The Fateful Trio
I'm really sorry for the 1-2 years lack of chapter uploads. I've been very busy with schoolwork, family stuff, and etcetera, but I'm really trying to begin uploading new chapters to all my fanfics. I will start with the highest votes on my poll – where I asked readers which fanfic they wanted me to update first – and I'll move on from that. Sorry for the extremely long delay and please enjoy!
Last Chapter: Fuu rescues and befriends newcomer Shino, a young girl who is enrolled in a private all-girls school in the city. Fuu overheard a rumor in school going around – a rumor involving her dating "someone." Fuu mentions Shino to Jin, who abruptly left afterwards. She then encounters the pickpocket Shinsuke, who desires revenge on Fuu's "bodyguard" Mugen for knocking him out the other day. Fuu asks Shinsuke why he tried to steal from her, realizing that he cannot be such a bad person and must have had his reasons. Defensive, Shinsuke warned her to mind her own business, mentioning his mother before Mugen stepped in and knocked Shinsuke out again, much to Fuu's annoyance. Mugen reveals to Fuu that the rumor going around was that everything thought Mugen and Fuu were dating, much to Fuu's horrific dismay; as the two bickered, Fuu asked Mugen if he ever had a real girlfriend, to which Mugen recalled a girl who loved him so much she wanted to marry him but is currently on vacation, but Fuu doesn't believe him. Fuu received an invitation from Shino to meet her at the Star Café in order to treat her in gratitude for rescuing her. After Mugen invites himself to the meeting, Fuu decides to invite Jin and Shinsuke as well. She apologizes to Shinsuke for Mugen, and Shinsuke reluctantly agrees to go with Fuu because of her. Fuu hopes to ask Jin after school, noticing that he had been acting strange.
This is my first Samurai Champloo fanfic! Please enjoy!
I do not own Samurai Champloo!
Fuu hurried before she lost sight of her bespectacled classmate and potential love interest. Trailing behind her were Mugen and Shinsuke, both who didn't want to be around Jin half as much as they didn't want to be around each other. Mugen kept tapping his kendo blade against his shoulder as Shinsuke stuffed his hands into his pockets. Glances – glares to be more exact – were exchanged rather than words and insults as both of them waited quietly, their attentions turning to Fuu briefly as they watched her run off.
"Jin! Jin, wait!" Fuu called again.
Jin paused and turned around. Fuu grinned as she reached him. "Jin, I'm so glad I found you! Do you think you could do me a favor? I know it's last minute, but...," she dragged on sweetly, "I was really hoping you could come with me to see my friend Shino! She's treating me for lunch, so... could you come with me?" Jin opened his mouth to speak, but Fuu carried on quickly, realizing her misleading words. "D-Don't worry! It's not like it'll be aw-awkward or anything! It-It's not like it's a... d-date or anything... Mu-Mugen and Shinsuke are coming along too! So it'll just be... just... friends..." Fuu bit her lip at the last part, unsure if it was because of her worry that Jin would not come or because of the "just friends" bit she just had to add.
Fuu noticed he was really thinking this over. But his expression only moments ago... "I'm busy. Sorry," Jin uttered and walked away before Fuu could snap out of her thoughts and persist.
All she could do was watch him leave. Jin... He's been acting funny all day... Wait. Is it because he still thinks Mugen and I are dating?! Well, the whole school thinks that, but it's definitely not true! Who'd wanna date Mugen besides his routine slutty girlfriends and his supposed ex who loved him so much she wanted to marry him?! Ugh! Fuu groaned in her mind. Great... and here I thought I could have brought someone civilized to meet Shino... Fuu's shoulders slumped as she stared at the ground. Shino... When I mentioned her, Jin was acting funny then. He had the same expression, the same expression like that time too...
Fuu felt a little funny herself as she felt heat through her face, just like when she watched Jin at his kendo practice. Feeling pathetic like that time, her legs turned flimsy, weak. But... why is that...? When I mentioned... Shino...? Why...?
Mugen tapped Fuu on her shoulder with his kendo stick. Fuu shook her head, awakened from her thoughts. "Cheer up! Look on the bright side, transfer student," he suggested, smirking at her.
"What bright side?" Fuu muttered, dejected.
"With Jin gone, I'll have you all to myself!" Mugen moved the kendo stick so it was against Fuu's neck. Fuu glared as she took a step back, forced to lean against Mugen. "You and your money. And that Shino chick," he added.
