Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Aftermath 6: Holding On
Fuuko ran a hand through her shortened purple hair as she restlessly sat and cautiously eyed the instrument in front of her.
It's a violin.
She remembered her mother teaching her how to play it when she was just a little kid.
It's one of her fondest memories of her mother before she passed away due to Myocarditis, a heart infection.
After her own accident, she could barely remember anything about her mother.
But time had been good.
It's been a year since Fuuko has recovered from her coma and recollected most of her memories, which include that of her mother. She could now clearly remember her mother telling her that if she can't express her emotions through words, she could just express them through the music she could create with the violin. Indeed it has an inexplicable power to give comfort and ease pain.
But she hasn't tried to play the violin since her mother's death for her sorrow was too great for even the sweet sound of the violin.
Today, though, it is for a different purpose.
It is for a different pain.
It's not for the loss.
It's for a heartbreak.
But for unknown reasons, she couldn't bring herself to play so she stared harder while the violin just sat there on the chair as if staring back mockingly at Fuuko.
"Staring at it won't make it play by itself, Fuuko."
She shifted her emerald eyes to the handsome young lad leaning at the doorway of the music room with a mischievous glint in his icy blue eyes.
"You have to do it yourself."
Fuuko felt a sudden leap in her heart but then she shook it off and glared.
"What are you doing here?" She demanded, crossing her arms. "You're not allowed here."
"The record book. You're no longer a student of this school." Fuuko answered, narrowing her eyes. "You're breaking the rules."
"I learn from the best." Tokiya replied with an evocative shrug.
Fuuko met his gaze and then slowly smiled.
"How could I forget? You are a good student after all."
A small smile traced Tokiya's lips as he pulled himself from the doorway and walked towards Fuuko.
"So why were you staring at the violin again? You didn't really expect it to talk back to you, are you? Just because you're a monkey doesn't mean you'll be able to understand the non-living's language." He teased, earning another glare from the wind child.
"I supposed you could? You're an iceberg, after all." Fuuko shot back, raising an eyebrow.
Tokiya's lips twitched and then he slowly nodded appreciatively.
"Hmm, already catching up, aren't we?"
"I told you not to underestimate me, Mikagami. I can easily pick up, you know." Fuuko contributed with a smug smile and a nonchalant shrug.
He took a seat beside her and took the violin.
"Do you remember what I said when I saw you playing this?" He asked, intently studying the instrument in his hands.
Fuuko thought for a moment and then slowly shook her head.
Tokiya looked at her teasingly and said, "I commented that I didn't know monkeys--"
He wasn't able to finish because Fuuko kicked his shin.
"As I was saying," Tokiya said, pinning Fuuko with a warning look while rubbing his bruised shin. "I commented that I didn't know you play the violin."
Fuuko narrowed her eyes and stuck out her tongue at him.
"Well, maybe you never asked."
Tokiya raised an eyebrow and huffed. "How surreal. That's what you said."
Fuuko's eyes widened in curiosity and asked, "Really?"
Tokiya nodded as he gently brushed his fingers on the violin's strings.
Fuuko bit her lower lip in silent contemplation while watching his hand play.
"It was my mother who taught me how to play." Fuuko said suddenly. She traced the form of the violin with her eyes wistfully while unconsciously fidgeted with her school skirt. "I recall one instance, I was 8. I got mad at her because she forced me to stay in the house to learn it while she allowed niichan to play with Recca."
Tokiya snorted in amusement as he imagined a little Fuuko pouting and sulking.
Fuuko chuckled in response, delivering another kick on his shin, but it was gentler this time with no intention of inflicting hurt.
Then she sighed and smiled sadly.
"If only I could turn back the time," She said. "I would gladly learn the violin just to spend more time with her."
Tokiya looked at her in surprise.
In all honesty, aside from knowing that she lives with her dad and older brother, he hardly knows about Fuuko's family. Well, considering how he had carelessly taken for granted their time together before her accident, it wasn't surprising. So he had never really gotten around to ask her about her mother.
Fuuko must've noticed the confusion in Tokiya's face because she faintly smiled and shook her head.
"She died of a heart infection when I was 15." She explained. "Since then I didn't play the violin again, never even dared to get near one. The sight makes me miss her too much that it becomes unbearable."
Tokiya was shocked, to say the least. He never would have thought that Fuuko had also lost someone dear to her as he had. She's always been so full of energy and life that you'd think that she's always problem-free.
"I'm sorry." Tokiya said quietly.
Fuuko shrugged and smiled faintly, "Yeah, I know. Me too."
They were silent for a while.
