Disclaimer: I don't own Hana Yori Dango. :)

AN: Happy Valentine's Day! :) Many thanks to Joanna for beta reading. All mistaken words and expressions in Tsukasa's thoughts and speech are intentional. As usual, please check my profile for notes. And as always, hope you enjoy. ;) -Maho-chan

A Hana Yori Dango Fanfiction
By Maho-chan

Chapter 3

Momo was whining

Tsukasa groaned, coming out of slumber slowly as Momo whimpered somewhere nearby. He could feel Tsukushi's arms around him. As Momo let out a little yip, Tsukasa felt Tsukushi move to bury her face in his neck. Her hair brushed his cheek and he sleepily kissed the top of her head as he opened his eyes. The lights were still on and the room was bright even though it was still dark outside the windows.

Tsukasa glanced over at the clock.

3:45 am.

He inwardly groaned. Why had Momo woken him now? Annoyed, Tsukasa glanced down at Tsukushi who lay with her head against his chest. He noted that she was still in her work clothes. He frowned, thinking back to what had happened earlier that evening. He vaguely remembered that she had hit her head and they had embraced…

He must have fallen asleep on top of her again. Inwardly cursing himself for preventing Tsukushi from being comfortable, Tsukasa turned his head as Momo pawed at the door.

She must need to go to the bathroom, Tsukasa thought, as he eased Tsukushi onto the pillows before getting up from the bed. As Momo looked at him expectantly, Tsukasa bent to pat her furry head.

"Stupid dog," Tsukasa whispered affectionately before straightening and reaching for the doorknob. Opening it, he watched as Momo scampered out into the hallway. Tsukasa closed the door softly. Picking up the telephone near their bed, he dialed the number of the night maid, and said. "Take Momo outside and then bring her back to me."

The maid replied without a hint of sleepiness. "Yes, Domyoji-sama."

Tsukasa hung up the phone and then rubbed his eyes. A slight draft wafted through the room, causing him to notice that his shirt was unbuttoned. Looking down at his bare chest and then around the room, he observed that the Tsukushi's bag was in the middle of the floor, along with his briefcase. Their shoes were littered across the carpet, as were a couple of Momo's chew toys.

The chew toys were no big surprise, but the other things...

Turning to look at Tsukushi, Tsukasa found that she was shivering. He drew closer to her as he realized how much trouble he had caused by staying late at the office. Running his fingers through his tangled, curly hair, Tsukasa sighed.

He really needed a break from work. This was the third time he had missed dinner with Tsukushi this week and the fourth time in a month he had kept Tsukushi waiting for him to come home…

It was unacceptable.

Tsukasa yawned and took a mental inventory of what he had to do that day. Could he afford to take a break? Judging by the exhaustion he felt, he realized it didn't matter if he could afford it. He needed to take a day off. And seeing how Tsukushi lay fast asleep in her work clothes, he decided he wanted her to take that break with him.

There were several meetings happening later that day but all could be postponed. As far as he knew, Tsukushi didn't have anything pressing. And even if she did, he wasn't going to let her go to the office without having fully rested.

Yawning again, Tsukasa felt the urge to sleep tugging at his senses. And Tsukushi…

She looked so exhausted, the bags under her eyes apparent. Tsukasa brushed her cheek with his fingertips. She was still wearing her pantyhose…

Tsukasa made up his mind. First and foremost he would take care of Tsukushi, whose needs were tantamount to his own. Second he would get dressed for bed. And then third, he would call his secretary, cancel his appointments and after Momo returned from being walked, he would put her in her dog bed, then snuggle up with Tsukushi and sleep to his heart's content.

Tsukasa stood, pulled back the covers on one side of the bed and then picked Tsukushi up in his arms. Settling her down against the sheets, he began to unbutton her shirt, watching her sleeping face affectionately. He bent his head and kissed her lips, and smiled when she didn't wake.

She still had the habit of sleeping like a rock, just like high school. He guessed that old habits died hard. He had never figured out how she could sleep this deeply. The only way she would wake up at night was when he had bad dreams and shouted for her (which he still wouldn't admit to), or they spontaneously made love (which he loved doing with her).

As he reached under her back to unhook her bra, he pushed away the amorous thoughts that were now arising.