"You...," Fuu hissed, struggling to get away from Mugen to no avail. You stalking perverted creep and a heartless pig... You're not cheering me up at all! You're actually making it worse! I want to de-invite you now...
"Don't forget I'm here," Shinsuke said with a sigh, pulling Mugen's wooden blade off Fuu with ease. He took Fuu's hand and pulled her along. "I can't stay very long, so you two better start walking. Come on, Fuu."
Mugen automatically and instinctively took hold of Fuu's other hand, stopping the two. "Hey, since when were you crowned king of the fucking world?" he sneered, more irritated than usual, "Don't you start ordering me around, and don't you start ordering her around, you damn thief. That's my job!"
"So you're the king of the fucking world? Gee, and I thought you were just some bodyguard."
"You trying to start somethin', you little punk?"
"Me? You're the one who keeps swooping in and knocking me out!"
"Maybe I'd stop if you just kept your hands off of things that aren't yours!"
Things? "I'm not some kind of object, Mugen! I don't belong to either one of you guys, so paws off, the both of you!" Fuu hissed, irritated as she jerked her wrists from Mugen and Shinsuke, but their grips wouldn't budge. "H-Hey, guys…?" She awkwardly glanced at Mugen, then Shinsuke, then Mugen again. Fuu gulped, feeling the tense atmosphere growing. "C-Come on, guys... Don't make a scene. C-Can't we all just get along…?"
"She's mine, so hands off!" Mugen warned, his eyes solely on Shinsuke. Shinsuke returned the glare, but briefly glanced at Fuu; Mugen noticed and grunted.
"She's not yours to take."
"What was that?!"
Shinsuke ignored Mugen pulled Fuu along, Fuu's hand slipping out of Mugen's in the process. Fuu stole a glance at Mugen as she got pulled away, but Mugen didn't see this. He was at his empty hand. His eyes soon were drawn to Fuu, who was now staring at Shinsuke, but Fuu didn't see this glance. Silent, Mugen trailed behind and glared at the two.
Fuu watched Shinsuke, realizing something. Shinsuke..., she thought. That's right, he's going out of his way to do this, even though Mugen gave him one-too-many concussions. She smiled. ... I knew he wasn't so bad. Fuu blinked. But before...
"You… wouldn't understand anyway… My mother is…!"
Fuu decided to say nothing. For now, at the very least. Whatever Shinsuke was going to say, it sounded personal; she wanted to know what was wrong and if there was some way she could help him, but she decided to wait and ask at a better time. After all, Shino was waiting for her at the café, and Fuu had to make sure Mugen's lecherous nature was kept in check and to stop Mugen and Shinsuke from brawling.
But Fuu couldn't help but think of Shinsuke and what was unsaid at that time.
Jin stood in front of the dojo after a few rounds of practice. He wiped sweat from his brow with a small towel and stared up at the sky. White clouds stood out in the blue sky like tossed aside jigsaw pieces. Jin couldn't concentrate all through practice, making his other teammates confused and apprehensive and he was reluctantly sent outside to take a break. Jin wiped sweat off his face. Jin would only rarely make a mistake. Rarely meant only once two years ago. Two years ago when... Jin slowly inhaled and exhaled, resting his head against the wall behind him. The mere thought of it made his head spin.
"I-I'm sorry, Jin. ... Please don't see me anymore."
Jin closed his eyes, feeling wind pass by him faintly. "Shino...," he whispered.
"The Star Café, the Star Café... Do any of you guys know where it is?" Fuu asked her two companions. One stared at her with confusion, the other with disbelief.
Shinsuke glanced back at Fuu. "You don't know where it is?"
"What do you mean you don't know where it is?" Mugen demanded, pulling Fuu to face him, "So you brought us out here for some wild goose chase?!"
"I'm still new here, remember?! I-I thought one of you guys knew!"
"Well, you thought wrong, princess!"
The brunette pocket thief sighed wearily. "Calm down, the both of you. I... I know where it is," Shinsuke admitted quietly.
"You do?" Mugen and Fuu asked in unison.
Shinsuke glanced ahead at the corner of the street they were on. He pointed towards a light pole that stood six yards in front of them as plain as daylight. "See that light pole over there? We just need to take a left on that corner, and the café is only five stores away. You won't be able to miss it."
