Moving Towards You
A Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou Fan Fiction
Rights to Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou belong to Masami Tsuda (manga), Hideaki Anno (anime) of Gainax and Right Stuff (anime - US release).
This fanfic is based on KareKano episode 13 of the anime and Volumes 5 and 6 of the tankubon.
Though some of the scenes depicted here are from the anime or manga, I didn't copy dialogues. This is a very liberal interpretation of Tsubasa and Kazuma's relationship.
Words and phrases in italics = thoughts
* * *
Now I've gone and done it.Suddenly, the skull necklace felt very cold against his skin. Why'd I have to open my big mouth? He sneaked a glance towards his mother; her shoulders drooped in defeat. He wanted to kick himself for his stupidity. What was I thinking?!?
He grimaced as he remembered the young lady's reaction at the restaurant. He remembered the lame apology he kept giving to her father and to his mother.
Why'd she have to be so pretty?Kazuma snickered. He knew the answer to that particular question. He was always a sucker for a pretty face and it always flustered him to the point of foolish rambling when he came face to face with pretty girls.
The guys in the band are going to have a field day.He wasn't really looking forward to telling his friends what had happened that night, but he knew they were expecting him to. He mentally prepared himself for the ribbing that he would get.
His mother seemed to not have heard him. I guess she's really worried that I've ruined her chance of happiness. He sighed, feeling very guilty about what he had done that evening. "I'll apologize to her tomorrow." He said, hoping his mom heard him, hoping it would give his mom some optimism. I will go and apologize. Tomorrow, right after band practice. My band mates can give me moral support.
His mood picked up. He looked at his mother again and said, "Don't worry, mom. I'll fix things." His mom made no indication that she heard him.
He wasn't sure if he saw his mother's shoulders droop even more. Jeez, she should have more faith in her son -- even if it is me.
* * *
No amount of cajoling could lighten Tsubasa's mood -- not even the triple scoop of Chocolate Chip ice cream could cool her temper, or the pretty new dress her father had bought that evening. Younger sister?! 7th grader!? "Rocker yaro." She muttered under her breath.
"Who does he think he is?" She said more loudly, causing her father to sweat even more. She hadn't noticed how nervous her father was. Stupid Kazuma. Had to ruin the evening.
She looked at her reflection in the side mirror. Do I really look THAT young?
When they reached their home, her father tried one last time to cheer her up, but she ignored him. She went straight to her room and slammed the door behind her.
Inside her room, Tsubasa sat in front of her mirror and scrutinized her face. Is it because I'm short? She viewed her face from different angles. Is it my eyes? She knew she had no right to get angry. He was not the first person to mistake her for someone younger.
Every person she had met always treated her like a child, even though she was almost 16 years old. I guess I better go and tell Dad that I'm okay now. She stood up, took one last look at herself in the mirror. I must find a way to look more mature.
She would go shopping tomorrow. I should go over to Kazuma's place to apologize to them. She hated to admit she was wrong, but she had to this time -- for the sake of her father's happiness. Thinking about Kazuma made her left eye twitch -- she still hadn't gotten over the irritation. Rocker yaro.
* * *
I should get her something -- a peace offering.He let his eyes rove as he and his friends pass by window upon window of stores. I think she likes sweet stuff. He checked his pockets for some money -- depressed to find that he was down to his last thousand yen. Maybe a lollipop or a small pastry.
He knew he had a bit more inside his wallet, but that was for buying dinner. It was his turn to make dinner that night and he didn't really enjoy that chore.
I hope she's home.He wasn't paying attention to the discussion of his friends. Kazuma heard a commotion across the street and turned to see what was happening. I can't believe it. It's her.
Tsubasa was not in a good mood. Earlier that day, she went around to buy clothes. Many of the shop assistants suggested she browse through the "little miss" section when they encountered her. She had managed to keep cool the first few times, but after the fifth or sixth time, she lost it. Her ears were still ringing from the last tantrum she threw in one clothing store.
