Author's Notes: Arg..crash!
Chapter 11: Don't Believe Until You See All There is to See
It was unfair. Completely unfair.
She was smiling and she seemed...happy.
She held no frowns, no wandering off in solitude, nothing. For all intents and purposes, Misao seemed as energetic as she ever was, acting like nothing was out of the ordinary. She was laughing with her friends, scoring well on tests, working.
And he hated it.
Why was it only he that had the twisted feeling inside?
It was wrong.
So he quit his job, he hated seeing her there.
He avoided her like the plague, her smiles a bitter tease.
Laying on his back in bed dressed only in black jeans, Aoshi stared at the ceiling. He was supposed to be glad. Angry. Vindicated.
So then why did he feel worse.
She was a liar, she was ashamed of him, she was no better than all the other popular people who filled the halls like mindless little lambs.
But he thought...he thought perhaps she was...could be different.
And he was wrong.
Was it his pride that was hurt?
Surely not his heart.
Then why couldn't he seem to let the girl go?
Tomoe wasn't this hard to deal with. When she left he was just pissed but got over it. She was a liar too, a whore.
Perhaps all women were liars.
Or maybe the problem was himself.
Maybe he was too judgmental. Unwilling to compromise.
You needed compromise in any relationship, right?
He wasn't getting sleep anytime soon, and so he got up and put on a shirt and a coat and left his house. Maybe walking around town would clear his head. At least for a while.
Misao groaned as she yawned, stumbling out of the karaoke bar. She silently cursed Kaoru and Megumi for dragging her until so late at night. It was midnight and Misao knew she would at best get five hours of sleep. She was definitely needing caffeine come morning.
The streets were still semi-crowded and people probably thought she was returning from cram-school or something. She almost snorted.
She had no use for that as for all her laziness and pretenses, she was a good student. It was raining, and Misao cursed that she didn't have an umbrella and chose to wore her button up white shirt with her jeans. She was sure soon enough her blue bra would be visible. Groaning, she began running down the sidewalks, her bangs getting plastered to her head as she turned the corner and kept running, occasionally stopping to catch her breath.
"Damn! All that singing wore my lungs out! Must...get...home...getting...soaked!" she muttered dramatically as she kept on running and groaning.
She was nearing her neighborhood as it kept on pouring, and she could see her street ahead. It was dark, and so naturally she neglected to see the wet leaves on the pavement as her sneaker clad feet slid on them, causing her to flail her arms and shriek as she skidded forward and fell...right into a large puddle.
It was official. It couldn't get worse.
And yet somehow it did.
Aoshi heard a shrieking as he walked back towards his house and saw a petite person slide forward on the sidewalk and fall into a puddle. It looked...painful. It took him a moment to recognize the familiar braid and saw her turn her head to spit out water as she slumped her head and sighed sadly.
It was Misao, indeed.
He should have left her there, just kept on walking. Get away from her. But...he just couldn't.
Closing his eyes and exhaling, he walked towards her and bent down to help her up, her ocean blue eyes blinking up at him and her lips parting, then closing.
Whatever she was going to say died on her lips.
Aoshi reached up and moved her wet bangs out of her face and wiped the dirt off her face. He helped her stand up and with no words let her lean in on him as he led her to her house, and when she opened the door she turned and looked at him, he just looked back at her. Saying nothing.
"Thank you. Now go home and dry off before you get sick." she said quietly, a small smile on her face, more wistful than happy.
He turned and walked away from her house and to his, stepping inside and shedding all his wet clothes as he walked downstairs and into the shower.
As the water poured over him, he leaned his head against the tile.
"Misao..." he murmured.
Why couldn't he just walk away?
Morning dawned bright and sunny as the rain had disappeared, and Tokio stretched her arms as she made her morning trek to school. She was in an unusually good mood as having finally talked to Saitoh, he agreed to living together when she graduated high school. Her own place with him, out of her parent's house, getting to sleep next to Saitoh every night...
She was so genuinely happy she didn't notice she was about to collide with Misao.
"Takagi-san, it's ok."
Tokio blinked, noticing band aids on Misao's knees.
"What happened to you?"
"Ah, I sorta fell into a puddle." she said with a smile.
"Ouch. Then why the smile?"
"Well, let's just say I finally figured some things out."
"Oh really, things like a certain tall cousin of mine?"
With that Misao ran inside the school while Tokio watched her go and sighed.
"It's like a freaking manga I swear. Why is there so much need for all the complication with those two. That's it, they're romantically inept. No wonder they're so good for each other." she mused to herself, and then went back to the bliss of contemplating living with Saitoh.
Meanwhile, Aoshi sat in a daze in homeroom as Sano waved a hand in front of his face.
"Hey, you okay?"
"I'm fine. Just thinking."
"More like spacing out? Everything okay?"
Sanosuke's mouth formed a thin line as if he didn't believe Aoshi.
