edges and uneven surfaces it was clear that it was homemade.

'Well, here goes,' he though as he popped it in his mouth. It was, good. It wasn't anything fancy, just sort of, regular chocolate, though she'd clearly added sugar to make it sweeter. It wasn't to hard either, being a little bit chewy. Takeru couldn't help but to smile as he ate it. And there were still more!

Unlike the gifts he'd gotten from his classmates, some of which he had managed to give away, this stuff he wanted. Maybe Kiku did like him like that, he really hoped that was the case.

'I hope she's not to mad,' he thought as he nibbled on a cookie-shortbread it seemed-topped with some kind of icing and he wondered if it was homemade as well. 'I really wanna tell her how good this stuff is, and thank her.'

"Enjoying yourself lover boy?" asked Flame, arms resting on the edge of Takeru's duel disk.

"F-Flame!"

"What, you're smiling like a manga heroine with a crush, I can almost see the hearts and sparkles around you," said the fire Ignis.

Takeru cast him a curious look, cocking an eyebrow, "What would you know about that?"

"I-that's, hush. I get bored alright, I need something to read."

"You know that stuff is meant for girls right?"

"I am allowed to read it if I want!" he huffed, folding his arms over his chest.

Takeru laughed before turning his attention to the gift again. "You're, kind of right though," he said after a moment. "I've known Kiku since we were little and, I've kind of always had a crush on her."

"Does she know?"

"No. I wasn't gonna tell her."

"Well you should, it's fairly clear she likes you too," said Flame.

"Or she was just being nice."

Flame sighed and rolled his eyes, Takeru was hopeless.

 


 

White Day was coming up in a week and Takeru had come to a decision.

"I want to make Kiku chocolate!" announced Takeru.

"Really now, what brought this on?" asked Flame.

"I was just, thinking about it and White Day is coming up," Flame gave him a curious look and Takeru quickly clarified, "It's like Valentine's Day but it's when the boys give the girls chocolate and stuff. And well, Kiku gave me stuff so, I want to make her something. And, maybe she'll stop being mad at me."

After Takeru got her late Valentines gift he had tried to phone her and text her and even message her online but it seemed as if she was ignoring him, the texts went unanswered, the calls to voicemail and she was never online.

"And how are you going to find time for that?" asked Flame. "You have to study."

"I can make time."

"Do you even know how to make chocolate? Or any kind of sweet for that matter?"

"Not a clue. But there's plenty of stuff online, how hard could it be?"

"Famous last words," muttered Flame as Takeru opened his laptop and started pulling up cooking videos.

It wasn't long before Takeru found himself regretting those words, as it seemed baking chocolate was at least somewhat difficult. For one thing he didn't have any of the ingredients or the materials needed for baking, like molds for the chocolate.

"I guess I have some shopping to do," he said as he pulled out a piece of paper and began writing down his shopping list

"And you'll want extra, in case something goes wrong," said Flame. "Like you burn it."

"You have no faith in me," huffed Takeru. "I'm not that bad in the kitchen, gran did teach me a few things."

"But not how to make chocolate," pointed out Flame.

"I'll figure it out," said Takeru. "As long as I have enough money for this."

 

Takeru debated bringing the Ignis along for the shopping trip, he wasn't sure he wanted to be dissed the whole trip, but ultimately decided to bring him with so he'd at least have some company, after all he doubted that Yusaku wanted to help with this task.

So with Flame tucked away in the duel disk and a shopping list written out, Takeru headed out to try and find everything he needed.

The ingredients were the easy part, especially once he knew where to look. The real problem as it turned out, was finding the molds and equipment he didn't already have. After going to several places he was beginning to despair, where would he even find such things?

Eventually though he did track down a set of heart shaped molds and declared that they were good enough, bought them and finally headed back to his small rented place.

"So, you're really going to do this tonight?" asked Flame as Takeru removed the duel disk, setting it on the kitchen table before setting the ingredients out.

"Of course, no better time like the present, right?" asked Takeru. "Besides, like you said, I've never done this before so I need practise." He grabbed his laptop from the other room and set it up on a chair before moving Flame next to it. "Ok, Flame, you're in charge of reading the recipe to me, that way I can focus on baking."

Flame sighed, crawling out of the duel disk and onto the laptop keyboard. This was going to be a long evening.

 

"Now, once it's all mixed, pour it into the molds," said Flame.

"But it's not mixed yet, it's still lumpy," said Takeru, still stirring the bowl of chocolate goo.

"Have you tried heating it back up on your double boiler?" asked Flame, pointing to the pot of hot water. "Perhaps it'll melt down. You might have added to much at once."

