A/N: My love for 311 and The Cure and Jack Off Jill and my love for this fandom could out-sumo my old math teacher. Considering that the man--- 5'0", and weighing in at 370 pounds---already IS a sumo? Oh yeah. That's some love right there. =D And before you even ask, YES. Sap overload. Diabetics, beware. A lot of emphasis on mathematics (the horror! :O ) and a lot of inspiration from Kristine Sa. Oooh, I just love her... =D
Oh, and, er... Happy (belaaaaated) birthday yet again, Star of Heaven!
Disclaimer: Before you even ask... no. I don't own it. HA. Betcha didn't think I could foresee THAT one, now, did you? I'm so vatic.
One half of nothing was still nothing. Actually, it was considerably less than nothing from a mathematical standpoint. The simple division was impossible---one half of something that was indeterminate was something that could never be touched upon. At least pi, in all its queerness, had some base factor that made it believable and, otherwise, tangible.
Not like nothing.
Math problems, portfolios, equations---that was all okay for school and university, maybe. But not a romance.
Tomoe Sakura let out a long sigh. Another wasted Math period, to be followed by another pointless Language Arts block and then History. As if those subjects would help teach her anything she cared about in real life.
What she wanted, and that problem that stood before her, no one would ever solve. Like pi, it would have to remain a carefully illustrated mystery until the time came in which the great theorists and scientists of all time decided that it would have to be put to rest and labelled a forever-enigma.
Which sort of described Aya-san, now that she thought about it.
As cold and unamiable as was physically possible, that was him, all right. In fact, there were times when Sakura doubted that the man even knew how to be sociable, or even kind. The odds of ever seeing a smile on his face--- and she'd nearly bothered trying to hypothesize it once---had to be close to ninety-nine/one.
Not good odds at all.
It wasn't that she was against the idea of him learning to open up to a person---far from it. That was what she'd wanted all along, right? To become closer to him, have him tell her things he told no one else?
It was, to her, inconceivable and (at the very least) a bit unlikely [°] that Aya-san would ever open up to anybody. But had it really been nothing more than wishful thinking? Sakura sure hoped not---because that would have been like a small part of her died. And since she was already down one kidney, losing much else just seemed like dying entirely. In a weird, contorted way, at least.
It almost made sense. More than phi, at any rate, and definitely more than the laws of sine and cosine. Still, the girl knew that---just as she was drowning in mathematics and couldn't grasp any of them---that Aya-san most likely couldn't grasp on to any of her feelings, either.
That thought hurt. More than the shock of her own warm, wet blood on her fingertips, it hurt. Would there ever be any consolation to one who held out for so long?
Her head snapped up, eyes quickly returning to a brilliant shine, as opposed to the dull, glazed-over look of a dreamer. The teacher in front of the class pursed his lips, and she felt the heat rise to her face. No, not again---once more, she had missed something that was obviously important---by a teacher's standards, anyway.
The man indicated for her to stand up, and she did so, fearing that he would command her to go into the hallway and hold a bucket of water for the rest of class. Just the idea of such a punishment had her hanging her head and blushing an even deeper crimson.
"Name for the class the capital of our country in the beginning of the Edo Period, and the changes that the Revolution brought about."
Sakura blinked quickly and turned her head up in a jerk before nodding quickly and sighing inwardly in relief. The question hadn't even been asked yet---she was fine! And the Revolution was an easy topic for her to relate to---the samurai of that era reminded her of that certain someone she knew in her heart would probably never love her back. She could still see the picture for the front page of the unit in the book clearly in her mind; a soldier, his long, unruly hair pulled back from his face, and the katana he held firmly in both hands.
She had imagined once, that his eyes---an unknown pale color, as the photograph had been in black and white---might have been the same shade of violet as Aya-san's. And that maybe he was an ancestor, strong and noble, assassinating those who would hold back and oppress the innocents.
It was a nice fairy tale, she thought now, now that she knew more and things registered in her mind more clearly. She couldn't dream her whole life away... even if things were better there.
