The last chapter of "KISS Me!" is dedicated to Tk Tony, the reviewer from the original "KISS Me!" who gave an honest and revelational review to my writing.
To Tk Tony: I did not follow everything that you've suggested, although it was my fault for not doing my research properly. This version of "KISS Me!" is probably still not what you envisioned it to be. Yes, Hotaru is still talkative, he still likes the OC. Shinrei is still a little too flustered for your liking, but I hope that "Their Memories of Fukinara High" is a much mature version of what "KISS Me!" used to be, and that you've grown to like it after 43 chapters.
I know you're not in FanFictionNet anymore, but I hope someday you'll know that your review years ago was a true wakeup call for me to become serious in my writing, to ensure that my story is well-planned, if not flawless. I suppose if you magically return and still criticize on how painfully terrible TMOFH was, I'll seriously cry XD
Thank you nevertheless.
Dear readers, if you've never read the ending author's notes before, please read for this chapter, for once.
Their Memories of Fukinara High (KISS Me!)
Chapter 44 –Reconciliation
(front part of Yuya's diary is omitted in this chapter.)
… Anyway, I'm glad that Kyoshiro and I are together. I hope things will work out between us.
It was a joyous affair at home tonight. So many people came! Akira's arms were near breaking from having to cook for 22 people! I'm glad to see Akizuki joining us for dinner for the first time. She sure has lots to keep up with… Just like how I did when I first met Hotaru-kun and Shinrei-kun. Could you believe that twice she visited us, twice she missed meeting Aki? I think that was the time he wasn't at home much, "gallivanting" with Tokito-chan, muahahahaha. Too bad Tokito couldn't make it today. She was out with her father, how sweet!
Oh yes! Guess what? Shinrei came home… with Saisei-san from Class 2/1! I almost screamed when I saw her! Thinking back on it, I guess the girl Shinrei is interested in could only be Saisei. She's the sweetest girl you could hope to meet, I can't think of a better girl for him! How interesting that the brothers found girlfriends on the same day. As if they needed more things to remind them of their bond with each other!
Honestly, I had no idea how we managed to clean the living room and kitchen within an hour. Yukimura, the Jyuuyuushi, Bonten-san, Akari-san and Kyoshiro all went home. That poor Kyoshiro, he kept apologizing for not being able to help out because of his kendo club meeting tomorrow morning!
Although seven of us (us four residents, Akizuki, Saisei, Benitora) remained behind to clean up, Hotaru and Shinrei were really fighting in the front yard. Aki was standing at the porch, his mind totally in a different dimension. So with us girls and Benitora… it was pure teamwork plus a miracle that things looked less chaotic in the living room. Of course, I stepped in to intervene the brothers' sparring eventually. We simply needed more help!
I tried to talk to Aki-kun in the kitchen, while the rest were figuring out how to remove the orange juice that Hotaru spilled on the tatami floor. But I was interrupted by Saisei, who apologized for her intrusion and asked for a first aid kit. Apparently Shinrei, in his frustration at Hotaru's brainless suggestions, knocked the back of his half-brother's head and Hotaru passed out.
"Did Shinrei send you to us?" Aki-kun asked.
Saisei flushed a pretty pink as she replied, "No… I came here on my own accord. I mean," She genuinely looked flustered. "Hotaru-kun could be hurt!"
"Bahh… he won't die." Said Aki-kun evilly. I also assured her that Shinrei-kun and Hotaru-kun always get into injuries like that, thanks to each other.
Anyway, Akizuki and Saisei just went home, the brothers sent them home. But Benitora is staying over for the night.
(the entry stops here)
"Yuya," Akira poked his head into the room. "Are you asleep?"
"Nope," She grinned, closing her diary. She can finish it later. "Hey Aki?"
Akira smiled, a smile that he only gives to Yuya. "Yeah?"
"You were out on the living room porch for a long time. What were you thinking of?"
"Nah… just some memories of Ryuyousei, Hotaru and Shinrei when we're younger." He replied. "I can tell you another time, if you like."
Of course I would like that! She thought, smiling. She looked at her foster brother again. "Also… Mom and Dad… they're coming home pretty soon, isn't it?" Akira nodded. "Do you think they'll be alright when they see the mess Hotaru and Shinrei created?" Yuya cringed a little. She hardly saw Mr. and Mrs. Omoda angry, but allowing two tenants wreck havoc in the house seemed a little too much. "I mean… It has been 2 years since they left for their world trip. I'm sure they'll be… shocked, for lack of a better word."
