An I's/Something Positive crossover fic
by Chester Castañeda
Disclaimer: I's is copyrighted to Masakazu Katsura and Studio K2R. Something Positive is the property of R.K. Millholand. Don't sue me please, I'm very poor.
Not just an I's oneshot... an I's/Something Positive crossover... can you believe it? Warning... there are some major spoilers ahead.
"Congratulations, It-chan! You have achieved your dreams!"
Itsuki Akiba smiled wondrously for the digital camera for one last time before turning it off, making use of a 'fade-out' special effect in the device to finish her special video letter for a certain special someone. She briefly considered editing the footage further before burning it on a dvd for something even more special... she was the talented artist, after all... but those thoughts were for another day... or not. Who knew?
She sighed once. "The things I do for that guy..." she murmured to herself in Japanese before packing-up the tripod with the various other sophisticated equipment she 'borrowed' from the set where she was currently working as a props designer.
She shrugged in spite of herself. They won't miss it... and Miller-san said that he'll cover for me if ever the moody-wussy props department manager gets wind of this, she reassured herself.
"I wonder if he liked my new hair? Geez, I wonder if he let his own hair grow into that spiky mess it once was? He should go to the barber more often... I mean, a haircut's cheap and all, right? Besides, that hair doesn't look good on him at all... I wonder if Iori-san's the one cutting his hair nowadays?" Itsuki mused to herself in her native tongue, talking to no one in particular and as she idly looked around for any sign of trouble in the set.
She breathed a sigh of relief. As always, the movie set was near empty, with only a few crewmen and stagehands hanging around, having some idle chitchat and some such. Such was the notoriety of the typical film set... it was usually composed of irate directors, prima-donna actors and long intervals of free time.
"Hey, what are you doing here in all your lonesome?" was what she wanted to hear after making such an exaggerated show of emotions in her monologue. To which she would reply, "Oh nothing much... just hanging around... talking to non-existent people in Japanese while scaring the bejeezus out of all the gaijin folk... oh, and sending a childhood friend/un-ex-boyfriend a dvd letter... what's up with you?"
"Oh, I'm still a soulless, no good son-of-a-bitch who's out to ruin Christmas by murdering Santa Claus. Care to join me for lunch? I'm ordering a fetus soup with a small salad side-dish," was what greeted Itsuki out of her reverie instead.
"Auugh! Don't startle me like that! Being such a 'what-a-face' like you, it's such an awful punishment to befall an innocent girl like myself," Itsuki said in mock distaste as she teased the gangly, bespectacled young man before her.
"Point one... you knew I was coming here. Point two... I applaud your ability to create catch-phrases reminiscent of things heard in a Kindergarten playground fight."
"I doubt you could survive one," Itsuki cheerily countered as she gave him the finger. "I see you're still your cheerful, happy self, Davan-kun."
The one identified as Davan shrugged. "I was going easy on you. It could have gone much worse... I could have brought a camera. Imagine that... a picture of a young nubile Chinese girl with a digicam setup equals a profitable hot webcam feed sex site rumor... which means there'll be more blackmail fodder for me."
Itsuki regarded the lanky man with half-lidded eyes. "Cut the bullshit already. You're one of the reasons why I'm having second thoughts in learning English as a second language. Besides that, I'm Japanese, not Chinese, you asshole! Japanese!" She none-to-lightly whapped the errant cynic on the head. "So much for your supposed stand against prejudices, you half-wit hypocrite!"
As her attention typically shifted faster than a five-year-old tot's, she again looked around the mostly empty lot reflexively. She gave a satisfied nod as she hugged the aforementioned black leather bag containing her precious digicam protectively.
"You're acting like you have pot stashed in that black bag of yours. What gives, Itchy?" Davan insinuated as he gently rubbed the forming lump at the back of his head, calling Itsuki by the pet name given to her by their mutual little 'group'. "Geez, that hurts... are you ovulating or something?"
She mostly ignored the snide remark directed at her as she hastily left the packed-up equipment nearby the other stacks for the set custodian, Matthews-san, to pick up later. She smiled sinisterly at Davan. "Sooo... you came here after all. You do have your redeeming points."
"Whatever. I'm mostly doing this as a favor to PeeJee," Davan said as he tried to resist his urge to shudder at Itsuki's malicious smirk. "So cut to the chase, kid... what sort of crime do you want me to commit? Let me remind you, this won't come cheap."
