Rated: I dunno. T?
Notes: This is a Momiji/Kusanagi fic, despite indications otherwise in this chapter. It's post Blue Seed, of course, and I've never seen the OAV so that's not even included in this. Sadly, Blue Seed and its characters do not belong to me.
The spring that year was cold, colder than any spring Momiji Fujimiya could remember. She was only nineteen years old and the last three years had been, instead of a pleasant dream, a frightening nightmare out of the worst depths of her imagination. Even thinking of what had just occured in the building behind her brought series of shivers down her spine again and clouded her vision with tears. Putting a hand to her mouth and drawing her jacket tighter around her, Momiji looked up to the frigid blue sky and thought fiercely to herself, Good riddance to you, then. I never needed you anyway.
With a slow, plodding pace, Momiji set off down the sidewalk with her head bowed, relying on her feet to carry her to the train station by themselves. Her thoughts swirled tumultuously in her head, throbbing with the low thrum of a fluttering broken heart, as she struggled to cope with what had just happened. What had just happened? She found herself wondering if what had gone down inside of the TAC building had actually occured or if she had dreamed it, and Momiji stopped on the sidewalk, pinching herself roughly. Pain blossomed in the wake of her fingers and she dropped her face into her hands, fighting back the tears that threatened to trickle down her cheeks.
She faintly heard someone call her name but she honestly didn't feel like speaking with anyone and ducked into the nearest door she could find. Ironic, she mused, noting it was a sweets shop and beginning to absently rifle through the contents of a nearby barrel full of wrapped candies. The soft ringing of the bell above the door of the shop caught her attention, though she didn't make a move to look at the newcomer.
"Momiji, there you are."
Sugishita? "I'm not really in the mood to talk to anyone right now, Sugishita..." Momiji mumbled, wiping furiously at her eyes as silent admissions of pain made slow paths down her milky complexion.
The blond policeman reached out a hand to tentatively touch her shoulder and felt her freeze. "Do you really feel that way, Momiji...?"
Try as she might, Momiji just could not keep her face from crumpling into soft sobs and she threw herself into Sugishita's waiting embrace. "I'm so sorry..." she said after a few moments, rubbing at her eyes with the back of her hands and Sugishita kissed her forehead.
"Why don't we go get a cup of tea at my apartment?" he asked her gently, removing his jacket and placing it over her trembling shoulders as they stepped out of the building. Momiji drew the added warmth around her and took a deep, steadying breath, inhaling the sharp scent of Sugishita's expensive cologne. The policeman laid a friendly, gentle hand on the chestnut-haired Kushinada, steering her towards his waiting car, parked across the street.
Wordlessly, Momiji let him open the passenger side door for her and barely felt him nudge her inside as she took her seat. Mechinacally, she buckled her seatbelt, lost in her thoughts as Sugishita slid into the driver's seat and started up the car.
"Don't worry, Momiji," he said softly, trying to catch her emerald eyes, usually bright with good humor. "Trust me...you don't need him."
Momiji looked sharply up at him, clutching the fabric of her skirt in a death grip.
When Momiji entered Sugishita's apartment, she hadn't expected to see what she did. It was neat and orderly and looked half lived in, the TV running on mute in the corner of the room. It consisted mainly of the front room, a small kitchen on the far right of the room from the front door and the living room to the left. A metal-frammed glass coffee table with a small potted plant sat in front of the pale green, ratty sofa, a matching recliner in slightly better condition positioned exactly in front of the television set. The TV sat on a black entertainment center, two tall speakers flanking it with a VCR and DVD player directly under the TV. A small collection of DVDs and VHS tapes took up the shelf above the television, and at the very bottom of the entertainment center sat a very expensive looking stereo. The wall furthest left of the room opened up into a narrow balcony, wide enough for an angled chair and a small table.
A bookcase was built into the wall above Sugishita's sofa with the two topmost shelves taken up by books and the remaining three shelves cluttered with CDs and old cassette tapes. An end table between the sofa and recliner sported a lamp and a couple of framed pictures, and even from the doorway Momiji could see the dark glint of Ryoko Takeuchi-Kunikida's hair in one of the photographs. A dimly lit hallway divided the kitchen from the living room, and Momiji assumed that following that hallway would lead one to Sugishita's bedroom and bathroom.
"May I take your coat?" Sugishita asked, holding his hand out to Momiji as he slipped off his shoes and into a pair of slippers. Silently, she removed both of the coats she wore and handed them to him, following his example with her shoes.
Quickly, Sugishita hung up their coats in the threshold closet and said to Momiji, "Make yourself at home. The television has satellite channels, and you can turn on the stereo if you want. I'll go put a kettle of water on the stove to boil."
