Comforting Embrace

She chose Masaya…and left me behind. Heh, why am I so surprised? I knew I was just playing around with my heart when I decided to flirt with her. I didn't think my own game would backfire. I…I actually fell for her instead of shrugging it off. I know it's my own fault, but…it hurts. Heh, a Shirogane does not regret over petty things like love. Yet…I can't seem to forget about her…


Ryou dazedly walked toward a park near Café Mew Mew. He didn't care if he got hit by a car. At least, not at the moment anyway. He didn't care that he nearly tripped and ended on the ground in an embarrassing heap of pathetic goop. It seemed someone else was thinking the total opposite though.

"S-Shirogane-san…?" A coy voice softly called out to him. A gentle hand reached toward his sleeve, steadying him so that he wouldn't fall.

Ryou looked down, his sight slightly blurry. His eyes widened to see a flash of bottle green before he closed his eyes and collapsed onto the ground.

"Shirogane-san, NO!" A voice cried out, calling for him.

'Who are you…?' He thought in the back of his mind before his world turned black. Whoever it was was holding him close to them. Unconsciously he curled up closer to that warmth. It was…comforting. So much like Ichigo's. The worry, the concern. Somehow it was like his mother's but so much…deeper.


Ryou awoke with a start, his body covered with a light sheen of sweat. He blinked, noticing the piece of cloth that was once lying on his forehead was now resting on his lap. He absently looked around, absorbing his surroundings. He was back in his room. His barely decorated and plain looking room.

"How did I get here?" Ryou said out loud, wearily getting up from his bed. The cold air touching his warmed skin prickled slightly, but he coolly ignored it before throwing on a slightly wrinkled shirt nearby.

"Lettuce brought you here. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought you had been drunk Ryou," a calm voice interrupted his thoughts.

The platinum blonde turned around to see his long time friend casually leaning against the doorway, a concern look etched on his pale features.


"Yes, Lettuce. She managed to catch you before you ended up on the park ground unconscious and without a coat in this cold weather," Keiichiro said lightly, calmly watching Ryou stare at him in disbelief. "I know, I'm a little surprised myself. You're rather heavy for a small person like herself to carry you." The brunette grinned when he received a glare from his shorter counterpart.

"Hmph, I'm not as heavy as you…" Ryou growled before looking at the digital clock next to his bed. It was already almost past noon. 'I slept till noon' He turned to see Keiichiro still smiling at him as if he was hiding something. You had now idea how annoyed Ryou was now.

"I'm going to go thank her," Ryou mumbled in a rush, quickly walking out of his room, past by a smirking Keiichiro.

"Lettuce?" Ryou called out loud, searching for the green-haired girl. Immediately there was a loud crash and a soft speak in surprise before he heard a familiar rambling of apologies.

"S-Shirogane-san?" Lettuce murmured curiously, her head tilted downward, a small blush on her face. In her hands were a few small slivers of broken china, presumably from a dish.

Absently, the blood noticed a few minuscule lines of reds on her slender fingers. It was probably from the plate she had just broken. It was a wonder her fingers were scarless. Even his keen sharp, cerulean eyes couldn't see any of the scars she must've received from all the broken china.

"You're bleeding," he replied, a slight edge to his voice that made Lettuce looked up at him startled.

"They're just small cuts. It's alright," Lettuce said softly, smiling reassuringly up at him. She clenched her hands slightly, trying not to worry him any further.

Ryou took a sudden step forward and gently grabbed her hand, pulling it up to his lips, gently kissing the tiny cuts. "It's not any good if they scar…" he murmured before freeing her hand.

Lettuce had frozen in shock. Her sea blue eyes looking up at him blankly, her mouth slightly ajar in astonishment. She realized that Ryou was staring at her worriedly before she pulled her hand away from his, a nervous and embarrassed smile on her face.

She bowed, her eyes looking stubbornly toward the ground, "Thank you very much Shirogane-san." Quickly, she leaned back up and took a step away from the blonde, "I should be going back out front." She smiled once more before turning and walking quickly away from the blonde.

Somehow, he couldn't help but feel slightly disappointment. His stomach was all heated and giddy, but at the same time, felt like he had eaten a bad parfait or something.