Fuu raised an eyebrow. "Shinsuke, you've been to the Star Café before, haven't you?" she realized.
Shinsuke sheepishly looked away from Fuu. "I'd... come there every now and then to get dessert for my, er, for someone... really important to me...," he muttered, staring on the concrete beneath them.
"Shinsuke?" Fuu asked.
"Hey, are we going or what?" hollered a familiar voice ahead of them and interrupted their conversation.
"Eh?" both Fuu and Shinsuke asked. They both spun around to find Mugen leaning his hand against the light pole, his other hand carrying his kendo stick as usual. Fuu frowned. Someone important to Shinsuke... He was beginning up for me... I was this close to getting Shinsuke to open up to me! Unlike Jin... or that jerk Mugen. Whenever I think that idiot's starting to open up to me, he ends up doing something stupid like stealing my money or picking fights..., she thought.
Mugen's gaze lowered, and Fuu couldn't tell if he was staring at her, Shinsuke, both of them, or even the sidewalk. "I thought you were in a rush, thief. It looks like you still have time to flirt," he sneered.
Shinsuke and Fuu blinked, their faces reddening at the very idea. "F-Flirt?!" Shinsuke stuttered.
Fuu glared at Mugen. "Stop teasing the boy, Mugen!" she warned him.
"I think you're the one who's being a tease."
"Fuu? Is that you?"
Fuu recognized the familiar and gentle voice. She spun around and grinned. "Shino?" Fuu exclaimed in awe.
The raven haired girl with matching eyes smiled at her. "Thank you for meeting with me today. I'm so glad I can repay you for this morning," Shino said, bowing at Fuu.
"Please don't bow, really! Anyone would have done the same in your predicament. I'm just happy to help," she quickly reassured her.
Shino turned to Shinsuke. "Ah, you must be... Fuu's boyfriend?" she presumed.
Both Fuu and Shinsuke stared at Shino with wide eyes. "B-Boyfriend?!"
Why does everyone think I'm dating somebody today? First Mugen, and now Shinsuke..., Fuu muttered dejectedly.
"Yes. You're the handsome and quiet type Fuu mentioned earlier, right?" Shino remembered.
Mugen frowned, watching Fuu fret with embarrassment. "Sh-Sh-Shino, th-that's...! That was... someone else, but he... he couldn't come," she reluctantly admitted. Jin couldn't come...
Shinsuke glanced at Fuu as Mugen rolled his eyes. "Oh, that's a shame," Shino said apologetically, "So we're one person short then. But that's all right, right?"
"It really is!" Fuu grinned as she smiled at Shinsuke, "Shinsuke's been great company! Opps, I forgot to introduce you two. Um, Shinsuke, this is Shino! And Shino, this is Shinsuke!"
"Hello," Shino greeted, bowing once more.
Shinsuke attempted to bow his head a little. "Yeah, hi...," he mumbled, unsure of what to say.
"Fuu, I have one question, though," Shino added.
Fuu turned. "Yes?"
"If the two of you aren't dating... why are you holding hands?"
Holding... hands...? Fuu and Shinsuke exchanged glances before slowly looking down. Her right hand was intertwined with his left hand. Shinsuke was still holding her hand since they had left school grounds. Quickly, the two jerked their hands away from each other out of embarrassment. "S-Sorry!" they said in unison at each other with mutual red faces, making the moment only more embarrassing.
Fuu looked over and saw Mugen by the light pole. Mugen! "Oh! Shino, this is..."
"You must be the famous, or should I say infamous, Mugen," Shino noticed aloud, "I've heard a lot about you from Fuu."
Mugen raised his head a little and shrugged. Fuu looked at Mugen, confused. Huh, Mugen was pretty excited about meeting Shino a second ago, so why this silence? Where's that cocky smile of his? Mugen...? She took a step forward. "Mugen," Fuu began slowly, "Are you o–"
"– So you're Shino!" Mugen suddenly said aloud, breaking the silence, "You're pretty damn hot. I was kind of worried how you'd look like since you're friends with this annoying twerp, but you're my type! More of my type than this flat broad."
Fuu twitched. Never mind that. That creep's back to his old, perverted self... "What did you call me?!" Fuu questioned in a whisper, knowing just who those insults were intended for. She turned to Shino and apologized. "Shino, please ignore this guy!"
