Okay, I know this took some time, but here we are. I've already started writing the next chapter so next update shouldn't be this late again. As some of you might have noticed with my other stories, the more reviews I get the quicker I update the story. That's for two reasons:

1) Reviews always give me a boost. I swear it's the truth: whenever I get a review, I feel a huge boost of encouragement and immediately go write. Today I got several superb reviews for my stories, and consequently I finished writing this chapter, I wrote chapter 5 of Fate's Fools and Chapter 5 of Winter Storms, plus wrote a little bit more or two oneshot slash fics I'm currently writing. And all of that considering that I have my Art sketchbook to work on, three essays to write, revision for a coming French mock exam and my friend doing a nervous breakdown on me. Yes, this is what a few reviews will do to me. Bear that in mind when you read this and then don't bother to leave any feedback, 'kay?

2) Even when I have a chapter that's already written out, I leave a few days (most of the time a week or so) for people to review before updating it. Which means the more and quicker I get reviews, the sooner you guys get updates. So it's all up to you.

Now, before we get on with the story id like to thank the amazing people who reviewed, because every review to me is more precious than all my fluffy toys put together. You guys truly rock my world. Hope to see more of your reviews (yes, that's me doing some subtle hinting) XP

Warning: slash, boyxboy love, shonen-ai, whatever. If you find it offends you I suggest you don't read.

Rating: Still T.

Summary: Ethan loves his nice, neat, tidy, lonely, monotonous little life—until Zen decided to show him the 'beauty of shared love.'

Those Stupid Butterflies That Mess Around In Our Stomachs

Chapter II: Day One

One of the best things about Sundays is the waking up part. When you lie in bed, sunken in soft pillows and buried beneath layers of blankets, and you feel yourself slowly rising from the abyss of sleep and towards the surface, towards consciousness, and you hover in this particular blessed state that is neither sleep nor wakefulness, but in between, a hazy dream of reality, a half-sleep that is like a half death but sweeter…It's a moment where your body feels but your mind hasn't quite caught up yet, so you can enjoy the warmth of the sheets and the softness of the mattress without your mind polluting your heavenly feelings with wretched thoughts. This particular moment was my favourite thing about Sundays—and this particular moment was ruined for me because before I even had a chance to emerge from a deep and confusing dream, an almighty bang and crash jolted me brutally into painful consciousness.

''Morning, chickadee! I'm back!' yelled a horrendously jolly voice.

I lay in bed dazed and confused and wondering what the hell—?

A head haloed with green, blue, orange and blonde popped around my door, dark bright eyes rimmed in bright blue eyeliner, a sad-looking moon crescent scrawled over his left cheekbone in blue byro. His cheeks were crimson from what I could only guess to be the cold outside, but he seemed perfectly happy, his mouth stretched into an enchanted smile.

'Aw Sleeping Beauty! You look so cute like this! Kind of frail and vulnerable and sweet, like a little boy!'

He made to come in so I jumped out of bed and dashed for the bathroom, grabbing a pair of jeans and a shirt along the way. Moving at the speed of lightning, I splashed water over myself, brushed my teeth, jumped into my jeans and threw the shirt over my head. When I got out of the bathroom, I noticed the enormous pile of black plastic bags that rose in a mountain in the middle of my corridor.

'What the hell is that?' I yelled menacingly.

My new flatmate—yes, flatmate, I couldn't believe I had actually agreed to his stupid scheme—appeared from the doorway to my living room, smiling angelically.

'It's my stuff!'

'All of this is your stuff?' I exclaimed, my voice sounding strained even to myself.

'Oh no! my friend is bringing the rest later!' he said brightly.

I groaned in despair and went to make myself a cup of strong black coffee. This was going to be a long day.

If I was already bitterly regretting my decision to let Zen move in with me, it was nothing compared to the burning resentment that was consuming me body and soul by the time we reached five o'clock in the afternoon.

