Disclaimer: I don't own Maison Ikkoku.
Note: For the purposes of this fic, Maison Ikkoku ends around 2001 with Kyoko and Godai getting married. This fic takes place however around 1997 or so. Hence Yusaku is still in College. If I mess up the years and what not, then I apologize.
All My Life
It was a fairly mundane day in Clock Hill District. The morning hours had waned away and it was now afternoon. It was the middle of spring, and the sun shined in the sky as the various residents went about their individual activities. The owner of the Cha-Cha Maru absently wiped a glass while wondering where his lazy waitress was. Coach Shun Mitaka took a breather from his Tennis lessons, and wondered what his hopeful wife to be was doing at the moment. Mr. Ichinose paused and stopped working for a moment to think briefly about his wife and son. In a restaurant located in another district, a little old lady wondered if her ungrateful grandson would ever grow a spine. And in a little run down apartment house with a big broken down clock atop it, a young man wondered if his life would ever change.
Sweeping was an incredibly relaxing thing to do. Not only did it enable one to clean and get exercise, but it also brought a certain sense of peace that closely resembled meditation. Kyoko Otonashi could certainly vouch for this, as at the moment she was doing exactly that, sweeping. Never mind the fact that she had already swept the worn entranceway of Maison Ikkoku that day, because right now she felt like all her problems were a million miles away. Her parents, her tenants, her dog, none of them could shatter this brief moment of peace she felt right then. None of them except for a clumsy young man who had accidentally tripped on the steps again on his way out, and hit the ground face first with an audible smack. Sighing at the loss of calm she had felt, Kyoko shook her head at the rather undignified heap lying at her doorstep.
"Honestly Yusaku, can't you ever remember to watch your footing?" She lightly scolded in an exasperated tone of voice. Chuckling nervously like a fool, Yusaku Godai got to his feet and rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.
"Um, yeah, sorry about that Kyoko, I'll uh, t-try to look where I'm g-going next time…" He stuttered out. Nodding, Kyoko went back to her sweeping.
"Okay, well, I suppose I'll see you later then Yusaku." She said with her back turned. This of course meant she couldn't see his face fall much like his body just did. Sighing, Yusaku walked out the gate without turning back. He didn't notice Kyoko watching him as soon as he went past her.
"Well, how do you like that? Not even a response…" She muttered.
Yusaku cursed to himself as he wandered down the street.
"She must think I'm a total moron! What is wrong with me?" Of course, the reason Yusaku had tripped in the first place was because he had been watching the love of his life and her graceful motions. This of course shut down his brain, and eliminated his motor control to the point that he could not even correctly place one foot in front of the other and carry out the routine human function of walking upright. Cursing himself and his stupidity, Yusaku took another turn and arrived at the café where he was supposed to meet Kozue. Sure enough, the bubbly, but very sweet girl sat at a table waiting for him. Smiling somewhat weakly, Yusaku sat down across from her and ordered a coffee from the waiter that came by. As soon as the waiter had given Yusaku his order, Kozue immediately launched into a discussion about various mundane subjects that interested her at the moment, while Yusaku just smiled and nodded occasionally. In truth, his mind was not even there at the moment. It bothered him for some reason that Kozue didn't even noticed that he was feeling really bad. Of course, he knew that if she did notice, she would immediately put aside everything to help him through it. She really was a sweet girl. She was just so oblivious at times. Which of course made it even harder to break up with her. He just couldn't bear to hurt her like that, and in the process he was just digging his grave deeper. Sighing sadly, Yusaku wished that he could find a way to be with Kyoko. Of course, Kyoko sure did treat him poorly sometimes. The fact that she got jealous of him constantly and ridiculed him for going on dates with Kozue when she herself was constantly going on dates with rich boy Mitaka was simply ridiculous. At the thought of the arrogant Tennis instructor, Yusaku felt his blood boil. Oh how he hated that obnoxious jerk sometimes! Kozue blinked upon seeing Yusaku clench his hand so hard around his coffee that the cup might break.
"Yusaku? Are you alright?" Blinking several times, Yusaku came back to himself and realized what he was doing. Removing his hand from the cup, Yusaku breathed out a long sigh and slumped slightly. Kozue became concerned and reached over to take his hand.