But instead of letting her thoughts dwell on the past and the might-have- beens, Sakura kept her head clear ad began to speak in a clear, loud voice, the answer to the question.
"The capital city of our nation was the city of Kyoto, and was the largest city in that day. Many changes were brought about by the Revolution and the many people who fought hard to attain them. Some of them were... "
Just like always, she sat down at her desk at home and she completed the entirety of her homework. It wasn't that hard to do---except for the maths- --and it didn't take up as much of her time as it usually might have. She went back over all of her work, in case of any error, but could find none other than a few misspellings in her essay on the Meiji Era.
With time now on her hands, Sakura didn't quite know what to do. It was true that there was nothing else left to be taken care of here at the moment, and it was still too early to start dinner and settle down to bed. There were a few options left to do, but there was one Sakura felt that could not be avoided---not today, after all the thinking she'd been doing.
The flower shop.
She slowly repacked her bag and jotted down a quick note for her mother, just in case she came home early for a change. It hadn't happened a lot in the past few years, but there was always that small chance.
Not all things, Sakura knew, had a probability of zero.
The brunette closed and locked the door behind her, and started to run down the very rainy street. She seemed to be the only one headed down, and no wonder---many people were just now getting out of school, and were all headed towards their homes or the homes of their friends---very few people wanted to be out in this weather, and why would they? She was the only one leaving home to go to the shop, or so it seemed.
Again; there was a high probability that there would be a horde of other girls there by the time she arrived. The crowd always seemed to grow exponentially depending on who was working at the moment. The numbers also doubled if all four men were working---not surprising, really, considering their popularity. And with this weather, they'd probably all be inside--- and it was going to be very crowded and very hot inside.
For a brief second, the girl actually considered turning around. It would be so much easier to quit than to have to face Aya-san and all the other girls who were volleying for his attention. What was it about her that separated herself and those fangirls, anyway? They wanted Aya to notice them, and that's what she wanted---him to see her.
She closed her eyes. No. Quitting could not be an option. Just because the race was hard, well---that was no excuse to drop out in the midst of it. Just like all problems, she would have to try and work this one out. It was all a matter of what 'x' was, afterall---'x' in this case pertaining to Aya-san's feelings.
Now it was just a matter of figuring out what 'y' equalled.
When she rounded the last corner, she felt her heart soar again. The crowd actually wasn't that large for once! Did this mean that there was something special about to happen afterall?
Well, there was only one way to find out. So Sakura smiled just a little more and strode down the sidewalk quickly. They knew her here, or most of them did, so it wasn't as if this would be out of the ordinary at all.
The bell above the door tinkled as the brunette entered the shop, a soft sound that she wasn't yet tired of hearing. Every bell she heard was starting to sound like this one---sweet and airy. She liked that.
"Oh, hello again, Sakura!" a friendly voice called from the other side of the room, and she turned. It wasn't Aya-san, that much was for sure---he wouldn't be so peppy. Not at work---and not ever, if his previous actions were any record.
"Hello, Omi-san," the girl greeted, and she ignored the other girls around the shop who were now scowling and huffing. They were jealous that Omi would say 'hello' to her---nevermind the fact that he had no interest in any of them. It was far too obvious by the way he moved and spoke to them-- -they were just customers and people, not anyone he would ever fall for. She had seen, once, the picture he had tried to hide from the other girls' view---a small silver frame, with a girl's picture inside. Sakura didn't know just who she was, but she could tell that Omi probably liked her. Why else would he have her picture?
Another simple equation in the road of life, really.
The boy was movng a large potted plant---half his size, really---and the six schoolgirls surrounding him weren't helping at all. Sakura actually giggled at the sight of it. It was humorous, afterall---all those girls, begging to be of some aid, nearly drowning him in their excess limbs. Surely they could see how much of a hindrance they were being?
The girl began to look around the shop then, just to take things in. It hadn't been so long ago that she'd last visited, but new stock was always coming in, or so it seemed. There was a lovely new rose bush to one side, and several of the ones she'd seen the last time were starting to bloom. More peonies than she'd ever seen before were lined along one wall, and many new lilies as well.
