An icy wind blew all over the campus of Kodo Ikusei Senior high school. Skirts were lifted, revealing panties of all kinds to the eyes of those who were present. Soon, shouts of '' Kyaaaah!'' could be heard outside the Keyaki mall, accompanied by sudden nasal bleedings from the male popultion and the sound of tree branches swaying furiously. Although it was the beginning of the year, there were still three months left before the end of winter. Due to the wind, the snow accumulated in the trees began to fall on the ground and...
"Uwa! So cold!''
It fell right on someone's head. The person in question had long pink hair and deep blue eyes. Her outfit consisted of a white long-sleeved blouse with a beige leather jacket over it. Instead of the Kodo Ikusei school skirt, the girl wore jeans that outlined her incredible curves.
"Mou Sakura, that's exactly why I told you not to walk near the trees." An extremely beautiful girl chided her. Her perfect body and face attracted the attention not only of the boys who passed by, but also of some girls who had this "kind of taste."
"S-Sorry Haruka-chan," Sakura said shyly as she pulled out her glasses that had some snow that had fallen on it. Hasebe let out a small sigh and wiped the rest of the snow that was still on the naive girl's head. After finishing cleaning her friend's pink hair, Hasebe took her by the hand and began to pull her into the mall.
''Kiyopon! You'll be left behind if you do not hurry! "She shouted with joy to a person who was a little further away from them. It was a teenager with brown hair that was swaying from side to side due to the wind. His eyes were a golden color and his choice of clothing consisted of brown trousers, a gray sweater, and an overcoat that was the same color as his trousers.
"I do understand their need to want a man to accompany them and to help carry the bags... and unfortunately, Yukimura and Miyabe are sick, so the one left to go with them was me...'' Ayanokoji Kiyotaka sighed inwardly, keeping a serious expression on the outside as he waved to Hasebe and joined them the moment they went inside the mall. As they entered the warm environment, Hasebe and Sakura let out a relieved sighs. Going further into the mall, the group went to one of several clothing stores in the Keyaki mall.
"Okay, Sakura, any idea about what kind of clothes you want?" Hasebe questioned her friend.
"Actually, I can't spend a lot of points, so I'm just looking for something that is cheap and comfortable." Being honest, the amount of winter clothes she had was pretty scarce and when she mentioned this to Hasebe, they decided to go shopping.
"Umm, easy task, at the same time we can look for more... provocative atires too." Hasebe whispered the last part so only the blue-eyed girl could hear and sent a suggestive look in Ayanokoji's direction. The ex idol felt her face flush as she realized what her friend was insinuating, but before she could exclaim 'H-Haruka-chan!' with an embarassed voice, the blue-haired girl interrupted her.
"It's going to take a while for us to pick the clothes for Sakura, will you wait inside the store or outside?" Hasebe asked the only boy next to them. Ayanokoji slowly shook his head in denial.
''I'm going to take a walk to kill time so I'll be back in half an hour.''
"Better put another 30 minutes on this walk of yours, there are other things we want to check." Haruka sent a small smile to Sakura, who looked away with reddened cheeks.
Ayanokoji merely nodded again at seeing the 'mysterious communication' between Sakura and Hasebe, clearly confused about what it might mean.
"The female mind is a mystery" he concluded, and after observing Hasebe and Sakura entering the shop and disappearing into the session where the winter clother were located, he began his walk. The reason he decided not to wait inside the store was not because he didn't want to sit around until the girls finished their business, but because there were so many things occupying his mind, so he thought walking might help disperse his thoughts.
''No, it's not many things and not one thing either, it's a certain person...'' He thought.
She was a mystery to him. Not in the sense of having obscure secrets or a distorted personality like Kushida or even him, nor of being someone whose ability was unknown to him, far from it, she was just a normal girl who suffered a lot in the past, not very different from the others students in this school, whom he considered mostly only as pawns or tools to be used. So when did she start having such a big influence on his life? When did he stop seeing her just as a pawn to use, and come to see her as someone essential in his life and who can never be replaced? When did all this happen?