Shino laughed. "Don't worry, Fuu," she reassured her, "I've dealt with worse."
Mugen grinned. "Oh, really? Well, why don't we ditch these two and get better acquainted, huh?" he suggested, walking over to Fuu, Shinsuke, and Shino.
"Cute, but I've dated boys your age so I think I've learned my lesson."
"Are you really sure about that? I can be pretty persuasive, you know."
Fuu interjected with a loud cough. "So. Shino. Star Café?" was all Fuu could manage to get out of her mouth. She was already ticked off by the very fact that Mugen was flirting with her first female friend right in front of her.
Shino nodded, receiving Fuu's not-so-subtle signal. "Yes, it's right over there. Why don't we head there now?" she suggested.
Fuu forced in a smile after giving a quick glare at Mugen. "I couldn't have said it better myself."
The Star Café was a small dessert shop. While the café seemed too cutesy for Mugen and Shinsuke to even bear to enter, they were hungry and the food looked too delicious to deny. "Why don't you let Shinsuke and me order, Fuu?" Shino volunteered.
"Shinsuke?" Fuu asked.
"Me?" Shinsuke muttered.
"I thought it was unfair that I had spoken with Shinsuke the least out of the three of you. You and Mugen can go ahead and find a seat. You're okay with my company, right, Shinsuke?"
Shinsuke frowned as he glanced at Mugen before he walked over to the cashier line with Shino. Mugen smiled to spite Shinsuke before following a reluctant Fuu to find seats. Shinsuke awkwardly glanced at Shino. He didn't really know her that well, so he didn't really know what to say. The pocket thief had to admit it was intimidating to be next to someone like Shino, who was both a stranger and beautiful. Shinsuke coughed and decided to take the initiative in starting a conversation.
"So, what are you ordering, Shino?" he asked as he stuffed his hands into his pockets and looked up at the menu.
Shino smiled as she joined Shinsuke's gaze and pondered on her order. "Hm, I think a crepe," she decided, "What will you get, Shinsuke?"
"Uh, a slice of strawberry cake. It's my m– it's my favorite."
"I was thinking of purchasing that for Fuu as well. I'm not too sure about Mugen. I might just get him a coke."
"Wait, you're paying for Mugen too?" Shinsuke spat out, "I knew you were treating Fuu, but..."
Shino blinked. "I'm treating you too, Shinsuke," she added.
Shinsuke rolled his eyes with a look on impatience. "N-No, that's not necessary," he assured her, "I can pay for myself, you know."
"Forgive me if I offended you. You see, Fuu saved me today, and I wanted to treat her today in gratitude," Shino quietly explained as she opened her purse and retrieved her wallet, "My act doesn't even amount to what she has done for me, and so I don't mind treating two more people. So please, let me."
Shinsuke sighed. "All right, all right. But there's one thing I don't get."
Shino glanced at him. "And that would be?"
"Why did you ask me to go with you in line instead of Fuu? I mean, sure we didn't really talk as much, but it was Fuu who you wanted to hang out with today, right?"
"I wanted to give Fuu some alone time with Mugen so they can settle whatever lover's quarrel they're having. Even if he won't admit it, Mugen seems to like Fuu. And Fuu likes Mugen too, right?"
Shinsuke frowned. "No. I-I dunno...," he muttered reluctantly and looked away, "I-I mean, I never asked. There were rumors around Edo High that they were an item, but... I doubt it."
Shino stared at Shinsuke. "You like Fuu too, don't you?" she said.
"Next in line, please."
Shinsuke and Shino turned to find they were finally at the cashier. The two exchanged glances before smiling and began to say their orders.
Fuu sat down by a table by the glass window. The booth seats were long and made to fit two people at each side. Mugen slumped down in the seat right next to her. Annoyed at Mugen, Fuu pressed her lips together and looked away with her arms crossed.
"Why are sitting here? There are perfectly good seats across from me. Go sit over there! Away from me!"
"What? Disappointed I stole your boyfriend's seat?"
"He's not my boyfriend," Fuu muttered with a sigh, "I was just disappointed I couldn't order dessert with Shino. At least that would've gotten me away from you. I invited you here because I thought you would behave... but all you've been doing is trying to provoke Shinsuke and flirting with Shino!" She glared at him furiously. "And if I remember correctly, I gave you three thousand yen so you wouldn't fight with Jin and Jin's not even here! So would you please return my money? It's my allowance."