Itsuki giggled nervously. "Well, since the movie set is kind of quiet and all, and all the actors are either playing golf or going out for lunch as we speak... I was kind of wondering..."
Davan raised an eyebrow. "You're not... oh, not again..." he whined as he slapped his hand over his face, shaking his head.
"Man... I should have known that there was a reason why you and PeeJee are friends... you both suffer from temporary insanity from time to time. No... on second thought, no amount of money could pay for the manipulations you'll be administering to my person... you can't make me do it."
Itsuki pouted cutely as she shifted from one foot to the other. "But Davan-kun... this is important to me! I figured I could probably edit this video in an actual store for a few hundred bucks, but if we already have the sophisticated equipment needed to edit it here, then I don't see the problem at all... please, Davan-kun? Consider it an unofficial date of sorts."
David rubbed his temples in irritation. He knew it was ultimately futile to reason with or to resist the girl, but goddammit, he was going to try. "The problem you don't immediately see is called 'Breaking and Entering', among many other things I couldn't remember for the life of me... and stop the 'I'm a cute Asian girl' act, I'm not falling for it. No way in hell you're going to convince me to do that."
I hate myself... I really do, Davan reasoned to himself as he and Itsuki discreetly tiptoed toward the video editing room a few yards from the set.
"This is where they make the impromptu snipping and editing of footage before they ship the film out for some major editing... what's so cool is that they even have equipment here for digital videos and stuff..." Itsuki rattled on as she did the same thing on the doorknob.
"Ah... the door's locked. This situation is just like before... eh, Itchy?" Davan sighed loudly. Actually, it's exactly like before... with the door locked and her forgetting about the keys. Again.
Itsuki stuck her tongue out. "Shows how much you know. I have the keys right here!" The keys jingled as she fished them out from her left pocket. "See? Now stop being a worryfart so that we could get this over with."
"It's 'worrywart,' Itchy," Davan deadpanned, wondering to himself why he even bothered. Besides that, other thoughts occupied his mind... like the fact that he still couldn't take away the feeling of dread he had in the pits of his stomach... he still braced himself, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"But Aubrey-chan said..." Itsuki started, as if she momentarily forgot her supposed important task at hand.
"'Aubrey-chan' says a lot of things... things best not remembered, especially if you're in the receiving end of it," Davan said, nodding sagely.
"Oh! Oh! Like the story she told me about the time she drank bad coffee in a coffee shop where she said 'I could menstruate a better cup of coffee than this'?" Itsuki giggled. "That was funny... it's a... what do you Americans call it? A 'Classic?'"
Davan reflexively winced as he finally made his way in the dark room... more because of what Itsuki... had just shared than anything else. Switchboards, panels and television monitors greeted the odd couple as they entered. "So you've been hanging out with Aubrey too, eh?"
Itsuki nodded, grinning carelessly. "I like her. She's funny. She even offered to give me a Sarcasm and Cynicism Seminar... for a small fee, of course."
"Of course." Davan raised an eyebrow at that. "I'm guessing that, knowing Aubrey, it somehow involves extended conversations with me?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," Itsuki affirmed. "But then I thought, 'Why should I pay anyone for long, depressing chats with Davan-kun?' That's just not right... so I declined." She then beamed ceaselessly at him.
Davan, for his part, groaned. I wonder what she's taking? he idly wondered to himself as his discomfort rose to phenomenal rates. How could a girl be so incessantly happy every single day? He then wondered why he was there. After remembering the reason and berating himself for his stupidity because of said reason, Davan spoke.
"Hey, Itchy... aren't you supposed to edit that video you just made for your ex?" Davan reminded, as nonchalantly as possible since he didn't want to get involved in the obviously personal, touchy subject. He had his fair share of break-up horror stories, after all... and he didn't want to talk about that shit.
Itsuki nodded mutely as she unzipped her black bag. While her back was turned as she fit each plug to their respective socket, she spoke... trying to sound nonchalant but failing. "What are you and Aubrey, Davan-kun?" "Begging your pardon?" Davan didn't even seem fazed as he asked the question, apparently feigning innocence. "That doesn't even vaguely sound grammatically correct."
But the Japanese girl was too curious to be embarrassed. "I was wondering... are you two girlfriend-boyfriend? Lovers? Or is it like that show 'Will and Grace' where..."