"Is everything alright Yusaku?" She asked quietly. Yusaku was a bit surprised at her sudden perceptiveness, and smiled faintly at her.
"Yeah, I'm alright Kozue. Everything is…alright." He didn't want to worry her after all.
"Oh! Okay then! Well, as I was saying…" And she continued on as if nothing happened, leaving Yusaku to groan in surrender.
"I give up…" He muttered to himself.
After saying goodbye to Kozue, Yusaku decided what he really needed to get over this funk he was in, was to head over somewhere and get a drink or two. Deciding that the Cha-Cha Maru would have the crazies in it by now, he opted for the little Oden stand under the bridge instead. After sitting down and ordering a drink, he proceeded to attempt to get royally sloshed. He barely noticed when a middle-aged man sat next to him and ordered a cup of tea. After downing his third beer, Yusaku glanced over at the man and then ordered another. The owner of the Oden stand didn't even bat an eyelash at one of his more frequent customers as of late. He figured that the kid just had some serious problems and as long as he paid his tab, he wasn't going to refuse him a beer or four. After taking a swig of the bitter beverage, Yusaku again glanced over at the guy sitting beside him.
"You know, excessive drinking at your age isn't very smart…." The man said without turning to him in a calm, almost eloquent voice that reminded Yusaku a little of Yotsuya, only without the underlying sliminess that he usually associated with the snake man. Of course, in his somewhat drunken state, Yusaku got mad at someone knocking him.
"What the hell do you know!" The college student yelled as he took a long swig of beer and slammed the glass down on the counter of the stand with an audible thump. The man didn't react at all and just sipped his tea. Growing annoyed, Yusaku laid into him.
"Look, if you wanna say something then say it! Otherwise…" His voice took on a sadder note.
"Otherwise leave me alone…" He then gulped down another shot of beer. The man just took another sip of tea.
"Having problems of the female kind I assume?" The man asked, to which Yusaku glanced at him oddly.
"How in the hell did you…?" He muttered before the floodgates finally opened.
"…and she just doesn't seem to care, except when I either go on a date, or something similar…" Yusaku said as he finished off his beer and sighed sadly after having just told the man all his problems with Kyoko and his love life. The man nodded and motioned for him to continue.
"I just wish…I could have maybe met her earlier, gotten off to a better start, that sort of thing…Maybe even before she got married to Soichiro…" He said quietly, now sounding somewhat sober. The man nodded again and finished his tea finally. After paying the Oden stand owner, the man stood up and turned at last to Yusaku.
"I think that the answer to your problems lies within yourself, but that's just my opinion." The man said, before reaching into his pocket and drawing from it a small, fairly old looking 100 yen coin, which he handed to Yusaku without a word. Yusaku looked at him oddly again and the man smiled.
"Keep that with you. Think of it as a good luck charm." The man said. Yusaku, for some reason he couldn't fathom, nodded and pocketed the coin. The man then got up and started to leave.
"Wait! Who are you?" Yusaku called after the man. The man didn't turn around, but he did stop for a moment.
"That is inconsequential. Farewell, Yusaku Godai, and may you find what you're looking for…" Then the man was gone. Leaving Yusaku to stand there stupidly, before paying his bill and leaving for Maison Ikkoku.
Upon arriving, Yusaku, still slightly drunk, walked up to the gate. He noticed that Mitaka's car was just leaving, and that the jerk waved to him with a smirk on his face. Ignoring the pain in his heart that knowing Kyoko had been with Mitaka brought him, he slowly walked to the door. After slipping inside, he removed his shoes and set them by the door, and took off his coat. He was just about to head up to his room, when Kyoko stomped up to him with an angry expression on her face.
"Yusaku Godai! Do you have any idea what time it is! Where on earth have you been!" She continued to yell in his face, while the crazies chuckled and laughed from around the corner. Yusaku felt two emotions at that moment. An overwhelming anger that threatened to explode forth from him, and a dark, dark despair. A feeling in his gut so cold that it almost gave him physical pain. Rather than give in to the anger, he instead opted for the depression, and felt it hit him full force. He barely listened as Kyoko continued to verbally scold him like a Mother would a child.
"Child…" He thought to himself.
"She thinks I'm a child. Nothing more…" He closed his eyes as if in pain.