The smile gracing her lips grew. The sweet scents of all the flowers combined, and she sighed contentedly. She could get used to this aroma, if only...
She turned to look around again. Omi had almost finished carrying the pot to the other side of the shop, where the pick-ups for deliveries were placed. She giggled again and looked back. The rain was pouring harder now, judging by the way the people outside were running. Sakura envied the large glass front the boys here had at times---they got to see everything, and that included a whole lot sometimes.
Back on track, Sakura turned to face the last two walls. The bulletin board still looked the same as always, and the doorway to the back of the shop was still---
Sakura stopped. The door was always closed. Just as a general rule---and to let all the girls know that it was off-limits to anyone who wasn't an employee. It was something she was used to seeing. But today... today the door was open.
She soon caught herself staring and blushed slightly. How odd. She'd come here to maybe catch up with Aya-san... maybe... And now here she was, staring at a door. Lovely.
She should have walked away, simply turned her back and ignored the door. But it was such a rare occurance that she stepped forward instead.
It was to be her second-largest mistake that day.
Now, to make things perfectly clear; Tomoe Sakura did not enter the doorway, nor did she even come close to it. All she did was take a step closer to it... and wind up face-to-chest with the man she felt such strong feelings towards.
"Oh, Aya-san!" she cried out, the faintest of blushes rising to her cheeks. She had not been expecting him to run into her. Actually, she'd barely expected to see him at all after seeing that Omi was the only one in the main room. It was a nice surprise, really.
The red-haired man, however, did not seem to be as contented as she. In fact, when he looked down at her, his eyes were large and confused. Before she could question it---or even properly apologize for being in his way--- he shoved her off him with his pale, pale arms and went back inside the door, slamming it shut behind him.
Sakura stared in blatant shock for a moment or two. In the back of her mind, she was vaguely aware that her original idea---zero divided unto itself wasn't even nothing---came back to haunt her.
Her mind was in pieces. Slowly, she stood straighter and lifted one hand to brush her hair out of her eyes. The jumbled mess that was her heart and her brain was starting to affect her senses, it seemed. Something was blocking out something else, but she hadn't notced yet.
"Good-bye, Omi-san," she called out---or maybe that was one of those other teenaged girls, also leaving the shop. It was also possible that he called out a 'good-bye' as well. She couldn't recall. The other girls---in a large group of friends---had proper raingear on and went running off down the street, whereas Sakura---confused and amiss---began to very slowly walk up the street.
'Why... ' she thought, the first coherent thought to enter her mind. But now she knew that the sum of 'y' was considereably less than she had expected---and she'd already expected a very low number as it was.
She saw, out of the corner of her eye, the fountain and the small park she'd taken Aya out to that one time. He hadn't objected to it, but he had never seemed to be overly excied about it, either. Now that she could put the pieces back, he was probably only after that man who had taken her kidney.
She shivered. Her clothes were entirely soaked now, and it wasn't very warm outside. Still, she walked herself over to the fountain and sat upon its rim, gazing down at the rippled waters. She could almost see the parallels to her mind---choppy and mixed up, without even the smallest hint of clarity.
No, scratch that. There was one thing she was very certain of, that registered most clearly. The girl tucked her knees up under her chin and brought her eyes down, though tears had yet to form.
One half of that which was less than nothing... was absolutely nothing in Aya's eyes.
"The Pythagorean theorum states, quite clearly, that if two sides of any triangle are known, then the third must be the square root of the first and second side added together, both squared."
The instructor nodded, and the boy---Fuuma Yosuke, if Sakura wasn't mistaken---sat down. She already knew the Pythagorean theorum, but it only helped prove her correct once more---logically, there had to be something in order to have a something else.
Not that she didn't still have hope, oh, no. Far from it. But in her mind, the sweet dreams were already wiling away on the breezes. Yes, she wanted Aya-san to love her---or at least not be so cold, maybe. But things might never happen that way, and---as painful as it sounded---she was letting go of those childish dreams where he came to her home in the midst of the night and proclaimed his undying affections for her. Some of the fairy tales were easy to lose, but others...