'No, you are not nailing shelves to my wall. I told you a million times and I will tell you and million and one more time: you are only staying for thirty days, so don't bother getting settled!'

'But, cupcakes, if I don't put shelves on the wall, where will I put all my manga and CDs and books?'

'You keep them in a box under your bed, alright? And stop calling me these stupid pet names! My name is Ethan and that's what you'll call me!'

'But…what do other people call you?' Zen asked, looking confused.

'Ethan!' I snapped in exasperation.

'So what's the difference between when I'm calling you and someone else is calling you?'

'There's no difference, you weirdo!'

'But I'm your soulmate and they're not! There should be a difference!'

'You are not my soulmate!'

'Yes I am! And you are in denial!'

'Stop trying to change the subject! Get your stuff into boxes and under the bed and move all your crap from all over my beautiful carpet! I will not have you desecrate my flat!'

'Wow, 'desecrate' is such a cool word! I never knew people could actually use them in normal conversations! See? You're already teaching me stuff! This is totally going to be a great learning experience! You'll teach me how to use super-posh words in normal conversations and look all scary and I-am-Carlos-i-am-from-the-mafia-and-now-i-will-hack-your-head-off-with-a-blunt-chainsaw-like, like you do, and I'll teach you the beauty of shonen-ai and candy!'

I ignored him, picked up my novel from the shelf over the TV and walked out of the room.

'Get everything cleaned up by the time I come back!' I threw over my shoulder before shutting my bedroom door closed.

'But you're not leaving!' he called back, sounding a little puzzled.

'I meant back in the room, you idiot!' I called back.

'When are you coming back in the room?'

'When I feel like it.'

'Alrighty, rubber-duck!'

I thought about yelling at him to stop calling me that, but realised it was a lost cause, and locked my bedroom door firmly instead.

After thirty minutes of lying on my bed trying to get into my book, I gave up. Zen was making so much noise it was impossible for me to concentrate on anything, let alone forget his existence. He seemed to be dragging and throwing stuff around, constantly banging against the walls and floor, all the while singing aloud a single chorus that seemed to go: 'You've become a part of me, you'll always be my fear, you've become a part of me, you'll always be right here, I can't separate myself from what I've done, you've become a part of me, I've let myself become you! You! You! You!' over and over ad over and over and over again and again and again and again and—


The inhuman shriek that escaped my mouth effectively silenced him.

'Yes, my little turtle-girl!' Zen called back in a sing-song voice three seconds later.

'Shut the fuck up or I swear I will fucking tear out your fucking guts with my bare hands and fucking strangle you with them!'

I waited several seconds more for effect.

'And fucking quit calling me these fucking pet names!'

Several more silent seconds passed.

'Swearing is bad!' Zen suddenly exclaimed, and I realised he was just behind my door. 'Candy-heart, you and I will need to help you get rid of this bad habit!'

'I only fucking swear when some fucking idiot wears down my fucking patience!' I yelled back.

'Whoa, chillax, Mars bar! You totally need to calm down for a sec!' Zen said soothingly. 'Listen, yes? Open the door and I'll give you a massage!'

'I will not open the fucking door and you will not give me a fucking massage!'

'Very well them. I'll just have to chant some soothing incantations through the door.'

I heard him walk away, shuffle around the living room for a while, and then come back. He was moving things around my door, making me both curious and anxious simultaneously, wondering what the hell he was up to this time. Then, he began chanting, and I frowned, and then a thin ribbon of what appeared to be smoke entered my room.

Bolting up, throwing my book away from me, I dashed to the door and flung it open. I gaped.

Zen was sitting in lotus position on the floor, surrounded by pretty little ceramic bowls on which incense cones were slowly burning. Zen's eyes were closed, and a white card with some Chinese symbol printed in black on it lay between the door and him.

I let out a long sigh, and knelt in front of Zen. Gathering all the patience and self-control I could find within myself, I took one of his hands in mine, and said as calmly as I could:

'Listen, Zen.'