Ryou felt as if a rhino had rammed into his stomach and doing the Macarena on top of it as he lay on the cold, hard kitchen floor. He couldn't move, let alone talk. He just lay there, barely breathing. He didn't know what was happening, but it was bad.

"Shirogane-san, did you leave?" Lettuce's soft voice echoed throughout the kitchen.

He wanted to yell to her he was here. That he was in pain. He couldn't because of his dumb, unmoving muscles. 'She'll probably walk away…Heh; someone will find me an hour later to see me dead. Great…'

"Shirogane-san!" Lettuce shrieked, bending down toward him. She trembled slightly as she hesitantly touched his arm, receiving no reaction whatsoever.

If he could, he would've blinked in surprise. He had been so deep in his thoughts; he hadn't heard her soft footsteps walking toward him. His eyesight was blurry, but he could definitely see Lettuce's slender outline. Several strands of her long sea green hair gently brushing across his face. Somehow…just sensing her worry and care kept him calm. Even if he was in a life or death situation. 'Thank you…' he thought, the corners of his mouth rose ever so slightly. 'Thank you for caring about me when I stopped caring about myself…Lettuce…'

"Ryou!" Lettuce cried, her scream echoing loudly so that the other Mews outside of the kitchen could hear her. She didn't care if she called him by his first name. This was much more important.

"Lettuce, what's the matter?" Keiichiro cried as he quickly slammed open the door, his eyes quickly scanning the room to see Ryou on the ground. His honey-brown eyes widened in shock and fear before rushing over to the weeping girl.

"What happened?" He shook his head before grabbing the phone close to the kitchen door, quickly dialing 9-1-1. "Never mind, just make sure he keeps breathing," he ordered sternly as he impatiently waited for the person on the other line to pick up.

Lettuce remained still, her eyes cast downward at Ryou's murky blue eyes. 'Don't let him die…please…I don't…I don't want him to die…'

One moment, he was looking down at her, a seductive yet kind smile on his face. The next moment, he was lying in the ground, looking up at her with blank, murky eyes. She didn't feel the warm trickle of water form at the corner of her eyes. Her vision was impaired by the tears that had not fallen. One tear trickled down from her eyes and slowly slid down her cheek. It swayed precariously on the tip of her chin before it lightly dropped on Ryou's forehead.

'Don't let Ryou die…please…I don't…I don't want him to die…'

'Lettuce? Is that you?' Ryou thought, his mind fuzzy from who-knows-what. He could almost see the girl in front of him, several tears falling from her usual shy, but sad looking aqua eyes.

'She's crying…why?' he watched her for another moment before noticing several of the other Mews. Pudding looked as if she was about to burst out of tears whilst Zakuro was awkwardly trying to sooth Pudding down before the young blonde soon flooded the café. Mint stood near her idol: Zakuro, a small, delicate cup of apple-mint tea in her hands. She wasn't drinking any of it though, but simply holding it her hands just to stop herself from freaking out.

Ichigo…Ichigo was there too. There were tears in her eyes too. He couldn't help but smile sadly. He was happy she was once again worried about his safety, but…seeing Lettuce sitting on the ground, watching him barely breathe as she tried to hold back the tears she was trying not to let flow, made his chest hurt slightly.

'Lettuce…I'm alright. Don't worry about me...I'm still here.' That was what he wanted to tell her, but…he couldn't.

'I want to be there for her.'

He could remember her smiling face when he told her she could continue making her dolls for the exhibit. He also remembered the sad look on her face when she found out the girl she had admired so much had stolen her hard work.

Back where Lettuce and everyone were at, they were impatiently waiting for the some sort of help to arrive. Keiichiro was busy making sure Ryou's breathing was regular.

"Lettuce…" Ryou whimpered, his hand slightly twitching next to hers, unconsciously seeking her out.


Slowly, fatigued cerulean eyes were revealed, though slightly obstructed by long, dirty blonde eyelashes. They groggily looked around, searching for something in particular, before landing on Lettuce.

Gradually, his hand made its way toward a small lock of Lettuce's hair that was near him, gently stroking it before bringing it up to his lips. "I worried you, didn't I?" He croaked out, the silky strands of hair being toyed lightly by long, tan fingers.

