ToaD-4: Mixed Signals

Story Title: Trials of a Dreamless
Chapter Title: Mixed Signals
Chapter 4 Snippet: “Every girl has some person they like.” Train smirked. He loved the reply he just conjured on the spot.
Disclaimer: This chapter has a filler vibe to it. Originally, it was meant to be a filler because it was posted during Christmas break (thus the Christmas plot). However, while writing this, I decided to add plot points that would create a conflicting mindset in Teito’s mind. Teito is willing to be friends and supportive towards Ailia, but somehow, it’s a confusing signal— thus the change of the chapter title to Mixed Signals. The new chapter title is a foreshadowing of the next chapter.
Status: Un-Beta’d.

“If all you wanted was a break, we might as well give it to you as a prize.” He concluded.

“But I’m still bound to the Dreamless if it’s a prize. If I lose, I lose contact too.” She voiced out.

“But do you truly wish to leave?” The other boy asked the clincher question.

So maybe Matthew was right— for once. Ailia was working on a reference book answering each question that blocked her way. While answering though, she was contemplating the events that conjured more than a month ago. She never wanted to leave the Dreamless team because she had a purpose there. However, she had to worry about the amount of time being in such an extra-curricular takes. She had to be on call 24/7— even during school hours. Well, during school hours, it was dependent on the gravity of the situation. The last time she was forced out of class was when Paul & Matthew were her teammates. Nevertheless, Dreamless work took a chunk of time that it’s hard to concentrate on other matters— like college applications.

Ailia was now feeling the pressure of college exams. Technically, the entrance exams in Atria have ended and most people were waiting for the results. However, there are those who are taking the ITSPE— a test that happens once a month. Ailia had been putting it on hold for months until her dad raged at her for not preparing for it. Her dad knew she was part of the Dreamless team, but that didn’t stop him from understanding how much time Dreamless work took. Ailia was lucky to have found out her dream allowing her to drop out anytime, but her dream didn’t match her father’s wishes— that’s why she still stayed. She didn’t want her father to question about her dream.

It was Chyse’s arrival that shook her. Because of Chyse, Ailia was thrown less load allowing Ailia to concentrate on college applications. The short moment of freedom made Ailia realize how much she needed to catch up in both college applications and extracurriculars. Ailia realized how much she was missing in ASA’s Otaku Club (AOC).

The members knew of Ailia’s indispensable knowledge about the anime world, but because she was busy, they made her head of a sub-committee instead— the anime one. Ailia had agreed to the arrangement if and only if Touko, a grade school friend of hers, would be next in charge. The club members wholeheartedly agreed even though Touko was denying the job. For Ailia, placing Touko as next in charge was the right thing to do— the bi-weekly meetings to watch anime series were consistent along with the synthesis of each series. The series shown were selected meticulously to avoid played out genres. Everything was going smoothly even with her absence, but upon conversing with Touko, she found out that the other committees of the club weren’t faring as well. The cosplay committee was almost out of funds and indecisive about what events to hold while the manga committee was near inactivity.

Ailia felt relieved that the anime committee was able to hold its ground, but will the AOC return to its glory? Ailia wanted to help fix matters, but even with the prize she received from the Dreamless Tournament, she still lacked time. Ailia was grateful that Matthew and Paul held their end of the bargain. Whichever team won the Dreamless Tournament had their wish granted— for Ailia, it was to be excused from any mission whenever she wished. Sir Dalv had an issue with that wish because Ailia was an important member of the team. To please both sides, it was decided that Sir Dalv can nullify that one request of Ailia once per month. It was better than nothing.

The ITSPE was on the incoming weekend and Ailia spent most of her time in either the library or her dorm room. Recently, she had decided to work at the dormitory because people have been harping on her the past days about other issues— issues she didn’t want to deal with at the moment. However, Ai found it a cause for concern— Ailia had been avoiding contact by just about anyone. Even for her (Ai), Ailia was becoming hard to communicate with. Ai sincerely hoped that the ITSPE would be over with.

