TITLE: Somewhere, The Fates Are Laughing At Me
SUMMARY:For Rika Haruko, eating a blessed fruit which leads to being cursed like the one on the Sohma family and impersonate her twin brother are the least of her worries when she has to deal with love! Oh, and did I mention she has an active conscience?
DISCLAIMER: No, I do not own anime/manga/products of Fruits Basket, so don't attempt to sue me. Thank-you.
IMPORTANT: "..." speech )...( annoying A/N interruptions
Make them 16 (Hatsuharu and Momiji) or 17 (Tohru, Kyo, Yuki, etc.), the rest, I don't remember -.-
Don't worry, I'll go get you the rings-and you'll be wearing them willingly, too.
Chapter 20: Stores, Rings, Parks, and Endings !
"Wow…who knew that this would work neh? You guys only opened it about half a year ago after you left the Sohma family, and already it's brimming with people!"
Chuckling, she turned away from the latest customer and answered with a wry grin, "Well, considering it got you out of your annoying habit, it was all worth it!"
Mou! Rika-chan is so mean!"
"'Mou!' And Chi-chan stole my brother's heart!" Rika mocked back. As their bickering started to get louder, it started raining stuff animals. Looking behind them at the glass counter, they met a terrible sight: an irked Haruko Riku. Oh yes, a horrible sight.
"Eep! Chi, calm him down before he starts chucking the glass figurines!"
"Mou, no! YOU'RE his sister!"
"And you're the girlfriend!"
"Rika-nee-chan!" Riku sighed, exasperated, looking back at how his beloved sister started to become more outgoing, he almost was convinced that the little timid girl stuck in the shed and his present day more outspoken sister weren't the same person.
Either way, he was happy the Sohma curse would not haunt Rika's mind.
Of course that was full of bull. Even though the curse was broken, she was forever going to have to bear the traits of her animal, the coyote. Glancing at his sister and almost wishing she had grown her hair past her shoulders, he turned to the chiming door with a refreshing smile.
"Welcome to Zodiac, the Morning Glory of tom-" His jaw fell slack at the tall man that gave the store a fleeting glance before settling onto the twin's face. Nodding to him and sauntering towards Riku, the twin felt vaguely felt himself bristle and slipping into his 'defend his sister!' mode. His first impulse was to frown very disapprovingly at his clothes.
The second was to beat the living shit out of the threat.
But then he remembered that no, this was not some ordinary 'other guy' after his fair sister's maiden hand. This was the guy who loved her.
That and he actually had a pretty good family fortune, another card to play in the game for Rika's heart.
'What am I thinking? Her heart was long gone to that guy' rolling his eyes inwardly at his own blank-out, he gave a nod of acceptance to the younger boy and called for Rika.
"Handle this one okay? I'm on break now!" Before she could protest, he covered the floor in a few strides and grabbed Chi out the door with him.
"Mou! Wait, Riku-kun!" Chi protested as they bounded into the alleyway next to the store. After giving up her struggle, she let her strange boyfriend drag her through the side door and into the storage room.
"What-" she was silenced by a hand clamped on her mouth.
"Shh…quiet and listen, 'kay?" Opening the door just a crack, they both peaked through, letting her vision adjust to the light, she saw the store quit empty and Rika staring dumbstruck at-at Hatsuharu!
"EH-!" she muffled her own exclamation as he caught Riku's glare at her.
With all thoughts aside, and if you ignored the tense way her body became when sandy eyes strayed to coal gray ones, Rika looked fairy much the same. Coughing to disperse the tension, she put on a smile and started to greet him when he cut her off.
"Ring; I need a ring." Her mouth doing an impressive imitation of a fish gasping for air, she blinked and stared at him with surprise. Did he forget about her…so fast…? Sure, seeing him again was uncomfortable, but him not even acknowledging their past…past relationship (whatever that was) was a blow to the forehead with a crowbar.
She noted the cocky raised eyebrow and automatically, she gritted her teeth with irritation. Even after so much time, he got to her so easily…
Shaking her head 'Two can play at that!' she forced a plastic smile, bowed and acted like any salesperson should act like to a customer. To a stranger.
"Yes sir, and what type of ring? For a girlfriend? W-wife? Mother, father or yourself?"
"Engagement ring" He grunted and started to scrutinize the rings on display, plainly ignoring the widened eyes and almost hurt face. Ignoring the muffled promise to beat the living shit out of him from the storage room, he stopped at a simple looking one and turned his attention back to Rika.
"You-you mean you're getting married!" the sandy haired girl rushed out in an outraged whisper. Ignoring the fact that they didn't really have any romantic type of relationship, she couldn't help but want to throttle him for being so stupid. She wasn't good enough or something! Rin…maybe Rin?
"Planning the engagement soon, but I need a promise ring for her." He grunted with a slight blush. She scowled in return. And to think…he actually might have liked her!