Now was not the time, she looked and seemed too tired. He eased her out of most of her clothing, including the garters she had been wearing with her stockings.

Tsukasa stared at the pieces of lace he held in his fingertips. When in the world has she started wearing garters? Had he been so busy that he hadn't noticed? Tsukasa realized he couldn't even remember when they had last made love, which pissed him off. He fingered the lace around the tops of the stockings she wore.

The urge to do other things to her arose and he glowered down at his sleeping wife. Did she have to be so cute? Tsukushi sighed in her sleep as Tsukasa gently brushed his fingers against her soft skin.

Tsukasa grimly realized that helping to undress Tsukushi for bed was becoming a kind of slow torture. Silly woman and her fluctuating modesty. He remembered how when they were younger she had once jumped atop a video game bicycle and unabashedly shown off her underwear. But back then she would also become frantic when he caught even a tiny glimpse of her bare skin.

This was just another example of her ever changing inhibitions. Tsukushi had been wearing normal, run-of-the mill-pantyhose for the longest time. And now she was wearing these delicate stockings.

Tsukasa smiled wryly. She still surprised him and kept him guessing, even after all these years. But seriously, where had she gotten these? He wondered as he inspected the lacy straps in his hand. And why had she been wearing them now? It was dangerous.

He was going to take advantage of her! Now granted, after all this time and being married to her, waking her up with urgent kisses might not be considered taking advantage. But still! He might do something to her.

Correction, he wanted to do something to her!

Tsukasa rubbed his forehead with his hand. Tsukushi was sleeping. She was incredibly tired. He wasn't going to initiate that right now. But tomorrow he was going to find out what else he hadn't noticed about his wife lately.

They were definitely taking a break from work tomorrow! And he was definitely going to find out why she had been wearing the skimpy ribbons and lace that he now dropped on top of the pile that consisted of her other discarded clothes. He was distracted again by his increasing desire. He really wanted her now! Yielding to this impulse, Tsukasa leaned in to kiss her neck. He paused as Tsukushi softly moaned in her sleep.

"Stupid, come home now…" Tsukushi called out softly.

Tsukasa drew away, his expression softening.

"Moron, I'm right here. Go back to sleep." Tsukasa said softly in reply.

Tsukushi moaned and turned unto her side, shivering slightly

"Cold." She mumbled. Tsukasa pulled the coverlet up, making sure the blankets covered her shoulders and watched her for a while.

When he had fallen in love with her, so many years ago, he had never dreamed that he could feel this happy. Back then, he had only had his "gut feeling" and the knowledge that Tsukushi was important to him. He hadn't really known why he loved her and wanted her so badly, he had just known certainty and some vague idea of how he wanted things to be. His determination had been wrapped up in it as had his desire and the feeling that life was much more fun and worth living when she was around.

As time had gone on, he eventually came to understand the depth of his emotions towards Tsukushi. He still had that strong gut feeling but it was accompanied by so many more feelings that he had never expected to feel. And now…

As her eyes fluttered while she dreamed he felt affectionate.

As her fingers clutched at the coverlet and he covered them with his, he felt protective.

As he bent to kiss her cheek he felt passionate.

While adjusting the covers again, making sure she was warm, he felt devoted.

And when she murmured "... love you" he felt incredible all-encompassing love.

He smiled down at her.

As Tsukushi fell into deeper slumber, Tsukasa stood, intent on changing for bed.

Walking over to their closet, he pulled out his pajamas and began changing while he mulled over the day he had had.

Earlier that day, one of his business colleagues had complimented him about Tsukushi's successes. Listening to the man express his respect for Tsukushi had made Tsukasa feel so proud. Her success was something that never failed to bring a smile to his face.

In the bookcase in his office, there was a framed photo that featured Tsukasa and Tsukushi bent over a desk examining a contract. In the photo Tsukushi was smiling nervously, as Tsukasa pointed to where she should sign…

Few people knew the story behind that photograph. Tsukasa smiled to himself as he finished donning his pajama bottoms then went back into the bedroom. He picked up Tsukushi's purse and his briefcase. Setting the items on the desk, he rifled through his briefcase as he reminisced about the photo.