"I'd appreciate it if you discontinued that train of thought," Davan growled, not acknowledging the irritating fact that his own jibe backfired on him. "For an ethnic minority, you're well and good on stereotyping. So I don't suppose you'd mind my asking if dog meat really is a delicacy over your side of the world?"
Itsuki waved him off as she finished booting-up the computer, giggling in apparent delight. "Joudan, joudan! Oh, excuse my lingual slip-up... I was just joking, Davan-kun! No need to be so defensive!"
"I suddenly found those long, black cables you're handling to be quite interesting... I don't suppose you know what the word 'lynch' means... eh, Itchy?" Davan retorted. Itsuki just hummed a little ditty in response.
"There! All done!" Itsuki cheered. She then began flipping switches and pressing buttons in proper sequence with practiced ease.
"Finally... let's get this over with," Davan bemoaned. He then watched listlessly as a video monitor flickered to life, finally showing the contents of the digicam. "If I wanted to watch a foreign language flick with a chick in it, there'd better be some stripping."
Itsuki didn't even notice the acerbic barb as the video played in the television screen, losing herself in her own thoughts and memories.
"Why does Davan-kun hate me so much, PeeJee-chan?" Itsuki straightforwardly asked PeeJee, not so much as fazing the purple-haired girl. "I mean... not to brag or anything, but I can usually get along with all the people I meet... why is he so... so...?"
"Anal?" PeeJee offered.
"Ass-holic," Itsuki concluded.
"Oh... don't tell me. You've been hanging out with Aubrey, haven't you?" PeeJee nodded in understanding. A word that uniquely bad could only come from the bespectacled wide-eyed girl and the unfortunate ones who were exposed to her presence for too long.
Itsuki shrugged. "I like her choice of words. They're... creative, for lack of a better term." She then idly tapped insistently on the bar's wooden counter as she said, "Getting back to the situation at hand..."
PeeJee mirrored Itsuki's shrug. "Don't feel so special. Davan's ass-holic with everyone and everything. There are a few exceptions of course, but there's a reason why they're called exceptions... mostly because they're not in the majority. There's an ethnic minority of people that Davan's nice to, and they're rarer than the Mohicans or the Aztecs."
"But why do I get the feeling that Davan-kun is going out of his way to be mean to me?" Itsuki insisted, pouting.
"Waitasec... 'Davan is going out of his way to be mean'? If that isn't an oxymoron, then I don't know what is," PeeJee said, sighing. She then took another swig of her drink before speaking.
"Look, kid... you're nice and all, disregarding the fact that we became acquaintances through Jason, bless that fat guy's soul... but what I'm trying to say is that Davan doesn't really like having 'acquaintances,'" PeeJee said while emphasizing the last word by gesturing impromptu quotation marks with the first two fingers of both her hands.
"The exact same thing happened to Anna, another one of Jason's theater acquaintances," PeeJee continued to her rapt audience. "When Davan first met her, he summarily snapped at her. Y'know why? Y'know what's the main similarity between you and Anna?"
Itsuki tilted her head in her curiosity. "What is it?"
PeeJee gave Itsuki a friendly slap on the shoulder. "Other than the obvious... youngness, you're both so goddamn frickin' happy... and Davan just couldn't stand it." Itsuki simply blinked at the last statement, not fully understanding what PeeJee was trying to say.
The Canadian girl gave the Japanese girl an impish grin, the smell of alcohol all-apparent in her breath. "I hate to tell you this since you can somehow get along with nearly every one of us... me, Jhim, Aubrey, Jason, Kim... it's amazing. But you, to be quite frank about it, stick out of this group like a sore thumb."
More confusion crossed Itsuki's face. "Why's that, PeeJee-chan?"
PeeJee motioned at Itsuki's statement. "That's why! It's the way you put in '-chan' or '-san' or '-kun' after every other person's names... the way you cheerfully saunter into a conversation without letting someone feel like you're 'butting-in' or anything... you have a natural talent to blend in anywhere, like some sort of freakish Japanese chameleon. Davan, to put it tersely, does not."
"You're just too damn... I don't know... well-adjusted to hang out with a maladjusted crowd." PeeJee pressed her finger over Itsuki's forehead, grinning like a demented hyena. "You, my friend, are too nice, too kind, too sweet, too cute and just too freakin' happy to be befriended by the likes of Davan McIntyre. Just accept the facts and go on with your life."
