Spring Dance
A SatoshiXRisa ficlet

Disclaimer: DNAngel is the product of Yukiru Sugisaki's awesome creativity. Not mine to own.

Due to Knight Basilisk's fabulous artworks. Inspired by - and for - KB.

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Days like this made her feel as though life was just a dream - transient and not as real and vivid as it presented itself to be.

At least, this was how Harada Risa felt as she pulled on her silk brocade, marked with patterns of powder-pink cherry blossoms and against a deep fuchsia. Two goldfish flanked either sleeve. It was a new kimono; one that had been given to her on a special occasion, or rather, for a special occasion.

The smell of spring was just in the air, wafting in with warm drifts of air, thawing out the chill of a winter recently past. The flowers perched outside her window had already begun to blossom, few still in the budding stages. Birds returning from their winter retreat were chirruping merry songs only the season could inspire. A perfect day in many aspects, Risa thought as a smile formed on her lips.

If only it could effectively drown out Riku's loud yell.

"Mou! Risa! We're going to be late!"

Grunting in displeasure, Risa unfolded her obi and tried tying the thick band about her waist. She had only worn a kimono on two occasions before: once at her grandfather's funeral – he was an extremely traditional man – and another at her cousin's wedding – same lineage, no doubt.

Riku rapped at the door another time. "What on earth are you doing in there?"

"I'm having a little trouble with the kimono!" she yelled back, frustrated with Riku's incessant nagging.

She heard her twin sister sigh. "Why don't I help you with it?"

Fumbling with the material, Risa made her way, albeit clumsily, to her door and opened it. Riku's expression was a mix between exasperation and amusement. With another sigh Riku took the obi from her hands and shooed Risa back into her room.

"Look at you," Riku began, tugging the yoke of Risa's kimono so that it did not hang awkwardly on her form, "you've crumpled your kimono."

Risa rolled her eyes. "Thanks Riku. Like I didn't know."

"Well," her sister started cheerily, "it isn't crumpled too badly. I suppose the creases will hardly be noticeable once we get you dressed." Leading her twin sister away from the door, Riku began to explain the esoteric tricks to wearing kimonos.

"Yes, Riku, I know," Risa bit her lip as she took the obi into her own hands. "Look, I've only worn such an outfit twice in my entire life. No one remembers all those nitty-gritty intricacies with such little experience."

Riku, who had started by smoothing the creases, gazed up at her. "I did," she stated matter-of-factly.

"Well, not everyone's like you."

And there was only one other person Risa could think of who would remember such minutiae.

"Oh, Risa," Riku could only say as she began to wrap the obi about her twin's waist. "Tell me if it's too tight."

"Mhn, not at all."

It was a spring festival which called for traditional attire and the hassle that often accompanied it. A first of many festivals to follow by ­­­Azumano Junior High, and one she had hardly been looking forward to since it had been announced. Just thinking about the occasion made her queasy. It had been an optional function, and she had wanted to opt out, but after some persuasion she agreed to attend.

She let out a short exhalation at the thought. Satoshi had good persuasive strategies. Freedom of choice wasn't much of liberty whenever he was involved.

"Are you planning on doing up your hair?"

Risa looked up from her thoughts to the realization that Riku was already done. Her sister had pulled out her caboodle of hair accessories and was browsing through it.

"Uh, yes," she replied absently, gazing at her reflection in the full-length mirror propped against her wall.

"It's an awfully beautiful kimono." Riku was looking at her.

Risa turned to the side to examine the tied bow. "Yeah…you did a pretty good job, Riku. Thanks."

Riku gave her a flattered smile. "No problem."

"You've got to teach me one day."

"That is, if you would bother to pay attention," the older sibling said, tacitly. Risa shrugged. "So which of these do you intend to use?"

"Uh, in the bag."

Locating the said object, Riku gasped disbelievingly when she removed the content. "You bought another one?"

"Not me." There was something about hanging out with a certain blue-haired boy that made Risa's speech pattern similar to his laconic one. Well, sometimes.

"Oh."

Risa took the pink silk ribbon from her sister and smiled gratefully. Times like this reminded her of how well his sister truly knew her.

"Riku?" she asked as she began to bundle a layer of hair.

"Hm?"

"Let's go shopping this weekend."

Riku turned to look at her. "No thanks. I've got better things to do. Besides, you'd have more fun with Hiwatari-kun."

Mischievously; "And you with Daisuke."

Annoyed, the older of the siblings made her way to the door. "I'll wait downstairs. Just hurry up a little."