When Tsukushi had first graduated from university, she had been planning to work for another company despite her obvious connection to the Domyoji Corporation.

Tsukasa had been flabbergasted by her plan and had demanded that she come work with him instead, on the grounds that the Domyoji Corporation would one day be her company as well.

Of course, stubborn woman that she was, she had refused. Tsukasa remembered how they had fought about it. He had repeatedly said that he didn't want his future wife to be pushed around in the business world, to which she had replied that she wasn't his wife yet and she needed to do this on her own.

Not understanding, Tsukasa had berated her about how she always made him worry before he had noticed how her eyes were filled with tears and her body trembled. He had paused in his lecture and it was then that she had filled the awkward quiet between them with her reasoning. She needed to make her own way in the world, Tsukushi had explained. She couldn't just rely on him to make things easy.

Tsukasa had gotten mad again.

But no matter how much he had admonished her, her deep sense of pride had prevailed and she had firmly refused to work for the Domyoji Corporation. Tsukasa had been utterly exasperated. He remembered being completely unable to understand why she wouldn't see the logic in his viewpoint.

Over and over again they had hashed it out until Tsukushi had finally shouted.

"I won't be your equal if we do it like that!"

The word "equal" plus the pleading look in her eyes had made him think twice.

Tsukasa had understood that Tsukushi had struggled with the social pressures of being with him. The pressures hadn't been just the name-calling and bullying by high society women, it had been the fact that they had come from opposite sides of the economic spectrum. They were from different worlds, Tsukushi had always said. After all their hardships, Tsukasa had recognized the truth in those words.

He had known that in doing their best to meet each other halfway they had both had to compromise a great deal.

But even though her reasoning had begun to make sense to him, he couldn't let her work for another company. He couldn't let her be bullied again as was typical in the business world. He wanted to keep her safe and make things easier for her. Too often he had watched her struggle, both with a lack of money and with social pressures of high society. It had been unbearably hard for her and for him, too.

They had stood there for a long time, silently thinking, when she had sniffled and asked him to trust her.

He had pulled her close and held her as he finally relented. As he had stood there, Tsukushi sniffling against his chest, Tsukasa had come up with a brilliant idea. He had decided that would lend her money; collateral for starting her own business. She had a degree and she had the intellect. All she had needed was some funds, which he had in abundance. He remembered grinning as he had placed his fingers over her lips to stop her quick protests after he had suggested it.

She could use the money to build her own business and then when she had made it successful, she would have to pay him back, he had said. And the money had to be paid back with interest, he had included.

He would never forget the sensation of leaning forward and pressing his forehead to hers, as he had challenged her pride.

"I wonder, can the poor girl Makino accomplice this? Are you sure you are up to it? You aren't a neutral talent like I am." He had added an arrogant laugh before continuing "I bet you can't do it. Maybe we should forget the whole thing." He had said mockingly, trusting that she wouldn't be able to resist the chance to prove him wrong.

And when she had narrowed her eyes at him, acknowledging his dare, the feeling of relief he had felt was palpable.

"I can do this!" she had exclaimed, shaking her fist at him "I'm a weed after all. So it's a deal." She had said firmly, holding out her hand to shake his. "You idiot, you'll see." Her eyes had shone with grateful tears.

If she had had a red tag to symbolize her declaration, he knew she would have slapped it on him then and there. They had immediately had his lawyers to draw up the necessary contracts and arrange the transfer of funds.

Tsukushi had risen to the challenge and in only two years had brought her ideas to fruition, accomplishing what many business owners only dreamed of doing after several generations.

Some of their critics had said Tsukushi's success was due to the Domyoji Corporation's influence. They had accused her company of being a puppet corporation with the powerful Domyoji family masterminding and pulling the strings.

Those comments had angered Tsukasa greatly. What those morons hadn't known was that the contract Tsukasa had written and signed with Tsukushi stated that her company would have no affiliation with the Domyoji Corporation now or in the future.

The Domyoji Corporation would disavow any help or influence in any business dealings with Makino Enterprises—Tsukushi's new company—and after the loan was paid back with interest the company would forever remain the property of Makino Tsukushi, to pass on to her heirs as she saw fit. The company being solely hers had been his idea, and with the agreement he had been determined to end the question of their being equals once and for all.