He did not know, and that frustrated him.
Ayanokoji Kiyotaka, the perfect product of the white room. The false genius whose past for him did not matter and that in his opinion was not something worthy of being mentioned. The boy who, despite having practically everything from quality education to being taught several styles of combat, was still not able to understand very well what love, trust and friendship was, and could even be equated with a machine by other people.
Ayanokoji Kiyotaka, the young man who, without realizing it, began to understand, even if just a little, what might be considered love.
It was not that he didn't fully understand what he was feeling, but rather the disbelief he felt at such a possibility.
With his thoughts starting to get more turbulent, Ayanokoji stopped walking and shook his head slightly.
''Thinking too much about it will result in nothing...maybe a hot drink will help me relax.'' Ayanokoji pondered. Checking the time on his cell phone, he saw that there had been just 10 minutes since he had separated from Hasebe and Sakura and realized that he had actually run around the entire first floor and was now on the second floor. Looking around to see if there was a store focused on food and drink, his eyes happened to notice the figure of a certain girl.
Her blonde hair stuck in a ponytail swayed from side to side as she walked. Beside her was a young man with short, dark hair, relatively tall and with green eyes. Kei did not seem to be paying any attention to the young man, but he seemed to be insisting on something, his face showing nervousness and even a little bit of panic. It seems that Kei also noticed his condition as she stopped, gave a slight sigh, waved her hand and gestured for him to follow her. The young man's expression went from despair to joy in a matter of seconds and he nodded his head. The two then went down to the first floor.
Ayanokoji only watched them from a distance, his face without a trace of expression. His feet then began to unconsciously move, leading him toward the direction to which Kei and the unknown young man went.
''So, what did you want to talk about? '' Kei asked with folded arms as she cast a questioning glance at the black-haired young man in front of her. Right now, they were outside the Keyaki mall. The boy, Kanbara Yuu, a student from class -C and who until a few moments ago had a silly smile on his face now had a completely serious look.
"Please go out with me!" Kanbara shouted as he bowed forward slightly. Kei, who took a few seconds to understand the boy's words, opened her mouth to say something, but all that came out was...
"I always liked you, Karuizawa-san. From the moment I entered this school I had a crush on you. I thought I had missed my chance when I heard you were dating Hirata, but since you guys broke up right after the third semester, my resolve came back to me! So please, go out with me! "He exclaimed with all his might. Kei, who was still shaken by the fact that she was getting a confession from a boy for the first time in her life, blinked twice before getting rid of the shock and focusing her attention on him.
"I, uhm... thank you for being honest and telling me your true feelings, but I can not go out with you," Kei said after a few seconds in silence, her voice gentle but firm, giving the verdict that it was not possible for them to go out together.
The black-haired young man looked at her with a downcast look, but straightened up immediately and stared at her.
''I see...Could you at least tell me why you rejected me so quickly? Did I do something that made you upset? "He asked. Kei then started to shake her hands nervously.
''N-no, that's not it! You look like a nice guy, it's just that... "Her voice grew fainter and weaker with each word. The boy watched her warily, and then forced a smile.
''I understand, Karuizawa-san's reason for rejecting me is because she's already in love with someone else, isn't it?''
''Seems like I'm right. I will not judge you for liking someone else so soon after ending your relatioship with Hirata...and to tell you the truth, you and Hirata never gave me the impression of being a couple anyway, you guys always looked more like good friends than boyfriend and girlfriend." The dark haired teen said, '' But anyway, I kind of came here already expecting to be rejected but for it to be this fast...you really must love that person Karuizawa-san, he's a lucky guy. " The green-eyed boy said softly.
Karuizawa's face was so red that it made her look like a red lamp in the middle of the winter scenery. Seeing such a reaction from the blonde, Kanbara let out a small laugh.
