Cataracta's Notes: Evening, minna! This fic latched onto my arm and refused to let go until I wrote it while I was listening to my teacher talk about Valentine's Day in different cultures. So, for your reading enjoyment, Some Things Always Change.
Disclaimer: I by no means own s-CRY-ed.
Ryuhou Tairen locked his door and breathed a sigh of relief. Feeling along the wall, he flipped on the lights and walked to his kitchen, pouring himself a cup of coffee. Taking a sip, he reflected on just how close he'd come to getting trapped in the mess-hall. As it was that accursed day, a party was in full-swing.
Decorated brightly in pink, white and red, the mess was covered in hearts and streamers. The tables were draped in pastel tablecloths with cups of cocoa resting in white saucers. Ryuhou had taken one look at the decorations, and had tried to flee.
At first, he had been stopped by Scheris. She had pulled on his arm and asked him to stay, but he made up an excuse about work. Next had been Urizane, his giant bag of watermelons over his shoulder and one in his hand. Ryuhou had given him the same excuse, and had managed to flee before anyone else managed to stop him.
Now that he thought about it, Ryuhou realized as he leaned against his counter, he hadn't seen Mimori there. While all of the other HOLY operatives had been flocking around the decorations and each other, Mimori had been suspiciously absent. He had been sure that Mimori would have been there, as she liked to socialize and the like.
Shrugging, he set his coffee down and walked over to his window. Tapping the glass with a finger, he thought about where that idiot Kazuma would show next, and began planning just how to take him down. Mulling over ideas, he traced his finger over the window and blinked when he realized just what he had been writing.
Mentally smacking his forehead, he ran his hand over the window to erase the message and turned away. He retrieved his coffee and sat down at his table, sipping it as he tried not to think about the party nor about a certain navy-haired woman that his writing had brought up. It was rather difficult, he found, and he rocked back in his chair as he realized that.
Ryuhou wasn't certain when Mimori had become such an important part of his life. He was certain that she had been apart of it since they had met that fateful day years ago, even if he had forgotten it. The way she had stood, the way she glided when she walked, her innocent naïveté; all of these things had drawn him to her.
She hadn't changed much, Ryuhou mused. Mimori was still naïve, she was still graceful, and she still had that confident stance, even if she sometimes faltered. But, Ryuhou reminded himself, she was hardly a little girl anymore. Now she was naïve young woman, one that was slowly, painfully and surely having her innocent views torn apart.
"Innocence can't survive in the Lost Ground," Ryuhou quoted thoughtfully. He couldn't quite remember who had said that to him, but he had remembered it throughout the rest of his life.
It was true, though, Ryuhou affirmed. Living in the Lost Ground forced even the most naïve person to open their eyes to the truth. Seeing the poverty, seeing the crimes, innocence shriveled and died. It was a sad fact, but one that was a truth.
Ryuhou reflected momentarily on just how innocent Mimori had been when he had first met her. She had walked confidently up the steps to meet them, had bowed politely, and smiled as she introduced herself. And then, when she had suggested that they spend the party together, Ryuhou could distinctly remember the butterflies in his stomach.
He was unused to having strangers around him genuinely want to be with him, and it had awoken a feeling inside of him that he hadn't realized was there. On the balcony, when he had almost hurt her with his alter, Ryuhou could remember the feeling of absolute fear he had felt, and the self-disgust. He had hated himself for a while for almost hurting her, but she hadn't cared.
In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it had drawn her to him even more. He found that he was also equally drawn to her, in the way that she accepted him so completely, without expecting a reward. She wanted, even loved, Ryuhou for Ryuhou, and wouldn't want him any other way.
It was a startling revelation, and Ryuhou rocked forward until all four of his chair legs were back on the floor. Switching his position so that his chin rested on his folded hands, he continued to think.
Mimori had never asked for anything from him besides his affection, something that even as a child he had been reluctant to give. She had always been willing to give herself for him, and he knew, though he didn't want to admit it, that she had come to the Lost Ground specifically to be with him.
That fascinated him, he realized. It fascinated him that someone could be so loyal, so devoted as to sacrifice security and safety for him. Fascinated, and at the same time, scared him. He wasn't sure he liked the fact that she placed so much trust in him, for he felt that he had done less than nothing to deserve it.
Grimacing, he admitted mentally that he had pushed her away and hurt her since her first arrival at HOLY. When she had walked in those doors, he had been so shocked that had he not trained his emotions so well, his mouth would have dropped. His first emotion was delight, his second fear, and his third an unjustified anger.
Ryuhou had been angry that Mimori had been so naïve as to place all her trust in one person. He had been angry that she had come for him, for he felt that he didn't deserve it, knew that he didn't deserve it. It made him angry to think that, it made him angry to feel guilty. But most of all, he was angry at how happy he had been to see her. He had been ecstatic, even if he hadn't shown it, and he was angry because he was sure that he had cut all ties with his past.
Obviously he had been wrong. His past still haunted his every footstep, even though he tried to forget it. He was sure that he had almost pulled it off when Mimori had walked into HOLY and brought it back. At first Ryuhou had loathed her for that, but as time when on, he came to grudgingly thank her for it. His past brought back memories that he had forgotten, memories that made him smile.
One such memory, the memory of that first meeting, had been one of the fastest to return. The stars seem so close here! He could remember the wonder, the delight on her face as she had spun around and watched them. Ryuhou could also remember that her happiness had influenced him, and even though he had responded scientifically, his own interest had been awakened.