Her feet also hurt from the sandals she was wearing. She had chosen to wear a pair of really chunky sandals, which she thought made her appear taller. Now they hurt, and all she wanted to do was to sit down and take them off. I had to go kick that car.
And now, a lecherous old man was trying to pick her up. She was getting ready to give the man a piece of her mind, and her fist, when --
"Old man, don't be a fool."
She realized she was a few feet above the ground and the hand that had raised her was Kazuma's. His arrival and intervention startled her. She felt herself slowly being lowered until her feet touched ground again.
"Are you okay?"
Tsubasa nodded. She was still too surprised to speak.
The next few minutes were something out of an action movie. The police had come running when they heard that a young girl was being harassed -- thinking that Kazuma was the molester, they immediately apprehended him.
After slowly explaining to the cops what her relationship with Kazuma was, the police released him to Tsubasa's custody.
Without even talking about it, both immediately headed to the nearest soda vending machine and bought drinks.
At least I don't have to go all the way to her house."Mind if I walked with you for a while?"
"I'm tired. I want to sit down."
They found themselves sitting on the bridge.
Now's my chance to apologize."Thanks for saving me a while ago. Wouldn't have been able to explain to my mom about being jailed."
She smiled. "It was nothing. I'm the one who should thank you for saving me."
"You seemed to have had everything in control. I'm sure you would have given that guy a bruised chin given the chance."
"I wasn't going to hit him there."
Everything felt so surreal to him. Here he was, Kazuma Ikeda -- lead singer of a punk rock band, hanging out with a girl whose head barely reached his shoulder and would soon be his older sister.
"I really wanted to apologize to you. I didn't mean to imply -- I mean -- it was really awkward last night." He felt his face turn furiously red.
"I shouldn't have behaved that way last night either."
They looked at each other in companionable silence.
Say something. Say something cool and witty.He searched his brain madly, looking for a joke or a one-liner to say. He didn't understand why he wanted to impress this girl.
"Well, I should get going." He picked up his can and started to leave. He heard a can fall and soda fizzling as it emptied into the pavement.
"I want to talk some more. Can't we talk some more?"
He smiled. "I live nearby. Want to come over?"
She grabbed her bag and followed him.
They stopped by a convenience store near his house. He needed to pick up some cup noodles and microwaveable food.
"Do you want anything?"
Tsubasa thought for a moment. "Some Haagen Dazs ice cream."
The saleslady cooed at Tsubasa, thinking she was his little sister. He was secretly amused at how well Tsubasa was taking the attention. She grabbed one of the bags and handed him the other.
"Let me take both."
She allowed him to take the bags from her hands. It was something she wasn't used to having -- help. When she went grocery shopping, she always made sure she could fit everything in one bag so that she wouldn't have a hard time carrying it back home. Some times, she had to take multiple trips so she could buy everything.
He talked about his band and his school as they walked to his house. He didn't know why he felt so at ease in her company, but he did. It had been so long since he had anyone willing to listen to him talk. He couldn't talk about these things with the guys in the band.
Tsubasa was appalled by the smallness of the apartment. It's a good thing only two people live here. She looked at the shoes haphazardly arranged at the front of the door and the piles of newspaper stacked to one side.
"Bet you're surprised at how small this place is."
Kazuma disappeared into the kitchen with the bags of grocery. Tsubasa quietly arranged the shoes. She could hear Kazuma run around and complain about the chores left for him to do. I know how he feels. She went into the kitchen and her nose wrinkled at the smell of dishes days unwashed and heaped into the sink.
"I'm really sorry about the mess. We don't get much company here."
Tsubasa's eyes widened at the sight of a half-naked Kazuma leaning over the washing machine. She couldn't really hear the rest of his chatter as the drone of clothes being laundered drowned out every other sound.
She decided to make herself useful. She marched over to the sink and started cleaning the dishes.
"Hey, you don't have to do that."
"No, it's okay. I enjoy doing this. I'm usually the one who cleans up, too."