The morning of that fateful day when Makino Enterprises' profit margin had skyrocketed, Tsukasa had been drinking coffee and watching the stock market report on the huge flat screen television in his office with glee.

She had finally done it. She had won.

He had just reached for the phone to tell his secretary that he would be going out to have a very important meeting with the owner of Makino Enterprises, when Tsukushi had burst into his office, her eyes aglow with fiery determination. After having placed one hand on her hip, she had pointed at him with the other and declared loudly.

"Domyoji Tsukasa, I win!"

Before she had run towards him and launched herself into his arms. He remembered how he had happily embraced her as she had cried the words "I have your money, you stupid crazy idiot," against his ear.

And he could still recall how he had kissed her face comfortingly as she had sobbed, before replying with a simple. "Yeah."

Brining his mind to the present, Tsukasa looked over at Tsukushi who was still fast asleep.

With his pajama shirt in hand, he made his way over to bed. Pulling back the covers, Tsukasa helped Tsukushi into his large shirt. He buttoned it up, and then covered her with the covers again. He shook his head when she still didn't wake and then leaned over her to kiss her gently on the lips.

"Even now, I'm still so crazy about you." He said, gazing down at her.

There was a soft knock at the door and Tsukasa said quietly "Come in." The maid opened the door a little and Momo bounded in, wiggling her bottom excitedly.

"Damn dog," Tsukasa said as he wandered into the adjoining bathroom.

He'd brush his teeth first, give Tanaka-san a call and then go to sleep…

Momo followed Tsukasa into the bathroom. Tsukasa turned on the bright lights, moved over to the sink and glanced at himself in the huge mirror. Staring at his reflection, he noticed that he needed to shave.

He then fingered a pair of thin scars on the side of his cheek, noting that they were faint but still there.

As he brushed his teeth, he made a mental note to get his hair cut soon and to shave tomorrow morning. Momo sauntered past him and Tsukasa nudged her with his foot, lightly guiding her towards the doorway so that she would leave the bathroom. She was always so weird.

Tsukasa rinsed his mouth and went back into the bedroom. After turning off all of the lights except the one on the bedside table, he sat down on the bed next to Tsukushi. Tsukasa picked up the telephone and dialed Tanaka-san.

"Tanaka," Tsukasa said after the man answered with a polite "Hello?"

"Yes, Domyoji-sama."

"Cancel all of my appointments tomorrow, I'm staying home."

"I already did after your wife called," Tanaka replied.

"She already called you?" Tsukasa asked, looking down at Tsukushi in surprise.

"Yes, she called earlier. Will there be anything else, sir?" Tanaka asked politely.

"Yes, call Matsumoto-san and tell her that my wife won't be coming into the office today," Tsukasa responded.

"I'll do that as soon as we get off the phone," Tanaka said. "Please have a nice day off sir."

Tsukasa rubbed Tsukushi's shoulder, feeling very ready for bed. "I will."

Hanging up the phone, Tsukasa pulled back the covers, climbed into bed next to Tsukushi and pulled her close before covering them both with the blankets.

She instinctively curled into him, one of her legs coming to rest over his. Reaching over to shut off the bedside light, he turned it off and lay in the dark holding Tsukushi.

Tsukasa absently combed his fingers through Tsukushi's hair and pondered something that Sojiro had said to him recently.

According to Sojiro, Tsukasa and Tsukushi had "elbowed out."

Thinking about this, Tsukasa reflected upon how that statement didn't make much sense.

But Sojiro had also said. "I'm so glad we don't have to worry as much as we used to worry about you guys! Finally we can relax!"

Tsukushi sighed in her sleep and Tsukasa instinctively pulled her closer in response. He closed his eyes and contemplated Sojiro's words.

In the past there had been many people who had said that it would never last between Tsukasa and Tsukushi. Time and time again, Tsukasa had heard the same warnings about entering a relationship when they were so different and argued so much.

Tsukushi herself had said the same exact thing over and over, that they were from two different worlds that could never meet. She had worried about their relationship for so long, purely on the reasoning that they were too different. It had frustrated him to no end but he had persevered because he had never doubted for a second that they were meant to be together.

But Tsukasa had to admit that the road to this point in time had not always been easy.

