Disclaimers: Rurouni Kenshin© is created and owned by Nobuhiro Watsuki, Shueisha, Jump and Sony Entertainment. I am making this fic for entertainment purposes only.
Author's Notes: This fic is in Kaoru's POV only. Set in alternate universe where she is already in senior year. This chapter is a bit dramatic and angsty and part one of two. Enjoy!
I'll let you go
I'll let you fly
Why do I keep on asking why?
I'll let you go
Now that I've found a way to keep somehow
More than a broken vow…
~"Meteor Garden II", Broken Vow, Lara Fabian
I looked at my textbook, continuing to review for an upcoming test in the next period after break. Most of my classmates were sitting comfortably in the chairs located beside the classroom. Usually, this is the place we eat our snacks and our lunch, but now, the table was filled with open books, notebooks and some papers filled with scribbles.
"Is Yukishiro-san the girlfriend of Himura-san?"
I froze. Raising my head, I found myself facing my best friend, Misao, opposite of my seat. She looked at me with sympathetic eyes and returned my gaze back on the book that I was supposedly reading. But my ears were paying attention to my more popular classmates who were gossiping about the latest news. And the latest was of beautiful, popular Yukishiro Tomoe, one of my classmates, and of Himura Kenta, the one I was pining for over three years.
"I don't know. Ever since Kiyosato-san broke up with her, it's been different." Takani Megumi whispered. She was Tomoe's best friend and most concerned over her relationship with boys. Over the years, Tomoe had—in total—two boyfriends. One was our MVP Basketball Varsity Member, Yaori Kaika, and the two of them lasted for the whole freshman year. We never knew the reason why they broke up, and we didn't want to know. After all, it was their business. Only Megumi knew. She always does.
Her other boyfriend was Kiyosato Akira, who was my former classmate from five years ago. They became an official couple in the sophomore year. Sadly, their relationship never lasted long, though. During the half of the junior year, they broke up so suddenly that few of us were ever aware. It was very odd, since Akira was very sweet and full of humorous teases. Both of us were assigned as lab partners once and time was dull and long whenever he wasn't there. He made everything bearable because he would say remarks and was always full of stories to tell. Akira was never boring, and we were quite in good terms as friends.
Makimachi Misao, one of my three best friends, stood from her seat, stretching. She patted me on the shoulder and signaled me to go inside the classroom with her. I looked at her for a moment before I picked up my things. The second of my best friends, Sanjou Tsubame, followed suit and the four of us—including Sekihara Tae—pushed open the door to class. We walked passed the man I dearly cared for, Himura Kenta, as he went out of the class at the same time. Only Misao knew of my feelings for Kenta; Tae and Tsubame didn't. It was best, for now, since it was Misao whom I trusted most, being together for three years now. But, no doubt that Tsubame knew, too, since my emotions were obvious. Kenta was the dense one.
Later, Misao and I were finally alone in the library, researching for topics under history, when she opened up the sensitive topic of one red-haired, amber-eyed individual that I am simply in love with. I groaned at her continued persistence, pestering me all the while. At times like this that I become a bit annoyed, but nonetheless, we were best friends through thick and thin.
"Misao-chan, please!" I pleaded silently, not looking up from the encyclopedia I was browsing through. "Don't continue!"
"It is inevitable. We still have this year to go before we separate," Misao whispered, putting back a thick book in the wooden shelf. "Don't you think it is time that you tell him of your feelings? I think you would save yourself from all these thinking in your mind."
I smiled, ruefully. "If you didn't notice, Kenta is absolutely in love with Tomoe. I'm surprised you missed that single fact."
"How do you know that Himura loves her?" She demanded.
Sadly, I looked at her. I know it. There is no mistake in what Kenta feels. If people would be observant enough, they could see the sparkle in his eyes, the happiness that he sees in Tomoe that I can't give.
"That, Misao-chan, is what people call women's instincts."
The day was gloomy and gray.
It was supposed to be a relaxing Saturday that I would've spent my time relaxing from school. Weekends were my favorite part of the week that meant no school and no horrible teachers giving multitude of assignments and projects that we should complete. I decided to clean up my room of things not needed, especially since it looked like a tornado hit it.