"Well," she retorted with a sniff, "our rings are more for casual wearing, not for something as-as important as that!"
"But I want to see that one" he said with a slight growl, jabbing his finger to one of the more expensive ones-a silver one with some simple designs carved into it. Running a hand through her hair, she slammed open the case to retrieve the ring-wondering who in their right minds would agree to go out with him!
Taking it form her hand, he inspected it from all angles, some times mumbling, sometimes nodding. Finally, he looked at her with a smile (and no, her heart so did not melt!).
"May I use your hand, miss…" squinting at her name tag, he continued "…Haruko? I'm not sure if it'll fit properly on her finger."
She raised an eyebrow, surprised. "Don't even know how big her finger is, sir…?"
"I'm not sure if it'd look nice or not, aren't the customers to be treated properly around this place?" Grinding her teeth at the insult, she was about to reach for it when his hand shot out to grab hers.
"Sorry, but I want to practice; I'm going to do it today, after all…" Rika did not know that she could reach such a high level of surprise, and then snorted at his terrible rushing. Buying the ring and promising his hand to this-this girl in one day? Stupid as ever.
Still, her breathing hitched when he lowered himself just a bit, but still high enough so he could reach over the counter and gently lifted up her finger to the ring's gapping mouth. Feeling a tingle she never expected to feel again shoot up and down her spine as he slid it down her finger, looking up with a smile and those gray eyes of his, she was left speechless for a moment or two.
Then, she remembered clear cold eyes and gorgeous hair that lazily followed the wind.
And the picture, the fantasy was broken.
"C-care for a box? It looks nice enough, sir" She stammered, feeling her fleeing anger replaced by bitterness and regret. She took off the ring slowly, laying it on the glass that separated the two of them.
It was her only wall, her defense, from him. It reminded her that she was a professional worker now, and he was a stranger. Not her pining over a lost love. A love that probably wasn't even there.
It wasn't big enough, 'the wall'; she wanted to run for the life of her.
Get out, please.
She wished she went back now, just to tell that silly cow that marrying wouldn't be all that bad.
You're eyes are too haunting, Sohma
But she was a coward, and confused. She wanted to breathe. To think.
It hurts to see you, now. It hurts a lot, seeing you moving forward, Hatsuharu.
But she took too long of a breath.
Go. Please go, because I might cry, Haru.
And she let him go without even knowing it.
Sensing her distress, the storage room burst open, and out to her rescue was her only loving family member, her brother. Taking a breath, she allowed him to take over, not noticing her friend's concerned look and her brothers flaming eyes. Noticing a waiting customer, she sighed and aided her.
It was work, selling these things, and she let the people, the punching of buttons of the cash register, and other several regular routines wash away at her, letting her just go on autopilot. She didn't want to touch that subject; Hatsuharu and his new girlfriend.
Hearing the bell ting, a sign that someone just left, her shoulders slumped and she let herself get pulled into a hug from both her brother and Chi.
And here she was, at the park that was nearest to their apartment. Her brother was out with Chi, meaning she'd have to eat dinner alone.
On those days, she walked the long way through the park, letting herself mull over minor to major issues as she strolled leisurely to their building.
Home. It couldn't really be called that, in her opinion. Even after so many months, she still felt a slight echo ring throughout the apartment, without the daily threats from Kyo and breaking walls caused by those two fighting.
Empty, empty, empty. But her brother seemed fine with it, and in reality, it was a decent place, so she shouldn't be complaining at all.
Snapped out of her thoughts, she lashed her head to the sky. Did it just…?
Splash. Drip. Splash.
Yes it did. Scurrying to a nearby tree, she sat down on a bench (thankfully, this park was nice enough to have big trees and benches) to wait out the rain. She looked at the sky in worry, seeing the darkening skies. It seemed that it wouldn't light up after a while, meaning that she'd be stuck under the tree for a good hour or two, getting the occasional dripping on.
Thank Buddha that there was no thunder this time.
She closed her eyes and sighed in frustration as her mind wondered back to Hatsuharu. It was weird, seeing him again, only to find out that he seemed to have forgotten all about her.
It was weird, to picture him with someone.
It was weird, picturing him not with her.
"Hey…" Well, speak of the devil…
"No refunds, sir" she murmured, wondering if she could bolt to her building without being completely drenched. Surveying the sky, she thought she had a good chance; it cleared to a drizzle, after all.
"Not that, I…Rika, look-" Hearing her name fall from his lips made her jump up in a panic. Was he apologizing or something? About what? Today, at the store? His new girlfriend? Both? She didn't want to hear it; any of it!
"I don't care!" she almost shouted, dashing away, into the rain.
She only covered a few feet from the haven of the tree when she felt herself jerked back by her wrist and into warm arms. Her shout of protest was muffled into his thumping chest, and her arms pinned down to her sides as his arms just held her there.