Akira chuckled. "They sure will be. I've yet to decide how to break the news to them about Shinrei and Hotaru." His face then turned serious. "They still don't know that they're from Ryuyousei."
A shadow of worry passed Yuya's face. "Were they worried that you made friends with the yakuza last time?"
"Terribly." He gave a small smile. "I assured them for the whole 4 years that I was going to be fine; the yakuza didn't see me as a threat. However, Mom was sick with worry that they might chop off my fingers or something. Obviously they almost lost it when I became blind."
Yuya sat up straight. "You were blinded by Ryuyousei?" She asked furiously. Obviously her impression of the triad wasn't a good one. "Dad said it was a disease that made you blind."
He laughed. "The Ryuyousei Disease I guess! Dad gave me a restraining order not to leave the house." He curled his finger beneath his chin. "Shinrei infiltrated the house every night to visit me though. And after I was well, I was given one week to cut all my ties with Ryuyousei, which was more than enough time in my opinion."
Yuya didn't understand the last phrase of what he said, but didn't ask because of the bigger question: "Why were you blinded by Ryuyousei?"
Akira sighed. "Long story. Anyway, Benitora is looking for you, he's downstairs in the kitchen."
Yuya raised an eyebrow and glanced at the wall clock. It was one thirty in the morning. She frowned. "Do you know what he's up to?"
"Not a clue." Was his reply, though Akira's smile was all-knowing. "Be quiet when you go downstairs though, Hotaru and Shinrei are sleeping. Don't stay up too late too, you've got school tomorrow."
She nodded. She put on a light jacket and tip-toed downstairs, where Benitora was in the kitchen waiting.
"Hey, Yuya-san," he smiled as she entered. "Sorry to disturb you at this hour."
"It's alright." She smiled as she took a seat in the kitchen. "I'm not sleeping yet."
Months ago, she would've hesitated before being alone in the room with this crazy schoolmate. Now she knows him better as friends, and even though she teases him by pretending to ignore him, she is always glad to see him around.
She fiddled with the table cloth in front of her. "So what's up?"
Benitora sat down too, opposite of her at the table. He looked at her and said sadly. "Yuya-san, I hope it's not a bad time to tell you this. But if not now, maybe I'll never have the chance to say this again."
Consciousness gripped Yuya as she realized where the conversation was heading. She quietly nodded her head. "Okay."
"From the minute that I saw you in Year 1, I've been attracted to you." He sounded a little embarrassed. His confessions were usually said in a joking manner, he was not used to being this serious. "When I finally became friends with you last year, your carefree attitude and friendliness persisted, even though you knew of my feelings towards you."
She smiled. "You are a good friend, Benitora-kun. There was no reason for me to shun you."
"Yuya-san." She gulped as she stared at her pink-haired friend. "Are you serious with Kyoshiro?" He asked, looking at her as if trying to read her soul.
She made a face in return. "You know, Benitora-kun? It's rude to say 'Duh' in a serious conversation like this, so… yes, I'm serious with Kyoshiro."
"But… didn't you like Kyo?" Benitora asked. "I don't believe that your feelings for Kyoshiro emerged within a day!"
Yuya was shocked. "I… I thought you'll be talking about yourself, not Kyoshiro."
Benitora himself looked shocked. "Actually, yeah… I did look for you wanting to talk about me, but this bit kinda bugged me a lot."'
The blonde made a face. Now that she was caught unaware, Yuya needed to answer Benitora. Just that… how did it happen? That she ended up with Kyoshiro instead of Kyo?
"Benitora-kun, I may have liked Kyo sempai for the past two years…" She finally answered. "But Kyo sempai and I never had a proper friendship to start with. Kyoshiro and I are friends for that number of years too. He knows me well, I know him well. Knowing your boyfriend or girlfriend is more important in the relationship isn't it?"
"Even if the relationship starts off passionately… in the end, if you don't know who is the person you're dating… the relationship fails." She blushed suddenly. "I'm not talking as if I'm some expert. Kyoshiro…" She blushed further. "Kyoshiro is my first boyfriend." She smiled. "He has been there to protect me. I'm always fond of Kyoshiro from the start. I've thought of it as friendly affection, but I guess that it really isn't in the end. But," She smiled at Benitora sincerely. "Thank you for liking me. Although I cannot return your affection, I hope that we can continue to be friends."
Benitora laughed in defeat. "Looking at your smile, I cannot bring myself to ask you to consider me anymore!" He coughed a little. Looking embarrassed and a little shy, he reached out to hold her hand. Yuya hastily tried to retract her hand but failed, his grip was strong and firm.
