A/N: This fanfic was initially intended to be the First Ever Comic Party Fanfic On the Intarweb. However, I kinda hit a deadlock in trying to work with Yuu's feelings and personality. It got hard trying to extrapolate her reactions and dialogue. So I shelved this and waited for my creative juices to return, and return they did when I had a slip of the tongue: "Why not do a Taishi and Aya pairing?"
I guess I was thinking Taishi and Yuu, but then I ran with the idea, and we all got The Nameless Grace. And there was much rejoicing.
(That was your cue to go "Yaaaaay.")
Anyway, this is an angsty one-shot from Yuu's perspective. It takes place in the anime universe, immediately after the last episode. I'll let the readers judge as to when it exactly happens, but I like to think it happens after the final ep and before the events in The Nameless Grace. Think of it as a prequel. Hell, if this goes over well enough, I'll do angsty one-shots from all the other characters' perspectives. I can't imagine how Chisa would go emo, but she's at that age when it starts to happen, nicht?
Whatever the case, this is just a little gift to all the fans who found the Comic Party category so quickly after its inception, as well as to all the fans in general. It was sitting on my hard drive at work, and now it's out to enjoy.
Props as always to my loyal readers: Cendrillo, Digi-Nyo, and Marivel. And now, without further ado...
Comic Party is the trademark of Leaf/Aquaplus as licensed in the United States by Right Stuf International, Central Park Media, and Tokyopop Entertainment. All rights belong to the copyright holders. This is a work of parody/homage.
Please don't sue.
"I love making dojinshi. And I love Kazuki, too."
God. I still can't believe I said that to her.
"If I were you, I'd want to help him make and sell all the dojinshi he made."
I never apologized for my bluntness before, and I didn't intend to start there. So what if it's my fatal flaw? That I don't care about all that nice little "Oh-but-you-don't-have-to" junk that people keep on doing. I'm honest. What's so wrong with honesty in this country?
I don't know if it's just a Tokyo thing or if everything outside of Kansai is one giant emotional mask. I never bought into it. I looked Mizuki right in her pretty violet eyes, smiled, and said that I loved him. I said it to his girlfriend... best friend... childhood friend, whichever. I said it to her. She's the bigger threat in the scope of things, isn't she? If she had a problem, she'd take it up with me, wouldn't she?
I felt it, too. I felt that joy that he exuded at his highs, stepping back to let him handle it. I'm no dummy. I've read—hell, I've written enough shojo to skip the whole "Oh, this is love!" fluttery phase. Not like those are my favorites or anything.
Yes, I do have those books. Shut up.
Oh, stop whining! It's only a harisen and you deserved it, buddy.
But yeah, I still felt it. I felt it bad. His smile has a warmth to it when he's working. I bet he doesn't even know that he smiles when he draws. His entire face smiles, really... his eyes get a little wider, he has that childlike upturn to his grin... I could just watch him. I couldn't even draw him and do his smile justice.
Did I mention how his eyes get wider, too? I love looking into his eyes.
It's not like I didn't have a chance. I fell asleep in his room. Asleep. It's been done more than once in the history of girls not being able to tell the guy they like how they feel... yawn, fall over, end up in his lap... I keep wondering how he'd react if I did that.
Given the fact that it'd be logistically impossible since I was on the opposite end of the table.
Given the fact that it'd be completely and totally out of left field.
Given the fact that I still have to shake him out of calling me "Inagawa-san" from time to time.
Given the fact that I know I don't stand a chance.
It's his intensity, it really is. He goes in full throttle or not at all. Yeah, most of the time it's Taishi that's egging him on, but the way Kazuki is... he'll resist to the end with all the power he can muster or hold up the battle flag and rush into the fire. Even when he falls, he falls in such intensity... his faltering is just such powerful faltering.
See? This is why I didn't tell him. This is exactly why I didn't tell him. All these little details, all the reasons why I fell in love with him, I sound like I'm in junior high. I sound like the fluffy shojo I don't even draw myself.
What? You want another piece of harisen doom? Do you just not value your life?Hey, quit cowering, get back here.
It's all these little things. I mean, the big things are there, of course. He's funny, friendly, smart, caring, cute and well-groomed, of course. That in and of itself means a LOT considering the fandom I hang out with. Trust me. Taishi can dress to the nines, but sometimes I wonder about those fingernails of his...
He sees a lot of good things for all the good things he has, too. "Yuu, you'd be cuter if you got contacts." "Yuu, why don't you dress/act/talk like a girl?" Other girls told me lines like that here from time to time. I never really got too close to those girls, of course. Sure, I never got crap like this back in Kansai. I got close enough to making friends with other girls here, but nothing really came of it. I just got the usual lines. Guess I'm a little too much for 'em. I don't blame them. Hell, I've always been like this. I haven't been friendless by any means, but I never was Ms. Popular. I'm used to it.
Kazuki never saw anything like that.
He was different from the start. He came into my life as a newbie to the world of dojinshi, and he jumped right into the realm of actually making his own. I hadn't been part of helping a newbie produce his or her own dojin before... it's totally different from making your own, or even collaborating with other established authors. It was fresher, it had more feeling to it. I got in there and he made my blood rush with his enthusiasm and abilities. It was natural that such emotions quickly associated themselves with even stronger ones...
Kazuki, though... he wasn't just a newbie. He grew, he prospered... he came into his own. Through all the crap Taishi and I admittedly threw at him, he came through in the end. To think that I got to help him to that point... to have spent so much time with him, caffeine-fueled nights and adrenaline-fueled days of tribulation, of just being unable to make anything...
It got me to thinking. Thinking about why I spent so much time with him.
Why did I care?
