Ribbons
A Satoshi x Risa ficlet

Disclaimer: DNAngel and all its characters belong only to Yukiru Sugisaki.

This is mostly an attempt at a Sat/Risa one-shot. Broken Wings is currently on hold due to something called 'O' levels – one of the greatest evils ever to exist. Possibly... Sumen, minna-san! I hope this tides you over till the end of my examinations.


Hiwatari Satoshi tossed aside his bag and proceeded to the laptop that sat in the corner of his room. The school day had been a long one, and now his primary focus was on the assignment tonight. He grunted in loathing.

Now that Dark and Krad had officially disappeared from the face of this earth, Satoshi's life had ebbed into a dull cycle of school and work. Although the absence of the infamous thief had defeated his purpose of heading the police force, Satoshi had not relinquished his position as Supreme Commander. His 'father' had, of course, asked him to step down from the position and live a healthy, normal life of a youth. Satoshi had refused.

And so he was here, now, dealing with cases that were hardly worth his time. He let out a sigh. At least Dark had made things interesting.

Ever since Dark had 'mysteriously' disappeared, many of the legendary thief's fans had made numerous attempts imitate their idol. Failing miserably, of course. Most of them could not get pass even the most basic of traps that Satoshi had once set up for Dark. A few capable individuals managed to defy the traps, but found themselves handcuffed anyhow. These cases were his entertainment after Dark had left, but now Satoshi found them bothersome.

Honestly, he needed something better to do with his life.

He rose from the floor, planning to take a shower before deciding what he would eat for dinner. Homework could wait. After all, Satoshi had been to university and back; junior-high assignments were as cake to him.

As Satoshi passed by his table, something caught his eye. It was a white ribbon.

Satoshi took it, examining the ribbon in an attempt to recall where on earth he had obtained it. It was obviously a present on White Day, but Satoshi was never one to present such a ribbon to any girl. He twisted it this was and that, when he finally remembered its owner.

Harada Risa. She had dropped it that day, and he had wanted to return it to her, but he decided not to when he finally caught up with her. Dark had been on the rooftop, and Risa sobbing into his chest, begging the criminal never to leave her again. Somehow, Satoshi had forgotten all about the ribbon after that issue.

He replaced the ribbon, leaving it to hang limply from a thumbtack.

He would have to return it to her, by all means. There was no other use for the ribbon, and it would be a waste to throw away a gift of adoration meant for her.

...o..o...

He located her easily the next day.

"Harada-san."

Risa stopped mid-sentence. Her friends were looking behind her and smiling at the person behind her. She fumed inwardly, who was this rude, discourteous, impolite, bad-mannered…

"Harada-san," he said again, realising that she had not heard him earlier.

Risa whipped around, ready to tell off the intruder for barging into her conversation with her girlfriends. She found all accusations stuck in her throat upon the sight of Hiwatari Satoshi. He was the same, placid and devoid of any emotion whatsoever. She surveyed her drooling companions once more, before greeting him on their behalf.

"Harada-san, I have something to return to you."

"Oh," she said curiously. Satoshi had something that belonged to her? Risa glanced at his hands to see what it was. "Well, what is it?"

Satoshi reached into his pocket to retrieve the ribbon. He frowned when he could not find the satin ribbon.

Risa was still gazing at him expectantly, and Satoshi found himself to be rather embarrassed. He coughed to disrupt the atmosphere. "Pardon me; I might have left it in my bag. Please wait a minute."

At he departed from the group of girls, he heard the giggles that had erupted and noted the comments that they made. Satoshi shifted uncomfortably, knowing that they were regarding the relationship between himself and Harada. He searched the inside of his bag thoroughly, and even retraced his steps that day to see if he had dropped it. This was strange; he could not find the ribbon at all. Bewildered, he returned to the classroom.

"Sumen nasai, Harada-san. I think I might have lost it or forgotten to bring it in my haste," he explained, fully aware of the eyes that were set upon him. He disregarded the looks he was receiving, and kept his eyes on Risa, anticipating her reaction. Harada Risa was not known to be an understanding girl. She was rash, certainly, and did many things without rationally considering them. She was sure to feel embarrassed now, since she disliked being associated with bespectacled males such as himself, and would be outraged at the thought that he had possessed something which was hers and had lost it with such ease.