Risa stifled a giggle. Times like this reminded her of how well she knew her sister.

Swiftly, she turned to the mirror for one last look before exiting her room.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Satoshi had known from the start that this was something he would have to learn to get accustomed to. Waiting for any length of time between fifteen minutes and two hours just so that his female counterpart would appear presentable, all dressed up for whatever was on his agenda. It was by all means something that every male who would ever fall in love had to get used to, unless they took to the punctual type who eventually would grow less aware of the time and more conscious of their appearance. In fact, he had expected to receive the full brunt of a woman's lateness when he chose the tardiest of girls.

But this was going too far.

Satoshi didn't think Risa was the slightest bit late when it came to Dark. Most likely, the girl would have been on the scene before her beloved legendary thief.

He glanced at his watch again, watching the methodic movement of the secondhand and making sure it wasn't moving faster than it ought to. All about him, there was the sounds of cheer as various members of his school partook in the festivities, be it locking on to the generous supply of food or participating in the activities that had been scheduled or simply enjoying conversations with one another. Even though he knew that time would neither slow down nor pass faster, he took another good glance at his watch, wishing that the girl would hurry up and the festival would take a short break.

Grimacing, he leaned against a tree, keeping a lookout for Risa. Satoshi turned around when he bumped into something, or rather, someone.

"Hi-hiwatari-kun!" a startled Daisuke managed to stutter.

Apologizing quickly, Satoshi stepped away, surprised that Daisuke was mulling about when he should have been joining the others in their joyous activities. Without him asking, however, his answer came automatically.

"Don't mind me, Hiwatari-kun, I'm just looking out for Riku-san," Daisuke explained. "She called a while ago, saying that she would be late."

Certainly, he should have known that Risa's nasty habit would affect her twin as well.

Satoshi was about to say something when he spotted two near-identical heads pop out from a recently halted car. Recognizing the twins, he signaled their arrival to Daisuke, who promptly went off to greet Riku. Checking his watch one last time, Satoshi left to meet Risa.

"Just on time," was the first thing he said when he met her at the gate. "They're about to start."

Satoshi took her hand in his and began in the direction of the fountain, where many people had gathered for the next event. Risa, however, remained where she was, unwilling to leave.

"What's wrong?" he asked, giving her hand a light tug.

Risa bit her lip. "I don't…can we miss this event?" she hesitated before taking a step forward. "I'd much rather sit down and chat."

"About?"

"I don't know…anything, I suppose."

Satoshi frowned. This was not like Risa.

Leaning in to peer at her face, he tried to read the inscrutable expression. What was it that held Risa back? Satoshi thought he had done well in persuading her to attend the Spring Festival with him, especially just for this one event.

"You're not confident…" he murmured, trying to deduce the source of her reluctance.

"What are you talking about?" Risa demanded, placing a hand on her hip.

Ooh, he had hit a spot. Satoshi smiled.

"Perhaps you're afraid of attending the dance, hm?" he probed, resting the knuckles of his free hand against his chin in a thoughtful expression. "Could it be that – "

"Hey, I'm not one of your suspects so don't try your interrogative methods on me."

"Maybe you don't know how to dance. That would explain why you were so averse to coming to the Spring Festival," he continued, ignoring her protest. "Because you, the supposed girlish one, would be required to prove your authenticity – and, of course, most girls do know how to dance."

"Hey, I didn't have a problem with coming to the Spring Festival until you asked," she shot back.

"Is that so?" he quirked a brow, disbelievingly.

"Ugh, men!" Irked by his lack of concern, Risa stalked off in the direction of the fountain, pulling Satoshi behind her. "If you want to dance so much, then fine!"

Two minutes later they found themselves near the fountain, where many had already begun a light swing to the music played from a central band. Risa caught a familiar pair of redheads on the far side of the quad and quirked a smile for Riku.

She had always been rather amazed at the way those two were, so alike in so many ways. How Daisuke and Riku had almost the same shade of hair, or how shy they could be about one another, yet so bold at the same time. They just looked so…right for each other.

Feeling the light tug on her hand, she turned to Satoshi.

"Still hesitant?" he asked, head tilted to one side, inquiringly.

"The kimono looks good on you," he persisted when Risa turned away to fix her eyes on the stone floor. "Risa?"

Silence.

Patience, Satoshi told himself. There were a lot of things about Risa which reached beyond comprehension at first, but with the blessed passage of time, mysteries unraveled themselves.