Momiji nodded to him and slowly made her way towards the worn recliner, touching the top of the chair and looking over her shoulder. She watched Sugishita turn off the overhead kitchen light and open the blinds of the window above the sink, grab the kettle, and fill it with water before she turned back to the living room. It was quite roomy for an apartment, Momiji decided, looking over at the television for a moment and walking over to it to push the volume up button. The speakers suddenly blared into life as a game show revealed possible prizes to one of the contestants.
Slowly easing herself down, Momiji studied the pictures sitting on Sugishita's end table. As she saw from the doorway, a picture of Ryoko and Sugishita sat front and center. They looked to be in a park somewhere and both of Ryoko's eyes were visible for once, Momiji noticed with an empty smile. Sugishita's hand sat comfortably on the smaller woman's shoulder and he was flashing a victory sign at the camera with a large grin while Ryoko blushed lightly and smiled serenely. They both looked decades younger.
The next picture was of a sandy-haired young girl and dark-headed boy, the latter of which was holding bunny ears behind the former's head. The little girl had a splash of freckles across her nose and cheeks, her short hair tied up on either side of her head, as bright green eyes flashed happily at the camera. The boy's chocolate eyes looked put out though a half-hearted smirk graced his mouth, and his posture seemed very defensive. They were seated at a dining room table, the girl with her hands folded neatly atop the surface and the boy with only one arm splayed precariously there. The corner of a framed picture was above the small girl's head, nothing but elegantly crafted wallpaper behind the boy.
The third frame held the image of a tall, noble-looking redhead staring perspicaciously at the photographer. Her brilliant blue eyes looked annoyed and suspicious with her full, crimson mouth set in a thin line. Her complexion looked almost like carved porcelain with one hand, nails lacquered the red of her mouth, grasping the handle of a paper sun umbrella. The other hand sat balanced upon her curvaceous hip, and Momiji noticed for the first time what the woman was wearing. The crimson dress reached up to the woman's neck, clasping around the back of it, and falling in a slinky encasement down towards the bottom of the photograph. Momiji leaned closer and noticed black lines running through the dress and barely made out what looked to be flowers of some type embroided into the very fabric. The woman's breasts looked ready to pop out of the dress she wore, the nineteen-year-old noted with a scowl, touching the spot where she had once held a mitama.
"That's Reikae Takagawa," Sugishita said softly, startling Momiji with his voice. He set the tea tray down on the coffee table and picked up the two mugs of tea, handing one to Momiji as he sat back in his recliner.
"Reikae Takagawa?" Momiji repeated quietly, the first thing she had said since arriving at Sagishita's apartment.
"She's a movie star overseas," Sagishita replied, taking a sip of his tea and crossing his ankle over the opposite knee. "I grew up next door to her and thought that she would be a model." His mouth twisted into a bittersweet smile as he picked up the frame and stared at it for a few moments, proffering it to Momiji when he was done. "Before I became a police officer I wanted to become a photographer. Reikae was my sweetheart up until the last year of high school, and we always said that I would be her personal photographer, and her agent." He gave a quiet laugh. "That didn't work out too well. The last year of high school she was discovered by an American agency when she visited during a summer trip to Los Angeles with her parents." Taking another drink of his tea, he looked to Momiji and gave her a small smile. "Reikae, Ryoko, and I all grew up together."
Momiji blinked and said, "You did?"
Nodding, Sugishita continued. "After Reikae moved to America, suddenly it was just Ryoko and I." Absently, he pointed to the picture of he and Ryoko. "She and I got much closer during our senior year, and I started to fall in love with her. Reikae had blinded me to it before, but Ryoko had been in love with me for a long time." Pausing, he looked fondly at the framed picture. "I still didn't see it until the day she told me that she had enrolled in the police academy."
"Did you become a police officer because of Ryoko?" Momiji wanted to know, the ache of her heart forgotten for the moment.
"Yes," Sugishita admitted, his eyes glinting with a reminiscent amusement. "My future fell apart when Reikae left for America and honestly, I had nothing in mind as to what I could do with my life so I did what I had planned on before: following the woman of my desires into her chosen career." Laughing embarrassedly, Sugishita waved his free hand. "Not that I don't enjoy being a police officer. The experiences these last few years have offered are incredible..."
"Who are the boy and the girl in this picture?" Momiji wanted to know, trying to delay baring her heart to Sugishita for as long as possible.
"The little girl is Toriko and the little boy is Akito," he explained patiently. "Toriko is my little sister; she was eight years old in that picture, and Akito was the boy who lived in the house next door after Reikae moved out." With a wry smile, he continued, "Toriko and Akito are supposed to get married in June."
Momiji nodded and took a lukewarm gulp of tea, not really tasting it. "They look cute. Are they happy together?"