"She doesn't love me, she never did…" His eyes snapped open at this revelation, and he slowly turned around, and walked up the stairs, with a blank look on his face. Kyoko blinked for a few moments as she watched him go up the stairs. She had seen something in his eyes, for just a brief moment, that frightened her for some reason. It was the look of a broken man.
"Yusaku…" She whispered quietly.
Walking into his room with the big five on the door, Yusaku closed and locked the door, before wordlessly collapsing onto his futon, and staring up at the ceiling. Random thoughts swirled in his head. Pathetic, childish, poor, clumsy, idiotic, spineless… like an endless loop they dominated his thoughts. Along with one other thing…
"Kyoko…" He whispered to the darkness. After another half hour or so of this, sleep finally claimed him, and he completely forgot about the coin still in his pocket.
"Huh?" Yusaku awoke with a start, and blinked several times as he observed his surroundings. He was in his room, same as it always was, but something was decidedly different. His stereo for example, he had gotten it in 1995, and it was brand new then, yet the thing looked like it was several years older. It was odd to say the least. Getting to his feet, he glanced outside and noticed that it was morning. So with a shrug, he went about his morning routine. It was odd really, but Maison Ikkoku seemed a lot…newer, for lack of a better word. The walls weren't peeling, and the floor was cleaner. If he had remembered to look, he would have realized that Yotsuya's hole was absent from his room, but he did not notice. Finally after getting dressed and feeling ready for the day, Yusaku headed for the downstairs. He of course dreaded seeing Kyoko today, but figured that maybe she would just ignore him like she sometimes did when angry at him. Upon reaching the downstairs, he noticed a man just coming around the corner that led to Kyoko's room. The man looked to be in his mid-forties, and was starting to go bald. The man noticed him and smiled.
"Yusaku! Good morning!" The man said with a wave. The way he said Yusaku's name, it sounded like he knew him fairly well. Unsure of exactly what to make of this, Yusaku simply smiled back, albeit slightly more forced.
"Uh, yeah, good morning!" Yusaku said while briefly wondering if this guy and Kyoko were…
"Stop right there!" Yusaku mentally screamed to himself. Kyoko already had Mitaka and himself, why would she go to another guy? Especially some old balding guy. No, this guy must have just been an old friend, or maybe a salesman of some sort.
"So than why does he know me?" Yusaku wondered to himself. That's when he realized something else. The familiar phone that usually sat by Mrs. Ichinose's room was gone, without a trace that it had ever been there in the first place, which was odd since Yusaku had used it the previous day. The man seemed to be saying something, and Yusaku snapped out of his temporary daze.
"Uh, what was that?" Yusaku asked sheepishly.
"I said, that we're getting some new tenants today, a married couple in fact, who will be moving into room 1… kind of odd really, considering I just had you move in last week…" The man said with a smile. Yusaku gaped at him in confusion, and quickly ran over to room 1 and opened the door. It was completely empty inside. No trace of the Ichinose's at all. Whirling around, Yusaku looked at the curious man in front of him.
"The Ichinose's?" He finally blurted out after getting his bearings back somewhat. The man smiled again.
"Why yes! How did you know that the couple's name was Ichinose?" The man asked curiously. He couldn't remember mentioning it. Yusaku gaped again, before he finally let out a grunt of frustration and ran past the man and into the manager's room. The sight that greeted him almost brought tears to his eyes. It was all gone. The little TV, the tea set, the full-length mirror, even the big golden star he got her for Christmas one year. All of it was gone. There was nothing left. No sign that Kyoko Otonashi had ever lived in that room at all. The man came up from behind him.
"Is something wrong Yusaku?" He asked with some concern. The young man didn't turn around.
"What is the date today?" He asked in a quiet voice. The man blinked a few times, before finally replying.
"Why, it's August 20th, 1988. Why do you ask?" Yusaku fell to his knees and whispered in a choked voice.
"Oh, no reason…"
Yusaku stared at the ground as he wandered around Clock Hill District aimlessly. He just couldn't believe it. He had somehow been transported years in the past, and for all intents and purposes, Kyoko didn't even know he existed. Of course, Kyoko would be in High School still right now. Which meant that she would be falling for Soichiro at the moment. He absently kicked an empty can at that thought. He then laughed humorlessly.