One by one, holding a large, black trash bag, I picked up scattered pieces of scratch paper and stuffed them inside the trash bag. As I looked at another pile, I spotted a small plastic. I picked it up, gasping when I saw the CD that I lost. It was a gift from Kenta. There was no occasion whatsoever and I didn't understand why he gave it to me. It was a PC game and I smiled. He knew me so well that he knew what I wanted, like I knew him.
I remember when it all started, and it began so suddenly that I didn't know why. I just knew that I've fallen hard for Kenta. I was in so deep that I truly offered my heart to him in a golden platter. It was just too bad that he didn't feel the same.
I gazed out on the window of my room, seeing the glass dripping with rain from outside. The skies were darker now, and it seemed like the sky was crying for me.
*--Start Narration and Flashback—*
Sophomore year was another step closer going to college. We still had the same faces, since there was no new student in our midst. I was placed on a seat beside Himura Kenta, one of my classmates since kindergarden. We rarely spoke to each other, except when I recalled we were both riding the bus when we were younger. I stopped riding the bus when I was in grade 4. My mother insisted that she would drive me to school every morning and pick me up in the afternoon. I didn't complain, just complied.
Kenta was—as how people describe him—an anti-social person who rarely talked to people or classmates. He would just be quiet in his seat and listen to the others talk or argue. Most teachers have this impression on him immediately since he has an unexplainable aura that made people ignore him totally. A few only knew his true personality, such as the kind male English teacher during sophomore year and I.
In truth, Kenta was very knowledgeable in many things, in books, computer games and news. Once, when I talked about something with a seatmate, he joined in the conversation and talked about it with in depth explanations of how, why and what. Since then, we would talk constantly, even in the middle of class. He was very good when it came to English, computer, biology, algebra and geometry classes. He would teach me while I would teach him some things he didn't know about.
Everyone has weaknesses: that is a fact. Kenta's weakness was very easy to guess. He absolutely loved chocolate. He would do almost anything to get one—of course—this was not something that people knew about. With all the time I spent with Kenta, it was inevitable that I wouldn't discover some of his own secrets as he did with me.
This personality of his doesn't appear through, but Kenta was really sweet. Sometimes, I would get mad at him for some reason and he would do something to appease it or give something as an apology. He doesn't voice out his apology at all, but I could feel it with his gestures and his actions. He would give me paper flowers, his PC CD that he liked—or to some scale of absurdity—coins.
"Why a coin?" I asked him sourly when he gave me a quarter. He shrugged and went back to pick up his pen. "Answer me, Kenta." I told him sternly, placing the coin on his table. He picked it up and dropped it on my table.
"It's a lucky coin," Kenta replied simply.
I never knew what he meant by that. He never answered my question. If he did, it was very vague. Some characteristics we share were our love for art, books and PC games. We both liked to draw, and we do it really well, too. Not many people even knew he could draw or read books. PC games were obvious. He would talk for hours to no end with some of our male classmates about techniques or weaponry in a game, if allowed. Once, I even gave him his favorite type of cookie (chocolate chip, preferably Mrs. Fields.). He was very thankful.
This continued on until more than a half of sophomore year passed, until Tomoe came into his life. We changed seats and I was on Kenta's right side. On his left side, though, was ever-popular Tomoe. What amazed some of my classmates and I was the fact that he began to flirt with her! Even I didn't know he was a forward type of guy, since he was always silent. Tomoe didn't seem at all fazed by the fact he was paying attention to her. She was not supposed to be acknowledging his flirts. She had a boyfriend, then, for goodness sake!
That persisted until sophomore year turned to junior year. It was in this time that Akira and Tomoe broke up in the middle of the year and Kenta was as attentive as ever. I watched, always with a bittersweet heart, as Kenta wouldn't talk to me much, only with Tomoe, always with her. He would go to her when she was alone and they would laugh like close friends.
"You have a crush on Yukishiro," I stated one day, when we were talking.
"No, I do not!" Kenta replied. "That's ridiculous!"
I looked at him. "And why is it ridiculous? You are human, Kenta. You have feelings." I pointed out.
