I fall to pieces
Each time I see you again
I fall to pieces
How can I be just your friend?

"Konnichi wa, Izuko-sama! Are you well?" The Hamster inquired as Izuko walked into his office.

"Yes, thank you. There shouldn't be any lasting effects, although I'll have take greater care with my diet for the next few days. Both Doctor Lightsider and Nurse Meagen read me the riot act after they'd learned that I'd been drinking. Guess they figured a good tongue-lashing would keep me from further self-destructive bouts of drinking." Izuko grinned ruefully. "They have a point."

You want me to act like we've never kissed
You want me to forget (to forget)
Pretend we never met (never met)

The Hamster chuckled, "Good, good. Anyway, you asked for a review of our charity campaign for the Children's Hospital?"

"Yes. Go ahead."

"As requested by Hayasaka-sama, my staff and I have developed ..." Reminded of Erika, Izuko's thoughts began to drift. Erika's strong maternal feelings made her a frequent contributor to and sponsor of various children's charities, and this campaign to benefit the Children's Hospital was typical. Erika had such a caring, compassionate spirit ... she'd make an excellent mother someday ... if only ...

And I've tried and I've tried
But I haven't yet
You walk by and I fall to pieces

"Izuko-sama? Izuko-sama!" The Hamster's voice snapped Izuko's mind out of its musings. "You haven't heard a bit of the presentation at all, have you?"

"Ah, no. Sorry, Hamster-dono." said Izuko. "I'm ... distracted. Look, just run with it. I trust you to manage the PR properly."

"Alright. We'll keep you posted as events progress. As for your distraction ... Not all wounds heal with time, but the pain becomes bearable." The Hamster then bowed. "I apologize for the presumption, Izuko-sama."

"It's alright. Thank you ... both for the words and for last night. And if you see Caduceus-san, pass on my thanks to him as well."

"Of course."

Izuko left the PR department and headed for the EEK gym where EM Security and the Knights trained. Perhaps a good workout would help.

I fall to pieces
Each time someone speaks your name
I fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame

Izuko's arm slapped the mat. His opponent, an EEK drill instructor, released his hold and rolled to his feet. Izuko got to his feet more slowly.

"You're not centered today, Skipper. You're damn lucky this is practice, not combat, or you'd be dead now. Several times over since this is the fifth match you've lost." said the DI sternly, but with a touch of concern. "And you're experienced enough to know that already."

"Yes, Sarge." Izuko accepted the rebuke, acknowledging its truth. "I haven't been this sloppy since I was a raw recruit."

"There something eating you, son?"

"Yes there is, but it's something I need to work through myself. But thanks for offering, Sarge."

"Okay. See you around, Skipper."

You tell me to find someone else to love
Someone who'll love me too (love me too)
The way you used to do (used to do)

It was Izuko's custom to give Erika a daily report at the end of the work day. It was normally part of his routine that he enjoyed, but after last night ... Izuko took a deep breath, and said to himself, "I can do this. It's part of my job. It's like every other day before." He then entered Erika's office.

"Good evening, milady." said Izuko, forcing a smile.

But each time I go out with someone new
You walk by and I fall to pieces
You walk by and I fall to pieces

<hr/>The song is Patsy Cline's I Fall To Pieces.

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