That revelation surprised Kazuma. "Don't you have a maid or something?"
"Someone comes in every weekend to clean up, but during the week, it's my responsibility." She handed him the wet dishes.
He found a towel in one of the cabinets and started drying. "So, what else can you do?"
"I usually cook, clean and do the laundry."
"I never saw you as the type to --" He realized that what he was about to say might offend her.
"-- who'd clean and do the chores?" She handed him another wet dish. "Ever since I was old enough to do it, that's been my contribution to my home."
What surprised him was her attitude. She didn't sound resentful or averse, but rather enthusiastic and matter-of-fact.
"I'm guessing you do a better job than I do."
She couldn't help but giggle at his confession. "I guess so." She picked up the sponge and started scrubbing at the pots and pans. "So, what were you planning to fix for dinner?"
"I was just going to boil some water for cup noodles."
She was horrified at his plan. "I can make curry and rice."
"Maybe you'd like to have dinner here?"
She was enjoying his company too much to cut it short. "I'll call my dad and let him know that I'm here."
When they had cleared the sink of dirty pans and dishes, she helped him with the laundry. At first, she tried to resist giggling at his lame attempts at folding the clothes, but she couldn't hold in the laughter.
He heard her burst of laughter and saw her pointing at the clumsily folded shirts and joined in. She ended up folding the clothes for him.
It had taken them less than their usual time to finish. She told him about her skateboarding accident and her school. He hummed some of the songs his band usually played. Doing chores had never been more fun for either of them.
"Why don't you take the pile of newspapers down to the recycling center? I'll start making dinner."
"Okay. I'll be back in a few minutes."
He watched her rinse and measure the rice and a sense of contentment welled inside him. This is how life should be. He picked up the stack and left the apartment.
When he returned, the smell of chicken curry wafted through the air. "That smells delicious." He closed his eyes and allowed himself to delight in the smell of a warm meal being prepared. He remembered the ice cream. "Hey, you want to take a break first?"
"Sure! The chicken will take a while to cook."
He took out the ice cream in the freezer and handed her the Haagen Dazs.
They went inside his room. He showed her his CD collection and pictures of him playing with the band. They sat down on the mat and ate their ice cream.
"How is it?" He asked between bites of ice cream.
Without hesitating, she offered him her ice cream. "Want a bite?"
She watched him take a bite of her ice cream. He's really not that bad, for a rocker yaro. She smiled, remembering the insult she had invented for him. I haven't had this much fun in a long while.
They finished eating their ice cream at the same moment the pot of curry whistled in the kitchen. She made a move to pick up the wrappers, but he quickly intercepted her.
"Let me get that." He picked up the wrappings and took the stick from her hand and disposed of them in the garbage can.
"I'll go see if the food is ready."
He heard her call out to him, telling him to come and eat. He went into the kitchen and his eyes widened at the feast that she had laid out. The chicken curry was artfully presented on a wide plate, a sprig of parsley for garnish and the rice had sesame seeds sprinkled on top. This was the first time in a long while that someone in this household had taken the time to prepare a meal.
She felt her heart swell as she saw the amazement and gratitude in his eyes.
He said it with such gusto that she giggled.
"This is delicious!" He took another helping of curry and handed her his empty rice bowl. She took it and filled it with rice.
"Where'd you learn to cook like this?"
She shrugged. "Cookbooks and hours alone of practice."
Alone. Like I am.He smiled and reached out to give her hand a sympathetic squeeze.
Instead of being repelled by his forwardness, it touched her. We are already like brother and sister. She remembered telling him that a few minutes ago. She squeezed his hand back.
"So, are you really against our parents marrying each other?"
She was quiet for a minute. If she were asked the same question yesterday, she wouldn't have hesitated to answer, "yes". But now -- I'm not so sure anymore. She looked at Kazuma. "I guess not."
He was holding his breath, not really sure how she would respond. When he heard her answer, he exhaled. "I'm glad." He put his bowl of rice down. "I really enjoy hanging out with you, you know."