When they had first started living together, before they were married, they had been faced with an unusual task. Tsukasa had never lived so closely with someone before; even his sister had rarely been around when they had lived together in the Domyoji mansion when he was a child.

Tsukushi had been living with her parents while in college, and was too used to being independent and deciding everything. So when they had moved in together, into the huge apartment Tsukasa had bought near the Domyoji financial building, they had found themselves suddenly faced with learning how to communicate. They had been terribly awkward with each other at first and couldn't seem to see eye to eye on most things.

Tsukasa remembered strange arguments involving household items like toothpaste and floss. They had fought like cats and dogs over what to eat for dinner. Tsukasa had been at his wit's end and unsure of what to do until his sister had commented that both he and Tsukushi had never really spent time together where they weren't under constant threat of being separated. Tsubaki had further elaborated, saying that it wasn't always easy for people to learn how to live together.

It would be a learning experience, Tsubaki had said. He'd grow from it, be happy with Tsukushi and become a better man, she had ordered, or else. Tsukasa had determined from her words that the problems between he and Tsukushi were just a phase that would fade away in time.

But the problems hadn't faded away so easily. Tsukasa and Tsukushi had continued to argue, the tension continually building between them.

The problems had grown and grown until the strain had reached a breaking point.

And that breaking point was represented by the now barely noticeable scars on his cheek.

The moment when he had received those wounds had been one of the scariest moments of his life. Tsukasa remembered the terrible, heated argument, her shouting, his yelling…

And his hand lifted impulsively against her....

He could remember it like it was yesterday.

"I was trying to get away from him!" Tsukushi had cried shrilly, her party dress shimmering as she had stomped into the sitting room of their apartment.

"Oh really? Then why were you upstairs with him alone?" Tsukasa had roared, as he had tugged off his tie and thrown it aside.

"He was drunk and dragged me up there! I tried to get your attention but you were too busy with that woman who was hanging all over you," Tsukushi had retorted angrily, her fists clenched. "Who was she?"

"She was some woman from another company. I don't even remember her name, and I didn't spend time with her in America! She lied about the entire thing," Tsukasa had said defensively.

"Oh really? You've been on business trips so often lately. What am I supposed to think when she comes to you and kisses you on the cheek?" Tsukushi had said in a dangerously low voice.

"You are supposed to trust me and know that I would never be interested in anyone but you," Tsukasa had replied in an equally low tone.

"Like you trust me?" Tsukushi had said, her eyes narrowing.

"Tsukushi …" Tsukasa had started before Tsukushi had cut him off by saying "How am I supposed to believe you when she's practically embracing you in front of me and you aren't doing anything to stop her?"

"Are you blind? I was trying to get her off of me," Tsukasa had said menacingly.

Tsukushi had continued to ignore him. "And how am I supposed to talk to you when you won't believe me?" Her voice had begun to rise. "I don't know what to do anymore. All we ever do now is fight."

"Tsukushi." Tsukasa had tried to interrupt her. But she had continued.

"It's like I always thought it would be," Tsukushi had shouted at him. "We are too different. It's not working!"

Tsukasa's eyes had widened in horror at those words. Tsukushi's voice had grown higher in tone as she ranted.

"We made a mistake," Tsukushi had started to shake. "Someone else is better for you after all. I had tried to believe that everything would be ok but I was foolish." By this point, Tsukasa had begun advancing upon her.

"I keep hoping that we will be happy. But we're not." Backing away from him, Tsukushi had pointed at him and shouted. "So just go!" Her chest heaving, her tears spilling down her cheeks, she had yelled "You idiot! Go ahead and meet someone else. We aren't right for each other no matter how hard we try."

What the hell was she thinking? Tsukasa had thought. He hadn't wanted anyone else but her. He loved her as much as he ever had. He loved her more than he loved life itself. And now she was telling him to leave her?

He had opened his mouth to say all these things when Tsukushi had said in an eerily calm way.

"Maybe it's finally time for us to end."

Tsukasa had felt the pain of those unbelievable words and overwhelmed by the gut wrenching anguish that engulfed him and without thinking, he had raised his hand and…

He had hit her.