"In time to come, when I move on from this one-sided relationship, I may not like you anymore." He confessed; his face serious and sad. "But your smile… I still want to protect it. I don't want you to be sad. Will you give me the honour to protect your smile, even though I can't have your love?"
She blushed at the weight of the words. She tried to laugh her embarrassment off, but she couldn't stop her face from blushing. "I'm not that worthy, you idiot." She grinned. "But as long as we are friends, we'll look out for each other. It's not going to be just you protecting me." The hand that Benitora was holding stopped struggling and squeezed his hand in return.
"Hehe…" was his sheepish reply. "Okay! It's getting late now, you should go sleep."
Yuya nodded and got up. As she opened the sliding door of the kitchen, Akira, Hotaru and Shinrei fell over at her feet.
She raised an eyebrow. "Sleepwalking, Hotaru-kun and Shinrei-kun?" She deadpanned.
Shinrei and Aki grinned sheepishly. Hotaru stared at her and replied off-handedly. "No I wasn't sleepwalking. I woke up because I wanted to get a glass of water when I saw the two of them eaves-ooophh." He choked as Shinrei punched his stomach.
Yuya shook her head in half disgust, half amusement. "Goodnight to you all." She announced, then she turned and headed upstairs.
Akira picked himself up and sat with Benitora at the table. "Doing alright, buddy?"
"Tch," scoffed Benitora. "Since when are we close enough to be buddies?" He grinned.
"We'll argue about that once you're done crying." Akira replied coolly.
(And Benitora, oh Benitora, you may be manly in front of Yuya (though not all the time), but we all, readers and author alike, know that after Yuya left and you're left with the guys, you sure cried hard.)
"Urgh…" Groaned Shinrei. "It's just Yuya! She's got a boyfriend now, and it's not like you lost her forever."
"There there," comforted Hotaru, patting the mayor's son's back, even though his face was straight and his voice lacked sympathy. "Big boys don't cry."
"Easy for you to say, you poker face!" Retorted Benitora in response, tears streaming down his face. "You had it easy! I-"
He was interrupted by the phone in the hallway.
"I'll get it," sighed Akira. Who could be calling at this hour? He crossed the hallway and picked up the receiver. "Omoda Residence, hello? … Huh." He grunted upon hearing the voice over the other end. "What a surprise."
Yuya was on the bed, tucked inside her blanket, getting ready to sleep when Akira poked his head through the door.
She looked at him lazily. "Is Benitora crying?"
Akira snorted. "You are sure spot-on. But that's not what I came here for." He passed the wireless phone to her. "You've got a call."
Yuya stared at the wall clock. "It's freaking 2 A.M.!" She groaned, crawling out of the bed to take the receiver. "It better be something good." She pressed the receiver against her ear. "Hello?"
The deep voice that answered chilled her to the very core. "Woman."
She flushed and turned around so that Akira would not see her blush. "K… Kyo sempai?" Her heart was pounding for some reason. Why would Kyo sempai call me?
"I want to talk to you. Meet me outside your house."
She frowned. "O… okay."
They hung up.
"What is it?" Akira asked.
"Kyo sempai wants to meet me in front of our house." She answered. Akira nodded and assured her that if she screamed his name, he'll be there at the front gate in five seconds.
(A/N: Whew! Here we go! Last lap!)
Yuya stood outside her house 10 minutes later, decently dressed with a coat over her pajamas and sweater. Her hair was down instead of the usual low ponytail. She didn't wait long, Kyo's silhouette formed in the distance as soon as she closed the gate.
"Kyo sempai…" She greeted, awkward to see him. The last time they saw each other, Kyoshiro was pulling her away from his violence.
Kyo nodded. "I still think that I don't need to explain myself, but I don't know why I felt that I should." He stood casually, with his legs slightly apart, his hands stuck in his pockets. Yuya couldn't tell what emotions are running through his head. "About this morning…"
Yuya shook her head. "It's not your fault that you wanted to hit me. After all, you were who I liked for the past 2 years."
Kyo seemed to want to say something, but thought better of it. "Yeah…" he nodded slowly. "You bruised my ego." He added lamely but she did not notice. Instead, she laughed and Kyo quickly continued. "I challenged Kyoshiro while we were on the ski trip. I knew he likes you," He shrugged. "So I challenged him, I told him that I'll take you away from him."
Yuya flushed angrily. "That's very under-handed of you to say that." He gave no reply. She looked away, unable to look at her ex-crush straight in the eyes. "Please go on."
"I meant to spite him."