They were removed from her mind forcibly, to say the least. She'd spent the last night crying and ripping some of them to shreds with bitter words and ideas. Why would he come to her, hmm? It was already pretty clear that he despised her---or at least disliked her. He hadn't spoken to her in what felt like eons, and... There just seemed to be so little a point in holding out now.
She'd cried herself to sleep last night.
Sakura looked down at her math notes blandly, scarcely remembering what she'd written the day before. Something about... tangents, was it? She couldn't recall---as a matter of fact, she couldn't even remember the difference between a tangent and a ... a... oh, what were those things called again?
The teacher was still talking, but Sakura couldn't concentrate. Whoever had decided to give her class math in first period had definitely been on something, she decided. Or maybe not---the other kids looked as though they understood. Not her, though---there was just too much on her mind for that.
Sighing, she looked down at her notes again. Phi and pi again? She hated that. Cross-multiplying, too... grand. The brunette closed her eyes and tried to remember everything she'd been taught in prior classes. There was a large exam coming up in just a few short days, and the preparations were slow to come, at best.
There were more formulas to try and learn, and Sakura... Sakura wasn't even tempted to care and write them down today. Not after what had happened in the flower shop. For one brief second, when Aya's arms had touched her shoulders, she'd actually thought he might have cared. That there was something to those dreams after all.
And then she'd been thrown away, discarded, like every old test ever given back to a student. She was unwanted, and uncared for. Why hide the facts now? It was more than obvious that Aya-san didn't care about her, not like he used to... if he even did then.
The irony of it all was hitting her hard. Without another thought, she slammed her notebook shut and stood up---a scant two seconds before the bell rang. And if the teacher had regarded her strangely, he didn't question her on it as she joined the crowds now filing down the hallway.
Usually, it was easy for Sakura to keep up with everyone, all pushing and shoving their way to their lockers and then on to their next block class. A few lazy seniors stood here and there, and a couple of cliques, but nothing that wasn't easily avoided.
Today, however, was already quite different. Sakura didn't even try to keep up with anyone else---she was purely too exhausted. She'd cried for so long, afterall, and her heart and mind were still so messed up about things. She really did want to love Aya-san, afterall, but it was so painful, to never have a single emotion returned to her. Not even a 'hello' when she came near him. Talk about your rude behavior!
The bell was due to ring in another two minutes, and the girl had only just finished at her locker. It took a whole two minutes to get to the other side of the school when she was going quickly, but.... Her current snail's pace would see her in the door some significant time after the last bell rang. Which meant, of course, that she'd be staying afterward for a stern talking-to and a probable detention.
Not that she cared, mind. Things would progress as they wished to, and as fate had so orchestrated. Just like a sine curve, there was a rhyme and a reason for everything.
It wasn't just a coincidence that Aya-san had pushed her away again. That was how it would always be, and, well...
Sakura was getting tired.
By the time she was finally released from the school building, however, Sakura was feeling quite the opposite. She was so late now! Not even running home would get her there on time, and she still hadn't the energy needed to run. Not the way she was feeling currently, anyway.
Every muscle in her body seemed to hurt, especially her legs. Her calves burned like she'd run an entire marathon in the furthest track, though she hadn't run in a good while. It was too wet outside for that, and besides, that would have used up the precious little energy she had left to use.
"Sakura! How have you been?"
The girl took her time in looking up, surprised at who she saw smiling down at her.
"Oh, Omi-san!" she called in reply, a half-hearted smile gracing her lips. The blonde boy smiled at her, his helmet in his hand. He was standing next to the pink moped, which assured her that he was out on business. Again. "Hello."
He gave her a short nod, a friendly guesture, and she felt something inside her sink. Was it her heart? That wouldn't have made much sense. Or maybe it was the pity he probably held for her---was that it?
"So... " he began, "you didn't stay at the shop very long last time. I thought you might've come for a visit or something."