What was it about Kazuki?
Why was I hanging out during Taishi's haranguing like a Communist party boss?
Why indeed, Yuu-chan...
It was like seeing something grow. Seeing something blossom. Again with the shojo trash that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot touching pole, but... it was like seeing a flower bloom in time-lapse. Like from a sprout to a bud to the full-on beautiful flower in fast-motion.
God, listen to me. Here, take this and hit me upside the head with it. I said, hit me!
Ow. Thanks. I needed that. Harisens really can hurt.
It just felt great, it really did, being able to see such joy and know that I had a part in it. I mean, the way Kazuki is now is just one of many ways that Kazuki simply is. I don't know much about his past, what his interests were before he discovered dojinshi, but he's loving it now. He's loving something that means so much to me. He always talks about how much he owes to everyone. He's always so effusive.
The more time I spent with him, the more times my eyes moved from observing his sketching technique to how his fingers held a pen to simply how his hands look so smooth, so gentle... the more times I found myself daydreaming how his hands feel to the touch.
But what's wrong with that, though? What's wrong with wanting to feel his hands trace the nape of my neck? Does he even know that I'm really, really, really ticklish there? What's wrong with wanting him to be the source of that electrically warm tingle?
Even thinking about it just makes me shiver... I don't shiver like that for much, and it just feels... it just feels so...
No, please, don't snap me out of this. I don't want to be snapped out of it.
I can just imagine it. So many ways and how wonderful it would be. It doesn't even have to involve dojinshi for all I care. One night, just one wonderful night, he'd be laughing at something... laughing that open, intense laughter of his, and then he'd say "Yuu-chan, I swear, I don't know what I'm going to do with you..."
See, that's where it starts to branch out. I have no clue what he'd do... or what I'd want him to do from that moment onward. When he calls me "Yuu-chan," I would know that I'd really mean something to him... I would know that he's dropped all pretenses of politeness. I'd know that when he just drops all the cultural norms of our society to just connect with me... I'd know that he felt the same way.
I mean, would he just put an arm around me? Around my shoulders, or my waist? Would he just hold my hand out of nowhere? Would he just stick his hands in his pockets and admit the way he feels quietly? Would he just kiss me dramatically, dipping me low like in an old movie? I'd never admit to anyone that I know who Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were, but the way those low dips look just says "I trust you to hold me up and not let me fall; I trust you to hold me this close."
There's that tingle again. God, do I love that tingle.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking, you didn't expect that sort of mushiness from Yuu Inagawa, right?
But of course, that doesn't change things at all.
I've always been open, blunt, and honest with my friends. I figure that if they're really my friends, especially after transferring here from Kansai, they'd really know that I'm not trying to play them by being guarded and standoffish. I may be Japanese, but that doesn't mean I have to be a lilting violet to anyone or anything. I always figured "If they really think I'm just another Kansai girl, I might as well use that as my momentum and not give them any runarounds or crap."
Hell, it worked. When I first came to school and saw Kazuki in my class, I started making friends. He and Taishi came quick, of course. I always thought that Taishi might even have a crush on me, but let's not think about that now.
Through them I even started to put my roots down here in Tokyo. I found a printer and other dojin artists. Much to my chagrin, I'm now within daily striking distance of Eimi. Okay, it hasn't been all great, but she and I have never been anything but ourselves to each other. Sometimes it's respectable rivalry... well, sometimes. Of course, everyone else is just wonderful. I'm happy to have met Aya, one of the most underrated dojin artists out there. Same with Reiko.
I should say that I'm really good friends with Mizuki too, right? Well, yes, I see her as a friend... and then I just had to go say I was in love with the guy she's been close to since they were kids.
I should think something along the lines of "I can't compete," right? Well... the way I see it, there's been plenty of times when there could have been competition from her. They've had the opportunities.
I want to see Kazuki happy, especially if it's with me, but the way she basically set herself opposite to his passion really ticked me off. We had that really huge argument just when I came to school, and I'll be the first to admit I blew up on her. I would do it again in five seconds, though. This was long before I started feeling these feelings for Kazuki.
Mizuki Takase went after my passions. For that, do you think I'd just give Kazuki up without a fight? That stuck-up, selfish little bi-
Oh, right, sorry.
My point is this... whenever I see them together, it just turns into more determination for me.
I don't want to lose to her. I don't want to lose to someone who had to learn how to enjoy the same things that Kazuki loves. Especially since she started off hating them. What the hell kind of relationship is that? "Oh, I hate the things you enjoy but I won't let it get to me except for when you actually do them, when I'll get passive-aggressive about it?"
Please. Kazuki wouldn't be that stupid. I know he's not that stupid.
Just because she's there and she's been that way doesn't mean she's right. You know what I mean?
Yeah, I thought you would.
Huh? No, I'm not planning for that eventuality. I don't want that eventuality. It's not going to happen on my watch, period.
No. Simply no.
No, I don't care if Mizuki is starting to support Kazuki. Doesn't matter. Isn't she always going to have that nagging inner voice that says "He's an otaku!" I may consider her a friend, but I'm not going to dance around the fact that she simply isn't an understanding person by nature. That's all there is to it. Yes, she's learning... but I already know.
Yes, I acknowledge the fact that this is going to be an uphill battle.
Yes, I know that I still have a lot to learn about Kazuki. That's what dating is for, isn't it?
What do you mean, Taishi and I would make a better couple?!
You deserved that one. Fear the harisen.
Hey, you wanna get outta here? I want to make it home before it starts snowing.
Nah, I got it. This time. I've got enough left over for future printings, and I was thinking of going shopping later...
... maybe I should buy a skirt for a change... he seems to like those...