"Why!" She asked. "Aren't you two brothers?" She looked at Kyo, but his face was unreadable. "Even Shinrei and Hotaru patched up and are in better terms. Why can't you and Kyoshiro do the same?"
Kyo tilted his head, as if what she was saying is utter rubbish. "It's just natural, woman." He shrugged. "Of course, there is a real reason. Not as if you need to know anyway."
She frowned. She's Kyoshiro's girlfriend… surely she should know…
Kyo interrupted her thoughts. "I'm not here to talk about my stupid brother. I'm trying to explain my ass out of my actions today." Then he smirked. "But my ass is too good for an explanation. Yours however…" His eyes flickered to her butt.
She placed her hands on her hips, and snapped her fingers in front of him. "Hey! Focus!" She growled.
Kyo snorted. "Never thought you're so feisty." Yuya flushed. It felt weird, to be actually holding a conversation with Kyo for more than 3 minutes. "Anyway, turns out that I helped my stupid brotherinstead." He eyed her with slight interest, his eyes reading from her expression what she wanted. "Ask." He said simply.
"So… are you… evil or what?" Yuya asked, and felt like slapping herself for sounding like a moron.
Kyo leaned against the walls surrounding the Omoda residence and glanced at her sideways, as if she's a moron. "I am myself." (A/N: In Japanese, my intended meaning is "Ore wa ore-sama." Yep, hope that made grammatical and logical sense.) He answered simply, and Yuya decided against probing.
She scrunched her face, trying to organize her questions, which were jumbled up and running around fighting to be asked first. But the biggest question pounded in her mind. "When we were at Hana-Yuki Lodge…"
"I admit. I kept you in the photographer's house deliberately, even though we were just a short distance back to the lodge."
That was not an answer to the question that Yuya was looking for, but it was news. "WHAT?" She almost shrieked. "You kept me there on purpose?"
Kyo tilted his head in a casual manner, his hand pushing his red fringe away. "Just a ploy to annoy Kyoshiro… which worked in his favour anyway." He said coldly.
"So all that pulling me to a corner today and confess… Just a ploy to annoy Kyoshiro?" She asked, struggling to keep her annoyance in check.
Kyo shrugged. Yuya sighed. She didn't know what to think. Kyo was acting maliciously, but somehow, instinct told her that Kyo was not as bad as she thought.
"Did… Did you save me from the fall at the staircase because you wanted to ensure that I still like you?" She hastily added upon meeting silence from the redhead. "Because earlier on today you said that if you knew I was going for Kyoshiro, you would've let me fall down the stairs!"
Kyo thought for a while. "No, I would've saved you all the same." Yuya raised one eyebrow at him. "I've nothing against you, Shiina Yuya." He frowned at her disbelief. "Only thing I did that was intentional was the time when I kept you from the ski lodge." He looked at her. "But you're with my brother now. Congratulations."
Yuya gave a small smile in reply. If only they were on talking terms earlier… Although her fantastical images of Kyo now fell apart, he still wasn't that bad a person to hang out with.
"Are you going to harm me now, even though I'm with Kyoshiro?"
Kyo scoffed and glanced sideways at her again. "I don't carry the hate I hate for my brother to the people around him. Boring and meaningless." He shook his head. "I won't bring you anymore harm. But…." He turned to face Yuya, and she realized suddenly that he was standing so close to her, she could almost feel his body heat. "Will you believe a man who deliberately tried to harm you once?" He asked, his deep voice almost painted with emotion.
Yuya was stunned by his question. She certainly did not think of that. However, something stirred in her heart. She looked at him straight in the eye. "I trust you, Kyo sempai." She said, without faltering or hesitation.
Kyo had a hint of surprise on his face, but it disappeared quickly. He glanced at her. "You know, you ought to get that question out. You seem to want to ask something for a long while."
She stared at him in shock. How could he tell that I wanted to ask…
Truth is, Yuya wanted so badly to ask if Kyo ever had feelings for her. She knew that Kyo tried to get close to her since the ski trip but… something is just… off.
"Well woman?" He asked impatiently. "We don't have all night." He complained. "School is in 4 hours' time."
In the end, she chickened out. "I guess we're good? No hard feelings?" She asked cheerfully. Kyo nodded slightly. "We… we will be friends now, right?"
The redhead smirked at her. "After having my brother as a boyfriend you're still going to hit on me, woman?"
"It's not like that! Argh!" She retorted, rolling her eyes. She really wanted to strangle him, but controlled herself. "You are terrible, Kyo sempai."