This time, she knew what was twisting inside of her---and it was a little too painful to admit to those feelings right now. "It was raining so hard... I decided to go home before it got any worse."
"Yeah, that was a bad one." Omi nodded again, checking the papers for the geraniums on back of the bike. "It was coming down pretty hard then, huh? I thought Aya-kun was going to end up killing himself the way he ran around trying to close all the windows in the building. And that was before he remembered that the windows in his car were still open."
"Oh, really?" Sakura asked, tilting her head. Faking interest wasn't that hard---at least, it was easier than she'd expected. A lot like multiplication. It was keeping herself upright and dry-eyed that was so hard.
The boy nodded again, not catching on to her predicament. And he was usually the one to pick up on such things, too. "Yeah... And he started chewing Yoji-kun out right there in the shop, because he didn't help at all."
"Mmhmm. He even threatened to---"
But Sakura wasn't listening anymore. She nodded every so often, but her mind had already closed off sound. Omi could keep talking all he wanted, she wasn't going to hear him. In fact, he may as well have been talking about tea parties and how he and his invisible friend Clive had managed to figure out pi to the exact digit. There was naught that was going to catch her attention now.
The brunette's mind, still so very fragile, was very patiently trying to rope things together again. It was unfortunate that the latest turn of events had had to jostle herself so, but it might be important in a rebuilding stage.
If she could even make it that long, anyway.
"I really have to go now, Omi-san," she said suddenly, causing the blonde to blink in surprise. He was unused to being interrupted in a one-on-one conversation, especially by this girl. She was usually so quiet and ready to listen to anything he said, particularly if Aya was the subject. And once again, he had been speaking of the red-head---and she was going to run away?
Something was off.
"Hey, Sakura, wait---"
But before the blonde could ask her what the matter was, she was streaking past him, a blur of yellow, blue and brown. And if he'd been thinking of it then, he'd have commented (to himself, obviously) about how her behavior was most certainly out of the ordinary, and how her face was... Well, it would only be safe to say that she wasn't acting like her usual chipper self.
Though at this point, Omi didn't even know why he bothered trying to figure people out. Quadratic equations made more sense than this girl---and now he was late for work because of it. Letting his breath out in a huff, he replaced his helmet and started the moped up again, this time with the intent to deliver and return without any distractions, however sorry they may appear to have been.
On the count of three... Sakura was prepared to drop down dead.
Well, perhaps not quite so literally. But as the days had progressed---and progressed they had, with absolutely no time for her to take a back seat and rest---she'd found herself becoming increasingly tired. It was almost a chore to remain on her feet now, and that was never a good sign.
Then again, neither was this rain.
Yes, once again, Tokyo was covered in those same horrendous grey storm clouds that seemed to be plaguing the city on and off again for the past week. And once again, Tomoe Sakura was stuck walking home from school in the torrential downpour, barely noticing that she was the only one moving about at a snail's pace with no umbrella to protect her.
Too oblivious to notice, the teenager kept on traipsing down the city streets. She was half-way home before she realized that she was half a block away from the flower shop.
Oh, well. It was too late to take another route---she was already so close to her house, afterall---and she was already drenched. Sure, the rain couldn't get her any wetter if she tried, but... No. Pure energy levels alone said that she should just drop down unconscious on the sidewalk, so there wasn't any point in turning back now.
Probability of that happening; zero.
So she continued to trudge forward, her eyes aimed low at the ground. At least that way, her heart couldn't break again at the sight of that red- headed man.
Each step punctuated the loneliness she was feeling deep inside her. It was, she figured, because each step took her one more closer to the workplace and home of a man she knew she loved, but whom did not hold any feeling toward her in the slightest. It was that same loneliness that was eating her up from inside, and destroying her will to do anything at all. It explained her attitude, and most of all, that sinking feeling she couldn't be rid of. Even her exhaustion was explained---she was forcing herself not to think of him, and it was hard to do.
