Disclaimer: Hana Yori Dango and its wonderfully human characters belong to Yoko Kamio. The song 'Passenger Seat' is by Stephen Speaks.
This is a songfic of sorts. You have been warned. If you don't like songfics, turn back now. But give it a try anyway, for Doumyouji's sake.
All That I Need
"I don't think that this is a good idea," she stated matter-of-factly, and Tsukasa wished that for once she would just shut up.
But Makino Tsukushi had always had a mind -- and mouth -- of her own. She sat in the front seat of his new Jaguar, making acerbic comments about everything. "I don't think you can be trusted behind a wheel. You probably can't find your way around your mansion."
Tsukasa slammed his door hard and started the car. It came to life under his impatient ministrations. "Seat belt," he growled.
"Quit bossing me around," Tsukushi retorted but she buckled up anyway.
"It's my Jaguar. I can --"
"-- do anything I want," she finished for him, with the air of someone who has heard him say those lines countless times before. She tapped the dashboard. "Why do you have to be so arrogant?"
"Why do you have to be so pessimistic?" he demanded back.
"And quit yelling at me!" she added. She took a deep breath. "You really need to control your temper. You really sure you want to do this?"
His reply was a low grumble, something about gratitude and girlfriends that Tsukushi pretended not to hear. When he sped his car down the driveway and onto the street, he clenched the steering wheel tightly.
Then, hell froze over.
Tsukushi placed her hand above his in a rare moment of girlfriend-like concern. "You'll be okay."
Tsukasa let out his breath, as if he had been holding it all this time. Then, realizing how uncool that must have looked, he sat up straighter in his seat. "Of course I will be."
She leaned back with a laugh. "Don't worry, Doumyouji. I won't tell anyone that this is the first time you'll be driving your precious car without a chaperone."
I look at her and have to smile as we go driving for a while
Her hair blowing in the open windows of my car
As we go, the traffic lights, I watch them glimmer in her eyes
In the darkness of the evening
It was the first time he had ever bought anything for himself using his hard-earned money. At first, when he had heard that Akira was trying to sell his mother's car, he didn't bat an eyelash. After all, he had a newer model sitting in their garage. But Akira had brought the car to Eitoku, bragging that he'd get a 20% commission if he managed to sell it off. Then he had taken them out for a spin, with Tsukushi and Tsukasa crammed in the backseat with Rui.
Despite Tsukushi's protests, Akira had driven them to Yokohama, top down and the wind blowing in their faces. According to him, there was a private girls' school there that Soujiro had wanted to check out. That was when Tsukushi had realized that Mimasaka-san had a less-than-admirable ability to hit every speed bump and pothole they came across.
"Hey!" she had complained as he sped past another speed bump, making her jump a little.
Then Tsukasa's arms had gone around her, holding her tightly, afraid that she was going to fly away any minute. As he held her to his chest, he had ordered, "Watch it, Akira."
And he had held her like that all the way to Yokohama.
"You can let go now," Tsukushi's muffled voice had told him.
But Akira had careened wildly around a bend, causing her to lean further against Tsukasa. "I don't think so," he had told her firmly.
In the spaces that followed, Tsukasa hadn't quite been certain if he heard her heartbeat echoing through him. He tightened his hold around her. He had seen her all dolled up in Shizuka's dress that night in Atami. He had seen her strutting her stuff during the Teen of Japan contest. But he thought she had never looked lovelier than he did right then, in his arms.
"Get a room, you two," Soujiro had interrupted, breaking into an amused laugh.
But for some reason, both of them had seemed reluctant to let go of each other. "I wish we could just stay here," she had murmured softly, perhaps thinking that he couldn't hear.
Two days later, he had bought the car.
Tsukasa had thought she would be pleased, as he instructed his driver to pick her up from her house and bring her directly to his place. But Tsukushi had just given him a puzzled look. "And you wanted me to see it because…?" trailing off so that he could fill in.