"Whoever may be the man you love, I wish you the best of luck with him, Karuizawa-san." He spoke those words honestly, showing that he hoped she would achieve the happiness she desired alongside the person who owned her affection. Turning his back to Kei, Yuu started walking back to the Keyaki mall, past the electronic gates and disappearing from Kei's sight.
Now completely alone among the trees, Kei let out a slight sigh, her warm breath creating a small fog in front of her face due to the cold temperature.
''Hah ... I was not even able to cheer him up a little after rejecting him like that.'' Being sincere, Kanbara was not a bad guy and he certainly was not an ugly guy, Kei was sure that with his good looks and kindness, he would definitely find the right person for him. The problem was her. Kei knew she would never be interested in any of the boys in this school, whether they were the same year as her or seniors.
''All because Kiyotaka already stole my heart... Why did I had to fall in love with a guy who is probably never going to reciprocate my feelings? Ahh mou!"She began to scratch her head furiously, her hands moving back and forth at incredible speeds.
"Ah, I better go back to the mall, at least it's warm there." Forcing herself to stop scratching her head, Kei tidied up her now-messy hair and started walking, but an unexpected noise made her stop. Because of the snow, she would not have been able to hear the footsteps, but as there were some fallen branches on the ground, they were cracking every time the person walked. Soon, familiar brown hair and yellow eyes entered her line of sight. She then whispered only one name:
As soon as he saw Karuizawa and the black-haired boy standing near one of the trees, Ayanokoji hid himself and watched them. He already had a faint suspicion as to why they had come here, far from the eyes of the curious. As the young man leaned forward slightly and Kei's face became a shock, that was when he knew that his suspicions were correct.
''So he brought her here to confess huh...''
Ayanokoji was not surprised by this. Kei was an extremely beautiful and energetic girl, the boys staring at her with a dreamy look as she passed them was a clear confirmation of this, they just never tried to approach her because of Hirata, but now that their ''relationship'' no longer existed, it was obvious that sooner or later such a thing would happen. But what surprised Ayanokoji is that, even though he was already expecting such a thing to happen, he felt a certain irritation at seeing Kei receiving a confession from someone.
She was already a trustworthy partner, and her loyalty to him was unmatched, something he was sure no one else possessed. She would help him with whatever plan he had and do whatever he asked, even if she did not like it, Kei would do the job for him so he had nothing to complain. She was a good girl that deserved to be happy, to find someone who loved her and could put a smile on her face. He knew all this well, but lastly, why did the thought of another man making her happy made his heart tighten up a little?
He still did not understand this feeling very well but Ayanokoji had a vague idea of what it could be.
As these thoughts continued to creep through his head, his yellow eyes watched as the boy's silhouette began to move away and go back to the mall. Seeing that now Kei was alone among the frozen trees, Ayanokoji left his hiding spot and walked to her, feeling the branches that were in the ground break under his feet. The noise seemed to have caught the blonde girl's attention as she turned around and stared at him.
''Kei.'' Ayanokoji replied with a slight nod. Kei looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
''What are you doing here?''
"Sakura and Hasebe needed help with the shopping bags."
"Okay, I understand that, but what I do not understand is why you're here instead of being there with them."
"Just strolling around to kill time while they're buying clothes." She gave him a wary look.
"Right..." Kei seemed to know that this was not the real reason why he was with her right now, but that did not matter to Ayanokoji.
"I heard that guy's confession to you." Ayanokoji actually didn't heard them, but that was something she did not need to know. Kei's eyes widened a little from the direct attack she received.
''Then, did you see everything?''
Sighing, Kei approached one of the trees and leaned against the trunk, avoiding to make any abrupt movement to not get covered by the snow.
"Why did you reject him?" Another unexpected question left Ayanokoji's lips. Being caught by surprise, Kei's body stiffened.