"Me, too." I'm not alone anymore.
* * *
"Hey, wake up sleepy head!"
Tsubasa was shaking him even harder now.
"Dad said to be ready in ten minutes."
"Give me five more minutes of sleep, please." He mumbled under his blankets.
He felt her take a firm hold of the edge of his blanket -- knew that she was getting ready to pull the blanket away. He groaned.
"Okay, okay. I'm awake."
"This is our first family outing. I don't want us to be late. Be ready in five minutes."
"Bossy brat!" He said in a half-serious, half-joking tone.
"Four minutes and counting."
Family outing. The words felt so alien and yet so right. His mother had decided to move into the Shibahime household about a week ago. It had been bliss ever since.
He knew that he had to hurry. Tsubasa would be back in three minutes to remind him of the time. He hadn't suspected that Tsubasa could be so bossy and stern. "Like an older sister." He chuckled.
He was in the shower when he heard Tsubasa enter his room.
"Hurry up, Kazuma-chan. Mom and Dad are waiting."
Mom and dad.It was late one evening, when the two of them decided to call the other's parent "dad" or "mom". It had pleased their parents to no end, hearing themselves referred as such.
He knew she was impatient -- excited over the first family outing. They were going shopping and karaoke. He tried to remember how a pint-size girl was able to convince him -- a punk rocker, to karaoke.
"Hurry up! We're going to miss the discount at the karaoke place if we don't get there by noon."
Who'd ever guess a rich girl from Yamanote could be so stingy.He loved these other aspects of Tsubasa. He loved even more the knowledge that she only revealed these facets of her character to him.
"If you're not out in one minute, I'm going to kick the door down. I don't care if you aren't dressed yet."
He laughed. He glanced at his watch and knew he had about thirty seconds before she came barging in.
* * *
Shopping with Kazuma was a refreshing experience. He had an excellent eye for color and knew exactly what would suit her. He also didn't approve of the little girl dresses that her father seemed to like buying by the dozens.
He playfully tugged at her braids and she lightly kicked his shin every chance she got. Thankfully, she was wearing her sneakers.
Their parents had given up a few hours ago, claiming that they were too old to keep up with the two of them. They had returned home right after lunch.
"Tsubasa, watch over your little brother, okay?"
"Mom!" Kazuma knew that their mother was teasing.
"Here's some money. The two of you have fun, okay?"
Kazuma nodded as he folded the crisp bills and inserted them into his wallet.
They had decided to head to the beach. While waiting for the bus to arrive, Kazuma gave Tsubasa one of the earphones and he placed the other in his ear -- a Two-Mix* song was playing. At first, each was silently humming until eventually, they started to sing the song in unison.
Kazuma could not believe how well their voices blended. When the song was over, he asked, "Why don't you come and sing with me and the band?"
"Your friends are weird. Remember the time they visited the house?" She stuck her tongue out at him. "And besides, no one is going to allow me to enter any of the clubs."
"Oh yeah, that's right." He patted her head. "I had forgotten how small you are."
She playfully punched his side. "I'm not that small." She automatically tried to sit straighter and taller.
He laughed, grabbed her and hugged her tightly. "I'll beat up anyone who says you're small." He whispered earnestly. He released her after a long while. "After all, that's what little brothers are supposed to do, right?"
Summer vacation had never been this wonderful.She remembered her previous summer spent in the hospital, waiting for a broken leg to mend. I wish I had known him them. That way I wouldn't have been lonely. She looked at his smiling face and smiled back. I never want to be apart from him, ever.
* * *
"Kazuma-chan? Can I come in?"
Kazuma opened the door to find a pajama-clad Tsubasa outside. "Since when did you have to ask permission to come into my room?"
She smiled, giving him her best Bambi-eyes look and jumped into his bed. "Come here and braid my hair."
Kazuma paused for a minute. "Okay."