Takeru groaned in frustration as he set the bowl in his hands back on the pot, still stirring it to keep it from sticking to the bowl. For some reason the chocolate mixture was still lumpy, no matter what he did and how much he stirred it.

After what felt like forever it did start to smooth out, turning into a far more creamy mixture and more like what the videos had shown.

"And then I just put it in the fridge yeah?" asked Takeru, as he pulled it off the pot, patting the bottom dry from the moisture.

"It would seem so yes, to help it cool and harden. Don't want to be giving her squishy chocolate after all."

Takeru grimaced, the last thing he wanted was for it to melt before it even got to her.

Carefully, his face screwed up in intense concentration, he tipped the bowl, slowly pouring the near liquid chocolate into the rubber mold, doing his best not to spill any.

His hands shook slightly as he balanced it, liquid chocolate drizzling between the molds and getting drops all over his fingers. He had to fight to keep from dropping the hot bowl as his fingers felt like they were burning, the melted chocolate still very hot. He was already covered coco powder from earlier, having nearly dropped the bag then dropped the measuring cup.

Setting the empty bowl aside, he picked up the mold to transfer to the fridge.

"So how long do we wait for?" asked Takeru, picking up a cloth to wipe his hands on.

"Hmm, let me see," said Flame, scrolling through the page. "About and hour, at least," he said. "Though, I suppose longer wouldn't hurt, to make sure it's set and firm."

"And then we can try them to make sure they're good," said Takeru. "Kiku likes sweet things so I want to make sure they're sweet enough."

Flame's face squished up into something like a smile. "I think she'll really like them."

Takeru blushed, "Really, do you think so?" he asked.

"I know so."

 

After cleaning up the kitchen, which was a disaster as sugar and coco powder covered the counter as well as small pieces of chocolate that had escaped the bowl, Takeru pulled out his text books, he needed to get some studying done, as Flame was right, he did have exams and couldn't put off studying. He didn't like it but it was a necessary evil, unfortunately.

"This is boring Flame," he whined, leaning back his chair, fingers dragging through his hair. "I hate it."

"I know, but you need to study or you will fail."

Takeru groaned again before going back to studying.

 

The first batch of chocolates were, something. Takeru couldn't quite put his finger on it, perhaps he hadn't used enough sugar. They were good but something about them wasn't right. They also felt hard, though he tossed that up to the fact that they were fresh out of the fridge and thus still cold.

"Well, they're not awful," he said as he down the first one. "But they're not quite right." He sighed as he looked at the calendar, White Day was coming up soon and he wanted these to be perfect. Plus he still had to buy the proper packaging to he could wrap them up to give to her.

"At least they're edible," said Flame. "And not burned or anything."

"Yeah, it's pretty good for a first try," he said, popping out the rest and setting them on a plate. "But I think it should be sweeter, you know?"

"I do not but I'll take your word for it."

 

White Day

 

Takeru took a deep breath as he stepped off the train and onto the platform, a small box held in his hands.

With no school that day, much too Takeru's immense relief, he'd grabbed the train back home. It was White Day and he absolutely had to give Kiku the chocolate he'd made, and apologize to her for whatever he might have done to upset her, as he hadn't really spoken to her since Valentines Day, the closest he'd gotten were his messages going from unread to read. So to say he was nervous was something of an understatement. She also didn't know he was coming, in fact no one did, he wanted the visit to be a surprise, as long as his cold feet didn't get the better of him.

"Be brave Homura Takeru," said Flame, looking up at him from his duel disk, having tagged along as moral support. "You can do this, I know you can."

"I sure hope so," he said, clutching the box tightly. "What if she rejects me?"

"Don't think so negatively," said Flame. "You made chocolate for her, what girl wouldn't be impressed by that?"

Takeru looked down at the box quietly, he supposed Flame was right. But, what if she got chocolate from someone else already? What if someone else had caught her eye while he was away and that was why she hadn't been answering him? That was the worst possible scenario.

No, no he couldn't think about that, there was no way, besides, surely Kiku would have told him if she was seeing someone, right?

Taking a deep breath he clutched the box tightly before taking off, and praying that Kiku was at home. If she wasn't at home he really wasn't sure what he was going to do.

 

Standing in front of her house Takeru found himself re-evaluating his options and wondering if there was still time to back out. He wanted to do this but at the same time he didn't, it scared him. All the previous worst ideas were coming back and making him second guess everything.

He shook his head, no, no he couldn't let him self talking himself out of doing this, he had to do. After all, if he left now making the chocolate would have been for nothing.