''W-well, t-that was, b-because...'' Kei cursed herself for stuttering so much. Looking at Ayanokoji, who was patiently waiting for her to calm down, Kei remembered the events of double date that occurred during Christmas.
''Because Satou can not possibly replace Karuizawa.'' These words still had a devastating effect on her, but at the thought of them, she unwittingly opened her mouth:
"Because it's impossible for him to replace Kiyotaka." And she said that, something extremely similar to what he had said after rejecting Satou. Seeing as an expression of mild surprise took over Ayanokoji's face, Kei felt an absurd amount of embarassment and covered her flushed face with her gloved hands.
Ayanokoji watched her for a few seconds, analyzing the words Kei had spoken. He knew that she was an essential existence for him and that he was also an essential existence for her, but he could see that she was not only meaning as partners, but indicating something deeper...
"Is she by any chance implying that...she's infantuated with me?" He pondered, but strangely, the idea that Kei had such feelings only for him and no one else created a flame that Ayanokoji had never felt before in all of his sixteen years of life.
With his eyes still focused on Kei, Ayanokoji slowly approached her. Sensing movement right in front of her, Kei removed her hands from her face and came upon Ayanokoji coming closer and closer to her. Her heart began to pound inside her chest as the boy she had fallen in love with was diminishing the distance between them until their faces were inches apart. It was then that Ayanokoji's face began to slowly approach hers.
Yellow and purple stared deeply at each other. Kei could see how Ayanokoji's eyes practically said 'stop me before it's too late' but she had no such desire, Kei was actually anticipating the moment when Kiyotaka's lips would connect with hers. All this was reflected in her eyes and could be seen by Ayanokoji, so, without any rush, Ayanokoji closed the distance between them completely, both closing their eyes as their lips finally connected.
Feelind the softness of the blonde's trembling lips and the heat they emitted, Ayanokoji began to go with the flow. Wrapping one of his arms around her waist, he licked Kei's lower lip, clearly asking for permission to deepen the kiss, which she happily accepted. As soon as Kiyotaka's tongue made contact with hers, both felt something similar to an eletric current pass through their bodies. Kei groaned as her petite body collided with Ayanokoji's, her right hand going up to caress his cheek.
Her groan only served to fuel the flame that had ignited inside of him. The soft touch of her hot hand also seemed to burn his skin. It was then that Ayanokoji realized that he did not want another man to have the pleasure of doing this sort of thing with Kei. He wanted to be the one to be able to kiss her and touch her that way.
Abruptly interrupting the kiss that had left the blonde gasping for air but at the same time wanting more, Ayanokoji moved his mouth to Kei's left ear.
"You'll stay by my side forever," he whispered into her ear. It was not a question, it was a statement. Kei couldn't help but smile. It was not quite the declaration of love she wanted, but it was close enough.
Wrapping her arms around Ayanokoji's neck, Kei whispered a ''yes, Kiyotaka'' and pulled him into another kiss. Forgetting the rest of the world, they once again got lost in each other.
AN: At first I was planning to write an Ayanokoji x Kushida one shot, but then the spoilers and translations of some parts of volume 7.5 came out and I couldn't help but write another story for my OTP.
In three or four days I'll post another one shot, it will be a Sakura focused so keep an eye for it!
I'll apologize beforehand if Ayanokoji was a little OOC and for any grammatical error that you may find, I'll revise it tomorrow(right now I just want to sleep xD)
Also, I would like to give my thanks for all the people who favorited 'Her Hero' and also say thank you to MatNErt, ComplexWarden, Rodvek97 and the two guests for leaving kind reviews in Her Hero too, you all rock!
PS: I will write other stories with Ayano paired with other girls(Ichinose, Horikita, Chabashira and etc) but expect the majority of my stories in this fandom being Kiyotaka x Kei stories, they're still my absolute favorite.
PSS: Can we please have more fanfics for this great light novel? The pairing doesn't matter I just want to see this fandom getting more stories.