"Well, at least she hasn't met Mitaka yet…" Somehow, that didn't bring him much comfort. He had managed to determine that the man he had been speaking to earlier was the manager of Maison Ikkoku right now, and was named Mr. Nashi. Apparently, Yotsuya was still living in room 4, but he seemed to mind his own business. Of course, Yusaku was pretty sure that would change. What was also odd was that he would actually be older than Kyoko by several years now, instead of two years younger like before. That's when a thought hit him.
"Kyoko seems to like older guys! So maybe…" He shook his head at that. What was he thinking? She was already probably head over heels for Soichiro. That's when fate decided to take over. Not looking where he was going, Yusaku accidentally bumped into someone. Apologizing profusely, he looked up, and saw that it was of all the people in the world, Kyoko, only, younger. They stared at each other for a few more moments, with Yusaku gaping in awe, before she smiled cheerfully at him.
"No need to apologize, really! It's my fault too. I should have been more careful sir!" She then bowed to him, while he stood there dumbly. Even after she walked off, he continued to stand there like an idiot. Finally coming back to reality, Yusaku shook his head and continued walking.
"Oh man, she sure was cute, even as a girl and not a woman…" He thought to himself. Finally, he returned to Maison Ikkoku, and was met by Mr. Nashi, who asked him to help move some of the Ichinose's things into the room for them. It was odd to say the least, being introduced to the Ichinose's all over again, although what was even odder was that they both looked exactly the same as they did in the future. After finishing helping move their belongings in, Yusaku bumped into Yotsuya, who just "happened" to miss being there to help move things. The slimy jerk still looked exactly the same as he would in a few years when Yusaku really moved into Maison Ikkoku. He mentioned that he would be "seeing" Yusaku later that evening, so Yusaku made a mental note to be ready. He left to go to the hardware store, and bought several thick steel plates and rivets. He then returned to Ikkoku and explained to Mr. Nashi why he needed to securely fasten them to a certain side of his room. The side shared by room 4. Mr. Nashi was a bit dubious, but after comparing Yusaku's character to Yotsuya's, agreed. It was completed fairly quickly actually. Yusaku then gave the remaining pieces of metal to Mr. Nashi to do with as he wished. After entering his room and closing the door, he sat down and decided to plan his next move. He was apparently stuck in the past, yet at the same age he was in the future. Somehow, events had been altered to where he had been born much earlier, hence he was in College now instead of just starting High School. Kyoko would be about 16 or 17 right now, and judging from when he bumped into her earlier, just as cute as ever. It was Sunday, and he apparently had school the next day. Now the turning point came. Should he simply go about things normally? Go to school everyday, and maybe hope that he would be transported back to the present, or should he plunge into the unknown? Pursue Kyoko, despite her younger age, and hope that perhaps she might fall for him. Then it hit him.
"This could be my big chance! If I play my cards right, maybe Kyoko would fall in love with me! I mean, she seems to like older guys, and I already know a lot about her from her future self! Maybe…" Then another realization hit him like a brick in the face.
"But she already has a crush on her Geography teacher, Soichiro Otonashi…Damn it…" He slumped and sighed sadly. Even hearing a muffled thump and the curses of Yotsuya trying to make a hole in his wall did not cheer him up, though it did feel good to get the drop on the snake for once. Sighing, Yusaku laid down on his futon and continued to ponder his current predicament.
"Is it worth it? Should I take a leap of faith?" He closed his eyes, making his decision at last.
"I'm gonna go for it! Tomorrow, I'll go see Kyoko at her school!" With that thought firmly in mind, Yusaku smiled as hope flared in his chest. For once, sleep came fairly easily to him. And his dreams were for once, happy ones, filled with visions of his true love. Oddly enough, he dreamt of both the older and younger Kyoko.
With a spring in his step, Yusaku went about his morning routine on the bright Monday morning he had woken to. For a brief moment, he had woke up and thought it all a dream, but one look at his room with the steel plating attached to a wall, and he knew it was not so. He was just glad that he seemed to have a fairly hefty chunk of cash with him, even after buying the steel and rivets. As he was brushing his teeth at the group sink outside his room, he noticed the door of room six opening, and who should step out, but a much younger looking Akemi, who for once was not clad in her attire of skimpy negligee. In fact, she wore a fairly conservative outfit of loose pants, and a sweater. She smiled at him, and he returned it.