She blinked with surprise. "Huh?"
"You heard me."
Yuya blushed. Allowing her to call him Kyo without the formalities… does that mean that they can actually be friends? She cleared her throat. "… Kyo. Anyway, I wish you the best." She offered. "Maybe you and Okuni sempai can give it a shot."
"I dumped her." Kyo answered casually.
"WHAT?" She shrieked the second time. "Why?"
Kyo shrugged. "Maybe I'm done with the fling-thing."
Yuya gave a low whistle. "Wow, hard to hear that from you. What was the change?"
Kyo glanced at her with a sneer and a laugh. "Woman, we aren't exactly best friends such that I can spill my secrets, eh?"
She flushed and apologized with an embarrassed laugh. Then she gave a cheeky grin and struck a pose. "Did you fall for me instead?" She teased.
Kyo did not reply. He stared at her, his red eyes meeting her green ones. Yuya felt uncomfortable under his intense gaze. No… She thought, her green eyes wide in surprise. It can't be true… is it?
He stepped up toward her, his body closer than just now. His fringe was almost touching her forehead…
Scream for Aki! The brain screamed in defense. But she was incapacitated by his unmoving gaze.
"… You should look at yourself in the mirror first, Dog-face, before asking a stupid question like that." He taunted, his breath hot in her face.
"ARGH! KYO!" She screamed, pushing him away as hard as she can. "YOU. ARE. A. JERK!"
Kyo turned around, so that she couldn't see his smirk of victory. "Goodnight, Ugly."
"I'm not ugly, you monster!" She yelled after him.
"Oh by the way," He added. "Tell Shinrei and Bontenmaru that they owe me a week's worth of sake for dating Okuni for 6 months…" He turned and gave her a feral grin. "Tell them that they better get their bank books prepared… I drink A LOT of sake."
WAHAHAHAHAHAH! SINCE I 'FORCED' YOU GUYS TO READ MY AUTHOR'S ENDNOTES, I SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT AND BIBBLE BABBLE!
What a long night, to those who didn't notice, Valentine's Day started from Chapter 36 till 44! 8 chapters to describe ONE DAY!
This chapter is uber content-heavy. I'm trying to tie up all the loose ends before I launch into the second half… next time!
I don't know about you, but I like Benitora in this chapter. He was dead serious and don't you all think his words are so sweet? Even I went 'awww' as I wrote this. It certainly didn't feel like it was my work.
It is honestly my first time writing Kyo in a scene where he talks more than 3 sentences. I'm not very good with capturing Kyo's personality. I'm sure you noticed that, from the raw manner I wrote Kyo in. Perfect excuse to reread SDK again! Please forgive and kindly guide me on how to improve my description and writing on Kyo!
Still, with much relief and sadness, 'KISS Me' has ended (thanks to the endless staring at the computer screen for the past two months, I'm so going blind at this rate)! It has been extremely fun working on this series and everyone has been so supportive of the story! I sincerely thank you all for everything thus far. Without your continuous support, this story would not have ended, ever. Yuya and the co. are thanking you guys profusely XD
(steps aside to see the entire cast of "Their Memories of Fukinara High" bowing.)
To those who are unaware, I'm taking a short break from this story because I've been working on it, thinking of it (even when on hiatus), gone through 2 bouts of hiatus on it since its creation in 2007. Besides, I'll be heading to an elementary school for 5 weeks to do my teaching practicum. I need all the time I can get!
The story has a long way to go before its ending, and I assure you, the story is going to be pretty unexpected. For now I stop here because I think it's a sufficient ending. I hope to try and finish the rest of the stories in my profile (started way earlier than this story). And hopefully I'll have enough in me to continue this story. Although I'll mark this story as 'completed', the whole story is NOT complete. So don't give up on me!
I'll resume 'Their Memories of Fukinara High' hopefully by January 2012, but don't get your hopes high. I do want to have a slight head start in writing so that I won't be feel stressed having to update while grinding brain juices to write :P
Gosh Christina, what should I do now?
So… now you can either (but I'm not forcing you)
1. Review, if you haven't at all. Please be a dear and do so :(
2. Suscribe to the story
3. Suscribe to author (ME!)
4. Bookmark my profile to manually check for updates
5. Watch out for my other stories
6. All the above :3
Once again, thank you. Your reviews since 2007 were the source of my motivation. All of your reviews have been read again and again, treasured and cherished like the biggest diamond in the world. Thank you for making "Their Memories of Fukinara High" such an awesome experience. I hope to see you back for the continuation! Meanwhile, rock on fellow writers!