Ai heard a ring tone in the room. The tone was too familiar and Ai knew Ailia would simply reply to the sender— Sir Dalv. However, after replying, another ring was heard. It sounded like it was an emergency— or at least something of great importance that Sir Dalv used the nullify card. Ailia sighed and dropped everything she was doing. She grabbed a jacket from the closet before bidding Ai good-bye.

Upon the closing of the door, Ai couldn’t help but smile. She was thankful that Ailia was able to release herself from endless studying— with some help.

Ailia briskly walked the streets of Academy city. The air was cold BUT dry— simply that. Academy City wasn’t a city plagued with snow during the Christmas season, but it’d get unbearably cold during the evenings— that’s why Ailia brought a thick jacket with her. However, that didn’t stop the freezing feeling she felt at her legs. In an attempt to get the meeting over and done with, she had left the dorm wearing shorts— a relatively short one to boot. She cursed inwardly hoping that no one would hear her. She sped up her pace hoping to arrive at Headquarters as soon as possible. She needed warmth.

“We’ll begin once Ailia arrives.” Chief Dalv assured those present.

All the core members of the Dreamless team— along with selected people from the other divisions were present. The core division was small in comparison to the other divisions, so some people have become part of the core family. The group has become the core & friends division. The core division was wary of introducing new people to their circle. This was to avoid information leakages because leakages have the potential to destroy a mission greatly. It was apparent that Ailia’s confidante, Train, would be at the impromptu meeting.

“Is her presence really necessary? We should just leave her to study for the ITSPE.” Mae irritatingly said. It sounded like the girl had better things to do at that moment in time— though everyone else in the room was one hundred percent sure it involved some guy.

“Yes. We need her in planning this Christmas party and most importantly, in the Kris Kringle.” Chief Dalv said in a domineering tone.

Chief Dalv was positive that Ailia wouldn’t take the demand on her appearance too well. More so when she finds out that the reason she was called out was to simply talk about the Christmas party of the Core team. However, the annual Christmas party of the Core division held great importance over any other annual activities— except for the Dreamless Tournament. Chief Dalv was hoping everything would go smoothly for this year’s planning. He shivered at the memory of last year’s planning debacle.

The door swished open and entered a disheveled Ailia. She quickly took a spot beside the heater at one side of the briefing room.

“So what does this meeting have that needs my desperate attention?” Ailia questioned as she warmed herself up. She implanted deep into her mind to ALWAYS check what she wore before leaving.

“The annual Christmas party.” Charlie quickly stated.

Ailia’s eyes screamed disbelief. She was called out because of a Christmas party?! Her mind was filled with numerous complaints and curses that she’d voice out, but that wouldn’t make a difference. She could complain that reviewing was important— considering the ITSPE she is planning to take was scheduled on the incoming weekend. However, that still wouldn’t make a difference especially when Chief Dalv used the nullification card on her. In truth, its usage was a curve ball— Chief Dalv never bothered to use October’s or November’s.

“Let’s make this as quick as possible.” Chief Dalv attempted to calm the room down. He gave the floor to Mio & Chyse, the two girls assigned to head that year’s party. The two girls took their spots at the front of the room. As Mio wrote down the summarized agenda on the whiteboard, Chyse began the discussion.

“The annual Christmas party will be scheduled on the evening of December 17. This is to allow those who are planning to go home during the break can do so.” Chyse briefly stated. “Next, Mio and I will be passing around pieces of paper for the Kris Kringle. Each person will write their codename, gender and what they want. The minimum amount that could be spent is 250 Kesh and the maximum— go knock yourselves out. It’ll be collected at the end of the meeting giving you people plenty of time to think.”

Mio closed the whiteboard marker as she turned to face the others. “Next, we’ll be asking each of you to split into two committees: food & beverages and decorations. Chyse and I will be handling the program. For those who are currently stressed with other things, you may be excused from joining a committee.” Mae was about to ask for her name to be included in the list when Jean cut in.