"To be honest," Sugishita confessed, "I don't understand their relationship. When they aren't kissing, they do nothing but argue and fight. Though, Toriko hasn't come to my mother or I with any complaints, so I can only assume that she has the time of her life with him. Toriko has always been a bit stubborn, but she and Akito have known each other for years and know how the other works."
A comfortable silence nestled between the police officer and the Kushinada, broken only by soft slurping noises from the mugs of tea. Finally, Sugishita placed his mug on the tea tray and leaned forward, both feet firmly on the floor, as he balanced both elbows on his knees and clasped his hands together.
"Do you want to talk about what happened with you and Kusanagi, Momiji?" he asked as gently as possible.
The girl's heart lurched at the mention of his name and her eyes misted over with fresh tears. No, she commanded herself. No crying in front of Sugishita!
Sugishita felt like a heel. "I just..."
"He said he wanted to talk to me," Momiji began, her voice quavering. "Alone. So we went up to the rooftop of the TAC building and he told me..." her voice broke, small tears beginning to spill over her cheeks. "He told me that now that the threat of the Aragami was gone, he had no excitement in his life." Momiji's grip on her teacup tightened considerably. "He told me that I was nothing but a clumsy little girl and he just couldn't find what he was looking for in me."
Slowly, Sugishita took the mug from Momiji's death grip and set it on the tray, taking her smaller hands in his.
"He's right, you know," Momiji whispered. "I'm nothing but a foolish, clumsy little girl chasing after a dream hero."
"Princesses are supposed to get their white knights," Sugishita murmured, his heart truly going out to Momiji. He hated to see the normally cheerful, brave woman in such pain, especially because of the half-Aragami Kusanagi.
Momiji shook her head fiercely. "No, that's just it! He told me that I was in love with the idea of him...not in love with him...and he was in love with the danger I brought!" her voice rose to a shriek at that point, her face completely torn asunder with tears.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands, using his thumbs to clear away the girl's tears. "Momiji..."
"Don't you see, Sugishita!" she all but shouted at him. "I'm nothing but a silly little girl in love with a dream! A princess with no happy ending!"
"Momiji." He tried again.
"I'm sorry!" she cried at him, her voice shrill. "I'm sorry, I'm nothing but a screw up! I'm clumsy and stupid and boring! And Kusanagi hates me!"
"Momiji," Sugishita repeated.
"How could I be so stupid? I should have...never...been born..." her voice fetered off at the end, her eyes closing as she refused to look at Sugishita.
"Momiji," Sugishita said with a little more force. "Momiji, you saved all of Japan. That's far from being a screw up, sweetheart."
She opened her watery green eyes to stare at Sugishita, his visage made blurry from her tears. Convulsively, her hands gripped at the hem of her blue skirt as she sniffled softly to herself. I don't deserve friends like this, she thought darkly. Sugishita barely even knows me and here he is, comforting me, listening to me whine at him...
Sugishita kneeled in front of her and kissed her forehead. "You have no idea how much to matter to those who know you."
"I don't matter to Kusanagi," she interjected darkly, her voice strained.
"Then maybe Kusanagi wasn't meant for you," he told her. "There is so much you have to offer and so many people willing to catch you if you fall. Kusanagi is an idiot for brushing you off like this." Sugishita moved one of his hands to brush through her hair, long free of its ribbon at the end of her tresses. "You are so charming, absolutely adorable, and endearing in so many ways, Momiji." For his next sentence he caught her eyes. "And on top of everything, you are a stunningly beautiful woman."
Momiji's response caught Sugishita entirely off-guard.
She leaned into him and kissed him.
Eight months later...
Ryoko Takeuchi-Kunikida brought the mail in from outside, calling to her husband. "Daitetsu, come here. We have something addressed to both of us...it's from Momiji."
Daitetsu Kunikida sprinted into the hallway, stopping when he reached his wife. "From Momiji?"
Wordlessly, Ryoko handed over the hand-written envelope to Daitetsu with a small shrug. "You open it."
Flickering his eyes from his wife to the envelope, Daitetsu began to work at the seal, opening it moments later. Inside he found a beautifully decorated, frilly white card. With a frown, Daitetsu opened the card and read the inscription aloud. "'Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kunikida: You are cordially invited to witness the nuptial ceremony of Momiji Fujimiya and...'"
The card fluttered out of Daitetsu fingers and landed on the floor face up. Ryoko leaned over it and finished reading the rest of it, her eyes going wide.
You are cordially invited to witness the nuptial ceremony of Momiji Fujimiya and Shunichi Sugishita.
Please R.S.V.P. by January 2.
So, a little different. Don't worry, this does end up being Momiji/Kusanagi, they're just taking the long route. Reviews are appreciated!