"You know what, you need to get laid."
Aoshi blinked slowly, and turned to face Sano.
"You need to stop talking." Aoshi voiced quietly, and Sano sighed, walking back to his desk in defeat.
"Geez, what a grouch."
Aoshi wasn't in the mood for Sanosuke's pestering. It seemed like he was never to get a reprieve from Misao. She was just always there. She was making him act crazy, almost like a lovesick woman...
He didn't like it one bit.
He had to forget about her. It would never work between them, they were too different, she would never accept their difference, he was too...
Was he...he was acting as if he had wanted an actual relationship with her.
And he...had. Did.
He was the one in the first place to suggest a temporary fling, so when had he become the one wanting much more?
Maybe she had wanted more but kept quiet.
He felt an odd ache that he might never really know.
He had a feeling he did know what all this meant...and it was the worst thing possible at the time.
He had to ignore it. It was impossible to be...in love.
Misao tapped her fingers impatiently against her desk. It was almost lunchtime. The time she was both looking forward to and dreading. She had to push that anxiety aside. She had to go through with it, it was the only way...
She silently groaned as the teacher lectured on about Roman history. Misao was completely uninterested as memories played through her mind. Always being nervous around Aoshi, the first time he worked with her, the first time they kissed, hanging out, the time she spent the night, even the fights...
Why the hell did she have to go and be stupid and deny things? Suppressing herself to fit in...forgetting the person she cared about...where was the happiness in that!
Did she care about him? Yes.
But more importantly...was he worth all this drama? Yes.
He never expected her to conform to anything, he never told she was too good to be associated with a person, he let her be herself. He saw her...as herself. He knew her as herself. Even when she was babbling, or doing something stupid, or just being a spazz...he still...
If things didn't work, then it was okay, she guessed. She would just have to get over him and move on with her life having learned a few things.
Either way, after it was all said and done, she sure as hell wasn't going to be a sheep anymore. Holding back didn't do anything to help her in the long run.
So she would stop. Start breathing again at her own pace. Start living again.
Even if she ended up alone, it would be on her terms. Not anyone else's.
Her stomach grumbled slightly.
If only her nerves could agree with her.
And so she tapped her fingers and waited. She looked over to Kaoru who was chewing on her pencil.
She could almost HEAR Kaoru murmuring 'Kenshin' in that ridiculously dorky tone of longing as she nibbled on the pencil. Misao didn't WANT to even know the symbolism behind it.
She hoped Kaoru and Megumi understood and supported her. She was sure they would. They'd been friends for so long...
Almost as long as she'd known Aoshi.
He was always there, wasn't he? In the background.
She just wished she'd notice him sooner over the years.
She glanced at the clock. Twenty more minutes until the lunch bell.
Misao rolled her eyes. She hated waiting.
All he wanted solitude. He was so sick of everyone around him smiling and laughing. To hell with them and their social caste. To hell with them all. No one cared about him or if he was even in the room. Just Kenshin and Sano.
He needed to stop thinking about her. It was all over. They were over. No matter how he felt, nothing could change it all.
They were from different worlds. Simple as that. It was impossible. Maybe someday, when they were both out of high school...
He walked towards his locker as he walked out of class. The lunch bell had wrung. He would grab his bento lunch, go to the roof, and do what he did best. Brood.
He wished it was graduation time. Maybe when he got out of high school he'd have some sense of peace again.
Peace lost to really a slip of a girl.
Go figure, how the mighty have fallen.
He opened his locker and grabbed his bento box. As he shut the door with a sigh, he turned to see a blur of black running...towards him?
It sped through the semi-crowded hallway and just as he realized it was Misao, he was pushed back against his locker as she pressed herself to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Before he could even ask what she was doing, she pressed her lips against his. He didn't react at first. She was kissing him in the hallway...with everyone able to see...was she?
Was this her apology?
Her way of giving them way to be together?
She would sacrifice her reputation and social standing for him?
He reacted fast, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulled her closer as he kissed her back and then broke it apart shortly after to avoid disciplinary trouble. Luckily they had stopped before any teachers had noticed.
But students did. Many wide eyes watched them, staring.
"Oi! What are you all looking at?"
They all blinked and went about their ways, for truly Misao was scary sometimes when in defensive mode. She spun on her heels and looked up at him.
"Come over my house after school. I want to kinda give a hint to Jiya about you."
He looked down at her.
"Because I don't want to hide anymore." she confessed, looking away.
He was silent for a moment.
She looked back at him and smiled, hugging him.
She knew everything would work out!
Later after school and many awkward stares and talk with Megumi and Kaoru, Misao walked home with Aoshi in tow, as she hummed and he remained quiet. He never told her to cease her humming, she didn't mind if he was quiet.
They finally had an understanding.
Following her inside and taking off their shoes, Misao called out she was home as Aoshi followed her to the kitchen where Okina was reading the paper.