“Mae, shagging guys is not a stressful act— studying for the ITSPE is.”

Snickers could be heard from all over the room. Mae glared at Jean before sulking at the predicament she was in. She didn’t want to work— she preferred to be doing things she liked. Mio and Chyse saw the quieting down of the room as a leeway to further discussion. They should get the meeting over and done with.

“Each committee will be handling what’s assigned to them, so get yourselves together and start discussing, we’ll layout the ideas after 15 minutes of discussing. By then, I assume most of you have finished your wish lists.” Chyse sternly looked at the others.

In fear of Chyse’s condescending stare, the others slowly grouped themselves. However, a handful didn’t move— Ailia and Blaz to be exact. Ailia and Blaz were both worrying about the ITSPE. While Blaz had one more year to take it, it seemed like his parents weren’t planning on him staying for one more year at ASA. Ailia wondered how Mai was taking it— considering there is something going on between the two. Blaz had been finding ways around his parent’s request, but to please his parents, he was taking the same test. Ailia stared at the paper in front of her; it was blank of wishes. She had quickly thought up of a codename— wishes were another thing. She might as well write something off the top of her head that she needed— or wanted.

Ailia finished scribbling the last parts of her wish list. She folded it as neatly as possible though there were parts of the paper that were sticking out. She shrugged upon inspecting it. It’s not like it’ll affect who’ll pick her paper. She dropped the paper into the box and signed off the blank space beside her name on the sheet. The sheet was used to keep track who had placed their lists into the box. It looked like she was the first.

Minutes passed and the discussion in the two committees became louder and louder. It looked like both sides had a plan and were closing off the final details. The box had been filled up slowly during the discussion and the only thing left was for Chief Dalv to place his wish in. With that formally done, the box was thrown around the room to ensure it was shaken up well. With one round of the box around the room, the box was opened up and passed around— each person taking a piece of paper out of it.

“It’s your decision to open it now or somewhere else. For those who need to be somewhere else right now—” Mae was about to raise her hand to be excused when Mio sternly looked at her. “—other than shagging boys—” Mae put down her hand and grumbled. “—may leave now.” Mio finished.

Blaz and Ailia simultaneously stood up and walked out of the room. Blaz just wanted to get out of the stuffy room while Ailia wanted to return to reviewing. Her future was hanging in the balance— more so if she didn’t do well in the incoming test.

Headquarters was quiet that Saturday morning. Jean and Charlie decided to go with Blaz to the testing center as moral support, so there wasn’t any meaningless bickering between Jean and Mae. In addition, Mae was also missing from headquarters. Not necessarily missing, she had spent the night over at some guy’s place— one of the few men in her harem. The room assigned to the Core division was dead quiet— except for a few mumbles by Mio and Chyse, who were discussing the program for the party.

The lower years were occupied with studying for exams. The seniors were free from the trimestral examinations— it was one of the perks of being a senior. However, the reasoning behind this is that the seniors were required to apply for at least 5 colleges or universities. More pressure is placed on their future than grades. That’s exactly why the room was void of life. Teito, Yoshii and Ailia were the only seniors left in the Core division because most of the Dreamless figure out their dreams by junior year. Teito & Yoshii were an exception to that statement and Ailia was an exception to the rule about graduating.

With Ailia at ITSPE and Yoshii in who knows where, Teito was the only one left to be on duty that Saturday morning. He sincerely hoped that the two others would arrive soon. He didn’t want to drop by at the Intelligence division because the only person he was relatively close to there was Train— and that’s just relatively. They were only classmates twice and even in that span of time, they didn’t make a huge connection.

However, Teito had a light bulb moment. He needed to know information about Ailia— recent information. Who better to go to than Train Disketh, Ailia’s best friend in the Dreamless team. At that moment’s thought, Train appeared at the doorway. He glanced around the room and a face of disappointment appeared when he didn’t find what he was looking for.