Painfully hard, as it was. Especially with the sounds of others running past her on the sidewalk and the giggling of schoolgirls growing all the more louder. It was a crescendo of sound that Sakura could have done well without, but one that was unavoidable now.
Something to the side clattered, and she tilted her head up just slightly. It was, as she could now see, a rather large flower pot. Behind the mess of soil and plant stood one very red-faced Ken, and around him, five or six schoolgirls, all crying out and wailing loudly.
Sakura shook her head and looked back to the ground. Oh, it was just them again. Those same squabbling girls who were always such a drag on the shop's production. Not that she was one to talk, of course.
She had been hoping to pass the shop without anyone noticing her---just another pedestrian on the city dsidewalk. Now, honestly---the odds that one of the boys would look up from their work and see her had to have been one in a million.
Too bad for her that the odds just were never in her favor.
"Sakura, hey," she heard someone call. And she didn't have to look up to know that it was the lanky playboy of the group, the blonde known as Yoji. He must have been tired of the other girls by now, and had actually looked out and seen her. "You okay?"
She looked at him, her face blank---devoid of all emotion whatsoever. But before she could make her reply---much to the happiness of all the now- poting females in the shop---she heard Omi's voice cut in from where he stood in the back of the room.
"You look kind of pale, Sakura."
"Yeah," Ken cut in, moving towards her. Just what she hadn't wanted. "You all right?"
"Fine," she replied softly. "Just a little... wet, that's all." She couldn't tell them about why she was feeling that way---not these three. Even if they were the sort who might understand, there was still a legion and a half of girls waiting to see what made her so important. And for once, Sakura just wanted to stay out of their business.
Ken made a face then, and Omi moved over to the counter Yoji was stationed at. The two blondes exchanged looks, and one of them---Sakura hadn't been paying much attention---let out a sigh.
"Oh, Aya," she heard Yoji call out next. "Come on out here, would you? There's a little miss who doesn't look too happy... "
Realization struck her then. Oh---they were calling Aya-san out for her? Oh, no. That wouldn't do at all---and it would only make all her progress be wasted.
"No, please," she argued weakly, stepping back from the shop window. "I don't---"
Don't what, though? She very much wanted to see the red-haired man again, even only briefly. But she couldn't stand the thought of him seeing her as nothing more than an insect, and... It was all very complicated.
Too complicated, in fact. For right there, in front of an entire shop full of female customers and three male assassins, she took one step too far back. Her eyes widened in shock, almost, as the figure of the man she loved stepped out from the back and looked around the shop quizzically before his amethyst eyes settled on her. And it was then that her eyes closed again and she slumped to the ground, groaning lightly.
"Oh," she could remember mumbling as a pair of strong hands reached out and grasped her shoulders, followed by another pair on her other side. "I guess the rain... "
She never did finish that sentence. At least, not that she could remember. She was already blacked out, in the safety of Hidaka Ken and Tsukiyono Omi's arms. And a few seconds later, both Kudou Yoji and Fujimiya Aya had joined the two boys in carrying her inside and out of the wet.
Or, as someone more poetic than she might have said; out of the fry pan and into the fire.
The first thing she woke up to was a painfully bright light, directly above her eyes. Wincing, the girl lifted her arm up to shield her eyes, only to discover that something seemed to be tugging against it---and that wasn't counting how heavy it currently felt. All her energy must have been drained from earlier, she figured, but... how?
"Ohhh... my... where... am I?" she asked, blinking. Even with a still blurry gaze, she could tell that she was not in the sanctity of her home or the flower shop. Neither of those places was so stark, bland, or white--- not so unlike...
"A... hospital?" she guessed, and someone beside her---someone she hadn't noticed---nodded, and she jumped at the sound of their voice.
"Yes, that's right. And you're awake now, I see."
"Oh---Aya-san!" she gasped, her hands instantly moving down to the hem of the pale blankets on top of her. It only took a second for her to pull the entire cloth up past her chin, a quick attempt to hide the blush staining her cheeks. The man beside her regarded her actions carefully and then looked away, lost between amusement and irritance.