He sat behind her and took her hair and separated it into three sections. He couldn't help but react to the silky softness of her chestnut hair. He resisted the temptation to smell it. He concentrated on the task at hand.
"Were you doing something important?"
"Not really, just studying the chords and lyrics of our new song."
"It isn't perfect yet. We just finalized the arrangement yesterday."
"Sing it for me."
"I just told you it isn't ready yet. You'll be the first person I'll sing to when it is."
"I can go with you to band practice."
"Are you crazy? I wouldn't want those guys near you!" He had accidentally tugged her hair hard in the process.
"Ow, that hurts." Her hand reached back to touch his hand -- a silent request to relax. "Why not? I was kidding about being bothered by them the last time they were here."
"It isn't that." Why do I feel so possessive over her?
"You do know that I won't stop bugging you until you either sing it to me or you let me go to band practice with you, right?"
"I know." He studied his handiwork. It was a sloppy job. Tsubasa had tried to teach him how to do it several days ago, but he could never get the hang of it. She didn't mind, though. What mattered was that they were together.
"I'm making your favorite dish for lunch tomorrow."
"Yup. Even though it takes an hour of simmering to get the beef fork-tender, I'm still making it for you."
He didn't like where this was headed. He waited for her to finish.
"I'll make it because I know how much you like it." She turned to look at him, an impish glint in her eye. "You, on the other hand, won't even sing a song for me." The pout she gave him was a genius' touch.
He groaned and hit her lightly in the head. "Brat." He grabbed his guitar from under his bed. "Don't think you can charm your way into everything." He started strumming the first few chords of the new YinYang* song.
She leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Yes I can." She sat back and listened to him sing. She was thankful that he was absorbed in the music to notice her blush.
It was late when she decided to return to her room. Kazuma had been so affected by what had happened. He touched the spot where her soft lips pressed briefly. He could still feel the heat from his blush. Why'd she do that? He went over to his study desk and took out a sheet of paper. He started writing. He could always express himself best on paper. After a while, he realized that he had written his thoughts down as lyrics. He started humming a melody that had come to mind while he was deep into writing.
When he was satisfied with his work, he prepared for bed. Music always did have a miraculous effect on him.
* * *
Their summer vacation went by with a blur of memories. Kazuma and Tsubasa tried to spend as much time together as possible. They hadn't noticed that the leaves had turned red and then brown. Fall was coming, and they had to go back to school.
Both of them were bothered by the fact that they would be attending different schools and won't be able to spend as much time with each other as they want. That thought hovered about them as they tried to make the most out of what was left of their vacation.
"Why don't you transfer to my school?" Tsubasa asked the question casually over ice cream sundaes at the local desserts shop.
"Why don't you transfer to my school?" Kazuma echoed the question.
Both were silent for a moment, contemplating the other's question.
"I can't. I had a hard time getting into my school. It would be stupid of me to transfer schools."
Kazuma nodded. He knew how hard Tsubasa had to work in order to catch up with her other classmates. She had missed a whole quarter of classes when she was hospitalized for her injury.
"So I guess you understand why I can't change schools either, right?"
Tsubasa let out a sigh. "I guess so." She muttered. "I won't get to see you during lunch or break time."
Kazuma knew where her anxiety was coming from. He felt the same way. "I'll miss you, too." He squeezed her shoulder. "Hey, don't worry. My school is only two train rides away from your school. I'll go drop you off every morning and pick you up every afternoon." He saw her face brighten considerably. "Besides, the place where my band practices is closer to your school anyway."
"You promise?" She hated sounding so childish, but this was Kazuma. With him, she could behave any way she wanted and knew he wouldn't care.
"Well-- only if you agree to do my chores for the next month!"
Tsubasa laughed. "Rocker yaro!"
* * *
"I might be a little late coming by after school. We might have to change seats or something like that." Kazuma handed Tsubasa her bag. "Just wait for me later, okay?" He kissed her forehead. "Bye!"
Tsubasa watched as Kazuma disappeared into the crowd. I miss him already. She went to her classroom and found Yukino and the others gathered.