“Ailia isn’t back yet?” Train inquired.

Teito shook his head. The two boys glanced at the clock in the room. It was 2pm— the ITSPE should be done by then. Chief Dalv had ordered Ailia to go to HQ once her exam was done. She had no reason to turn it down since the ITSPE would be done.

“Train, do you happen to know the guy Ailia likes?” Teito’s eyes shifted to the paper that hung at the corner of the computer.

“Why? Are you interested in Ailia?” Train’s eyes glinted with mischief. It was like Train was searching for an underlying meaning to that question.

“Just answer the question.” Boom— Teito simply dodged the question making Train analyze the situation even more. Was he going to tempt the answer out?

“Every girl has some person they like.” Train smirked. He loved the reply he just conjured on the spot. Teito sighed and mumbled about never asking Train again.

The two heard the door swish open. Ailia was breathing heavily as she headed for her table. She dropped her bag on the table and her butt on to the chair. Train approached the tired girl. A few words were exchanged, which Ailia acknowledged before standing. She and Train headed out of the door— great, the room became dead quiet again.

“Are you effin’ serious?” Ailia threw an incredulous look at Train. “You want to give her a purple cardigan?”

Train simply nodded. He had dragged Ailia out in order to accompany him in shopping. To be exact, he needed company when he entered a girl’s clothing store. Ailia simply laughed at the reason behind her company. Nevertheless, she agreed to the request because she loved Train— as a friend.

“Well, she’s been looking for it for ages. I might as well get it for her.”

“Your call.” Ailia shrugged as she glanced at the other items in the store.

Ailia wasn’t the type to wear frilly skirts and floral designed items. However, looking at the different skirts and blouses in the room made her feel guilty for not trying to wear them. She could conjure a bunch of reasons why she didn’t like such items, but in the end, it’s her fault for not giving such items a chance. The only reason why she should have worn them is that it gives a girl a more feminine appearance.

At the corner of her eye, she had spotted a bubble skirt— her favorite kind of skirt she wished she could own. Not only was it a bubble skirt, but it was also in the color green. She eyed the skirt like it was candy— something Train got a hint of. Train simply chuckled at the state Ailia was in, which also broke Ailia from the same state. She glared at the brown-haired boy who didn’t even bother to stop laughing.

“Get that cardigan already.”

Train raised a paper bag. “Already got it ma’am.”

“Great! Now go with me to the sports store to get a certain frisbee.” Ailia dragged Train out of the store.

“But you don’t like—” Train caught the ‘get a clue’ look from Ailia. “Kris Kringle?” Ailia nodded.

Several days have passed and Teito concluded that he had enough money to buy a respectable gift. However, he wasn’t planning to go shopping alone— more so if he had to enter a girl’s clothing store. He needed someone to go with him— preferably a girl who is close to Ailia and he could deal with. That’s how he ended up with Haru. He was lucky that Haru had time to fulfill his request considering she was the school chairman.

The two have been meeting up time to time to talk about Ailia and her condition. During the period before the Dreamless Tournament, Teito and Haru were the only ones who knew about the dual powers of Ailia. However, after the tournament, things got messy because the power suddenly lost potency. Did it really get lost? The speculation is what made Teito and Haru continue the meet-ups. They wouldn’t know for sure as the next power examination was in March. It brought them relief when the ruckus about the issue toned down.

Currently, the two were going around Academy City’s biggest mall, Giant. They’ve been at the mall for more than 3 hours and they haven’t stumbled upon any gift that would fit Ailia. There were lots of cute shirts for Ailia and Teito could’ve simply gotten Ailia colored pencils, but Teito felt that Ailia needed one item more— a skirt. Haru warned Teito that it’ll be a difficult task because the only type of skirt that Ailia appreciated was a bubble skirt. Not only was that difficult to find, but also tricky to match to a person. Only the wearer knows if the skirt would look great on them— that’s why Teito needed Haru. He needed exact fashion advice on Ailia’s body type and what nots. He never bothered about it and girls are known to be more meticulous about clothes.

