Disclaimer: Yeah yeah, you know the drill… Or do you

Disclaimer: Yeah yeah, you know the drill… Or do you?

Maison Ikkoku The Guy in Room Number Five Part 5

By Gray

"The greatness of one's sorrow when parting is the evidence of the deepness of one's love, so.... If one feared sadness, one wouldn't be able to love anything."

-- Belldandy

It's all coming to a head…things are becoming more intense now…welcome once again to Yusaku Godai's miserable life…

It had been several hours since they had left, and I was still brooding in my cold, lonely room. The fact that it was now very late escaped my notice, as I was too deep in thought to care. Could Kyoko actually have hidden feelings for me? It seemed almost ridiculous. Too good to be true. And was I giving up too easily? That seemed stupid as well. After all, how could someone give up when he had already lost in the beginning? Shaking my head at the utter ridiculousness of the other tenant's words, I crawled into my bed and went to sleep, though it took a while.

The next day, is well, today actually. I woke up early because someone was knocking at my door. Grumbling to myself, I opened the door with an angry comment on my lips. Which died rather quickly as I saw who it was.

"Kozue…" I whispered almost to myself. She smiled demurely and bowed her head slightly in embarrassment.

"Yusaku…could…could I come in…?" She asked timidly. I nodded slowly and stepped aside to allow her into my shabby room. I then offered her a seat on a cushion and she accepted it gratefully. I sometimes wished I could have something more comfortable for guests to sit, but unfortunately, with my financial status the way it was, I couldn't afford to be extravagant, even to buy a chair or something. We sat in silence for several moments before she finally spoke up hesitantly.

"We…need to…talk Yusaku…" She said without looking at me. I gulped, wondering at the implications of her statement, but voiced my agreement.

"Yeah, I guess we do…" I muttered. Seeming to take a moment to gather her thoughts, she forged ahead.

"My ah…Father, has been thinking about…um…" She trailed off, leaving me to wonder what this could mean. Finally she continued.

"He wants…he wants…" She bit her lip in frustration evidently and finally blurted it out.

"He wants me to get engaged!" She cried. I blinked, took a moment to think about what she said, blinked again, thought about her words again, and blinked again.

"That's why I needed to talk to you…" She said in a quiet voice. I was still a little stunned by her previous statement, so it took me a moment to register this one. But finally, I spoke up.

"Kozue, how does this relate to me?" I asked. She looked up at me and I felt a bit guilty for saying such a callous statement, although to be honest, I had more important things to worry about than Kozue's crazy Dad and his weird ideas. But this was important to Kozue, so I forced myself to be more attentive to her.

"Yusaku…I asked him…if I could become engaged to you…and he agreed…that is…if you agree to it." Now this really made my brain sputter. Become engaged!? To Kozue!? The very idea of marriage to her seemed so…weird. I sighed mentally. What was I going to do now? Briefly, I wondered if it would really be so bad, to be engaged and then married to Kozue. She was a kind girl, who loved me unconditionally. She had a nice, if slightly peculiar family, and she herself was attractive and very smart. So why was I so against the idea? Unbidden, an image of a sadly smiling Kyoko came to mind. Oh, that's why… but wait a minute, why did that matter? The image was replaced by a happily smiling Kyoko in a wedding gown with a happily smirking Mitaka standing beside her. It wasn't like I had a chance with Kyoko anyway, especially now! I stared at Kozue's hopeful expression and a war raged in my mind. Could I marry a woman I didn't really love, and doom her to marriage with a man who didn't really care for her the same way she cared for him? Should I do it anyway, seeing as how I had no chance with Kyoko? I could live a modestly happy life with a girl who loved me, or give it up and probably live a lonely, unhappy life pining for a soon to be twice wed woman. My mind and heart battled fiercely, but in the end, it was an obvious choice, at least for me. It was the hardest decision I had ever made in my life so far though. But it was time to stop being the child Kyoko saw, and become the man I wanted her to see. No more running away.

"Kozue, I'm sorry, I can't become engaged to you…" There, I had said it. I watched her face go from hopeful to ashen and felt my soul tear slightly. Tears fell from her eyes, and I almost took it back, but I held firm.

"Why…?" She whispered in a hurt voice. I sighed sadly.

"Because…because, I don't…I don't love you Kozue…at least…not in the same way you do me…" I had finally admitted it, and I felt a large weight lift from my shoulders, although the price was so high…

"All this time…?" She said in a choked voice.

"All those times we went on dates, and held hands…ate together…you never loved me?" I sighed again.

"I didn't say that…I do care for you Kozue, just not as much as you do me…if there wasn't any Kyo…" I quickly shut up as I started to say her name, but Kozue knew, and her eyes widened at the revelation.

"Kyoko…! You're in love with Kyoko Otonashi!" I bowed my head but muttered an affirmative. She stared at me wordlessly, and I slumped further. Without another word, she got up and ran out of my room. Leaving me to sit there in misery. I know I made the right choice, so why did it hurt so much?

A little while later, I stumbled out of my room, dressed and ready for the day, although I felt awful. The three crazies met me at the top of the stairs, and we stared at each other. I was unsure what they wanted, and really didn't feel like dealing with them right now.

"We heard it all…" Akemi said simply. I nodded, and tried to get by them. Mrs. Ichinose stopped me.

"That was a brave thing you did kid…" I nodded again, this time more sadly, and finally Yotsuya spoke.