With a deep breath he strode forward and knocked on the door.

The the few seconds that followed were nerve wracking and felt like they took an eternity to pass, before the door opened.

"Takeru?" Kiku's surprised face greeted him, eyes widening at the sight of Takeru standing there. "I didn't know you were in town."

"I wanted it to be a surprise," he said, rubbing the back of his head. "Um, are you busy? I can come back later if you-"

"No! Come in come in!" she said quickly, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him inside. "It feels like forever since we've seen each other."

"Well, you've been a bit hard to get a hold of," he said as he stepped out of his shoes in the entrance way.

Kiku sighed, "Yeah, sorry about that. I didn't mean to ghost you like that but my mom took my phone away and limited my internet use so I'd study for my exams. I didn't do so great on a couple tests and she blamed it on my 'distractions'."

Takeru froze, lifting his head to look at her. "So you're, not mad at me?" he asked.

"Who's at the door?" called a woman's voice from somewhere in the house.

"It's just Takeru mom!" Kiku called back before turning back to Takeru and giving him a confused look, "Why would I be mad at you?"

"Well it's just, you kind of...on Valentines Day when we talked you seemed, a bit bothered by something and I thought you were upset with me. Especially when your gift showed up later and I realized you were, probably hoping I'd say something about it."

"So it, arrived late?" asked Kiku and Takeru nodded.

"Yeah, a couple days after we talked I got home from school and it was waiting for me," he said. "That's when I realized, you were probably hoping to hear what I thought about it, and I wondered if you were mad at me for not saying anything, especially since I talked about everyone else's chocolate and getting gifts from other girls."

"Nononono I wasn't mad at you. I mean, I might have been a little disappointed when you didn't say anything about it but, if it hadn't even arrived then I guess that makes sense." She paused, shifting about on the spot. "So, what did you think about it?" she asked shyly. "I mean, I hope it was still edible by the time it got to you."

"Oh-oh it was fine," he said quickly, warmth rising to his cheeks as he spoke. "I mean, it was edible, and it was great. And you um, made it all yourself?"

Kiku nodded, "Uh-huh. I had my mom help a little bit with the candy, you should have seen the counters by the time I was done, mom said it was like a bomb went off in there. So, that means you liked it then?"

Takeru nodded again, trying to mentally calm himself before he started shaking and dropped his stuff.

"You never did say why you came by," said Kiku.

"O-oh uh, is there, somewhere else we can go, that's not your front hall?" he asked.

Kiku blushed, as if just noticing that they'd been spending the last few minutes just standing in the entrance way talking. "Yeah come on," she said, taking him by the hand and leading him off through the house. "We can talk in my room."

Takeru followed after her, doing his best not to trip over his own to feet, his legs shaking with nervousness. He was doing this, he was actually doing this!

He followed her to her bed room where she let go of his hand at last before dropping down on the edge of the bed.

"So, what's with the box?" she asked, finally noticing the small box in his hand.

"Well it's, why I came over," said Takeru nervously. He held the box out, just about thrusting it towards her. "It's for you, f-for White Day."

Now it was Kiku's turn to blush as she looked from the box to Takeru, then back to the box. "For, me?"

He nodded silently, not daring to speak lest he make things worse.

Kiku took the box from him and set it in her lap, it was a plain white box that he'd topped with a lone red bow, the only sign of decoration on it. Carefully, she removed the lid to reveal the contents. Inside was a large chocolate heart and several smaller chocolate hearts, each carefully wrapped in a small plastic bag.

"It's not...it's nothing fancy," he said, twisting his fingers together nervously. "But I, made them all myself."

Kiku looked up at him, clearly shocked. "You made these? Since when do you cook? Or bake for that matter?"

Takeru huffed indignantly. "Hey, I can cook, a little bit. Besides I just followed the recipe. Several times. It's edible I promise."

Kiku smiled before patting the spot beside her, indicating for him to sit down. "I'm just teasing Takeru, "I'm sure you did your best," she said. "I guess I should eat it, to make sure of course."

Nervously he sat down beside her, hands in his lap as he waited for her reaction to the chocolate. He watched as she opened the bag with the large chocolate heart, he'd wanted to make it fancier but after finally getting it to come out in one piece he didn't want to risk ruining it so it was plain and unadorned. He was pretty sure that if he had ended up breaking it he would have just died of frustration.

Kiku nibbled at the chocolate experimentally, as if she didn't want to damage the treat.

"It is sweet enough?" asked Takeru. "I know you like your chocolate sweet but I wasn't sure how sweet and-"

"It's perfect!" she exclaimed happily.

"Really?"