Lettuce blinked, several warm tears falling from her eyes. She closed her eyes and bowed her head, "Yes, yes you did Shirogane-san." She sniffled before continuing, "I-I thought…" she shook her head, looking back up at him, more tears streaming down her face, leaving glowing trails of tear stains on her pale face. "I'm just glad you're safe." She shakily stood up, a small relieved smile passed through her face before she quickly walked away; much to Ryou's…disappointment?

Behind her followed a worried Pudding. Behind the young blonde was Zakuro, and Mint. Zakuro, wanting to make sure the Chinese did not break anything, and Mint, she just wanted to watch her idol.

He silently watched as she walked away from his sight. Somehow…it felt as if a small piece of him had walked away with her. Carefully, he stood up, his bones creaking as he did so.

"Ryou…" Ichigo whispered, tears nearly flooding from her eyes. She had stayed behind to make sure he was really okay. Keiichiro was standing behind her, still close to the phone. His chocolate brown eyes remained steady on his still form. Somehow…it was accusing.

"I was-was so worried," she murmured, a small blush creeping onto her face. Absently, she glanced at the clock that hung on the wall. It was almost time for her date with Masaya! She bit her bottom lip, unsure what to do.

Ryou smiled slightly, Ichigo was suddenly looking at the clock nervously. Probably some date with Masaya. Placing his hand gently on Ichigo's shoulder, he turned her toward the back door. "You have something to do, right? Go, I'll be just fine."

"But…I," she thought about it for a moment before quickly walking toward the door, glancing at him for a few seconds, "Thank you Ryou." With that, she sprinted outside, heading toward the location of her date with Masaya.

"Since almost everyone asked you if you were okay, you are actually okay," Keiichiro stated calmly, leaning lightly on the wall.

"I guess I just overworked myself or something…" Ryou snorted before settling himself down on the stool close by. He placed his head against the counter-top. His head felt fine, but his chest felt like it was bleeding. The image of Lettuce and her tear-stained face was in his head.

'Why…was does she worry about me so much?'

"Lettuuuuuce-neechan!" Pudding yelped happily, somehow managing to clamp herself down on Lettuce's right arm. She looked up, noticing Lettuce's sad eyes. "What's wrong?" she whimpered, worried about one of her surrogate big sisters.

"I'm just fine," Lettuce exclaimed, trying to keep a brave face. Hurriedly, she wiped away the trails of tear stains on her face, hoping that no one would notice her slightly puffy red eyes.

"No, you're not," Zakuro said, calmly walking out of the shadows from behind Lettuce. Her violet eyes were narrowed on Lettuce, carefully scrutinizing the green haired teen. She raised a slender hand, gently touching Lettuce's cheeks. "If you were fine, you wouldn't have been crying when you thought he was going to die." She smiled gently, before including, "You like him."

Lettuce tried to cover her face with her hands, a faint blush covering her face. She couldn't hide the tints of red on her neck and ears. "No! Of course not! I just…I just…" She sighed in defeat, "I just like him, that's all."

"Well," Zakuro lightly petted Lettuce's head, "At least you finally admitted you like him. Better than denial, don't know you think?"

"Yes…I suppose you're right Zakuro-neechan," she sighed, glancing at the doorway. "Shouldn't there be someone watching the café?"

Zakuro, Mint, and Pudding glanced at each other and blinked.

'Who's watching the café?'

Was the thought that was running through the girls heads.

"Lettuce, you look tired, I'll tell Ryou that you were a little dizzy," Zakuro said before smoothly walking toward the café toward the café goers. Pudding had stopped clinging to Lettuce and attached herself onto Zakuro's arm, busily telling the model about a new trick she had come up with just now.

"Zakuro-neechan is the greatest!" Mint praised as she busily followed her idol outside. She turned and looked at Lettuce, "Don't worry Lettuce. If Zakuro-neechan thinks it's going to be alright, then it will." She smiled reassuring before gracefully turning away and headed toward the café, suddenly craving a cup of French tea.

"Thank you all…" Lettuce whispered before quickly walking off toward the exit. Swiftly changing into her everyday clothing, she slowly made her way out of the café and onto the streets, thinking about what Zakuro had said.