Despite his thorough analysis of her, she did not respond in the way he thought she would. "Oh." She paused awkwardly. "Well, that's okay… what was it, anyway?"

Satoshi did not know that his answer would extract such uproar from the class, but he regretted his indiscretion after having replied her question.

"A ribbon" created the misunderstanding that followed almost immediately.

It was later in the afternoon, when everyone had left and after spending a full day without glancing at Risa, that Satoshi realised his mistake. Saehara had clapped him rather jovially on the shoulder, snickering while commenting. "You sly fox, you! Even if you are THAT eager to give her a white ribbon, you could at least wait till tomorrow, when it's appropriate. And," the annoying boy added, "you didn't have to make up a story about returning it to her." Strange, Satoshi had not recalled saying that the ribbon was white. It was a wonder how the human brain could alter information like that.

So, White Day was tomorrow. Well, Satoshi would not have known either way. This date proved of no interest to him; he was not caught in the web of romance other people were. He was not stricken with infatuation as Harada Risa had been. Not at all. Hiwatari Satoshi could never be besotted with any one person. Love was a fallacy, and he would not fall prey to it.

He caught sight of the innocent white ribbon once he entered his apartment and shot it a murderous glare. He had spent a day in school subject to verbal harassment of his fellow schoolmates who had taken the liberty of starting rumours about himself and Harada Risa.

Satoshi grabbed it, prepared to fling object of his misery into the bin. He could dispose of the ribbon as he had mentioned the possibility of it being lost, and Risa could not fault him for it. Or, alternatively, he could return the ribbon to its rightful owner and generate more rumours which would be a nuisance to both himself and Risa.

He stared at it for a long time before deciding what to do with it.

...o..o...

Risa played idly with the shirt in her hands.

It was his and she remembered its existence only after he had wanted to return something to her. She was sure it belonged to him, especially after the bad train of incidents that involved Dark and White Dark. But that was the past, and a past not worth remembering.

Now was the present, and Harada Risa would take it by the hand and mould it into her future. Dark was gone – another past not worth chasing after – and she was back in school with her sister, Daisuke and Satoshi. It was as if nothing had ever happened, as if everything were just a bad dream.

And now, she was in school, facing a hundred other students that trailed her up the stairs and into the classroom. Risa groaned. The present was making her suffer under the injustice of rumours.

"Oi! Risa! Hiwatari-kun didn't walk you to school today? What a jerk! I'll teach him to treat you better."

"Mou, Risa! I thought you said you didn't like guys with glasses."

"I'm not with Hiwatari-kun!" she had snapped back at least fifty times. But they would laugh instead and tell her to stop denying the 'obvious truth'.

She had thought that Satoshi's actions the previous day were completely forgivable, and just like his character. But now, all Harada Risa wanted to do was clobber the boy. Was he not the most intelligent student on campus? Could he not have made a better approach? And the rest of the school was no better, conspiring against her and daring to believe such groundless rumours!

So much for moulding the future with her hands; the rumours were completely messing up her near future.

"Disgusting, huh? The way people make lies out of any and everything."

Risa stopped in her footsteps and looked up at the person who just made the comment. "Ukawa-senpai."

He raised a hand in a genial gesture. "Yo."

She smiled gratefully. Here, at least, was a person who understood the situation.

Ukawa gave a short laugh. "It's not as if you would like Hiwatari anyhow. He's too cold."

Risa ignored his statement about Satoshi, knowing better than to refute his comment that Satoshi was cold. Instead, she settled Satoshi's shirt into her bag. In so doing, she failed to notice how Ukawa gave her a long look, examining her.

"Harada-san… there's something I must discuss with you in private."

...o..o...

He could not locate her that day.

She was neither in the classroom nor anywhere else he had searched. The fact disturbed him, especially since he knew that she was in school. He had seen her walk through the school gates earlier this morning but did not find her thereafter. Usually, she would be chatting with her friends, and in the current situation, trying to clear all misconceptions about yesterday's event.

Hiwatari Satoshi was loathed to ask anyone for assistance, knowing what strange ideas would formulate in their head. Already, he had received several comments and one lecture about how he should have accompanied Risa to school – the sort of nonsense he would rather do without.