Itsuki seemed to consider PeeJee's words carefully. She then looked determinedly at her, making the other Asian girl feel wary. The light-haired girl suddenly did an enthusiastic pose. "Ok, fine! If that's the way it is, then I will make Davan-kun like me!"
"Come again?" PeeJee said, blinking and sobering up a little. "You must have a problem with translating your thoughts to English... I used to have the very same dilemma when I first came to Canada."
Itsuki shook her head resolutely. "You heard me right... I will make Davan-kun like me! Even if takes hanging out with him through extended periods of time! Even if it takes talking to him altogether! Even if I have to pet his naked, pink pussy!"
PeeJee quirked an eyebrow up, thankful she was only half-sober at the time. "That last statement was referring to Choo-Choo bear, his pet cat, right?"
"Of course!" Itsuki affirmed, before adding, "But you have to admit, that was a decent, half-hearted poke at Davan-kun's dubious sexuality."
"True," PeeJee acquiesced. "But Itchy... isn't stalking a bit much for dear ol' 'Davan-kun'? Besides... you may be biting off more than you can chew. Remember, this is the guy that masturbates in front of Mormon missionaries just to shoo them away."
Itsuki shrugged. "I guess those are the perks." She grinned.
PeeJee suddenly shifted in her unease, the last vestiges of drunkenness leaving her. "Itchy!"
Itsuki laughed gaily. "I was just kidding, PeeJee-chan! It's just a joke! I thought you Americans could take jokes better than the Japanese!"
"I'm Canadian," PeeJee deadpanned.
"Point," Itsuki agreed.
PeeJee sighed. "So, I've finally experienced the infamous 'Itchy Psyche attack' Jason told me so much about. It's really... something, considering it literally sobered me up... let me congratulate you on your abilities."
"Psyche attack... hm, so that's what it's called in English," Itsuki mused to herself before again addressing PeeJee. "You're right... Davan-kun is a tricky one. So I'm going to need your help."
"You gonna need my whaaa?" PeeJee articulated. "I thought that it was all a joke! The stalking thing, I mean!"
"I wasn't going to stalk Davan-kun," Itsuki scoffed. "I'm just going to need your help to convince him to hang out with me."
Itsuki thought for a bit before she altogether brightened. "I know! He could help me edit the video I'm sending to Japan! Tell him to meet me at Lincoln lot, Studio 2! It's near... no, let me just write that down..." She then hastily scribbled an address on a table napkin after borrowing a pen from the bartender.
"Number one... this is a bad idea, Itchy. I suggest you don't go through with it," PeeJee pleaded, all for Davan's sake. She just knew that her antisocial nut for a friend wasn't going to like this... she also knew that this train of thought of hers could earn her the 'Understatement of the Year' award. "Number two... what makes you think that I'd help you?"
"PeeJee-chan... you know as well as I that you owe me," Itsuki said nonchalantly as she ended her furious scribbles with a flourish. "Here you go!" she said cheerfully. As if on cue, the lanky, stoic young adult that was the topic of the two girls general interest suddenly waltzed in the bar.
"Hey, Peej... hey... Itchy," Davan said as he ambled toward the couple, a twitch of unease crossing his face as he addressed the Japanese girl. "What's up?"
"We're just fine, Davan-kun... sorry to seem so rude, but I was just leaving," Itsuki said as she smiled at Davan, winking. "See you later."
Davan just stared languidly at the diminishing figure of the young girl before turning to PeeJee, asking, "What was that all about? She looked happier than a Monette in a Panda petting zoo."
PeeJee laughed nervously as Davan raised an eyebrow. "Yeah... fancy that?"
Itsuki laughed heartily at the memory, making Davan wince in annoyance. To distract himself, he tried to blankly stare at the flickering image on the TV. Hmph... more unintelligible drivel from Itchy... well, more than usual.
"Hm... there's a problem with the playback. I think it'll take me awhile to fix it. Will you be a dear and close the door?" Itsuki requested to the brooding adult, too distracted to hear his incessant grumbling.
He glared... or made a near facsimile of a glare as he demonstrated to Itsuki his own pokerfaced version of it... while the light-haired girl's back was turned. But he still did what he was told, shutting the door tight, not noticing the doorknob become slightly stuck.
Why am I doing this again? he asked, mostly rhetorically, but nonetheless his brain began processing his query as memories began flooding his psyche, the feeling of being somehow duped and kowtowed never leaving him as he reminisced.
"She asked you to tell me WHAT?"