Kiku nodded. "I mean, it's no store bought chocolate obviously but for homemade it's really good, I can't believe you made this all on your own."

Takeru blushed and looked down at his hands bashfully, twisting his fingers together as he searched for the words to say. She liked his chocolate, she'd eaten it and liked it!

"I'm, I'm glad you like it. I was, worried you wouldn't like it, or wouldn't even want it, or that someone else would have given you chocolate first and-"

"Takeru," Kiku placed a hand on his arm, cutting him off mid sentence. "You're over thinking things."

"I know, I just...Did you get chocolate from anyone?" he asked.

She shook her head, "No, well, aside from some from the kids I babysit but that doesn't really count."

Takeru laughed, "Yeah, it probably wouldn't."

"Besides, there's only one person I really wanted to get chocolate from anyways," she said, looking up at him with a soft smile.

"O-oh, who?"

Kiku laughed, "You you silly, who else would I be talking about?"

Takeru's face flared red as he felt his voice catch in his throat, she had WANTED chocolate from him, proper White Day non-friends chocolate. All he managed to squeak out was a small 'oh'. And not only that but she'd accepted it from him and liked it!

"So, thank you, Takeru. I really do like it," she said.

"Kiku do you, wanna go on a date sometime? With me?" The words left his mouth before he could stop them, having been mulling them over in his head and debating on whether or not he should say them out loud. "I mean, if-if you want to that is."

Now it was Kiku's turn to blush, cheeks flushing a brilliant pink. It wasn't often that Takeru saw her blush, Kiku was fairly good at keeping her composure no matter the situation.

"Are you, are you actually asking me out?" she asked, hands folded in her lap.

He nodded silently, wringing his hands together. "I mean, I know we probably wouldn't be able to go on one anytime soon cause I'm still living in Den City, but once the term ends I'll be coming home and we'll be closer and-"

"What about right now?"

Takeru stopped and stared, a little caught off guard by the sudden declaration. "You mean like, right now-right now?" he asked and Kiku nodded.

"Yeah, why not? I mean, you're already here and I didn't have anything planned, and I'm pretty sure the only thing you were intending on doing was giving me these," she gestured to the box of chocolates, "So why not?"

It was true, he didn't have any other plans aside from bringing her the chocolate as he hadn't gotten past that part in his planning. He'd just been hoping that she'd take them, he hadn't actually planned out what to do if she accepted them.

"It won't be anything fancy you know," he said.

"I know, and it doesn't have to be."

"It's just, a first date, shouldn't that be like, I dunno, special?

She smiled and reached for his hand, curling her fingers around it. "I think it's plenty special as long as we're out together, right?"

Well, it was hard to argue with that logic now wasn't it? Especially since he could barely string together enough sounds to form actual words, just sort of stuttering and stumbling as he blushed.

"Where would you want to go?" he asked finally.

Kiku shrugged, "Anywhere's fine. We could always go down to the docks, or to the mall, or the park, we have the whole day after all."

Takeru smiled, "Alright, let's do that then."

"Good Now, you wait in the hall so I can get changed, alright?"

"Wait, what?" Before Takeru could ask more, Kiku had shoved him out into the hall and shut the door behind him. "Do you really need to change?" he asked once he got over the initial shock. "You look fine to me."

"If it's a date I want to look nice," she said.

"What about me? I didn't bring any spare clothes with me."

"You're fine as you are."

Takeru sighed and leaned back against the wall. Well this day sure had taken a turn.

"I must say, I am quite impressed," said Flame, peering out of the duel disk that Takeru had forgot he was even wearing and up at Takeru. "Your ability to woo the opposite sex is, astounding. Is it usually as easy as this for humans to get a 'date'?"

"I don't know," muttered Takeru, cheeks still a healthy red colour. "I've never been on a date before."

"I see. Well, good luck Homura Takeru, and have fun on your date," said Flame, sinking back into the duel disk with a wave.

"Alright, I'm ready," said Kiku, just about throwing the door to her room open. "So, what do you think?"

Kiku had exchanged her school uniform for a simple white dress with a gold sparkle pattern and a light pink jacket with her purse slung over one shoulder. She'd let her hair down from its usual braid, letting it hang loose over her shoulders instead.

"You-you look great," he said. He couldn't recall the last time he'd seen her in such casual clothes. "Really...cute."

Kiku blushed and looked away for a moment before grabbing his hand and dragging him towards the front door.

"Mom I'm going out with Takeru, I'll be back later!" she called. "Come on Takeru, let's go!"

Takeru smiled, squeezing her hand happily as he followed her, he could barely wait.