"You realize of course that now your path to the manager is a bit easier…" I felt something in me snap at that.

"How dare you!" I yelled angrily at them. I clenched my fists and bowed my head sadly.

"I just broke Kozue's heart by telling her I didn't love her and refusing her offered engagement, and you people act like it's some sort of victory in a video game!" I was really getting tired of people treating me like some kind of science experiment.

"It's all a big joke to you people isn't it!? You, Mitaka, the neighbors, and even the manager! My whole life is just some sort of soap opera for you all to enjoy! My feelings and flaws are toys for you all to play with!" I paused to catch my breath, and stared at them all coldly. My voice lowered a few notches, though I was still yelling.

"Well, I've had enough…I'm packing up and leaving here as soon as possible, this time for real!" With that said, I stormed past them and down the stairs, not noticing at the time that Kyoko was standing at the foot of them, and left Maison Ikkoku without a word. I would get my stuff later. For now, I needed a drink, badly.

The Cha-Cha-Maru was empty, as it was still closed until later, but the owner took one look at me and let me in anyway, shutting and locking the door after me. I went inside and ordered a drink with a small greeting to the owner.

"Rough day?" He asked while casually wiping a glass with a towel. I took a swig of the alcohol and slammed the glass down, almost spilling some onto the table.

"Rough life…" I muttered in response. He nodded and continued to dry the glass. It was funny how he could always sort of read what you were feeling at the time with just a glance. I suppose it must be a bartender thing.

I am now at the point in my little story where the past ends, and from here on out, it is happening as I speak. This is the moment where I began thinking about the last several days.

After finishing my remembrance, I also finished my drink in record time and ordered another. I know it's pretty early to be getting sloshed, but who the hell really cared at this point. He poured me another shot and I began to consume it at a rate that would make the psychos proud. At the thought of those idiots, I almost sobered, but I managed to remain mildly intoxicated without too much trouble. Images of Kozue, the idiots, Mitaka, and Kyoko swirled about in my head, and I tried to make them go away with more alcohol. It didn't work very well. I blearily heard the owner go and unlock the door again, and letting someone else in. Said person plopped down in the seat next to me, and I glanced at them out of the corner of my eye. Lo and behold, it was Kentaro, the Ichinose brat.

"Lo' kid, ya here to, to make fun of me like usual?" I took another gulp.

"Well go ahead, cause this time, this time I deserve it. You and your Mom, and the others were all right, I am a loser." He didn't respond to me, so I shrugged and took a sip. Finally, he spoke.

"I uh, saw you in the window big brother…you looked, kind of…um…sad I guess…" He said without looking at me. For some reason, I found this extremely funny, and began to laugh and laugh until tears came to my eyes. I suppose I looked like I had gone insane right now. I wiped the tears away and let out one last little chuckle.

"Sad!?" I said incredulously. I looked up at the owner and pointed to Kentaro.

"Hey, he says I look sad! Do I look sad to you?" I asked with a big grin on my face. The owner sighed and nodded his head.

"Yeah, you look really sad, and I can't blame you to be honest…" He said without looking at me, still wiping glasses off. My face fell at his words, and I took another sip of my drink.

"Yeah kid, I guess I am "sad." I muttered in a dead voice. He nodded his head and the owner gave him a glass of soda, which he took with a nod of thanks.

"It hurts, to know that you don't have a chance with the woman of your dreams…" The owner said in a voice full of weariness and possibly regret. I blinked at him.

"You mean…you too?" I asked. He nodded sadly, and I slumped.

" I'm sorry…" I then looked over at Kentaro.

"Course, you know what it's like too, don't ya kid?" I asked with a sad smile. He looked up at me sharply, and I was surprised to see anger on his face.

"What do you mean! I'm at least not getting all drunk and…and giving up!" He yelled angrily. I stared at him stupidly, caught off guard by his response. He looked away suddenly and I felt bad.

"My whole life, Mom always got drunk whenever she couldn't handle something. Whether it was Dad losing his job again and again, or me getting in trouble at school, she always drank to get over it. Pretty soon, she just drank all the time…" He said in a quiet voice. I just sat there stupidly. I had always known Mrs. Ichinose to not exactly be the best parent in the world, but still… Kentaro continued on unabated.

"But I still loved my Mom, and that's why I hated it so much when she'd go to that stupid bottle…" He looked up at me, and tears were in his eyes.

"And now…now you're doing the same thing… running away to the stupid bar when you can't handle your problems." He looked down at the counter, and sighed.

"You told me a while ago, that I shouldn't give up on my dream of getting Ikkuko to like me, and even though I never told you this…" He took a deep breath.

"I really appreciated you saying that. Because you were right, I shouldn't give up, because giving up is for losers…" He then looked up at me one more time.

"Are you a loser big brother?" He asked, and without giving me a chance to respond, he ran out the door, leaving me to blink dumbly on my seat, still shocked by his words. In a detached sort of way, I remembered that I had left my light on in my room back at Ikkoku. The light was still on in room number five….

The Beginning…

Author's notes: Ok, finally got another chapter of this out. I hope it wasn't too bad. This is the end of the Guy in Room Number Five, but not the end of this series! Yes, that is correct, this is a series, and was planned as one from the beginning. Although I suppose this could be called a sort of prologue. Now comes the good stuff! Look for lessa ngst, and more romance! Yay! Er, anyway, I think the next one will be out a lot sooner this time, so please look for it soon! Goodbye for now.