"She requested you to go to this address so you could help her edit some sort of special video," PeeJee sheepishly said, not looking directly at the... rather irate Davan.
"Oh, and why would I do that?!" Davan further ranted. "She's just a stranger that suddenly joined our group anyway! Besides, the last time I did her a favor, I was almost fined for trespassing, among many other things. She's a trouble magnet. No. Tell her no. I don't owe her anything to do that."
"But I did owe her something," PeeJee said quietly as she bit her lip. "So this is a favor for a favor, Davan. Please... do it as a favor for me." Her eyes pleaded in unison with her voice.
Davan inwardly groaned as he began his own pleading. "But sweetie! I don't understand why all of you could get along with that... that... her! She's like Scrappy Doo of the Scoobies! She just doesn't belong in our group, no way, no how!"
PeeJee shrugged. "Gee, you're really getting into this 'screw the happy Japanese girl' shtick you have. Well, I think Itchy is okay... sure, she does act goofy at times, maybe even a bit crazy with her 'psyche attack' and weird jokes... but I don't see her as anywhere near irritating as freaky Mike or bitchy Kharisma. I can't speak for everyone in our little group, but I think that's the general consensus."
"I still say she doesn't quite belong," Davan insisted, crossing his arms amidst his deadpanned gaze. "She's just too—"
"Happy? Itchy and me were just discussing that very topic. But I'm still curious, Davan," PeeJee wondered before she drank the mug of beer before her like it was water... she was offered a lifetime supply of all the alcoholic beverages she could drink in that particular bar. "What's the real reason why you hate Itchy so much? You weren't nearly this mean to Anna, and you did apologize to her after nearly biting her head off the first time you met... what's so special about Itchy?"
"Other than the fact that she nearly got me jailed?" Davan retorted.
"Other than that," PeeJee affirmed.
Davan breathed a deep sigh. "I dunno exactly why she just rubs me the wrong way, but I do know that I just couldn't help it. I usually don't go out my way to be nice to people, so I guess I won't even bother with her. It's just that... well..."
"Well?" PeeJee insisted, curiosity getting the better of her.
"Well... she's the poster girl of everything that is good and pleasant in the world. Anna is sweet, but Itchy is saccharine sweet... like the bastard child of Willy Wonka and Hello Kitty. There isn't one thing that bugs her... not any of my quips, not one of our group's numerous depressing life stories. Hell, she could even get along with freaky Mike. She's just too unmarred, too... perfect for me to get along with. She's a flat character that doesn't have any angst in her at all. All she does is be... happy. You understand how much that irks me, Peej. So does that answer your question?"
"More or less... oh well, I already had an inkling about that," PeeJee admitted while wishing that she'd get really, really wasted right about now. Something about the atmosphere being 'too fucking depressing,' but that was natural when hanging out with Davan.
"But let me ask you something," Davan said, shaking PeeJee out of her stupor. "What's the big favor you owe Itchy that got you in such a bind, Peej?"
PeeJee just smirked. "Would you believe, 'anime collection translation purposes'?"
"Whuzzat?" Davan elucidated, confused as hell.
"Just last week, I had her over my place to watch a raw, un-subtitled Japanese version of 'Grave of the Fireflies,' acting as my impromptu translator of sorts. I know that the anime was mostly self-explanatory in terms of plot, but the way she cutely and cheerfully narrated the story during the climactic death scenes... now that's some freaky stuff there, let me tell you."
Davan was silent for a bit. After PeeJee finished two drinks, he said, "This from the girl who called me at 3:00 in the morning because she couldn't stand knowing the awful fact that there are people who have sex while wearing costumes of their favorite cartoon characters?
PeeJee shrugged. "I'll just feign innocence, since I have none left," she quipped.
"There! I fixed it," Itsuki cheered as she took a piece of acetate and markers from her bag and began scrawling some writings on it. "Davan-kun, help me prop the camera on this here seat while I finish this."
"So this is state-of-the-art stuff they got here," Davan idly noted as he did what he was told. There, there now... Davan McIntyre can surely talk in a civilized manner. Maybe if I continue talking like this, she'll let me out for good behavior, he desperately reasoned to himself.
"I bet you're going to use all these sophisticated equipment to create some nifty title art and some such... right, Itchy?" Boy, did he sound stiltedand unnatural... but that was the best Davan could come up with on such short notice.