"I don't have a crush on her! I just…I just…"
He faltered and looked at Tomoe. Without him knowing, I smiled, sadly. I need nothing more out of him. The answer that I was looking for was already in his eyes—the way he looks at her, the way he laughs and the way he speaks and respects her than any women in the class—it is all in his face and actions. I didn't prod anymore, and he looked relieved. His mind would not admit that he loves her, but his heart already does.
You need her like a man needs a woman.
You don't know it, Kenta, but you're very transparent in my eyes. No matter how much you deny things in words, I understand you more than you know. Actions speak louder than words, as they say. When I do things for you and you were happy, I was happy, too. Is this what they call love? I could never know and I could never define. I would always want you to be happy, so I decided one thing that hurt me the most.
I let you go.
Tomoe makes you happy, and no matter how hard it is for me to see you with her, I would give way. Your happiness is mine. There would still be senior year before we separate, and I could still talk to you and see you everyday there was classes. For me, it is enough. If love gives content, peace and pleasure, it could also give pain, hurt and sorrow. I just—unluckily—landed on its negative side.
Kenta needed someone to love. If it is not I, it is best Tomoe. I wouldn't pick any other woman for him. Tomoe was beautiful outside and inside. At least I know he is in good and loving hands. That, alone, is a great relief.
*--End narration and flashback—*
Outside my window, the rain still continued to patter heavily. I could even hear the drops on the roof. The skies were crying for me, and—in the last moment—I cried, too. Unrequited love hurts.
"Is Yukishiro-san the girlfriend of Himura-san?"
I looked up. It was another school day but the same unanswered question, but still, there was no definite answer. Misao looked at me and I smiled. I accepted everything. I let Kenta go from me. Memories remain, and would always will. I would cherish it, forever.
"You aren't affected?" She asked later, when we were alone. "I mean, you still love Himura, don't you?"
I arranged my notes. "I still do," I answered after a slight pause. "But that doesn't mean I can go on with my life. Besides, there are many fishes in the sea, as many people say. Friendship is all that he can offer, and it is all I will give." I looked up and gazed at her. "So, are you hungry? I'm starved! What's there to eat?" I asked her cheerfully.
Himura Kenta and Yukishiro Tomoe…
Yes, Yukishiro-san is Himura-san's girlfriend.
I knew the answer; I'll just never say it out loud. Not until Kenta admits it to himself, that is.
We were still friends, aren't we? It didn't change, only I know now where his affections lie. He could never return my love. But he was happy. I can, too, someday, one day.
If they were meant to be then so be it.
Misao smiled back. She knew I was going to be all right from now on.
Graduation never felt so exhilarating. It happened so fast. I never knew what happened in my senior year, just that we passed happily out of high school. We were off to college. Tae, Tsubame, Misao and I walked out of the building with my other batch mates, still wearing the black traditional graduation uniform. When we stepped outside, all of us did one thing that was totally predictable.
We held on to our hats and threw it up in the air, beaming all the while. All 100 plus hats were in mid-air and dropped back down into most student's waiting hands.
"Batch 2004 rules!!!" We all shouted at the same time, jumping and hugging our friends and classmates. We were off to separate lives, and this is what we should do anyhow. College is just a step away.
Before I walked out the campus gate, I spotted Kenta. He was alone.
"Hey, congratulations," I said, staring down at him where he sat.
Kenta nodded. "You, too."
I smiled. "Meet again someday?"
He smirked. "Obviously. There is still reunion in a couple of decades." Kenta drawled out.
"Then, jaa. Be happy."
He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "What does that mean?"
I blinked innocently. "Oh, nothing. It'll come to you." I replied, patting his air out of habit. I turned and ran before he had the time to grab my wrist. It annoyed him slightly when someone touched his hair without his permission. "Jaa, Kenta! Maybe I'll see you in the next twenty years!" I shouted over my shoulder, waving as I went out the gate.
I can always find my Prince Charming in the later part of my life. There are still lots of time for me to find my perfect man. And, if I'm lucky, he would just have be like Kenta—knowledgeable, humorous and kind.
Life was full of surprises. I just had to wait for the right time.To Be Continued…