"Hey! How was your summer? We missed you during the last few outings."
"I was hanging out with my brother."
"The rocker dude? Aren't you afraid of him?" Yukino's eyes widened in emphasis.
"Not really. He's pretty cool."
"Oi, you've got to introduce him to us one of these days. We want to warn him to be careful around you." Tsubaki jokingly added.
"Three minutes before the first bell. We should go back to our classrooms." Trust Yukino to be conscious of the time.
"Why don't we all meet up at the gardens for lunch?" Rika shyly suggested as they were taking their leave.
"Capital idea, Rika!" Aya was always the first one to support and encourage her best friend's suggestions.
"I'll tell Arima and Asapin." Yukino tapped at her chin with her index finger. "Maybe we should invite Tonami, too."
Tsubasa listened to her friends make arrangements. Normally, she'd be the first one to be enthusiastic about food, but she didn't feel like it. She glanced at the wall clock above the blackboards. I get to see him this afternoon.
* * *
Since it was the first day of school, classes were being dismissed early for the day. Tsubasa restlessly flitted from the window to her chair as she waited for Kazuma. Yukino had stopped by to chat with Aya regarding the play. She didn't really pay attention to the discussion even though she was involved in the play. She was too busy waiting for Kazuma.
I forgot to ask her where her classroom was.Kazuma had been wandering around the school grounds for quite a while -- not really sure where to start looking for Tsubasa. He was headed to the entrance of the high school building when he heard someone call his name. He looked up and nearly died of shock.
Tsubasa sensed that he was near. She looked out of the window and saw his form. Without thinking twice, she opened the window of their third floor classroom and jumped -- eyes closed. "Kazuma-chan!" She heard Yukino scream as she was falling.
Kazuma extended his arms. Let me catch her, please let me catch her. Ohgodohgodohgod. He caught her squarely. His knees trembled from fright. "Why the hell did you do that?!"
She was oblivious to his anger. She snuggled closer to his chest. They were sprawled on the ground, she was sitting on his lap. Neither made a move to disentangle themselves.
"Tsubasa! Are you alright?" Kazuma looked at the pretty girl who was running towards them. Two other girls followed her.
They stopped a few feet away from him -- eyeing him with suspicion and curiosity.
"I'm Tsubasa's younger brother, Kazuma." He turned his attention to Tsubasa. "You okay?"
Tsubasa nodded. "You caught me!" She exclaimed breathlessly.
More of Tsubasa's friends and classmates arrived. He promptly introduced himself. He was especially curious about Souichiro Arima. Tsubasa had spoken very highly of that boy and he wanted to meet him.
When the excitement died down, Tsubasa led Kazuma to her classroom. She pointed at her seat and chattered about what she did that day. He went over to her seat and got her bag. Tsubaki, another friend of Tsubasa arrived. "Hey, Tsubasa, are you okay?"
Kazuma smiled warmly at this girl who could not hide her concern for Tsubasa. Tsubasa's really lucky to have such caring people around her. She watched as Tsubaki lectured Tsubasa about the dangers of high places. Wait 'til she hears my lecture.
* * *
He gave her an earful. He watched Tsubasa flinch as she slowly comprehended the possible consequences of her actions.
"Why did you do that in the first place? Jeez! You could have given me a heart attack!"
"I wanted to find out if you would catch me."
Her confession stunned him. "Were you worried that I wouldn't?" He drew her closer to his side.
"I didn't know."
"But now you do." He placed his hands on her shoulders and stopped her from walking. He turned so that they were face to face. "Tsubasa, you are important to me. I would never let you fall." He dropped to his knees and hugged her. "I will always catch you. Always."
* * *
YinYang is the name of Kazuma's band. The name is mentioned in Volume 9 of the tankubon.
Two-Mix is the group that sings the opening (and closing) songs of Gundam Wing (a series that I like very much.) No profound reason for choosing Two-Mix. I just happen to like their songs. =)