"Actually... this is it," Itsuki cheerfully said as she showed the bespectacled cynic her little artwork... composed of hastily scribbled chicken scratch on acetate where the only word he could decipher was 'warning.' Oh wait... most of it is in Japanese.
"Er... rather low tech, considering that we have so much sophisticated equipment right here," Davan said as he patted a nearby console. "Heck, there are so many monitors here, I thought this was a security guard's watch post."
Itsuki crumpled some pink felt paper then smoothed it out again as she put it against the colorful acetate. "I only came here for the editing facilities... besides, I intend to send this out before Christmas this year, so getting some 3-D title art for a simple letter is a bit on the overkill side, even for my tastes."
Davan mutely nodded as he yawned. Boy, would this day get any more boring? Oh well, at least she's not irritating me with her incessant cheerfulness instead.
"Now, hold the camera for me while I hold our little 'title art' over... here. Now, turn on the record button," Itsuki directed as she carefully placed her labor of love over the camera lens, switching on a flashlight above it. "I wanted to do this earlier, but since it took me awhile to setup the perfect location for the shooting and since you got there so late, I just decided we'd do it here with the rest of the editing."
Davan jadedly smacked his lips, not really listening to what Itsuki was saying. But he did have insight to Itsuki's general disposition. Hm... this video really is important to Itchy. Not that I care, but I might as well ask... all this boredom isn't worth the fifty bucks she's paying me.
"So... what does the warning say, Itchy?" Davan nonchalantly inquired as he looked at the highlighted title art. "'Warning: Not suitable for audiences eighteen years and below? There are some nudity and profanity present?' I must have missed a lot when I got here."
Actually, it says, 'In case you don't succeed with Iori and got dumped, watching this is forbidden. Stop at once!' Itsuki automatically translated in her head, while saying to Davan, "Yup. You missed a lot. I did a striptease, which is why I had so much trouble finding a private place to shoot. Don't you feel lucky you got to help me edit this video?"
As usual, nothing fazes her, Davan dolefully thought, not even bothering to retort. He just sulked there, holding the camera still.
Ah... he seems even angrier than before, Itsuki thought. But it's hard to tell with that poker face of his. He's not a very cheerful person to begin with... not at all. She sighed as she slowly put away the acetate and felt paper. "We're done. Domo arigato, Davan-kun."
Davan listlessly nodded, fidgeting as if something was bothering him. Itsuki gave him a token smile of encouragement, but the misanthropist didn't even seem to notice.
The Japanese girl growled inwardly. What is his problem?! She turned her back in a huff as she began playing the video on the monitor, intending to already start with the editing process.
But as soon as Itsuki sat down on the swivel chair, she saw a sign of movement in the corner of her eye. "Davan-kun, where are you going?"
"Somewhere else. Look, while I'm flattered with all the attention you've been showering me lately, I don't want anything to do with it. You seem convinced that you could turn my friends and me into the pod people of happiness, but that won't be the case now. I know it's mean, but I have to ask you politely to stay the hell away from me. It's for the best, believe me."
Itsuki suddenly turned her swivel chair, stunning Davan somewhat with the expression on her face... it was an expression which he hadn't seen on her perennially smiling face since the fateful day they met.
There it was... just a brief flash... of a sad, lonely expression before it melted into a smile... but it was unlike all the cheerful smiles she had worn before. It wasn't even a forced smile.
It was a sad, melancholic smile.
It was enough to make even the eternally stoic Davan wince. After all, only a person wearing a mask would understand how painful it was to take it off.
So, Davan did what was typical of him when confronted with emotional situations... well, his first instinct anyway.
Run the hell away.
He headed straight for the shut door, his hand mere inches from the slick, inviting doorknob.
He was about to find out just how much God loved him... not very much.
He rattled on the doorknob... pulled on it desperately, near-pleadingly. Typically, there was no response.
Oh shit, Davan thought as realization struck him like a hundred PMS-ed Aubreys.
Amidst the silent couple, the video played in contrasting cheerfulness and optimism.
"Hey, you all better, It-chan?" a feminine voice inquired in cheerful Japanese. The video showed, in crystal clarity, a bright and quite happy Itsuki wearing a denim jacket and black tank top.
"Y'know... today, something really cool happened. I wanted to tell you so bad that I sent this video!"
The Itsuki in the video waved a two-fingered peace sign, smiling toothily. "I found a new dream, instead of modeling!" She giggled gaily, as if she hadn't a care in the world. "I'm, like, so happy right now!"