“There’s this store you might want to give a try.” Haru brought up. Teito was all ears. “It’s not the type Ailia likes, but there’s a higher chance of finding a bubble skirt there.” Teito contemplated. He might as well try checking the store out. He opened his arm out with a gesture telling Haru to lead the way. Haru nodded and walked ahead of Teito.

When they arrived at the store, Teito knew instantly why it wasn’t Ailia’s cup of tea. The shop was colored pink and the items they sold were mostly floral and/or frilly. Teito raised an eyebrow at Haru— he was regretting taking Haru’s suggestion. Fantasy, the name of the store, was haven to the girliest of girls, but to someone like Ailia, it felt like a nightmare. They were about to heel off, but Haru pointed out a certain skirt— a bubble skirt.

A bubble skirt— just what they were looking for and in Ailia’s favorite color. Not only that, but it was also a size 4— a perfect fit for Ailia. It won instant approval between Haru and Teito. However, the price tag of the item was… scary. For a simple skirt, it cost 1000 Kesh— an amount Teito didn’t have. In his wallet, he had saved 750 Kesh for Ailia’s gift. The next time he’d be getting cash would be during Christmas— the party would be done by then. Haru gave him the 250 Kesh that he needed. He was hesitant to take it— stating it wouldn’t be purely his gift. Haru simply chuckled and told him not to worry. Teito had treated her too many times that 250 Kesh wouldn’t even begin to cover the expenses.

“Are you sure?” Teito was worrying over the top.

“If you don’t take it, then I’m not helping you search for another option.” Haru said without a hint of guilt. She was willing to drop him at any moment. In truth, Haru wanted to rest her feet already, which was synonymous to finding the gift.

“Okay okay!” Teito took the cash from Haru, thanking her before he headed to the counter with the skirt.

Ailia would’ve went to the party with Train. However, dates were allowed in the party and Train decided to bring Saori. Go figure. At the corner of her eye, she saw Train who was conveniently holding Saori’s waist. It was only in Academy City that the two could date openly— Saori’s sister wasn’t there to break it off. With the limited times to be that— Ailia eyed the hand on waist gesture— close, it’s no wonder they do it as much as possible. Of course, sexual activities were another question— one Ailia didn’t want to delve in any further.

Ailia sat by the buffet table— it was the location that kept her the most sane. Food basically kept her sane amidst hormonal teenagers— then again, her saying that would make her a hypocrite. She too was a teenager albeit not a hormone-controlled one. She found it amusing that the only ones without dates were mostly seniors— all seniors except Train. Okay, maybe Yoshii escorted Chyse to the party, but does that make them dates when they’re far away from each other? Improbable. Basically, Ailia spent most of the time analyzing the outfits of the girls— outfits can tell a lot about a person.

Saori was wearing a white thin-strapped dressed while donning a purple cardigan— probably the gift Train gave her as Train radiated smiles. It was a simple combination of colors showed purity— probably purity in morals. Mae, on the other hand, wore a dress that stopped mid-thigh. At least she had the decency to wear a dress with a strap. Ailia rolled her eyes as she recalled Mae’s inappropriate outfit last year. Basically, Mae’s outfit screamed attention, which her date gave to her a lot.

“Are you that bored that you’re analyzing the outfits of the girls?” A voice all too familiar asked Ailia.

“Is it really that visible?” Ailia replied to the question— with a question of course.

The brown-haired boy chuckled. “Well, Train seems to be the only one who satisfies your amusement in the Core division.”

“Are you sure about that, Teito?” Ailia’s eyes made contact with the boy’s.

“No…” Teito’s voice trailed. “…but I’m sure that you’re looking spectacular tonight.”

