Chocolates & Balloons

A Mini-Series by Western Ink


AN: A tale of 1st person insanity. AU - 100 modern! Read at your own risk...
"I want a lollipop."

I smacked my lips at the end of the statement.

The entire class turned to look at me like I'd sprouted a second head. Maybe one with evil red eyes and floppy ears, who knows.

I smiled at them, unruffled at the sudden attention.

"Hey, I'd give you guys one if I had them, but I don't have any. Somebody give me something to eat," I whined.

"We ought to put up a sign, 'Feed Makimachi 500 Yen'."

I turned an irritated glare toward the smart mouth in question, Sagara Sanosuke.

"Shut up, you limp noodle."

"Hey!" He stood up, offended, and some of the guys snickered.

One was discreetly smirking, he watched with avid attention their growing argument, his violet eyes were lit with amusement.

"You want to say that again, weasel?" he threatened.

"I got a few more names for you, idiot." I stood up too as though ready to hop over a few desks and wrestle with him right there in the middle of the classroom floor.

The teacher chose to make his appearance and told us to settle ourselves down. I grinned as though I'd won and stuck out my tongue at Sanosuke.


After class, Kaoru was yanking on my sleeve before I'd barely gotten out of my chair.

"Are you nuts, Misao? Telling the instructor that your pet parrot got your homework as cage liner by accident and that you weren't going in there to rescue it? You don't have a freaking parrot."

I shrugged. "So? Someone, somewhere, has a parrot that is using someone's homework as a sort of litter pan, right?"

Kaoru just stared at me. "There is something seriously wrong with you."

I shook my head, grabbing my book. "Nah, I'm 100 original stock. Everyone else is carbon copy bland."

I spotted one of the school hotties on his way down the hall and paused right center in the doorway ignoring anyone behind me forcing them to come to an abrupt stop. He glanced toward me and I blew the white haired stud kiss. He grinned and kept walking.

"Makimachi... If you're done flirting, can you move please?"

I recognized the voice without looking and instead of moving, I tilted my head back to glance back and up.

Chilly blue eyes stared down at me, a frown upon his perfect lips.

"I'd flirt with you too, Shinomori-san, but you don't wink at me."

I pouted but he didn't show any sign of softening at the statement.

I sighed, defeated. "Of course, Shinomori-san, I will move."

I stepped out of the way and beside me, Kaoru yanked on my sleeve again. I growled at her.

"Stop yanking, hey, look there's that-" she put a hand over my mouth before I could utter the words 'annoying geek bait'.

Himura Kenshin was not one of my favorite people.

Largely because one Kamiya Kaoru never shut up about him. He wasn't the best thing since sliced bread or whatever you wanted to compare it to, whatever she thought about it. Now, Shinomori Aoshi, that was another story altogether. Of course, he wasn't very social, at least Himura was friendly. The other school hottie that I flirted with was Yukishiro Enishi. Oh, baby!

Yeah, he was cute.

He winked at me when I flirted with him, but he did that with all the girls. It was Shinomori I wanted to crack. He wouldn't wink at me. He wouldn't even smile. He just sort of... looked at me.

Yeah, sounded fascinating didn't he?

He was, no matter how boring I made him sound. Although, maybe he was a little... dry. He just needed some excitement. I smiled, grabbed Kaoru and ran for the door.

"Soccer star coming through, move it!" I shouted.

It wasn't untrue, I was the soccer star. The girl's team was going all the way this year with me as the star player. Kaoru and me, we ran outside. I laughed. It was almost Valentine's.
Last year's Valentine's sucked. Royally.

"Happy, happy, happy, happy!"

"Stop it, you're embarrassing me!"

I turned toward the girl next to me. "Kaoru, you're no fun."

"I'm no fun? You're acting like a junior high schooler! Ugh. Don't do that."

"How can you say that? It's almost Valentine's. We get to make chocolates for our sweeties!"

The other girl scowled at me. "We don't have sweeties; we have fantasy boyfriends, who in reality don't actually know we exist."