A little more quiet save the music in the background, then in soft admittance: "You were right."

"Hm?"

"You were right," she reiterated, a little louder this time. Satoshi could hear the vague annoyance in her voice.

"About the kimono?"

"No." Yeah, she was annoyed all right. "About dancing."

Suppressing the smile that threatened to appear, Satoshi took her hand more firmly in his and placed it on his shoulder. While it was fun to goad Risa once in a while, he was aware that there were times when the occasion simply did not call for it.

"Eh, what are you doing?" She was looking at him now, surprised.

"Give me your hand," he said, ignoring her question.

Risa's brow creased. "But you already have it," she said, referring to the one perched upon his shoulder.

"The other one."

Apprehensively, Risa placed her right hand in his. As soon as she had done so, Satoshi drew her close, placing his free hand on her waist as protocol demanded.

"Wha-" Risa started.

"It's easy," he shushed her. "Just follow my lead."

"But-"

"You'll catch on," he assured her. And when she fell into an insolent silence, he let himself smile a little. "Remember, I bought that just for this."

Risa glared at him with incredulity. What audacity! As if she were to do as he bid.

"Well," she said, lifting her hand from his shoulder. "You didn't say anything about how long I had to dance with you."

Unfortunately, Satoshi caught it in an unyielding grip.

"I'm sorry," he said softly as they resumed their initial position. "And, you do look good in the kimono," he added.

"Mhn," Risa murmured. "I suppose I should thank you, even though it was sheer bribery."

Satoshi shrugged a little, adjusting his footing so that Risa wouldn't step on his feet.

Risa was catching on fairly fast though, and she had stopped training her eyes on their feet for the past few steps. She was getting used to the pace and her fingers had ceased to dig into his shoulder.

"Which reminds me, why are you wearing a Chinese outfit instead of a Japanese one?"

Indeed, instead of wearing a traditional Japanese costume as most would have, Satoshi was donned in what looked more like an oriental suit. The base colour of his outfit was blue; his sleeves a deep navy, revealing a light Prussian blue upon folding, the front and back of his top was a similar Prussian blue. As décor, there was a bird – a phoenix, perhaps – embroidered onto his top.

"No one said anything about the choice of attire," he replied, "only that we have to wear a traditional outfit."

Risa stared at him incredulously, not knowing what to say.

She didn't understand him, at all. This was not the first time he gone out of his way and betrayed tradition, and she knew that it would certainly not be the last. Feeling rather awkward on his behalf, Risa took a quick glance at the other students about them to see if any of them had purposefully worn different traditional attire. She spotted Keiji donning a modernized Chinese outfit and Funabashi sporting a ridiculous-looking Chinese hat-and-pigtail – it would have been a relief if it had not been Keiji who was in that attire. Risa figured it had once been a Saga Entertainment prop.

Off to the side, taking shots of the event, was Saehara with what looked like a poor imitation of a turban atop his head. Risa could hardly miss the handlebar moustache that was plastered between his mouth and nostrils.

Traumatized, Risa turned back to the blue-haired boy who had all but noticed her momentary distraction.

"Well, at least you didn't wear an Indian outfit," she muttered, consoled somewhat.

Satoshi made a thoughtful sound. "I did consider that option…"

"What?" she exclaimed, halting suddenly. Satoshi had to pull her away before a nearby couple bumped into her.

Quirking a small smile, he glanced at Takeshi. "Saehara-san is wearing that combination on a bet which he lost."

"Something to do with you, I surmise," she said, falling back into the rhythm of the song. Risa was not about to ask exactly what he had to do with Saehara's bet, even if it did pique her curiosity somewhat. She had long resigned herself to the fact that Satoshi was rather an enigma of a person, and to understand him was sometimes more trying for her than she would let him know. And somehow, Risa always found this particularly upsetting, especially when she saw how Riku and Daisuke seemed to get along so well, so easily.

She sighed.

"What's the matter?"

"Mhn, nothing." She closed her eyes, waiting for his foot to nudge her in the direction. But it never came. Satoshi's hand wasn't on her waist either.

Surprised, Risa opened her eyes again, only to find Satoshi's own deep blue irises staring straight at her. Her hand was still in his, and written on his face was concern.

"What's wrong?"

It seemed like the billionth time he had asked her this question. Satoshi was still holding her hand, not willing to let it go even though he had stopped dancing altogether. Something had been bothering her since morning...and much earlier when the festival had first been announced.

He'd wanted to take this opportunity to share a dance with her. He thought she would have liked it very much.