"Good morning Yusaku." She said cheerfully, without the usual somewhat dull monotone she greeted him with. In fact he realized, she would be a lot closer to his age now. They brushed their teeth in silence, and she picked up the conversation again.
"So, doing anything after class today?" She said without turning to him. He blinked in confusion, but smiled despite himself, unused to her friendliness.
"Well, sorta, but it probably won't take long…why?" He asked, turning to face her after finishing rinsing his mouth. She finished a moment later, and met his gaze with another cheerful smile.
"Oh no reason! Just curious I guess. I suppose I'll see you later then Yusaku…" With that said, she went back into her room, shutting the door softly, leaving Yusaku to stand in the hallway in confusion.
"What was that all about?" He thought to himself in curiosity.
Thankfully, Yusaku seemed to have a class schedule with him in his room, so it was a simple matter to head over to the college and go to his classes. The familiar dullness of the teacher's lectures was at least the same, and it made the anticipation of the end of the school day seem even greater. Yusaku sort of missed Sakamoto, big loser that he was, but right now he assumed that Sakamoto would be in High School at their old school, so he didn't really bother thinking about it. Finally he was done for the day, and with a smile, Yusaku headed straight for Kyoko's High school.
The sight of students laughing about the ending of the school day made Yusaku's smile widen. It certainly brought back memories. The feelings of nostalgia were bittersweet though, because even though his life was much more simple in High School, back then, he never knew Kyoko Otonashi even existed.
"Kyoko Chigusa." He corrected himself mentally with a slight smirk. She wasn't married yet after all. A group of giggling girls passed him suddenly, and he could make out certain snippets of their conversation.
"Kyoko's gonna…Mr. Otonashi…White shirt…" And then they were gone, leaving him to blink a few times in confusion, before snapping his fingers in remembrance.
"Oh yeah! She told me about this one time! When she first got a crush on Soichiro, she tried to use red paint and make a print of a heart on his white shirt. Hmm, but she said she didn't have the nerve to do it…" He looked around the courtyard, until finally he saw Kyoko running towards a guy dressed in a suit with a briefcase. He assumed that this was Soichiro, and stared at the man for several moments.
"Man, I finally get to see what he looks like…hmm, not exactly a looker is he? But then again, neither am I really…but still…this guy is just well…dumb looking…" Shrugging, Yusaku continued to watch the scene unfold. Just as Kyoko was about to slap her red painted palm on Soichiro's back, she grew a fearful expression on her face and did an about face. As she ran off, Yusaku could swear he saw tears in her eyes, although it could have been his imagination. Seeing Soichiro wander off, Yusaku made his way in the direction that Kyoko had gone. It was towards the back of the school, and Yusaku noted that there were some benches and trees that created a sort of public park effect to the place. But more importantly, he didn't see her anywhere, and was just about to look somewhere else when he heard a soft crying coming from behind one of the trees. Cautiously, and with a subtlety that would have shocked any who knew him well, Yusaku tip-toed up to the tree and peeked around the corner. Sitting there, with a truly forlorn look on her face, was Kyoko Chigusa.
"Hey…" He whispered. Whipping her head around, she came face to face with him, and froze. They both just stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity.
"You…" She whispered almost to herself. He blinked out of his daze, and she quickly did the same. Suddenly feeling self-conscious, she wiped her eyes and hastily stood up. She stared at the ground, while he regarded her curiously.
"I'm sorry, it's just that, I feel as if I know you from somewhere…I felt the same way yesterday when we ran into each other. It's like I know you, yet I've never seen you before in my life…" She said quietly while keeping her head low to avoid embarrassment. Yusaku was puzzled to say the least, unsure what to make of her statement. Deciding that he should probably try to comfort the distraught girl, he hesitantly tilted her chin up.
"Those eyes…" He thought to himself. Those same blue orbs that always made him weak at the knees were the same as always. Maybe a little more innocent, a little less old, but still the same kindest, most beautiful set of irises he had seen in his life. Except for one thing. They didn't hold the ever-present sadness in them that they did in his time. The sadness of loss was absent from them, and though it didn't necessarily enhance their beauty, it certainly made them different to him.
"Kyoko…" He whispered.