The streets were relatively crowded and positively all the chocolate shops were flooded with school age girls wanting supplies. I had bought early. Kaoru was being far less enthusiastic about the whole thing. We were first year high school students at a reasonable school. Nothing fancy, nothing really academic. Nothing, in essence, for our parents to brag over.

Both Kaoru and I came from old traditional families that had a strong history of fighting arts. Kaoru's parents had a lucrative business teaching students. My family, however, had a restaurant and access to the family's dojo, really an old building attached to the back of the house, was limited to family only.

"They notice us," I pouted.

"Shinomori only notices you because you throw yourself at him every time he walks into the room."

I stopped walking and growled. "I do not throw myself at him!"

"Yes, you do. Really, Misao, you're worse than the fan girls who hide in the bushes with cameras."

"I am not a fan girl! Take that back!"

Kaoru crossed her arms and refused as those around us cast curious glances in our direction.

I fumed.

"Well, fine, being Shinomori-san's fan girl is better than drooling over that wimpy Himura guy. Ugh! What a loser!"

Kaoru tensed. "He is not a loser, take that back!"

I stuck my tongue out at the other female.

"Newsflash, Himura is a loser. Geek bait."

"Geek bait! Oh! That does it! Makimachi Misao, we are not friends anymore!"

She stomped off and I did the same moving the opposite direction.

It was nothing.

Just the usual Monday afternoon argument.


"Not calling me a wet noodle, now are you?"

I laughed. "You idiot, I called you a limp noodle, see the difference?"

He tensed and his friends' smirks slipped. They were a local group of no one's that hung around with Sano. He liked to threaten to kick my ass, he hadn't yet. Hadn't even come close. Really, I don't think he wanted to fight me because I was a girl, but some of his cronies... Well... They didn't care I was a girl.

Not three weeks ago one of them had reached across a table when my head was turned and punched me right in the face. My entire jaw ached for almost a freaking week. My coach had been pissed. He thought I was getting into fights. Which... wasn't untrue, just mostly untrue.

Yeah, so maybe I wasn't a model student. As it happens, Sano was there and kicked the absolute crap out of the guy. Anyway... presently...

"Kick her ass, Sano!" One of them bellowed.

I made a face at him, daring him to try it. I wasn't really aware of it when someone stepped up behind me. Not until Sano's gaze shifted from me, downwards, to the other person, upwards.

"Are you making trouble again, weasel?"

Takani Megumi, bane of the existence of all female students. Well, except me, of course. A pretty face could simply not compare to my sports star popularity power.

"You making trouble too, rooster?" she asked a teasing lilt to her voice.

"Don't weasels eat roosters?" I asked absently.

Sano bristled and Megumi laughed.

I turned. "Boring. You can try to kick my ass another day."

Sano, school thug, and Megumi, popularity princess, seemed to have some sort of teasing/romance thing going on. Don't ask me. I didn't care. If Megumi liked Sano, great.
If she tried to get her hands on Shinomori, I'd kill her. Yukishiro? Well, he was a free-ranging flirt. Anyone or no one could have him; I didn't really care either way. As long as he remained a free agent, I could flirt with him and that made me happy. I turned to head out of the billiard hall. Not my kind of place usually, honestly, I was just going around looking for trouble.

I shouldn't.

I know.

Didn't mean I wouldn't.

I headed out and none of the cronies followed. I might have been disappointed, maybe not. As I headed down the street I decided to skip through an alleyway that would cut my trip almost in half. Okay, maybe not in half, but close enough. I sighed, disappointed with the entire day.


Shinomori Aoshi was the heart throb of my existence. He was also a waiter, a damn sexy waiter at that. He worked at a café and I admit, I went there just to have him bring me tea. Usually a brownie too, I was a sweet fiend.

Anyway, Valentine's day was a totally lame holiday.

I mean, yeah, I said that and all, but I was still making chocolates for my sweetie. The depressing thing was really that he wasn't my heart throb alone; he was the heart throb of all of Japan as far as I was concerned. My chances of being noticed were slim, so maybe I really did throw myself at him, I don't know.

I still intended to give him chocolates. Even if he did receive enough boxes of the milk chocolately heaven to rot his teeth out in a day.