Tokiya, although he clearly has an idea of how she must feel right now, didn't automatically know what to say or how to give comfort. He just hopes that his presence alone can speak for his concern and support.
Fuuko, being Fuuko, knew that and decided to break the silence herself.
"It's kind of funny when I think about myself back then. If you think I'm a delinquent now, oh, you should have seen me 3 years ago." She said, trying to lighten the mood.
Tokiya raised his eyebrow curiously and encouraged her to continue her story.
"I come home really late and more often than not I come home drunk. I don't attend school at all. In fact, I almost didn't graduate junior high. I was always involved in a fight and I even have a longer list of names I've given black eyes and bruises to than my niichan and Recca combined." Fuuko said with a laugh. Then she shook her head at the thought, "My dad didn't know what to do about me."
Tokiya huffed in disbelief while Fuuko nodded in affirmation with mocked solemnity.
"Wow, I'm glad I didn't know you back then." Tokiya said jokingly to which Fuuko responded by kicking his shin.
"Hey, I changed." Fuuko justified.
"This is your definition of change?" Tokiya asked incredulously, pointing to his bruised shin.
"You deserve it."
Tokiya huffed and pinned her with a challenging look.
"So, what brought the change?"
Fuuko thought for a while and then smiled before answering.
"I remembered that I still have my dad." She said, meeting Tokiya's eyes. "I still have my niichan. And then I have Recca, Domon, Yanagi, Kagerou-san, Ganko, Kaoru, and you."
The mocking look on Tokiya's face completely disappeared in an instant as a warm feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
"Of course I still miss my mom. Always. But her death taught me not to take anyone for granted anymore. I learned to love the people who deeply care about me and I realized that before time runs out again, I should cherish what I have and live for the moment. If possible, I don't want to dwell too much on things that don't make me happy."
Tokiya was literally speechless.
Never in his life did he ever hear anything as beautiful in his life until now.
He realized it should've been the lesson he had also learned during the death of his parents and sister.
But instead he lusted for revenge and he was blinded by his arrogance.
He mentally shook his head as he still couldn't believe what took him so long to see it. To see her.
"Do you have any idea how wonderful you are?" Tokiya suddenly blurted out to his own surprise but instead of feeling embarrassment, he felt like smiling, which he did.
"I'd pretend I didn't hear that because I don't even know where that came from." Fuuko muttered and crossed her eyebrows in confusion as she fought off a blush. "Took you long enough to notice though."
Tokiya snorted in amusement and then handed the violin to Fuuko.
"I'd really like to hear you play this again."
Fuuko looked at him incredulously, hesitantly taking the violin. "Why?"
"Because you play beautifully. I'm sure your mother would have been very proud." Tokiya said sincerely.
Fuuko smiled in appreciation and then took a deep breath as she slowly placed her chin on the chin rest and cautiously placed the bow on the top of the strings.
After a moment, she placed the violin down and sighed.
"I can't do it."
"What? Why?" Tokiya asked with a glint of worry in his eyes.
Fuuko took a deep breath and gave a small smile.
"I know this will sound very cowardly but I'm just not ready. I'm sorry."
Tokiya shook his head and quietly said, "Don't be, I understand. But you have to tell me when you're going to do it again because I'd like to be there to hear you play."
Fuuko smiled and nodded.
"Thanks, I really appreciate that."
They stared at each other in silence for a while and then Tokiya wordlessly stood up and walked towards the piano at the other end of the room.
Fuuko followed his form with her eyes as he sat gracefully at the piano, opened the lid cover, delicately ran his hands on the keys, and then started to play.
It was just a simple and short piece, not as complicated like Mozart's compositions.
Yet it has the desired effect, which is to soothe and comfort.
A smile traced Fuuko's lips as she stood up and walked towards Tokiya.
"I didn't know you play the piano." She commented after he pressed the last key to finish the piece.
"You never asked." He answered slyly.
Fuuko rolled her eyes good-humoredly and then snorted, "Well, it never did cross my mind that icebergs can play instruments."
"What?" He demanded when he got a weird look from Fuuko.
She shook her head and smiled.
"Nothing. It's just that I don't exactly remember you ever laughing at all and it's kind of weird to hear it now." Fuuko said, then she immediately added, "But it's nice. I like your laugh."
Tokiya felt his heart leap at her words but on the outside, he looked unaffected.
"You like my laugh?" He inquired, feigning nonchalance while he gently played random pieces so as not to drown their conversation.
Fuuko pretended to reconsider and then nodded with a smile.
"I also like your smile."
Tokiya's hands faltered at the compliment and when Fuuko realized what she just said, she felt her face heat up.