Slowly, Sakura let the blankets down again, tugging them tightly around her chest. The white cotton of this smock didn't leave much to the imagination, afterall---not that she remembered being put in it, afterall. [°°] Just like she didn't remember entering this place.
As if guessing what her questions would be, the male dragged his chair closer to the bed and looked over at her. It was then that Sakura noticed how bright his eyes seemed, despite his usual calm face. Almost... lovingly, if she hadn't known better.
"You collapsed outside of the flower shop," he stated calmly, his voice neither rising nor falling. The brunette nodded, not saying anything. Instead, she looked down at her hands and the IVs and machines now attached to them. How long had she been out for, anyway?
"Omi rang your mother a few times---he finally decided to go and wait at your house for her once he couldn't get through. Ken and Yoji are still at the shop, because there is still work to be done there. And I decided to stay here."
"I... get it," she mumbled softly. Her heart leapt at this news but her mind wasn't so willing. It was just as likely that he stood beside her because he felt it to be his fault---in which case, he'd have stayed for anyone. Not just her. "But, I... why am I here, anyway?"
One of Aya's eyebrows rose. "You couldn't tell?" he questioned, and she shook her head 'no.' The red-head gave something of a half-shrug before continuing. "You had a fever of a hundred-and-two, Sakura."
"I did?" she asked, incredulous. "But---how---?"
"You have pneumonia," he replied, and she stared, eyes widening.
He nodded. "Yes, that's right. Didn't you notice anything? Exhaustion, or an inability to think clearly?"
Something deep within her mind clicked just then, and she nodded slowly. Yes... but she hadn't even thought about that. The dire consequences on her body, all because he shoved her away... and pneumonia? She was lucky to have been brought here, then. Everything he'd said---it all made sense, only... Only she'd misinterpreted it!
"I did," she said at last, things slowly coming clear. Though there was one thing that she still did not understand. "But, Aya-san... why... "
"Why what?" he pushed, and she allowed her eyes to squeeze shut.
"Why... did you push me away that day? A-at the flower shop... "
The question must have surprised him more than she thought, because when she opened her eyes again, she could see the surprise on his face and his violet eyes wide.
She turned away quickly, ashamed once more. Ah, yes. Of course. He was only being nice to her now because she was sick---she understood. No need to go any further.
"No, don't---" she began, but the red-head cut her off. "You didn't know?"
Now Sakura was interested, and looked back over to him. "Know what?"
Aya shook his head, bangs flitting into his eyes as he did so. He always looked very handsome when that happened, Sakura decided, and continued to listen to his every word. "We had a shipment of roses come in earlier in the week, and I had to get them early in the morning. Yoji locked the grate afterwards, and I ended up outside in the rain for three hours."
Sakura's eyes widened. "Oh---you mean... ?"
Aya nodded. "I was out sick for days. Influenza, because of that jerk. And when you came by, I... didn't want to give it to you... That's all."
Something inside of her that had been so twisted fell free suddenly, and her eyes filled with unprofound tears. It was all she could do to keep herself from crying right there, just because she could.
"Oh, Aya!" she cried out gleefully, the smile on her face too large to ever miss. She threw herself at him, though she had once again misjudged herself---her weakened condition couldn't make the leap to hug him, and she ended up unbalanced.
"Whoa---!" she cried out as her body shook below her. Her knees crumpled below her, and she began to pitch forward, IVs and other lines pulling at her arm painfully as she fell.
She was waiting for the splut of her body against the cold linoleum. Honestly, she was. So it surprised her to see the violet-eyed man beside her move deftly to catch her and right her again---and even moreso when he brought her IV closer to her, to prevent the pull.
"A-Aya?" she asked softly, unsure of herself. Had he only done that because he could, or because he should, or something... else?
He shook his head, a small smiling upon his lips. "Don't overexert yourself again. I want to see you get better now, Sakura."
"I know," she replied softly, her hand clutching at the sheet below her. It was a little too scratchy for her liking---more starch would've been nice, though that probably wasn't in the hospital's plan for good dry- cleaning. "And, Aya-san?"