"Aubrey-chan... I mean, Aubrey and PeeJee hinted that you were a little... miffed at me," Itsuki said, still smiling her sad, melancholic smile. "I didn't realized I irritated you this much, Davan-ku-- Davan."
Davan could retort a hundred ways with that statement, but instead he chose the simplest, most uncomplicated approach... silence. As Itsuki continued, he lifted his head politely to listen.
"I tried... I really did... to open up with your group. But you're right... I didn't fit in. I didn't quite belong. You all have your angst and your experience and your deep bonds... I just butted-in on all of you," Itsuki said, looking away for a bit as tried to put herself together.
Davan, for his part, felt like a first class heel... or rather, he wanted to feel like a first class heel, but couldn't for the life of him. After all, he did agree with most of what Itsuki was confessing. So, inner conscience be damned, he felt vindicated and justified with Itsuki's outburst just like the cold-hearted bastard he was.
"I bet you hated me all this time," Itsuki nearly blubbered.
"I found a new dream instead of modeling!" the Itsuki in the video cheered.
The video image of Itsuki smiled mischievously. "Can you guess what it is?" There was a slight pause. "Truth is..."
Finally, Itsuki blurted, "There's someone I'm in love with!"
Itsuki screamed, holding her burning cheeks in a curious mix of delight and embarrassment. She then chatted idly about her being radiant and some such, adding something about a teacher named Takezawa, but the previous statement still had the most impact on the real Itsuki as she struggled with her words.
"There's someone I'm in love with!"
"I bet you hated me for always acting so cheerful and happy, like it was Christmas Day everyday or something," Itsuki added, smirking a little as the sides of her eyes shimmered.
No shit, Davan concurred, though feeling a bit anxious with the early signs of waterworks in Itsuki's eyes. She's supposed to just tell me that I'm totally right and change for the better... it wasn't supposed to involve crying! That's cheating!
"But the reason why I did all this is... was because of the way I had acted when I was still in Japan," she laughed humorlessly. "Don't worry, Davan... I'll make this as brief as possible."
"It's alright," Davan said, surprising himself with the honesty of his voice.
"Y'see... I've lived in America for quite a while... since I was just a child... but then I wanted to go back to Japan. It was all because of one person... a childhood crush, if you will. So I went and tried to seek him, even though I already had a suspicion that he may already have someone he likes," Itsuki said, not even pausing once for breath. She then rubbed the back of her head sheepishly.
"Gomen, gomen... I mean, sorry... my head's not on straight... or something. Heh... I promised to keep it short, yet I ended up telling you my entire life story."
"So what happened to the guy?" Davan said, prodding the young girl to continue, the expression on his face unreadable.
"Well, what else? He did already find somebody he liked." There was a pause. "But I wasn't very honest with myself at the time... even though I did adopt some of the bullheaded attitude Americans had... no offense," she said, giggling halfheartedly. "I was still, deep in my heart, Japanese. Ah... but when one thinks about it, cultural backdrops had nothing to do with my attitude back then, ne?"
Itsuki's expression suddenly turned pensive, all hesitation in her voice and demeanor disappearing in an instant. "I was indecisive and insecure. I didn't know how to act around him... I was so confused with what I felt for him and what he felt for me. I could probably blame his childishness... but, looking back, it was I who was actually childish."
She smoothed her long, silvery hair. "I went back here in America, the land where I grew up, to mature. I was really hurt with what happened... that in itself is a long, long story I don't want to get into... but in its gist, I discovered that I didn't want a repeat of the painful events. I wanted everything to be different. I wanted to find a new dream."
The camera suddenly zoomed-in, giving Itsuki a nice close-up. "So here's the question: What's my new dream?" She wagged her finger playfully as she grinned. "Can't guess? Then I'll give you a hint!"
"It's the same as your dream, It-chan!"
She checked if Davan was still listening... she wasn't completely sure if that blank look on his face was a look of boredom or... something else. It was the only look Davan wore. He was so unlike her It-chan, whose emotions and feelings was an open book to her.
But isn't that what I wanted? Something different? She shook her head as she struggled to continue.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wanted things to be completely different this time. In Japan, I wore my heart in my sleeve... I was too sensitive, too hesitant," Itsuki said, a feeling of nostalgia inside of her.