He stopped chanting, opened his eyes and smiled widely.

'I told you it would calm you down.'

'I'm calm because I have exceptional self-control. Your weirdo psychic crap has nothing to do with it,' I snapped scathingly.

'That's what you think. That's what you've been conditioned to think. It's not your fault—you've been raised in a society that brainwashes its citizens into not believing that the powers of the mind are far greater than all the materialistic crap they are trying to sell us claiming that these will make us feel much better, but I'm telling you, ballerina, we must rise against this whole big brother manoeuvre, we must not let them do this to us. Nowadays, people spend millions on holidays and gadgets that they are brainwashed into thinking they need, when actually everything you need to make yourself feel good is some weed and some good incantations to sing under the starlight around a crackling fire. I should know, I do it all the time, and trust me, I'm going to make you try it out to because, I'm sorry I have to tell you this, but you totally need it, right, and you should totally not knock it before you try it because, right, there's this theory by some gree—'

Zen shut up, not because he was finished (he probably was never finished talking, being in the middle of saying something was a natural state rather than anything else with Zen) but because I'd slammed my hand on his mouth, forcing him to shut up. His eyes widened slightly, and I felt his mouth stretch into a smile beneath the skin of my palm. His breath ghosted over my fingers, soft and feathery and warm. Ad then the tip of his tongue, moist and hot, flickered against my skin and I pulled back, so abruptly I lost my balance and fell backwards.

'Hey, apple-pie, you should have told me before you were into the whole gagging, blindfolding, S&M thing! I would have borrowed my mate Syl's bondage kit!'

'Shut the hell up, you freak!' I yelled.

Oh God, I was so not blushing, I was not blushing, I was not blushing, iwasnotblushingnotblushingnotblushingnotblush—

'Aw! You look so frickin' kawaii when you're blushing!' Zen cooed, and threw himself on top of me.

I tried to push him away but he held on. We wrestled for a moment, his arms tight around my neck and half strangling me, my legs kicking at him while my hands pushed against his chest. Finally, we managed to reach some kind of weird, totally bizarre compromise when I found myself lying on top of him, his body immobile and yielding beneath mine, his arms still around my neck.

'Ooh, you go for domination…kinky…' Zen whispered, poking his tongue out from between his teeth and grinning like an idiot.

He let go of my neck and I threw myself off him, breathing hard, and desperately trying to stop blushing. Then I let out a yell: during our little wrestling match we'd knocked some of the burning scent cones off their little porcelain plates, and three of them were currently serenely scorching into my beautiful, precious, darling, perfect carpet!

I decided that, not only was Zen not my soulmate: he was also my personal nemesis number one, and had officially moved at the very top of my Kill List, number 1/267.

One hour later, Zen and I were sitting on the couch facing the TV, eating pot noodles and not speaking. Well, I wasn't speaking, because my throat was sore for all the yelling: yelling when my carpet had been damaged, yelling when I realised Zen had completely moved my living room about, yelling when he tried to switch his radio on at full blast while we tidied the flat, yelling when he almost spilled a glass of soda over my phone, yelling every time he tried to molest me, yelling every time he almost broke something, and, last but not least, yelling when he oh-so-politely demanded the reason for all my yelling.

Now, eating the pot noodles, too tired to care that I was eating junk food, or that I kept spilling the juice everywhere, I was taking a rest from all that yelling, glad that Zen was sitting beside me and not causing any damage. I realised that I was actually happy that he was sitting at my side, and asked myself how the hell I could have fallen low enough to actually be happy that another human being was close enough to almost touch me. Then I realised I didn't care, because at least he wasn't trying to wreak havoc on my life. Then I realised what the kid was doing was actually emotionally blackmail me into being happy he was at my side, close enough to almost touch me. Then I realised I hated him. Then I realised I'd already realised I hated him.

Zen, at my side, seemed completely oblivious of all the sudden illuminations that were ravaging my mind with light. He was, quite predictably, talking.