The sound of him slapping her had seemed to reverberate around the room as Tsukushi had stumbled backwards from the force of the blow. Coming back to his senses, Tsukasa's eyes had widened in horror as he had realized what he had done.

Standing there, completely horrified, he had barely blinked as Tsukushi had numbly raised her hand in retaliation and hit him back just as hard, raking her nails across his cheek.

He had barely noticed, and instead had focused on the sound of the strange heavy breathing that he dimly recognized as coming from her. His vision had blurred as he had felt the aching pain in his hand and the agony in his heart.

He had done what he had promised so long ago that he would never do again. He had hit her.

His heart had thundered in his ears, his body had felt numb. What had he done?

One thought had pervaded his mind.

"It's really over between us. I won't be able to convince her to stay now that I've done this."

And one feeling…

He hated himself.

"I have to leave." Tsukasa had thought, feeling nauseated "I hurt her. I have to leave."

He had turned to go, horror written all over his face when she had said "Wait."

Tsukushi had grabbed his arm as the tears had began to run down his face. As he had tried to pull his arm away from her clutching fingers, Tsukasa had closed his eyes and said. "I have to go."

"Wait." Tsukushi had cried, pressing her face against his arm. "No." She had whispered. He had tugged his arm away from her again when she had said it one more time.

"Wait." She had wailed plaintively, her fingers clutching at his jacket "Tsukasa."

It was when she had sobbed his name, in that pained way that he had come to his senses and turned towards her. His tears had spilled over even more at the sight of her tears. He had longed to comfort her then but felt that he had no right to.

Something warm had run down his face, and something had stung but he hadn't cared. All he could see then was the mark that his hand had left on her cheek, which had slowly started to become a dark bruise.

"Tsukasa," Tsukushi had sobbed shakily. "Don't…"

And then she had pulled on his lapels and kissed him. Completely surprised and then overwhelmed, Tsukasa had also sobbed and wrapped his arms around her waist. They had sunk to the floor and held each other, and in between ardent kisses, they had both softly cried that they loved each other.

Tsukasa had leaned into her and held her close, terrified that if he let her go that he would lose her for good. Tsukasa had thought that he might die right there with the knowledge that he had hurt her so badly.

She had reached for him as well, wiping his cheek with her fingers as she cried about how he was bleeding and how she had done a terrible thing to him.

"You're so stupid, if I don't tell you I'm sorry you won't understand," she had cried. "I have to tell you…so you know…"

He had stopped her lips with his, before whispering "Hey…you…" And then he had swallowed, the fear blossoming within him anew. "You're not really going to…leave me, are you?" he hadn't been able to bring himself to say anymore.

"I don't want to," she had said as he kissed the tears from her face. "But I don't know what to do," she had continued softly.

He had cupped the back of her head in his palm as he had kissed her forehead, feeling uncertain as well.

As they had continued to embrace, both of them still clutching at each other, Tsukasa had said "I don't want to break up. So we need to fix this." She had merely nodded into his neck, her arms wrapped around him almost painfully.

"I don't want to do this ever again." He had mumbled into hair as he had pulled her even closer. "I won't hurt you again." He had sworn.

She had hoarsely replied. "Me too …"

It had been, without a doubt, another important turning point in their relationship. As they had held each other that night in bed, she gently cupping his cheek that she had carefully bandaged and he holding ice against the bruise on her face, they had finally talked openly.

And as a result, they hadn't ended things. They had learned from the experience.

As time went on, the wounds finally healed and the bruises eventually faded, but they never forgot what they had learned. Better communication and even deeper feelings of love and understanding had eventually replaced many of the arguments and irritations from before.

Bringing his thoughts back to the present, Tsukasa kissed Tsukushi ardently, his remembrances giving way to passionate urges. He brushed his lips along her brow, kissed the top of her nose and nuzzled her cheek. After a few moments, Tsukushi stirred in her sleep and responded to his kisses by sleepily wrapping her arms around his neck.

"Oh..." she sighed against his lips. "Tsukasa."

Over come by the feeling that he couldn't get close enough to her, he covered her body with his.

And as the early morning crept on, with Tsukushi whimpering softly in Tsukasa's ear, they came as close as they could possibly be.

To be continued…

-Maho-chan 2/14/2010 :)