"Ah, my pretty...and who is this? Ah, Aoshi! What a surprise! I haven't seen you here since you were a boy!"
"I...keep to myself mostly." Aoshi confessed as Misao pointed to a seat for him to sit.
"Yes well, those flight folks of yours don't help one bit. Always a shame you growing up all alone most of the time. You should have come over more as a kid. Misao-chan here is delightful company." he said with a wink.
Misao blushed as she grabbed the tea kettle.
"Oh Jiya, enough embarrassing me!" she mumbled as she sat down and prepared tea for the three of them.
"So my pretty, what prompted you to invite Aoshi over?"
"Ah well, he helped out with the play at school and so this was a thank you more or less."
"Ah yes. I missed that night, but I heard Aoshi was quite the prince charming."
"It was nothing. Soujiro simply asked a favor." Aoshi replied, accept tea from Misao.
"Well none the less, I'm glad Misao-chan invited you over. You're a good boy, the kind Misao should associate with more."
"Oh like I hang out with shady characters? Ya, that Himura is really a threat in all his shortness. And let's not forget that criminal mastermind Sagara. Well, I don't talk to Sano that much anymore."
"I mean associate for the future. I'm not getting any younger and I'd feel secure knowing you'd be taken care on the future."
Misao blinked. As did Aoshi.
"Am I to assume, sir, you are hinting that Misao spend time with me in regards to her marrying one day in the future?"
"Yes I am!"
"As I thought."
Misao looked to Okina and then to Aoshi in shock.
"Men!" Misao exclaimed and sipped her tea, burning her tongue a bit.
Okina eyed the two with a knowing glint.
As they finished tea, Misao and Aoshi stood up.
"Well, Aoshi, it was nice having you over. I hope to see you more often?"
"It's possible." Aoshi replied.
"Well Jiya, I'm heading out too. Kaoru-chan wants to do a sleepover since we don't have school tomorrow. Something about wanting to do something in the morning."
"Ah alright. Just don't come home too late tomorrow and have fun!" he said, a glint ever present in his eye.
Misao smiled and waved by as she led Aoshi outside.
They walked to his house ad he opened the door.
"Thanks for the tea. Have a good time tonight."
"Yea, cause I'm really going to Kaoru-chan's."
"Are you going to let me in or what?"
Aoshi stepped out of her way as she walked inside, and he shut the door behind them.
She took off her shoes and her uniform jacket, hanging it on the coat rack.
She turned to face him.
"So, it's not a problem right?"
He leaned against the door, looking at her.
He shook his head, and Misao smiled at the look in his eyes.
He walked towards the stairs down to his room and she followed, her smile turning to a grin.
Everything was right.
"So Aoshi...I bet you never thought I'd pull a stunt like that at school."
"...Not really. You did surprise me."
Misao laughed softly, laughing against his bare shoulder as she curled against him in bed. Clothing was scattered on the floor and Aoshi's desk lamp dimly lit the room.
She couldn't remember her night with Sano, but she was damned sure it didn't hold a candle to Aoshi. He was so...
She grinned as she pressed a kiss to his neck.
"I really wasn't happy leaving things that way. I don't care anymore what everyone thinks. You're what makes me happy." she murmured, raking her nails lightly over his skin.
Misao pursed her lips.
"This is the part where you tell me you missed me and were miserable."
He said nothing.
"Well you're a goth so you're generally not supposed to be happy, but come on! You totally missed me!"
"Aoshi!" she yelled, hitting him on the chest as she sat up and crossed her arms.
He sat up and pressed a kiss to her lips, placating her as he moved to kiss her forehead.
"I missed you." he murmured.
She threw her arms around his neck dramatically, causing them to fall back.
"Good, because I'm going through this shit again."
"Misao, did you just..."
Aoshi sighed and kissed her.
"You're a crazy girl, Misao. I love you."
She blinked and looked him in the face.
"Do you...mean that?"
"Aa." he murmured.
"Good!" she said, as she possessively draped an arm over him, "Because I love you too."
"Because you let me fu..."
"Because you had sex with me. I believe you mentioning something about only having sex with someone you loved. I don't think you'd throw that away for a night with me unless you meant it. Well, a night with me would have probably convinced you otherwise."
"Oh really? I did spend the night with you once before and did I jump you then? No. Where did this ego come from? I liked you better when you were brooding."
He turned over to pin her.
"Is that so? No more talking." he murmured, pressing his lips against hers.
When Monday came, she would probably not have as many people talking to her, she might even be ostracized, but that was okay.
She had Aoshi and friends that mattered.
And what else could a girl ask for?
It's over, omfg, FINALLY. Yes. That's it. No more Wait and See. ANOTHER DOWN! YAY!
PPS, here's the link to lyrics to the song, Wait and SeeRisk, by Utada Hikaru. I titled the story that because the song fit the story well. I can't really post them here because of guidelines.