One Beneath the Rain
"How do you know?"
He leans back against the rail, his fingers fiddling with the lighter in his hand. "You just do," he replies after a short pause. He turns to look at her. "You don't need a sign."
She's unsatisfied with his answer, her mouth slowly twitching into a deformed state. "Of course you need a sign. It's a hard thing to realize, you know." She glances downward at the wet, vacant sidewalks. "I mean, one person, just one out of… 13 billion!"
He chuckles. "6 billion."
"Whatever," she mumbles. "Same thing. There are so many people. There can't just be one."
"Why not?" he challenges her. He lightly punches her shoulder. "There's one of you, so can't there be one unique person for you as well?"
She sighs heavily, pondering his statement. "No," she concludes firmly.
He turns to her, observing her empty stare into the distance. "So you're saying you can be compatible with more than one?"
He nods slowly, and then leans in to give her a suspicious look. "So who you've been with, playette?"
She shoves him away immediately, hiding the smile on her face. "Shut up. No one. I'm just saying." She stretches her legs to rest along the stairs of the fire escape. "There can be none as well."
He scoffs. "Hypocrite. What happen to your '13-billion' theory?"
She narrows her eyes at him, and then turns away in embarrassment. "All I'm saying is that there can't be just one."
He absentmindedly presses his hand against the switch of his lighter, igniting a flame.
She's too busy staring out at the dark evening sky to notice him. "Some people have more than one, some people have none," she mutters.
The rain flickers the flame. He frowns slightly. "That's why people divorce."
She flinches at the word, a pang of guilt spreading throughout her body. "Sorry," she whispers.
He shakes his head and tosses the lighter back in his jean pocket. "Don't worry 'bout it," he tells her.
She bites her lip, pulling her legs back to her chest and leaning her head in the pillow of her arms. For a while, everything is silent except for the occasional roll of thunder and the sound of falling rain.
Suddenly he stands up, and makes his way past her and down the stairs.
Her eyes follow him closely until he finally stops and leans over a rail looking over the downtown area. He's in deep thought.
She pulls herself sluggishly to her knees and crawls over to the edge of the stairs before descending down them and resting on a lower step. "Takeru?" she calls softly, afraid she'd interrupt his thinking, but more afraid of what he was thinking of. "Are you okay?"
He nods numbly, not turning around.
After a moment of hesitation, she stands up and walks over to him. She wraps her arms around his torso, letting his back support her head.
Eventually he encloses his hand over hers, and he turns around with a grin on his face.
She smiles. "Better?"
"Yeah." He traces his fingers along her face. "You know, I think you're right."
She looks at him confusingly. "What do you mean?"
He gives her an amused look. "It's impossible to find one person on this planet that can be your soul mate."
She nods quietly, turning out to look at the cityscape again. "There are just too many people. I mean, maybe, just maybe there really is someone out there perfect for you, but you'll just never find them because they live far away or you two just never meet. And sometimes you think it's 'the one' but you're mistaken and end up hurting them to be with someone else." She sighs. "It's too complicated. I just think it's impossible, or very very unlikely."
He laughs softly at her explanation. "Yeah, I know." He turns down to stare at her. "…But what if you really think you've found the one?"
She's still hypnotized by the urban lights. "Then go for it, I guess. You won't know unless you try."
He hesitates. "What if they don't feel the same way about you?"
She glances up at him, a teasing smile on her face. "Why? You have someone in particular in mind?"
Her eyes gleam in surprise. "You never told me! Who is it?" she demands eagerly.
"I'll tell you after," he says. "Answer me first: What if they don't feel the same way about you?"
She shrugs her shoulders simply. "You need to give them a sign, like I told you before. And then see if they respond."
"What kind of sign?"
"I dunno. Something that shows you want to be more than on friendly terms."
Suddenly, he leans in and kisses her. He pulls back, his expression unwavering. "…Like that, Hikari?"
She's mesmerized. "Uh-Ha… Y-Yeah…"
The edge of his mouth lifts for a quick moment. "And how would she respond to that?"
"D-Depends." She looks down shyly. "She could… kiss you back."
He tilts her chin up so she would face him. "Like how?"
Her eyes are filled with nervousness. In a swift, abrupt second, she reaches up and pecks him softly. "Like that," she blurts and then runs back to her spot on the stairs.
He follows her slowly, and sits opposite to her on the same step.
Awkward minutes pass by.
She raises her head slowly. "You know, forget it."
He glances over at her in confusion.
She recalls their earlier conversation. "If you happen to meet 'the one'…. You'll just know. You don't need a sign."
He smirks. "Oh really?"
"Yeah," she answers, avoiding his stare. "It can be tricky sometimes though." She laughs softly. "You can know the person your whole life and never be smart enough to realize they're the one you've been searching for."
He pauses briefly, returning his gaze to the streets below. "It's a good thing we're both smart then, hmm?"
She tries to contain a smile from slipping out. "…Yeah."