Ailia raised an eyebrow. Teito had just said the word spectacular, which was unlike him. First off, they weren’t that much on speaking terms to be able to flirt so openly. Second, she couldn’t remember Teito even use the word spectacular ever in their relationship. Why was he suddenly being a gentleman to her? Could it be that…

“I think I scared you.” Ailia a rather forced ‘duh’ in reply. Teito continued. “I told myself I’d use an adjective tonight to describe girls. I ended up with spectacular— which also ended with spectacular eyeing and punches from various girls. It was frustrating actually.”

Ailia chuckled. “You were never person for wordplay to begin with.”

The party went smoothly except for the few Core members who decided to bring in drinks— alcoholic ones. Mae had a great hold of her liquor, but her seductive dances and acts proved to be too much for the others. Before Mae could get anymore drunk, Chyse and Mio decided to start on the Kris Kringle. At least the person who’d be receiving Mae’s gift would be sober.

“Let’s start with Mio.” Chyse began. “Say the code name of the list you got and who you think it is. If you get it right, there’s a special reward courtesy of Chief Dalv.”

“It’s just one day off.” Chief Dalv said as if it wasn’t a great prize, but to the actual Core team, an actual day off would be heaven. For the Core team, the stakes were high.

“Anyway, the person I picked was a giveaway just from the code name— Sexy Cougar.”

The room said in unison— Mae. Mae was drunk, but she did acknowledge how much of a cougar she was. Jean just rolled her eyes at the reply. Mio nodded and gave Mae the gift— not daring to say what are the contents of the gift. Mae took the gift with so much fervor that she ran out of energy to continue the circle. However, the guy she brought as a date said the detail needed. The circle went as such:

Mio -> Mae -> Charlie -> Tony -> Mai -> Blaz -> Mio

“Since we finished one circle, I’ll start off the second one. The code name I got was Teirresia. Because my other choice got called off, I’m certain that this is Yoshii.”

Yoshii placed down his PSP and walked over to Chyse to get his gift. He threw a cheeky smile at her, followed by a sincere thank you. Yoshii continued the circle, which went as follows:

Chyse -> Yoshii -> Kana -> Jean -> Chief Dalv -> Train -> Chyse

“And we are done!” Chyse & Mio said. The room was filled with applause except for Train who was eyeing Ailia. He never heard Ailia get called, which meant she hadn’t even given her gift. This was further established when he saw the box in her hands.

“Chyse, Ailia hasn’t given her gift yet.” The room quieted down. All eyes were on Ailia, who glared at Train. She didn’t want the room’s attention. She had figured out from the beginning who she had gotten, so she could give it to the person quietly. In truth, she didn’t mind getting a Kris Kringle gift. It was a way to show how insanely unlucky she was in anything involving chance and gifts.

“Anyone else who hasn’t given their gift?” Chyse called out.

Teito meekly raised his hand. He tried to make it look like he didn’t care, but he did care somehow. He knew he had gotten Ailia in the Kris Kringle— her code name was quite obvious: dream breaker. She was the only one he knew who had problems with the dream on the dream diary. With only five people in the Kris Kringle with dreams, it was easy for Teito to pinpoint that it was Ailia in the paper. What he didn’t expect was that she had also picked him. It was a freaky set-up.

“Don’t worry about it Chyse. I think it’s clear who I got and who he got. Just continue on with the celebration.” Ailia assured Chyse.

Chyse and Mio continued the program with a game, which Teito and Ailia opted out. The two were still surprised that they got each other. The two agreed to open the gifts at the same time. They found a quiet spot at the veranda of Jack Frost dormitory. In unison, they counted to three before opening the gifts. Both of them couldn’t believe their eyes at what they got each other. For Teito, the frisbee he had been saving up for, Ailia had gotten it for him. He knew its cost was equal to the amount of Ailia’s monthly allowance from her parents— assuming they haven’t changed the amount from the last time Ailia told him. For Ailia, she was ecstatic to find out that Teito had bought the skirt she had been eyeing— the skirt she noticed when she was dragged to the mall by Train.