Had he gone wrong somewhere?

Satoshi stood patiently, waiting for her response. Across her face was a mixture of emotions he could not read. He kept his eyes on her, searching for something in that inscrutable expression that would let him in on Risa's thoughts or feelings, anything that would help him help her out of this uncertainty.

"I..." she started, and he was listening.

"We-" She tore her eyes away from him, focusing instead on the hand upon his shoulder. Why was it still there? Risa retracted her fingers into a fist.

Satoshi felt her hand fall, yet his eyes never left the light auburn hair which now obstructed his view.

"We're so different," she burst out, hating herself for having to say this. Risa thought of everything they had been through up till this point - of ribbons and Christmas parties and what with the way he held her hand just as he was doing now - and she knew Satoshi had never done her any wrong. There was truly nothing for her to be dissatisfied about, and if asked, her friends did think her the luckiest girl in school. But she felt, she wished...

"We're too different!" she started again. "Like..." Risa looked to the fuchsia kimono he'd given her and the outfit he was wearing for inspiration, "like a bird and a fish!"

She could not bear to look at him anymore. She had tried pulling her hand away from his grip, but that unrelenting strength of his fingers refused to give in. There was nothing Risa could do, and now she was ashamed for having blurted her feelings. And her free hand - it was clenched tightly into a ball beside her.

At least, that was until he reached for her hand, his fingertips reaching into those curled fingers in search of hers, prying that fist open. Risa looked up, and caught the unmistakable display of amusement across his features.

With a sudden tug, Satoshi drew her closer, indulging in her puzzled expression. Silly, silly girl...

"Then I'll just have to give you my wings, won't I?"

Risa flushed pink.

"I-Idiot," she managed to splutter. Here he was again, disregarding her outburst yet playing with her analogy. "How will I breathe?"

She blushed harder when Satoshi glanced meaningfully at the lower half of her face. Risa didn't think Dark had made her turn pink this often, whether out of shyness or of fury.

If he was the sort, Satoshi would have laughed at the redness highlighting her cheeks. Loving the way she responded so honestly no matter how painful she thought it would have been for him - and her, both - Satoshi knew she needed some reassurance in this strangely matched relationship they had. He had to tell her that it made no difference to him, that he never thought of it in such a way.

It didn't matter to him.

It never had.

"Risa," he said softly, disentangling one hand from hers to lift her chin. The blush had not dissipated from her features and it was all Satoshi could do to suppress his smile. "Do you doubt the things I do for you?"

"As in, question your intentions?" she asked.

Satoshi nodded.

Did she? "No...well, maybe except for when you gave me this kimono."

He quirked a smile. "Good, because I don't doubt what you do either."

Risa had half a mind to bop him on the head; she never really had much of a choice when it came to Satoshi. Not that she minded very much, but still...he could be rather imposing. She sometimes wondered if that was due to Krad's influence. Or perhaps even Commissioner Hiwatari's. Maybe it ran in the Hikari bloodline. She couldn't be sure.

"There's nothing forced to this relationship," he went on to explain, slipping his fingers from her chin. "And there's nothing forced to Niwa-kun and Riku-san's relationship either."

Risa's brown eyes widened. Surely he had known.

"So what does that make us?"

She stared at him for a while, contemplating the question he had set before her. There was nothing in his countenance that gave away the answers, except for that stubborn upturn of lips that had been there for the past five minutes.

"A finely matched couple?" she tried, feeling rather silly.

"Exactly."

Satoshi was looking at her in a matter-of-fact sort of way, as though there was no flaw in everything he had just said. To him, there was no room for uncertainty in all that he shared with Risa. He had long since told her that he thought her pretty, and more than that he loved her for who she was, and her honesty. Dark did not stand in between them; Satoshi had never criticised the deep adoration she had held for the legendary thief. Krad had been sealed years ago. Daisuke and Riku had found their own piece of heaven sometime during the tumultuous warring period between the legendary antitheses.

And there was just the two of them.

He was still gazing at her, waiting to hear what she had to say. And when Risa had finally wiped that bemused expression off her features, she laughed.

"Okay, Hiwatari-"

"Satoshi."

It was funny how he managed to plant a silence between them without much effort.

Satoshi. Wise.

Risa had never called him by his first name, only because societal customs always saw to it that unless two people are on very familiar terms, they would address each other by their family name. She was no exception to this courteous formality. In many ways, it had also become a habitual thing. That's why neither Riku nor herself nor even Daisuke addressed Satoshi by his true family name.