No need, seeing as she was rooted to the spot with shock.
Seeing that she wasn't going anywhere, he knelt down fully and sought out her hand, tightening it when he felt Rika try to jerk it away. Looking at her firmly, he reached for his back pocket, only to produce the box from earlier.
Staring at the innocent baby blue container with a snort, she blinked away the strange, salty raindrops from her eyes (no way in hell was she crying, now!).
"Rehearsing again, Hatsuharu?" she questioned with a bitter chuckle. He just shook his head and opened the box. It open, she closed her eyes, not daring to do anything. Running seemed good, since she was confused as hell, but she wanted, needed to know what was happening.
Feeling the cool metal slip and rest on her marriage finger, she darted her eyes to the ring, and was surprised that the ring was different; it was much fancier and more expensive looking. A gold band with silver entwining it; with a dark gray stone at the center; what kind of ring was this…?
"Marry me." It was all that was said before she felt herself go weak in the knees.
"What-whe-who! I thought this was for R-RIN!" Rika exclaimed, more confused and frustrated than ever. Her fast beating heart was just as distracting as how beautiful Haru still looked, with droplets decorating his face, but she trained all of her attention into his eyes.
"Marry me." He repeated, kissing her knuckles with a brush of her lips. "It was for you…all for you…"
"But-the promise ring…?" she finished lamely, remembering the letter of refusal to his offer so long ago.
"You wore the engagement ring, didn't you? At the store; and I didn't' force you. Rika…please." Getting up, he placed her hands on her shoulders like so long ago and stared intensely at her. Faintly, she felt a spark of anger flash in her, seeing how he practically tricked her into wearing that engagement ring at the store.
Quickly, he kissed her forehead, but seemed not satisfied, since he repeated it on her cheek, her nose, the corner of her lips…She was stunned, feeling his lips on her face, and wondered how in the world-what in the world she could say without shuttering like a love struck school girl.
"I love you." She blurted out, not knowing what else she could say, without tripping over any other of her words.
"Good." He said and finally dove to her lips, slamming her to his chest eagerly.
As her attention started to convert itself towards how his lips were wreaking havoc on her senses (and all from just kissing!) she dimly noted that she couldn't feel the rain anymore, as his body sheltered her, held her so tightly that she couldn't even feel the drops of heaven's tears.
Behind Some Trees
"About time! Now, this is perfect for my newest novel…"
"Wow, look at 'em go, Tohru!"
"Momiji! Don't say that to Tohru-san! Tohru-san, please get back under the umbrella!"
"But…I want to see if Rika-san said yes to Haru yet, Yuki-kun!"
"…At the rate those two are going, I think a yes, Honda-san. Shigure; if you get wet, don't expect a drive home from me; the car just got cleaned."
"Ah! I, the great Ayame-sama think that Hatori is most generous for driving us here! But, I, who everyone loves, know that it was my entire fault that those two are ensnarled by young passion…! If only I had not given Haru such a plan…!"
"Ayame, don't be cruel to yourself; it was my doing, planning it out with you…!"
"SHUT-UP, BOTH OF YOU! OR I'LL SKIN YOU BOTH!"
"At least he didn't get lost this time…stupid cow."
"Hiro-kun… please don't be mean; Haru-nii is getting better at directions, and I-I think it's nice that he loves Rika-nee!"
"But, the brat's right; Didn't he get lost about ten times before today…while he was across the street of that store of theirs! And he had a map-hey! Shut the hell up, you perverted dog, or I'll kill ya!"
"Kyo-kun! Why didn't YOU propose to me that WAY?"
"WHAT! Stupid woman; I didn't even ask you that yet!"
"QUICK! Kyon; propose now, so she won't kill you! And so we can have a DOUBLE wedding!
"I TOLD you to stop calling me THAT, stupid rabbit!"
END! OWARI! DONE!
Mini-Waffle: THAT'S THE ENDING!
Hitaru: (Cowers) Yes!...don't kill me…!
Mini-Waffle: (grumbles) Stupid way to end it…
Hitaru: Well, do YOU expect HATSUHARU to be that smart!
Mini-waffle: …At least it's done…
Hitaru: I know! And know, to Even If! But you see, I got this other account where I'm trying out a new style of writing, so, I'm getting confused with all this stuff. Hahaha…(sweatdrop) And to tel lyou the truth, i liked the ending scene of this chapter the most, nya!
THANK YOU, YOU REVIEWERS! I HOPE YOU (thosewho read it, anyway) LIKE EVEN IF JUST AS MUCH!
THANK-YOU FOR READING THIS AND REVIEWING IT! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GRATEFUL I AM FOR THAT!
AND THANK-YOU YINYIN-CHAN FOR BETAING!
...And they all walked away