Yet, the disappearance of Harada Risa made him even more concerned that he should find her. It was no longer an issue of the ribbon. Risa was a popular girl; most students would know her whereabouts at any one time. She was also a habitual person, and so he would be aware of her usual hangouts. But she was not anywhere to be found on this particular day. It was just too strange.

"Oi! Loverboy!"

Satoshi increased the pace with which he walked. Certainly, he wished to find the girl, but above that, he desperately wanted to stay clear of the loudmouth and prevent any further embarrassment. Unfortunately, the boy caught up with him.

"You're looking for Risa, aren't you?" Saehara questioned with such a loud voice that heads turned. Satoshi was about to reply, but the reporter-wannabe cut him off. "Listen," he said, suddenly hushed and looking at Satoshi with all seriousness, "I saw her with Ukawa-senpai a moment ago. So," he continued, adjusting his volume by some fifty decibels, "you might wanna claim your girl from the evil clutches of the upperclassman! And," he added, dropping his tone once again, "I won't barge in like I did on the island. So you two get some good time together, eh?" He nudged Satoshi in the rib and winked, giving a thumbs-up as he left.

Satoshi frowned as he absorbed the new information in his hands. This could be much more unpleasant than he thought it would be.

He left the corridors and made his way up to the upper classes. Knowing Ukawa, the boy was more likely than not to escort Harada Risa to the quieter halls of the upperclassmen. He tried each lock, paying attention to the sounds from inside the rooms. They had to be somewhere up here, since it was the only place he had not been to. He felt the anger and worry build up within him with each passing second. The thought of Ukawa with Harada Risa in a secluded area of the school sickened him.

"But you like me! I know you do!"

Bingo.

He cared not for the lock, but banged open the door instead. Ukawa was leaning over a hapless Risa, who was screaming against the palm of his hand and attempting to thrust the older boy away from her. Satoshi crossed the room easily and picked Ukawa up by the collar, flinging him across the classroom. Ukawa recovered quick enough to lunge at Satoshi. "Meddling fool! What are you doing here?"

Satoshi avoided easily, allowing the upperclassman to crash headlong into a row of tables. Once Ukawa rose to his feet, Satoshi grabbed him firmly by the arms and twisted them behind his back. For once, he abandoned the laconic speech pattern he was so used to. "You seem to be fond of deluding yourself that girls like you and forcing them to return your apparent affection. How pathetic," he added as an afterthought.

In truth, Satoshi wanted to beat him black and blue, but he restrained his fury. He was not prepared to face the consequences of assaulting a senior.

The upperclassman struggled against his hold. "You could be in detention for this!"

Satoshi snorted. It was just like Ukawa to give such a weak argument. "You could be in jail for this." If Ukawa made a report, there would be no one to back him, Satoshi was sure. In his defence, Satoshi had Risa to back him. And harassment was by far a more serious offence than crossing the boundaries set for the lowerclassmen.

He glanced across the classroom to where Risa was still in a state of shock. He cursed softly, and delivered a sharp blow to Ukawa's temple. He felt the boy go slack and released him. As the unconscious Ukawa slid to the floor, Satoshi approached the shaken girl carefully, silently going on his knees before her. He made no sudden movements that would startle her.

"Risa," he spoke softly, forgetting the customary formality. He placed a careful hand on her shoulder in an attempt to shake her gently. Risa yelped at the feel of a hand on her shoulder and moved instinctively to shove him away.

"Get away from me," she started, fixing her eyes in a glare. Then, upon recognising Satoshi her glare faded, and she began trembling uncontrollably. Satoshi remained speechless as Risa flung her face against his chest, grabbing the cloth of his shirt and sobbing into them. She was crying, but only a little. She was trying not to cry, but fear had gripped her so badly that she shook hysterically. Her voice was small and muffled against his shirt, but still, he could hear it. "I was so scared…so scared…"

He placed his arms around her, not knowing how to comfort her or take away that fear. He wished then that he had known what to say or do in such a situation, but kept silent and held her. It seemed like forever before Risa calmed down.

...o..o...

