Ryuuji held her in his arms as she started to fall asleep.
The window of their new apartment showed the night sky, letting in a beautiful moonlight.
"We're married now, aren't we?" He said softly, looking up at the stars.
"Mm..." Taiga replied.
After a moment of silence, Ryuuji spoke.
"I wonder what would've happened if we had switched places. If back then, I would've been the one in the apartment, and you would've lived in that old little place. You would've been so lost without room service."
Taiga softly punched his chest and whispered, "Don't even joke... idiot..."
Ryuuji chuckled quietly and put his hand on the orange-gold fluff of hair in his lap.
Taiga blinked open her eyes and rubbed them, the scene before her switching in and out of focus.
An empty instant ramen bowl sat in front of her, chopsticks still sticking out.
Her living room was composed of shabby, ridden down walls with dirty tatami mats as a floor.
The wooden table holding her recently finished noodles were riddled with countless other bowls, a few store-bought bentos, and various scratches and marks on the surface.
The corners of the room also held the remains of food items along with scattered woman's clothes; a skirt here, a bra there.
Is this... Ryuuji's place?, she thought, then blinked again and forgot all of it.
Ryu- who was I talking about again?
She stared at the opposite wall for a moment before moving.
She got up slowly and walked across the room, entering the bathroom.
After flipping the light switch, she examined the room.
Tiles on the wall were corroding, some of them even missing, turning parts of the surface into a pale shade of brown.
She looked at the mirror, which was splattered with liquid marks from the time she'd tripped and spilled tea from the local vendor.
Her face had a drowsy look and the side of her mouth was stained with a drool mark.
She narrowed her eyes and wiped at the stain with her shirt.
It didn't come off.
She looked up at her hair, which had taken on the shape of a cat's hairball.
Scowling, she scuffed at it a little with her hands, but it popped right back up energetically, defining itself as Taiga's opposite and thus, her enemy.
Yasuko should be back soon, she thought, I should get to sleep.
She went back into the initial room and turned to look out the window.
It's black. Then again, its always black, Taiga thought with sarcastic venom.
Before, the sun would always come in and light up the room, but a huge apartment complex was built next to Yasuko and Taiga's shabby two story complex, which rendered the window useless.
The only thing one could do from the balcony was look at an enormous concrete wall and plot how to take it down, which is what Taiga did.
She had tried many times to sabotage it; she'd vandalized the place by dumping paint over the wall, she'd tried to start a petition to bring down the building, she'd even took a swing at the owner with her wooden katana and almost succeeded in taking his head off, which did not help her case in the slightest.
After a while, she gave up, resorting to hitting the wall with her sword until someone stopped her and in by doing so, almost had his head taken off.
It was going to take a lot more than killing someone to take down the building, Taiga realized.
Either way, it was pitch-black outside the window; it wasn't just the shadow of the apartment complex, it was late in the night.
Taiga knew this very well, as she had been waiting for her mom since she'd come home from school, but fell asleep after eating dinner.
From the looks of things, Yasuko wasn't back yet.
She sighed and decided to sleep early.
"She's always so late..." Taiga muttered to herself as she changed out of her school uniform.
Putting on a pair of worn pajamas, she opened a sliding door to her bedroom, which was pretty much the same as the rest of the house in terms of tidiness.
A desk filled with piles of paper and school supplies sat to the left, while a closet that had not been cleaned out in years filled the back wall.
A futon lay in the middle of the room, the area around it being the only place not cluttered with stuff.
Taiga rubbed her eyes and walked straight to the futon, getting in.
The ceiling above her quickly shifted out of focus as her eyes began to feel heavy, and she succumbed to the darkness around her.
"Taiga-chan... Taiga Takasu-chan..."
"Taiga-chan, can you hear meee?"
"Hmm... I guess I'll have to- Hiiyah!"
A sharp pain to Taiga's rear end sent her sprawling out onto the floor.
"Wah?!" she yelped, scrambling to her feet.
She instinctively grabbed her wooden sword and swung at the nearest figure beside her.
She heard a high pitched voice as Yasuko ducked beneath the slash.
"T-Taiga-chan! It's me!" Taiga's mother said waving her hands in the air.
Realizing who it was, Taiga faltered for a second before picking up the sword and swinging at Yasuko again.
"Wah! Taiga-chan?! It's meee!"
"I know!" Taiga replied with a grr.
"T-Then why?!" screamed Yasuko, dodging another attack.
"That's my line! Why did you slap me on the butt?!"
"Well, because-" she held up some clothes and deflected a lethal sword combo, "-because you weren't getting up!"
"So you slapped me?!" Taiga said incredulously.
The pair continued to awkwardly dance around the apartment, knocking things over and throwing clothes around until finally, the scuffle ended as a draw when they both fell to their knees, exhausted.
"You're a toughie..." Yasuko said, breathing hard.
"You're horrible..." Taiga replied bluntly.
"That hurts Taiga-chan..." she whined.
Taiga got up and looked at a clock on the wall. She sighed heavily and said, "Look, now I'm going to be late."
"Ah, oh. Sorry..."
Yasuko looked down.
She suddenly seemed beaten down, like she was exhausted.
Her hair was in clumps and she was still in her 'work' clothes.
Taiga realized that she must not have gotten much, if any sleep at all last night, yet she still had woken up Taiga in time for school.
If she stayed any longer however, she'd be late for school.
"Okay Yasuko, because you're so damn stinky, you need to clean yourself up in the bathroom, get ready for work, and I'll wait here for you with some hot ramen, okay?"
Her face lit up, "... Okay!" She disappeared into the bathroom and Taiga heated up some ramen in their little microwave.
Meanwhile, Ryuuji Aisaka scrubbed at his carpet with violence.
He'd spent the morning trying to get rid of a purple stain made by his grape juice.
"God dammit," he said, "Why won't the stain come off? Rubbing only seems to seep the juice further in!"
He was still in the clothes he'd worn to sleep.
Originally, he was going to change, brush his teeth, and be ready for school thirty minutes early, but the moment he'd spotted the stain, he'd plopped down with his cleaning gloves and went to work.
"Errghh...!" he drove all his strength into his carpet, "Euuuuaghhhh!..."
He dropped onto all fours, breathing heavily.
"What's with this juice?!... It's like trying to clean dried paint!"
After a moment of more breathing, he got up and checked his watch...
"AHH! I'M GONNA BE LATE!"
He threw off his shorts and replaced it with pants.
His shirt went flying onto his bed, and he covered his torso with clothes.
Flying into the bathroom, he jammed a toothbrush into his mouth, straightened his hair, fixed his tie, admired himself in the mirror, and flew back out within a time span of thirty seconds.
Ryuuji snatched up his school bag, pocketed some money, and bashed through his door, nearly knocking it off its hinges.
He ran past the elevators and went down the stairs five steps at a time.
Reaching the ground floor, he slowed to let the automatic doors open, then immediately shot through the doors, finding a surprise on the sidewalk directly in front of him.
Ryuuji only had one glance of Taiga's surprised face before he collided with her.