She shivered slightly, holding her bare arms close to her body. She was currently wearing a forest green, sleeveless, turtleneck. Her lower body was warm too. A long, dark green ankle-length skirt and a pair of forest green boots. Unfortunately, her upper body wasn't so lucky. Her neck was warm, but her arms weren't. Great day to forget to forget her sweater. Suddenly, she felt something warm cover her chilled figure.

"You must be cold by now." A gentle voice said from behind her. She turned around to see Ryou looking down at her, a kind smile on his handsome face.

A blush rose to her face before she bowed. Her face still directed toward the ground, she mumbled a quick thank you.

For a few seconds, they stood there in silence. Awkward silence. Ryou, getting fed up with the silence and the fact that Lettuce still hadn't stood straight, suddenly spoke.

"You were crying, why?" He questioned, looking down at Lettuce's head since her face was still directed toward the ground.

She glanced up, her aqua eyes wearily looking into his curious sky blue ones. "I was worried about you, of course," even in her mind that answer was lame.

Ryou didn't buy that answer. In the back of his mind, he desperately wanted her to tell him something that he knew in the back of his mind. 'Tell me…tell why you really cried for me…please Lettuce.'

"Shirogane-san, is there something wrong?" Lettuce timidly questioned, her hand hesitantly touching the sleeve of his long-sleeved shirt. When she heard no reply to her lame excuse, she had look up to see Ryou in La-la Land.

"Ah, nothing, nothing at all," Ryou nervously replied before taking her hand into his, heading toward her house.

"You…you know where I…"

"Of course," he replied nonchalantly, his hand tightening slightly around hers.

The continued to walk in silence. It wasn't uncomfortable though…it was actually quite comforting. It helped the two collect their thoughts.

'What should I do?'

Was the question that kept reappearing in their heads. Even though they both didn't know the answer to the question, they didn't let it bother them and this precious moment. It felt as if they had just started walking to Lettuce's house when they suddenly arrived at her doorstep.

Lettuce blushed once more but didn't try to hide it as she looked up at Ryou. "Thank you so much Shirogane-san," she smiled angelically at him before she took a step forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, her body lightly pressed against his.

Ryou's eyes widened, she was hugging him. As abruptly as she had hugged him, she quickly stepped back, her face as red as a tomato by now.

Even if the hug had only lasted for a moment, he could still feel the warmth of her body head seep through is own clothing. Her intoxicating scent of fresh limes and ocean spray still clung to his clothing.

"I-I'm so sor-oof," she was cut off when she felt herself being pulled forward into his warm embrace. His right arm wrapped tightly, yet tenderly, around her slender waist, while his left arm surrounded her back. He had buried his head into her luscious lime green hair, his eyes clamped down tightly.

"Lettuce…" he whispered, unsure of what to do next. He was confused, but having her in his embrace just felt so…right.

She pushed closer into his embrace, burrowing her head into his chest. For a moment, the two clung to each other, savoring each others embraces. Even if the next moment they broke free and turned away from each other in embarrassment, they would keep the memory of that embrace inside their minds forever.

Ryou glanced down at Lettuce's content face. She looked…happy? Unconsciously, his grip tightened around her, before he lowered his head and gently kissed the side of her mouth. Just close enough to her lips, but a centimeter too short. He didn't want to scare her away with being too direct, but that small kiss was good enough for right now.

Lettuce blushed softly, but she got the message before burrowing her head back onto Ryou's chest. She knew how he felt, but couldn't bring herself too look back up at him. All she wanted was to stay in his arms. She knew he was still upset with the Ichigo choosing Masaya over him, but…maybe…maybe she could help him. With time, she could be the one who he trusted. Just maybe.

The blonde smiled before closing his eyes, pressing his cheek against her bottle green hair. Right now, all he wanted was to savor this moment for as long as he could. Maybe…maybe she could mend his cracked heart. At this moment, he could feel his heart slowly repairing itself. All thanks to her warm embrace.


SS: Um...I know this seems like an odd question, but it's been floating around in my mind all day. Why do people hate Masaya so much? n.n;;;