'Yeah, so anyway, and then I told her: Ma'am, listen: music, is, like the food of love, you know? Because I thought that, like old people, not that I have anything against old people, I mean, old people are cool and everything, I love them—they totally rock the world, but yeah, so I thought like all people she'd know all about Shakespeare and stuff, so I was like, all smiling and everything: But Ma'am, isn't music the food of love, and I was kind of flirting, but not quite, because old-people flirting isn't real flirting, it's a bit like flirting with your boss to try get a raise, it's not real flirting, so anyway, I say: isn't music the food of love, and she goes completely berserk—completely! Seriously, it was so extreme I could almost see the little bolts of lightning flying from her, and the little daggers flashing out of her eyes, and she starts screaming, with the foam at the corners of her mouth, and she's, like: don't be cheeky with me, little boy! And I'm thinking: huh, what, little boy? And she's like I have no appreciation of music whatsoever and I'm insulting Shakespeare's memory by associating my stupid noise with love, and I'm like: what? stupid noise? You're calling Greenday stupid noise? Greenday is pure poetry, it's gold, it's…it's art, pure and simple, and she's totally going crazy and saying that it's, basically, just some guy whining in a micro while some other losers are banging stuff around in the background, and I'm like, what? Billie whining? You have no idea what you're talking about you decaying freak! Billie is, like, an artist, he's a—a mermaid or something! And he has the goddamn hottest voice in existence, maybe except Matt Bellamy, but it's kind of different, you know, like, I dunno, comparing marzipan to chocolate? Two different kinds of divine that are both perfect and incomparable. So anyway, I was totally going completely crazy at her, telling her about Greenday and stuff, and she's like: I'll complain to the landlord! I'm fed up with your insolent attitude and ceaseless racket, and I'm like: huh? Ceaseless racket? What about you with your stupid Julio Iglesias tapes, you stupid old dustbin! That tosser makes my ears bleed! And she's totally out there, right, it was scary, like the wild horse in Brothers Grimm, you know, the film with Heath Ledger? Oh my God, don't tell me you haven't seen it? Heath looks so kawaii you could eat him! Seriously, he does that thing with the tail thing of his helmet, kind of twirls it around his fingers, and he looks so dorky and cute and hot you just want to glomp him! I'm totally getting you to watch it, I know you'll love it! Yeah, so anyway, the old bat starts turning into the horse from Brothers Grimm (once you see it you'll understand how traumatizing it must have been for me) and she totally storms out and goes and complains to the landlord and she's totally out there, like, out there, you know, going completely ballistic, it was unbelievable. So, yeah, in the end they just couldn't make her shut up until they kicked me out, so I ended up getting kicked out. All the others, were completely cheering, I felt so sad, I mean, it's not my fault I was the only one in the whole goddamn building who could appreciate the great and boundless beauty of music? You, of course appreciate it too, don't you?'

At this point, I was so overwhelmed into a sheer stupor caused by his endless stream of words that I didn't think I could ever grasp the concept of speech ever again. I sat, stupefied, mentally knocked out cold, staring at the TV screen without seeing it, unable to react to anything.

After an hour or what felt like it of this (Zen waffling on and on and on and me taking in nothing at all) I finally snapped out of my stupor and decide to go to my room and get some reading done before going to bed. I stood up, picking up the empty pot noodles plastic container-things, and Zen immediately interrupted his rant on cars, and asked:

'Where are you going?'

'I'm going to put these in the bin,' I replied tiredly.

'Are you coming back?'

Damn it, he looks like an eager puppy…


'Come on, let's play chess together!' he said, pleadingly.

I opened my mouth to say no, but then remember that chess was a thinking game and required very little amount of speaking, so instead I sighed:


'Yayez!' he shrieked happily, reaching to me for a hug, which I evaded.

I dropped the empty containers into the bin, and prepared some coffee.

'What you doing?' Zen asked, trying hard to sound innocent.

'I'm making coffee,' I snapped.