Wise.

She ran the meaning of his name over and again in her mind. Satoshi was certainly quite a clever one, insightful and very talented in various aspects. But wise?

Yes. He was. He had this strange logic which always helped to put things into perspective. Granted he wasn't very clever in attempting to give up his life to end that of Krad's, but for everything else that he did, Satoshi often exhibited some sort of wisdom.

A warm glow lit her cheeks as she said his name. "Satoshi-kun."

Satoshi could feel the smile that now stretched across his mouth as he raised an expectant hand. The band was picking up the beat very quickly now, moving into jazzy swing he knew would be enjoyable for them both. Bowing a little with that still outstretched hand, he uttered with mock humility. "May I have this next dance with you, milady?"

He heard her sweet peal of laughter and straightened to see Risa beaming fondly at him. Satoshi met that upturn of lips with another one of those smiles that came to him easily whenever he was with Risa.

"Of course, milord," she replied, imitating the faux speech-pattern that he was using. Risa made a clumsy effort to curtsey in the kimono before placing her hand in his.

Satoshi took her hand firmly as he had done before, this time twirling her about before catching her. Risa picked herself up from his arm and, holding his hand, pirouetted to the side. His other hand caught hers easily as he pulled her back toward him. A little breathless, Risa clung awkwardly onto him, slightly dazed but smiling. And as he brushed the errant locks of auburn hair away from her face, Satoshi could not help the pleased expression that came over his features. So Risa was enjoying herself, as he knew she would. And so was he. That familiar surge of something akin to joy rushed up from his heart as he righted the girl, and they began again.

This was their first dance, under the first blooms of spring with the light breeze waltzing merrily with the hem of her dress and the tips of his silver-blue hair. And it would certainly not be their last.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Saehara Takeshi-san:

Thank you for keeping to your side of the agreement. I truly admire the alacrity with which you donned the outfit after the Harada twins had arrived at the festival, although I must impress upon you never to say such of Harada-san ever again. Despite her unwillingness, of which you had been spot-on, 'Harada-imouto' - as you call her - managed to learn the steps easily and executed the dance with much elegance and ebullience.

With regard to the second article of our bet - if you recall, is a specific personal request to be carried out until the year is through - comes in form of utter submission to 'Harada-imouto' when she directs this year's performance of Aladdin. To be fair, I will see to it that she agrees to cast you as Aladdin, and of course, Saga-san would be most pleased to have you take the role. If, at any point of time, you should cause much despair while the production is in progress, I believe Harada-san will have no qualms in transferring you to the role of Iago, the talking parrot.

Enjoy your spring break, Saehara-san.

--Hiwatari Satoshi

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Author's Notes:

Ehh...actually, I don't think this was well done. Uhh, comments?

Just a few things:
a) The yoke of the kimono - or any other shirt, dress, yadda - is actually the part where the main portion joins to the sleeves, near the shoulder. Just thought it was an interesting point to note.

b) "We're too different! Like...like a bird and a fish!"..."Idiot! How will I breathe?" - If these lines look familiar to you, they should! Taken from Knight Basilisk's artwork "Signs of Spring" on I hope I managed to do it some justice. In fact, this entire fic was attempting to base itself on that artwork. (Note the kimono and the Chinese outfit...also tried to depict them in words just as it was in the picture). I've put a link up on my author's page.

c) SatRisa - The more I write about them, the more they seem to progress in their relationship. Very soon, they'll be married with kids XD. Uh, first attempt at some romantic angst, which seems very unexplainable to me.

d) The bet - Basically, it goes something like Saehara, upon seeing the notice for the festival, makes some comment about Risa being a total klutz when it came to dancing, and because of such a fine reason, she would definitely want to opt out of the dance item (obviously, a highlight of the event). Satoshi, adamant that his fine Risa should learn to dance (so that he may attend many social events with her thereafter), challenges the reporter on that statement. As we know, Saehara lost.

e) Satoshi ending his life? - This is a spoiler for the anime. Yes, our silly Sato-kun actually decided that in order to rid the world of Krad, a sacrifice of his life was required. Lucky for him, Daisuke stopped him, if not, we would not have our SatRisa Shy-Glance ending...and Risa would have been very, very sad.

f) I'm in a rush to do my work and upload stuff at the same time, so I'm a bit more unaware of typographical errors and grammatical errors. Gomen. It would be greatly appreciated if you could point them out.


Story completed: 21 September 2005
©Copyrighted by JadOo Enterprises 2005