Try as they might, no one could find either Hiwatari Satoshi or Harada Risa later that day. The teachers were upset, and the students amused. It was a secret rendezvous that Satoshi had been planning all along! Oh sly and wicked boy… Saehara kept his lips sealed and pretended he knew nothing. Satoshi and Risa both owed him big time, and he would be sure to collect his payment in due course of time.

On the rooftop, Satoshi was displaying a familiar white ribbon to Harada Risa.

"This was what you wanted to return to me?" she asked incredulously. All that trouble for a single white ribbon. It did not make sense to Risa. Sure, it held some meaning, especially on White Day, but not when it lacked the affections of the person giving it to you. And in this case, Satoshi was only returning it to her.

"You dropped it some time ago," he answered as though the obvious thing to do was return it to her. "I thought you would like it back."

Risa stared at the ribbon. She did not care at all for this thing! She could not even remember who could have possibly given it to her. Risa looked up at Satoshi, who motioned for her to take it. Her arm quivered. She wanted very badly to scream at him.

She pushed his hand away. "I don't want it."

Satoshi was puzzled by her response. "You don't like ribbons?"

Risa grew even more irate. "I HATE ribbons!"

"Oh," Satoshi murmured, pitying the innocent white ribbon. He retrieved something else from his pocket. "Then I suppose you wouldn't want this either."

Once she saw the ribbon, her eyes were automatically transfixed on them. "Pink?" she whispered.

He surveyed her then, with her face inclined at a better angle to gaze at the ribbon. Her hair hung over her features, and he noticed that she had lost her earlier ribbon which she had worn to school. Her hair had grown so much longer since the time on the beach. Satoshi remembered the feel of the silky strands against his fingertips.

Risa was pretty. This fact could not be denied. He himself admitted it to her when he told her he had found her to be the most 'physically attractive' out of all the girls in the school. But here, on the rooftop, a different kind of appeal shone from Risa. An innocence, a child-like grace from within her reached out to him. He saw not just the shell of beauty Risa had, but the person who Risa was. He knew her honesty; he had witnessed it many times when she and Dark had been in the same scene at the same time. She made no excuse for it, even though she was constantly teased about her pointless pining after the legendary thief. That honesty…Satoshi could not comprehend it.

"Pink?" she asked again, now staring up at him. It took Satoshi a while before he could regain his composure.

He shrugged nonchalantly. "I thought it suited you better."

"Huh?" Clearly, she was confounded by his gift.

Satoshi exhaled. He reached past Risa's cheek and gently seized her auburn hair. Although she made no sound of protest and showed no sign of discomfort, her eyes never left the offending hand. At this, Satoshi smiled a little to himself. To think that Harada Risa was now subdued before him… Satoshi played idly with her hair for a second or two, and then resumed his thread when he caught the slightest twitching of facial muscles.

"Look," he said, placing either ribbons against the hue of brown. "The white ribbon stands out by itself, but the pink one compliments the brownish tone." Besides, he nearly said, pink is your favourite colour.

But some things were better left unsaid. It was not very becoming of his character to make special notes about the idiosyncrasies of the girl before him. Or anyone else for that matter.

Risa's eyes seemed to widen in what could be taken as an understanding manner. No doubt she was surprised by the ribbon, but more than that, she was touched by Satoshi's thoughtfulness. He had purposefully betrayed tradition and purchased a pink ribbon, and not many people Risa knew would care less about the routine that White Day demanded.

Still, it was such a surprise.

Risa sat back on her heels, pulling her head to the side such that her hair slipped away from his grasp. If he was disappointed, Satoshi made no show of it. Risa shook her head bemusedly. "You are such a confusing person, Hiwatari-kun," she finally said. "But I think I like the pink ribbon better." Just as her hand extended to retrieve the ribbon, another thought struck her. "Sou ka! I wanted to return something to you as well!"

There. The moment was broken.

Satoshi barely had any time to sift over facts of his past encounters with Risa and consider what of his she could possibly have when a white cloth of some sort was shoved before his eyes. She pressed it onto the open palm of his hand and he realised that it was a shirt. It had been so long since he parted with it, and he had forgotten about it. As for the shirt, it should have remained forgotten, hidden in the dark recluse of Risa's closet. The mere piece of fabric triggered memories that were long past.

A white feather fluttered out from the shirt pocket and Satoshi winced at the sight of it. Krad would not leave him in peace, apparently.