'Can I have one?' he asked, his eyes lighting up.

'No. You're hyper enough as it is.'

'Please! Come on! I beg you! I can get on my knees if you want!'

'I said: no,' I replied implacably.

'Pwease pwetty pwease with mint icing and a cherry on top!'

'No. I don't even like mint icing.'

'Okay then: pwease pwetty pwease with a coffee mocha!'

'Oh…alright then. But only a little cup,' I said, hating myself for giving in and hating him for making me give in.

He leapt at my back, hugging me from behind and squealing:

'Glomp! Thank you! I love you, Ethikins!'

'Well, I don't. Get off me,' I snapped, dumping spoonfuls of instant coffee and sugar into two cups.

'You don't?'

'No, I don't.'

'Do you hate me?'

'Yes, I hate you, I wish you'd fall into an open sewer and die,' I replied, shoving my elbow in his flank to make him let go of me.

'Aw, you're such a meanie!' he pouted, getting off me.

'Fine, then. Since I'm so evil, I might as well throw your coffee down the sink,' I threatened.

'No! I'm sorry! I take it back! I love you, you are my favourite person in the world, you aren't mean, you're just tough and strong, and powerful and smart, and um, really nice,' he said.

'Damn right I am. I'm also an amazingly patient person, but don't try to push my barriers or you might regret it,' I said menacingly.

'Okies. I promise I'll be so well-behaved you'll think an angel dropped me in your flat.'

I sighed. Dealing with Zen was just like dealing with a child, and I'd never been good with children. In fact, I hated children implacably. I glared at Zen. He grinned back at me, and I sighed and dropped the glare. It really was like dealing with a child.

Whoever said chess was the thinking man's game obviously didn't know Zen. He played so rashly, so recklessly it was almost like he wanted to lose, and that's what I believed at first until I happened to look up at his face, and saw the concentrated, tense expression of his face, half-hidden behind the multicoloured strands of hair. Zen did seem to want to win, he just played as though he was some kind of manic, psychopath, paranoid tyrant with no value for his soldiers' lives. I pointed this out with a smirk.

'No value for my soldiers' lives?' he repeated, looking indignant and glaring at me. 'You're the one who keeps killing them!'

'It's called capturing, actually,' I said smugly.

'Well, what do you do with them when you capture them?' he asked.

I thought for a moment, wondering what I'd do with Zen's captured troupes.

'Knowing you,' Zen said with a mischievous grin and before I had a chance to answer, 'you'd probably chain them to a wall and have your savage way with them.'

I stretched my hand across the chessboard to slap him, but he yanked back, so I lost balance and fell forward, over the chessboard, scattering the pieces everywhere and landing on Zen's knees. I stood back up abruptly, and snarled:

'That's not funny!' before storming out of the living room.

'Only because it's true!' Zen called back happily.

I swore, thundering into my room and slamming the door shut behind me. As I got into my pyjamas, briefly going out of my room to brush my teeth in the bathroom, and then getting into bed with my book, I asked myself why the hell I'd ever agreed to live with this freak of nature. Oh yes, I remembered bitterly, that's because I'm trying to prove to him that I'm not his soulmate. I swore again. This was going to be a very, very long thirty days.

Hoped you liked.

Disclaimer: I do not own Figure 9.0, nor do I own the lyrics to Figure 9.0 nor do I own Linkin Park. I wish I did, but I don't…if I did I'd get Chester to sing me to sleep every night…obviously he'd have to be in my bed so I could hear him better. OHMYGOD I KNOW what you guys are thinking you are such PERVERTS it's unbelievable! Go clean haul your minds out of the gutter and clean them!

Anyhoooo…More coming up shortly. Reviews are more than welcome, I think I might have mentioned how much I like them before…yeah. I might have made one or two allusions, discreetly…REVIEW OR I WILL PERSONALLY TURN YOU ALL INTO BLACKBERRY-FLAVOURED ICECREAM AND FEED YOU TO ZEN!