He looked over to her, his face only a few inches from hers. Her breath caught in her throat, and she knew---she would tell him again now. It just felt right. "I love you."
He paused for a moment, and she could feel her pulse quicken. He wouldn't reject her now, would he... ? If he did, it would only prove her lonely heart true. The sum of 'b' had to help here, it had to make 'x' and 'y' work out. If that was even possible, of course, and Sakura dearly hoped it was.
"I know," he said at last. "And I don't deserve your love."
Sakura looked away then. So. He still didn't care, did he? And he probably never would, either. And before she could tear herself up inside again, she heard him say it---those scant few words that changed her mind for the better.
"And that's what makes this all the more precious to me, Sakura."
The girl looked at him, eyes softening at the sight of his face. She was--- she was precious to him! No, not just her, she corrected herself---her love. And for all that she'd loved him before, she loved him all the more now.
One slow, sweeping motion, that was all it took. His lips brushing against her cheek as he stood, and the smile on his face afterwards. Her hand moved to touch the spot where he had kissed her, and he smiled again. A rare sight, but one she was starting to fall in love with.
"You should focus on getting better now," he said softy.
"I know," Sakura replied, hands dropping to her lap. "And---I love you."
Aya nodded. One of his hands slid along the frame of the doorway, and he looked back over his shoulder to look at her once more. Yes, she decided, that look in his eyes---it was different. It was sincere. And most of all...
"And I, you, Sakura," Aya murmured, before disappearing out the door. "I honestly think I do."
Most of all, it was loving. She couldn't help the smile on her face any more than she could help the racking cough that suddenly overcame her, and caused her to collapse to the bed once more.
"When I'm better, I'm going to tell you that again," she stated defiantly, and she heard something like a chuckle.
"When you're better, I'll kiss you properly. Now---rest."
And giggling, she allowed herself to fall back into the covers, prepared to do just that. To think---all of it a misinterpretation that led to a beautiful result. She couldn't help the smile that befell her as she slipped into slumber, for it had been discovered that the correct sum of 'y,' her feelings and Aya's together, was more than the sum of its parts.
Finally, Tomoe Sakura was whole again. And she couldn't have been happier-- -not ever.
And for once, probability agreed with her.
A/N: Haaaaaappy belated birthday, Star! =D Hey, I'm not as late as last year! XP That's gotta be something, no? And if not, um... I don't know. sweatdrop I blame my music aaaaaand... Mousse. Yep. Because he has the attention span of a squirrel on crack. (Or was it a chipmunk on speed?) Either way, happy day!
And Fuuma Yosuke, for those of you who haven't noted, is ripped shamelessly from his little home in Wedding Peach. Mmm, shoujo. XD DRAMA RULES MY LIFE!!!! As if no one had guessed that yet. But seriously! I was watching my soaps, right? And Cassie's been having someone pretend to be her for years? And then Ross got a call from Dinah---oh, how I HATE Dinah, and not just because she tricked Cassie's One-True-Love into marrying her before KILLING him---and I figured it out! DINAH'S THE ONE PRETENDING TO BE CASSIE!!!!
.... right then. I'll shut up. Though I'm very proud of myself for being able to figure out all the soap opera's plots before anyone else in my town... XD
[°] "Now you may find it inconceivable or at the very least a bit unlikely that the relative position of the planets and the stars could have a specialty significance or meaning that exclusively applies to only humans - let me give you my assurance that these forcasts and predictions are all based on solid scientific documented evidence so you would have to be some kind of moron not to realize that every single one of them is absolutely true - where was I?... " - Your Horoscope For Today, by Weird Al. XD Yes. I should not be allowed to listen to music and write at the same time, I know.
[°°] NO, Aya did NOT put her into that smock. XD I only find this a wee bit funny (a wee bit? Oh, hell, I find it hilarious) because, as we all know, Sakura has nothing to hide from Aya in the first place. Yep. That whole being saved while nekkid thing really ruins stuff, kinda. XD