“Thanks.” The two said in unison. They simply laughed at the fact they were in unison. Teito was grateful that Ailia didn’t ask how he got the skirt. It’d be a nightmare for him if Ailia asked. He didn’t want anyone to know that he entered a girl’s clothing store— then again he DID have company.

“I feel like going back to Fortuna dormitory.” Ailia yawned. “Parties were never my thing.”

“Allow me to escort you then. My dormitory is near yours.” Teito attempted to say in a gentleman tone.

Ailia gave him the look that screamed ‘seriously’. It was a ‘seriously’ directed to his attempt to give off a gentleman’s tone. “We live in the same dormitory.”

“That’s why it’s convenient.” Teito smirked. He should be allowed one day wherein he could be sly & playful. At least a day wherein he wasn’t constantly analytical and rage-filled.

The two quietly slipped off from the party. Teito knew that the Kris Kringle was the only important thing they had to attend— if Chyse followed what was on the list he glanced at from her table. He wasn’t the type for parties either— in truth, he just wanted to sleep, The walk back to Fortuna dormitory was quick, but the cold night air made it seem longer. Ailia was softly cussing at not bringing a thicker jacket when Teito offered his for the walk’s duration. Ailia smiled and continued walking.

The scenario they were in was all too familiar. For Ailia, it had a nostalgic feeling. She missed taking walks with Teito as silence engulfed them. Even though silence was supposed to make people worry, the proximity they were in made her feel somewhat safe. It wasn’t the same as before, but the thought was still there. For Teito, what came up instead were the reasons why he continued to date Ailia before. Ailia was difficult to handle, but spending time with her still made him smile. Why did he break up with her again? Ah right. Her demanding trait became too much to handle. But that wasn’t the case now— Ailia had managed to change in his opinion. However, she was more controlled and hidden. He wondered what was more difficult— a demanding but open personality or a controlled but closed personality?

Teito was also confused about his feelings for Ailia. He knew he wanted to be friends with Ailia once again and that had been established months back, but what is this new feeling? The feeling that makes his stomach twist and fold. The feeling of uncertainty between what could happen or what should happen. It couldn’t be like, but he did care about the girl deeply. At least, he did care about finding ways to open her up. He wanted to bring her out of the stone walls she had created around her. It wasn’t really like— it was more of care… probably.

The two were outside the dormitory, waiting for the dormitory manager to open the gate. Sir Dalv had told the dormitory managers that students from the Core division would be out late. Ailia and Teito didn’t mind waiting— they understood that the dormitory manager of Fortuna was quite weak.

“Hope you had fun tonight.” Teito awkwardly brought up.

“If you call analyzing girl’s clothing fun, then sure, I did.” Ailia sarcastically said.

“I don’t think we’ll be seeing each other after tonight. I’ll be going home this break for once.” Teito explained.

Ailia simply nodded in reply. Ailia didn’t know what she was going to do for Christmas break. Her parents haven’t said anything to her, so she assumed she might be staying in Academy City for the break. Worry etched her face as she thought about how to spend her Christmas break. She felt a swift peck on her lips from another person. Given that it was only Teito within her radius, it had to be him. But why?

“Good night Ailia.” Teito waved as he entered the dormitory.

Ailia was still at a daze. What the hell just happened? Nevertheless, she got two items on her wish list. She just wasn’t sure if Teito even knew.

Teito knew what he did was rash, but Ailia looked so worried. He might as well distract her somehow. However, he never imagined that he’d actually use a kiss as a distraction. More so when he was currently in a confused state about his feelings for Ailia. He seriously regretted that move. Thank goodness they’ll be separated for 3-4 weeks— Ailia might forget that happened.

A girl was walking home from a Christmas party. The streets of Academy City were supposed to be safe all year round especially during the Christmas season. The heightened security didn’t faze the girl on walking the streets of Academy City alone. As she walked pass an alleyway, a hand reached out and grabbed her from behind. She tried to scream, but the hand had quickly moved from her waist to her mouth. She dropped her bag at the curb as she was dragged deeper into the alleyway. Alleyways— always deadly.


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