Chapter 51: More than a Friend

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"Don't worry about it too much... Just get some rest. I'll go tell the others that you've regained consciousness."

Otokaze-sensei says to me as he pats me on the back. He then leaves me alone to my thoughts. I feel like I know so much now. It's kind of overwhelming. Is there no limit to how much jutsu I can absorb? Maybe there's some kind of side effect. I should research this and be more careful about using my powers. I'm sure all that pain that I feel when I absorb jutsu has more negative effect on me that it seems.


Someone says as they barge into my room.


Yukari runs up to me and hugs me.

"We were all so worried about you!"

I then notice Ikki and Yuto coming in behind her.

"Wait... How long have I been in a coma?"

"Oh man... Otokaze-sensei didn't tell you?"

Yuto says as he scratches the back of his head.

"It's... been about... four weeks."

Ikki slowly answers me. My eyes widen.

"Four weeks...?!"

"Gaara has been really worried about you. Whenever he wasn't on missions, he'd be here the whole time."

Yukari whispers to Kiu.

"So he's on a mission, I'm assuming..."

"He should be back soon."

Yukari reassures me. The door then opens once again and in comes Koji and Maru.

"Kiu! Man, you spooked the hell out of us!"

Maru exclaims as he comes closer. I notice Koji staying behind, looking at me from afar. I sigh.

"Was I that bad?"

I ask Koji, wanting to know why he's acting so distant. He looks away and doesn't say anything. Yukari then looks at him then looks back at me.

"Alright, well I guess you two should talk for a bit. Let's go guys!"

I give Yukari a grateful smile as she gets everyone and leaves Koji and I alone. When everyone's gone he comes up to me and sits down on the chair next to my bed.

"I'm glad you're alright, Kiu."

He says in a pretty detached tone.

"Do I make you feel uncomfortable after what you witnessed?"

He pauses for a bit.

"Honestly... I'm still kind of disturbed by what happened."

"Maru and Otokaze-sensei saw me like that too. But for some reason, you're the only one who's acting differently towards me now."

Another silence... Looking at him, though, made me feel like he's hiding something from me.

"What are you hiding?"

Koji chuckles.

"Of course you'd figure it out. Absorbing all that knowledge from all these people who died..."

He looks me in the eyes. For the first time, I see very complicated emotions in Koji's eyes. It's a mix of anger and sadness. I reach out a hand to him in worry.


He holds my hand.

"Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about what I'm hiding, Kiu. I've sworn an oath of secrecy. However... I still want to believe that you're different. I want to believe that you won't betray your comrades."

He squeezes my hand in his. The door to my room then opens once more.


I look up at who it is.


Koji lets go of my hand and gets up. Without a word he heads for the door and leaves. Gaara doesn't even acknowledge that he's there and, without taking his eyes off me, comes up to me and holds my hands in his.

Seeing him after all that's happened makes me feel extremely emotional. Then, something that I never thought would ever happen to me ever since I've become a full-fledged shinobi, happens. Tears start escaping my eyes and falling down my cheeks.


I say with a shaking voice. Without saying a word, he hugs me and I burry face in his chest. I cry quietly for a bit, with Gaara still holding me in his arms and caressing my hair.

After I calm down, we pull away and Gaara gently pulls away the strands of hair on my face while wiping my tears in the process. He then gives me a warm smile.

"Thank you..."

I tell him.

"For what?"

He says while holding my hands in his.

"Everything... Yukari told me how you've been looking after me this whole time."

Gaara looks away and I spot a little blush creeping up to his cheeks. I giggle at the sight.

"I just did what a good friend would do..."

He mumbles.

"Well, you're way more than a friend to me..."

Now it's my turn to mumble and act all shy. I feel my face heating up. When I say that, he looks me straight in the eyes. His face comes closer to mine and he then rests his forehead on mine. We both close our eyes and immerse ourselves in the moment. My heart is beating so fast, but I've never felt so at peace before. It's the most tense yet most comfortable feeling.

I get discharged from the hospital that same day and I start heading home with Gaara, hand in hand. We walk in silence. No words are necessary for us to feel and appreciate each other.

When we get back home, we each reluctantly go back to our own room. Alone in my room, I bring my hand to my racing heart. It feels like it's been forever since I've felt so close to Gaara. We've all been so busy...

I go to my bed and lay down, thinking about my time with Gaara with a smile on my face. Then, a thought in the back of my mind starts creeping up to the surface and my smile starts to fade away.

"Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about what I'm hiding, Kiu. I've sworn an oath of secrecy. However... I still want to believe that you're different. I want to believe that you won't betray your comrades."

That's what Koji said... He knows something that he can't tell me. I'm almost positive it's something about my origins. Why did he look so hurt? I want to know what he knows. I can't force him to tell me either... I shake away all thoughts and plans to get him to talk. He definitely has a good reason why he's not telling me. I'll find out on my own, without burdening anyone around me.

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