The next night he had stepped out onto the balcony and spent a good three hours watching the stars and thinking about Mimori. He was unused to having one person dominate all of his thoughts, but he found that he had enjoyed the feeling.
When Mimori had showed up at his house a few weeks later, he remembered the initial delight he had felt that had then been replaced by fear. Ryuhou had been so intensely afraid that he was going to hurt her, but Mimori's own calm, her kindness, had helped him relax.
He was jolted from his thoughts as he heard a gentle knocking. Shaking his head to help clear it, he stood and walked to his door. The steel door slid open to reveal Mimori, a small package clutched in her hands. For a moment neither moved nor said a word.
Mimori spoke first, "Ryuhou," Her voice was so soft that he had to strain to hear it, "This is for you. I couldn't find you at the party, and so I came here."
There was a slight pink stain on her cheeks, and Ryuhou briefly wondered at that. Without thinking, he turned to the side, telling her without words that she was welcome to come in. Glancing at him with a confused expression, she stepped inside gently, as if entering a sacred place.
He noticed with interest that her outfit was different today; she had changed out of her normal lab coat and slacks and into a black tank and jeans for the party. Mimori held the package in one hand, her other clasping the opposite elbow. It was obvious she was nervous, and Ryuhou felt a brief flash of guilt, knowing that his attitude had been the cause.
"Could I get you anything?" Ryuhou asked, and inwardly winced at how flat his voice sounded.
Mimori winced as well, and he could see the hurt in her eyes. The guilt returned twofold and he looked away. Biting her lip, Mimori stepped forward and pressed the small box into his palm, then turned away and began to walk towards the door. Ryuhou stared at the package in his hand, blinking only when he heard the door slid shut.
Grimacing at how he'd handled the situation, Ryuhou walked to his table and set the small box down. He slumped into the chair, his guilt eating away at his stomach, and reached for it. It weighed very little, and he ran his hands over it gently. Shrugging, he opened the wrapping and gently opened the box.
His hands froze as he saw the gift. It was a thin silver ring, unobtrusive and sleek. A design was engraved into the top, and as he gently removed it to study it, he realized that it was the same design that hung around Mimori's neck. His stomach seemed to disappear entirely as the guilt intensified.
The triangular engraving, a small cross in the middle and a line halfway up the center, seemed to mock him as he stared at it. He could distinctly feel his throat as it tightened and could feel every emotion as they raced through his blood. With shaking fingers, Ryuhou slipped the ring onto his right index finger and studied it.
It fit perfectly, both on his finger and with his personality. The ring was subtle, adding an accent that at the same time made him seem more human, and yet more like some untouchable fallen angel. His hands clenched as he thought of Mimori, of the way the hurt had shone in her eyes.
Standing, Ryuhou raced out of his door, barely avoiding smacking into the solid steel as he slid through it. Stopping, he sorted through the places where he knew she could be and quickly began running towards the lab. Knowing Mimori, she would immerse herself in work until she couldn't keep her eyes open.
Ryuhou rounded a corner and had to grind to a halt as he noticed Mimori. She was standing by one of HOLY's many windows, her hand grasping the pendant around her neck. Her eyes were thoughtful as she stared out at the stars, and Ryuhou watched in fascination as her mouth opened and he spoke without thinking at the same time as she.
"The stars seem so close here."
Mimori gasped and turned to look at him, her eyes wide and guilty. She glanced away from him and his gaze as he walked towards her. Noticing that she hadn't released her grip on the pendant, Ryuhou deliberately reached up with his right hand and gently pried her fingers loose.
Her eyes glanced from his own down to his hand, and they widened as they noticed the ring around his finger. Hesitating, she reached up and took his hand in both of hers. Mimori ran a finger across the silver, her eyes bright.
"I wasn't sure if you would like it," She admitted softly, "You seem so hateful of your past."
Instead of answering, Ryuhou laced his fingers with hers, pressing the cool silver of the ring against her own hand. He then leaned down and touched his forehead to hers, brushing his lips against the corner of her mouth before returning to press a gentle kiss to her own.
Mimori sucked in a breath in surprise, and he wrapped his arms around her in order to pull her closer. He ran his tongue across the seam of her lips, noting with a slight smile how they were slightly chapped. Darting his tongue inside when Mimori opened to his touch, he explored her mouth and reveled in her taste, in how much it fit her.
It was the perfect mixture of all things Mimori, and Ryuhou couldn't get enough of it. He raised one of his hands to bury it in her hair and tilt her head to better kiss her. She slowly began to respond to his touch, running her tongue tentatively against the inside of his teeth before twisting around his.
They pulled apart when the need for oxygen became too great to ignore, and Ryuhou immediately pulled Mimori close. He buried his head in her neck and inhaled her scent, nuzzling his nose further against her as she shifted and slid her arms around his back.
"Some things never change," Ryuhou commented, his hand coming to rest gently against the pendant around her neck.
Mimori reached up and wrapped her own hand around his and clasped it and the pendant, "That's not always so bad."
Ryuhou pulled back to look at her, and he could see the happiness, the pure joy shining in her eyes. He could feel his own joy as it spread to the very tips of his toes, and for the first time in a long time, a genuine smile lit his face. Capturing Mimori's lips once more, he kissed her slowly, enjoying the way she fit against his body. Her softness was the perfect compliment to his unyielding hardness.
Ryuhou pulled away from her just far enough to whisper, "Some things never change." He paused, brushing his lips against hers, "And some things always change."
"Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be." -Anton Chekhov
Cataracta's Notes: I hope you liked it, everyone! Leave me a review and let me know!