Anyway, as I sat in the cafe staring out the window contemplating how to out-do all his other fan girls someone plopped into the chair across from me.

"Yo! Weasel, buy me some food, right?"

I rolled my eyes seeing junior-annoyance Yahiko. He was sort of a neighborhood kid, I'd known him forever and he was a couple years younger than me. Always asking me to buy him stuff and 90 percent of the time it was some kind of food.

"No."

His expression fell as he tried to plead. "Oh, come on Misao, you've got money!"

"So do you!" I shot back.

Yahiko had a little job working for his girlfriend's family at this restaurant. He was a good saver; he got everyone else to buy his crap for him. Actually, that was a good plan, I should try that.

"Okay, okay, how about this? I got a hot piece of Shinomori gossip and I'll trade it to you for free, if you buy me a snack."

"Shinomori-san gossip?" I leaned forward.

Yahiko got around and he was always finding out stuff. I had a Shinomori diary that I kept various things in, sightings and just little Shinomori-facts. He nodded, grinning smugly.

"We got a deal?"

I nodded eagerly.

"Shinomori doesn't like chocolate."

"WHAT?"

I had given him chocolates last year; I wonder what happened to them?

"What do you mean he doesn't like chocolate? How do you know?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Heard his friends ribbing him about it and how he only likes 'white chocolate' and that white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all because they taste so different and stuff."

White chocolate?

No!

I didn't have supplies for that!

I slammed some money on the table and took off.

I had to change all my plans to do white chocolate, but it wasn't that hard I guess. I did about two inch chocolates from a candy store mold in the shapes of balloon bunches and little hearts.

Not everyone will give you balloon shaped chocolates for Valentine's. I was, of course, unique.


I was eager for Valentine's. I wasn't sure when I would give him my chocolates, but I would figure out the "right" moment. I toted them around with me the whole day. I finally did manage to decide on the moment I wanted. It was in the afternoon, before he went into work. I caught him outside. He didn't seem surprised to see me, but his expression looked pretty much the same as it always did. I didn't think much of it.

"Good afternoon, Shinomori-san," I chirped.

He just nodded at me.

"Here, for you." I held out my package to him.

It was tiny really, compared to some of the other things I'd seen girls give to boys. Kaoru was with me, but she stood a foot or so back. She never did like to get too close to him, don't ask me why.

He took the tiny package that I had spent virtual hours on and I felt a distinct burst of happiness as it slipped from my fingers.

"Makimachi," he started his voice even. "Stop following me around."

I sort of just blanked.

What?

Following him around?

I didn't follow him around!

I opened my mouth to say so.

"I'm not interested in having a girlfriend now."

Did I miss something? I wasn't asking him to be my boyfriend, although I would've liked that, certainly. He turned away and stepped into the cafe. Just inside the cafe was a trash can on the right side. I saw his hand move and something fell from his fingers into the depressing abyss of the garbage.

"Is my face green, Kaoru?"

She moved up beside me and laid a hand on my shoulder.

"Of course it's not green!"

No, of course not. I was trying to focus on anything and trying desperately not to cry. The topic didn't even matter.

I felt...

"Come on, let's go." I just wanted to leave. I wanted to leave yesterday. I wanted the side walk to swallow me and melt my bones away.

"Misao?"

Kaoru's voice was the worst kind of irritating sympathy. I didn't want to be sympathized with. I wanted to cry and simultaneously kill something. He'd just thrown it away. My chocolates and balloons were in the trash.

The trash.

Garbage.

Not even worthy of being looked at.

Kaoru escorted me home and I talked the whole way there. Maybe Kaoru got the message that I didn't want her to say anything after I interrupted her 'it'll be fine' speech a couple of times.

Every time, actually.

I walked toward my room at the back of the house and I just couldn't take it. My eyes filled and tears spilled over, burning my cheeks. My chest hurt, I felt like I couldn't breathe. My throat ached from trying to hold off the tears.

I fell into bed, trying to sob my tears silently into my pillow.

Sometimes, life sucked and I hated it.


AN: I only decided to continue this and not delete it because I think Misao is so completely cute in this fic.