"Really?" Tokiya asked, raising a curious eyebrow.
Fuuko tried to glare at him in spite of her blush but ended up sighing in exasperation instead.
"Yes, you should try smiling more often, in fact, but don't start grinning like a crazed hyena just because I said that."
Now it's Tokiya's turn to scowl, which made Fuuko laugh.
"Just admit it already, you like me."
Just after the words came out of his mouth, Tokiya immediately looked away and focused his attention on the piano. He's pretty sure of his feelings for the wind child but after the accident he's quite doubtful of her own. And although he had always wondered along those lines, he had never thought to disclose it to Fuuko. At least not yet.
When Fuuko didn't say anything, he hesitantly looked up and she has this weird, unreadable expression on her face, which caused Tokiya to take back his words.
"Forget I said that."
"I already did." Fuuko said right after.
Tokiya looked at her in confusion and asked, "I'm sorry?"
Fuuko felt her heart constrict in pain as she was reminded of the reason why she was there on the first place. She was supposed to play for her heartbreak.
Or at least for the memory of her heartbreak.
She dreamt of it the night before and the images are still so fresh in her mind where she stood in front of the boy she cared so much and confessed her desire to be with him. Only to be denied.
"I already did." Fuuko repeated.
Tokiya was still confused but before he could say anything, Fuuko spoke again.
"Um, I'll go outside for a bit. I think I'm going to need some fresh air." And without waiting for a response, she turned and ran out of the room.
Fuuko inwardly cursed herself for her cowardness as she ran passed people on the hallway of her school and outside the school gates. She couldn't believe she was still making a big deal out of it when it had happened so long ago. Things have been turning out for the better now between them, why does she have to ruin everything by being emotional about it?
You're afraid that he's just being nice to you because he's ridden with the guilt of your accident. A voice inside her head pointed out.
But before she could ponder on it more, she felt someone grab her arm and crushed her against a solid chest.
"No, Fuuko. Not this time." Hot breath brushed against her ear, making her shiver.
"Michan." She whispered unconsciously.
The arms around her tightened in response, making her shiver once again.
"What did you call me?" Icy blue eyes seek out her green orbs but she looked away.
"Let me go, Tokiya." She begged, squirming out of his firm hold.
Tokiya shook his head, "Never again. Now, what did you call me?"
"Does it matter?"
"Why?" Fuuko whispered in almost desperation.
Instead of answering, Tokiya's hold on her loosened and as Fuuko slowly pulled away, she felt her heart sank deeper if possible.
She turned dejectedly with unshed tears burning her eyes but before she could step away, Tokiya spoke.
"I'd have you back."
She didn't face him but Tokiya knew she was listening.
"Only the old Fuuko will call me by that name and if I hear it then I'd know that you're back, for real. Then I could apologize for being an insensitive jerk and ask for a second chance to make things right. I want to smile and laugh for you. I want even more to make you smile and laugh."
Tokiya paused and sighed before adding, "I want to be with you, Fuuko. I want to be happy with you. I'd be damned if I ever let you go again without knowing that."
Tears started to fall freely from Fuuko's eyes, which she hastily brushed away with the back of her hand, but she refused to turn around just yet.
Tokiya took that, however, as a sign of rejection but before he left, he said, "Call me still if you decide to ever play the violin again. I would really love to hear you."
Fuuko's eyes widened in response as she finally turned and watched Tokiya's retreating back.
"Wait!" She called out, stopping Tokiya in mid-stride.
And as Tokiya slowly turned to face her, she realized that at a certain point, music can give comfort and ease pain. But nothing beats the mere presence of the one you love.
Before Tokiya had fully faced her, he found himself already wrapped in Fuuko's arms, her face buried on the crook of his neck.
As he secured her in his arms, he heard her whisper.
A/N: Finally! It is done. You thought Raiha's going to make an appearance huh? Well, if reviews are good I just might make another sequel and we might see Raiha's cute wittle face hint, hint . Guys, thank you so much for the support, especially for the reviews. I know that Tokiya is OOC here but just imagine when you almost lost someone you love. Well, I like the end of the story. I hope you like it too but it's okay if you don't. But please do leave me a review still and tell me what you didn't like about it, okay?
special thanks to: alfo5, malo, sailormars5194, loujane14, munlytangel01, ladylyris, carmelahere, wija-chan, yanagi-chyan (I know Fuuko is a bit OOC too hehehe but I read it somewhere that those who suffer from amnesia usually really doesn't act like their selves at first because they're still trying to recall how they respond to different stimuli hope that was enlightening hehehe), snowcharms, shenhui, and phinkness. thanks guys, you're the best!