"I thought you would want it," he had said confidently.
"But I don't drive," she had answered.
"Then I'll drive you."
"But you've got a chauffer."
"But it's for you," he had replied, as if that explained everything.
The look on her face had been a cross between a smile and a frown, and Tsukasa had decided it wasn't pretty. "You just don't go out and buy a Jaguar for someone because you felt like it!" she had said finally. "If it were me, I'd want to earn it, you know?" He must have looked confused because she just laughed. "No, you probably don't."
But her words had stayed with him through the night, through the following days, until he finally decided to get a job. It was just working as a concierge at one of his mother's hotels, but of course he hadn't told anyone he knew. The manager had thought that he was doing his mom a favor. His mother, on the other hand, had been delighted to hear. The pay was lousy and the work was beneath him, but it had done the trick.
Until Tsukushi had walked into the lobby.
"What are you doing?" she had asked.
"Earning my way," he had mumbled beneath his breath, wanting to disappear behind the red bow tie all employees were made to wear.
She had tugged on his hand. "Let's go, working boy. I think you've just earned your dinner."
He had never returned to the hotel after that. Tsukushi had seemed content enough that he had made the effort, but with the way she teased him, he hadn't been quite sure.
That had been weeks ago. Now, as he drove the Jaguar around the familiar streets, he felt a smile stretch at his mouth. Here they were.
And there she was.
We stop to get something to drink, my mind clouds and I can't think
Scared to death to say I love her
Then the moon peeks from the clouds, I hear my heartbeat it's so loud
Try to simply tell her
"I said I wanted the chocolate," Tsukushi complained as Tsukasa handed her a bottle of sparkling water. They had stopped at a gas station to fuel up, and they decided to get something for themselves as well.
He shrugged. "It was cheap. It's probably not good for you."
She gave a sound that was halfway between a sigh and a snort. "Just because something's inexpensive doesn't mean it's not good at all."
"You're with me now," Tsukasa replied. "You have to start changing your tastes."
"You can't change me," she retorted defensively, before vehemently twisting the cap off her bottled water.
Tsukasa was silent for a few moments. "Forgot about that."
Suddenly, the air between them felt heavier than it did when they left the Doumyouji mansion. For what would seem like the hundredth time that night, Tsukushi asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" But this time her voice was serious, none of the cutting and sarcastic undertones of her earlier questions.
"I just did, didn't I?" he answered.
She shook her head. "Not driving. I meant this," she emphasized, gesturing towards the backseat, which was filled with all the suitcases and boxes that they could manage to cram in that short period before anyone suspected anything. It had been particularly difficult to smuggle Tsukasa's skis, now stretching awkwardly over her head, but he had insisted despite her protests. It was a small argument that she had decided to let him win, reminding herself that it was a small price to pay considering what else he was giving up.
"I just did, didn't I?" he repeated.
"And how long do you think do we have before they come looking for us? Before they find us?" she prodded.
"A day. A week. I don't know," Tsukasa replied honestly. "Are you regretting it?"
Tsukushi blushed under his scrutiny. "Of course not. Besides, I don't really have much to leave behind. Strange as it may sound, my parents are probably ecstatic that I did this." She paused. Her next question weighed heavily between them, descending with a palpable presence. "Are you?"
"Why do you keep doubting me?" he asked her.
She turned away from him, and watched a light drizzle descend upon the car windows. She traced the raindrops with a finger. "Because you have more to lose."
"No," he told Tsukushi firmly. "I have everything to gain."
"A week?" She couldn't help but remind him.
He started the car again. "Does it matter?"
That I've got all that I need right here in the passenger seat
And I can't keep my eyes on the road knowing that she's inches from me
He reached out and cupped the side of her face, his long fingers cradling her neck as his thumb swept over her right eyebrow in a gently possessive manner. She didn't dare to speak.
They continued to drive north.