The look that had overcome his usual placid face was enough to convince Risa that she had made a wrong move. "I'm sorry," she apologised. "I just… it struck me yesterday that I still had something of yours and it's only right to return it. I…" she faltered, unsure of her next statement. Was she to attempt comforting him? And if it was so, how? Risa glanced over the shirt. There had to be something she could do. Desperate for some inspiration, she seized the white feather.

"Ne," she said, holding the feather in his face, "this belongs to you, does it not?" Satoshi would have flinched if not for his carefully masked emotions. "It isn't White Dark-san's because he wouldn't have caught me before I fell. No; it's yours."

It was his turn to stare blankly at her.

Risa flushed a shade of pink. Had she said too much?

"What I meant is that-"

"You're right," he interrupted. "They were mine."

Although momentarily taken aback, Risa soon smiled, gratified that he was not upset and even glad that he would recognise- wait. There had been something not quite right about his previous statement. Risa blinked. "Were?"

"They're yours now," he said pointedly. "Just as the ribbon is."

Risa gaped at him, utterly confounded. He was giving her two gifts on a single day, and with no special reason. She did not understand the sudden turn of events nor how they came about. Risa stared at him, thinking that he would say or do something that would qualify his earlier statement as a joke. No movement was made on his part, and she realised then that he had meant what he had said. Slowly, she nodded her head in acceptance.

It was impossible to understand the enigma of Hiwatari Satoshi's character.

On the other hand, Satoshi had been assessing her reaction. Clearly, Risa was unsure and confused, and he supposed she wanted him to negate his earlier statement. It must have been too much of a surprise, after all. Not only for her, but himself as well. The shirt, he had decided, was not his to keep for what it was worth. Thrusting the ownership of his shirt upon Risa was simply for the sake of ridding himself of it. Besides, he figured she would want it for memory's sake.

The ribbon, however, was a completely different issue. It was an innocent present, no doubt, although Risa would assume it to mean much more. As for himself, Satoshi had only bought it to try and compensate the damage he had done to her reputation. There was, of course, the nagging feeling that he had bought the ribbon for a reason that comprised of entirely different intentions.

He liked her, so to speak. Not in a madly infatuated way, but it was just that: he liked her entire person. This revelation surprised Satoshi as he watched her finger the shirt and ribbons idly. Harada Risa wasn't the most agreeable female on the face of the earth, but he knew that she was, above all, a compassionate being. He would not say she was kind or polite, but she was frank and it was her honesty that had drawn him to the realization that he had never been anything like Krad. And Satoshi was grateful.

He noticed, once his trail of thought had ended, that it was unbearably quiet. Not that he disliked the serenity of silence, but Satoshi knew Risa was not one for such a quiet moment. For want of a better way to break the tensed silence, Satoshi proposed a question. "Harada-san?"

"Hai?"

"You know my true name, so why don't you call me by it?"

Perplexity faded from her features as she reflected on the answer. "Well…you've always been Hiwatari-kun, so I suppose it's out of habit. But it doesn't really make any difference whether we call you Hikari or Hiwatari. It's the person behind the name that counts, not the name itself."

He had hoped, and to an extent knew that she would say something of that sort.

"Harada-san?"

"Hai?"

Satoshi paused for a moment, reconsidering for a moment what he was about to do. "Are you good at keeping secrets?"

"Well of course! Why-"

It couldn't have lasted more than three seconds, but the warm sensation from the contact of Satoshi's lips seemed to remain for what seemed a minute. Risa drew her hand to her cheek as Satoshi, only mere inches away from her face, looked her levelly in the eye.

"Then you could keep that a secret, couldn't you?"

Risa blinked.

...o..o...

"Haha. Gotcha," Kenji murmured happily to himself as he stopped the recording. Not far from him, Saehara glanced innocently at his watch.

--Owari--


Hope you enjoy it minna-san. I know the classroom bit was somewhat uncalled for, and rather uncharacteristic of the usually prepared Satoshi-sama, but it was the only thing I could concoct at some unearthly hour in the morning. Nevertheless, I hoped the ending made up for the blunder. Okay, I need to get back to work.

Completed: 6 October 2004
©Copyrighted by JadOo Enterprises 2004