"Here in America, I tried to be more assertive like the rest of the Americans... I made this persona that was able to blend in with the crowd. I was able to somehow be something for everyone... but, to myself, I was no one... ah, I'm not even making sense anymore!"
She looked impishly at Davan. "I guess, in retrospect, I became the anti-Davan." Davan only huffed in response.
"Just maybe..." the Itsuki in the digital video clip shyly started, her eyes darting back and forth. "Just maybe, you haven't achieved your dream, It-chan."
She smiled nervously as she continued. "So maybe there's no point if I try to say this... but my weakness for Ichitaka the dummy... it was caused by that dream, y'see."
"It-chan, you always... for Iori-san's sake... for her sake... gave it the most effort. It's, you know..."
"That's the story of my life. I can't apologize for myself and my subsequent attitude anymore," Itsuki said, her head bowed low. "It's not as if I'm trying to plead my case to you. I'm just... trying to make sense with my life."
The tears came, unbidden. Itsuki hastily wiped the hot salty droplets streaming on her cheeks.
Cheater, Davan sullenly thought as he worriedly looked at Itsuki's distraught state.
"It looks like I was working on a wrong assumption of you."
Davan's eyebrows creased in apprehension. What did she mean by that?
She sniffled a bit before continuing. "I thought that somehow it would work out... you and me. I didn't know what to make of you. Your feelings weren't so painfully apparent as... as It-chan's was... so, with my newfound sense of assertiveness, I tried to take a chance with you."
Davan's eyes widened, not quite sure what to make of Itsuki's last statement.
She smiled amidst her tears... the smile that unnerved Davan before... the melancholic smile. She then spoke to herself in Japanese.
"But it looks like it was just a shattered dream after all."
"Making the one you love happy... wanting to be with the person you love... that sort of thing."
"A dream where you think only of your partner, not just yourself. It's not something you can just pick up, y'know?"
"Because I'm so very happy, you see! Because I've become just like you, It-chan!"
Itsuki wondered if she should just shatter the digicam on the floor, as the words she said earlier came back to haunt her. I didn't become like It-chan... it was a short-sighted thing to say. A shortsighted thing...
Davan then coughed once to get Itsuki's attention.
"Hai?" she queried.
Discomfort was apparent in Davan's eyes as he spoke in a careful manner, as if anticipating some sort of retribution if he said the words wrong. "I don't want to presume and all, so I have to ask... what did you mean by 'I thought that somehow it would work out... you and me,' and 'I tried to take a chance with you'?"
Itsuki boggled at Davan as if a halo suddenly appeared above his head while he sprouted dove wings. Could it be... that I hadn't said that last statement in Japanese?!
"Anyhow... thanks for staying as friends till the end. Speaking of which... watching till the very end... was pretty good."
"Congratulations, It-chan! You have achieved your dreams!"
Itsuki then pressed the stop button, saying, "And so did I."
"I'm sorry, Davan-kun... I guess I wasn't able to edit the video in here after all," Itsuki said as she pouted.
"For good or for ill, I suddenly had this vision of Jason, saying to us, 'Maybe you two should make a video of your own later,'" Davan said in monotone.
Itsuki nodded. "Yep, I could imagine Jason-san say that."
A pause... there was absolute silence between them.
"Davan no baka! Say something! You're ruining the moment!"
"I didn't realize that your hair color was natural until the last couple of minutes?"
There was another pause.
"Somehow, I'd say that I asked for that."
Itsuki looked at Davan worriedly. "What's the matter, Davan-kun? You have one of those anxious looks of yours again."
Davan shrugged helplessly. "I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop, Itchy... I figured there was a catch in this sudden good luck."
Just then, the door to the editing room opened, giving both Itsuki and Davan a non-paying audience.
Davan heaved a sigh. "Yep... that's about right."
They said it couldn't be done... actually, no one said that, since, for the most part, nobody even thought of doing it... an I's/Something Positive oneshot crossover, I mean.
I's itself isn't a very popular manga series to turn into a fanfic... what more Something Positive, which is in another genre altogether? But somehow, they meshed... albeit in a contrived manner, they still meshed.
Oh yeah, for those of you who haven't even heard of Something Positive (Heathens! A pox on your lot!), it's a webcomic created by the genius Randy Millholand... and it's really, really cool. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.
A note of dedication goes to Eric "Azhrael" James, for letting me download his I's manga scan collection... needless to say, I wouldn't be writing I's fics without his help.