Fuu exhaled. "You know, you could have just told me the truth, Mugen," she mentioned, exasperated, "You didn't have to lie before."
Mugen frowned. "Lie about what?"
"About your 'girlfriend.' Your supposed ex who was sooo crazy in love with you that she wanted to marry you. Jeez, either fess up the truth or at least make a better lie to fool me!"
"Mugen… Have you ever had a girlfriend before?"
"Is this a trick question?"
"No, I mean a real girlfriend. Like a long-term relationship. I've already asked Jin, so I thought I might as well ask you too. So? Yes or no?"
"Well... There was this one chick that played hard to get, but now she loves me so much that she wants to marry me, but... she went on vacation and won't come back for a little while..."
"Well, it wasn't a lie. I guess she technically wasn't a real girlfriend, but I had her longer than my usual girlfriends."
"You mean your usual slutty girlfriends."
Mugen chuckled. "See? There you go off again saying stuff that can make a guy wonder…," he murmured matter-of-factly.
"I'm not implying anything!" Fuu groaned.
"I never said you were."
"But you implied it."
Mugen replied with baring his cocky smile.
Fuu groaned and looked away. I can't believe I actually missed that smile of his for even a second..., she groaned. She stared at the glass window to her right. Fuu blinked and noticed something. From the reflection of the window, Mugen's right arm was resting on booth's top. Mugen's arm was right behind her, and Mugen himself was right beside her. Fuu flinched in surprise. The very sight gave her goose bumps and made her face feel too warm, which discomforted her. Wh-Why is he so close...?! she wondered worryingly, I don't like this at all... He needs to move – I-I need to move! Fuu blinked her eyes rapidly, her eyes darting everywhere. She reluctantly glanced at Mugen, who was coolly staring at the ceiling with his kendo sword lying against his left arm. While Fuu was slightly peeved Mugen wasn't as uncomfortable as she was, her strong desire to abruptly get away from him increased.
"C-Can you move? I need to get out. I-I need some fresh air. I need to go to the bathroom," Fuu hastily said.
"I don't think you'll find fresh air in a public bathroom...," Mugen replied with a chuckle, "Besides, what's the rush? What's up with you, transfer student? You're getting all clammy."
The moment Mugen made eye contact with Fuu, she immediately avoided his gaze. Just looking at him made her heart race, and she didn't know why. "I-I just need some air. So, get out of the way, Mugen!" she demanded quietly, "Ju-Just move, okay?!"
Mugen observed Fuu quietly. "... You okay?"
Fuu bit her lip and looked away. Instead of answering his question, she simply muttered for him to move once again.
"Not until you look me in the eye. For five seconds. You can't even stand to look at me, can you...?" he interrogated lowly, raising his eyebrow, "Now, why is that?"
"Mugen, please. Just move."
"Five seconds. Is it really that damn difficult?"
Fuu inhaled and turned. Her eyes locked with Mugen's. Mugen began counting. She tried to stay focused, she tried to just concentrate on his eyes for five measly seconds, but there were so many things spiraling in Fuu's head. Why is this so difficult? Why am I so bothered by this? It's not like I haven't been in close proximity of Mugen before, s-so why am I bothered now? And why do I have to look at him? Why is Mugen so close? Why is my heart racing? Why am I... getting all warm? Why–
Her eyes widened and she turned away before Mugen could reach five. "– No," was the single word that slipped out of Fuu's mouth.
Mugen held Fuu's chin with his left hand and forced her to face him. Their faces were barely inches away. "One more second, princess," he sneered firmly, "I want you to look me in the eye."
Shinsuke and Shino, who had gotten to their table the moment Fuu yelled, stood there in shock. Shinsuke cleared his throat quietly and a little uncomfortably. "Hey... Fuu? Mu-Mugen...?" he asked. They flinched slightly when Mugen moved aside and stood up. Fuu quickly rushed outside before anyone else could say another word.
Mugen stared at the ground as he scratched his head. He slumped back on his seat and looked up to find Shinsuke and Shino. Shino had a crepe and one strawberry slice of cake on her plate while Shinsuke had a small box with his order likely inside it and a coke. "What are you two standing around for? Are you guys gonna sit down or what?" Mugen grunted.
"Sure…," Shino said softly and made the initiative by taking the seat across from Mugen. She glanced at Shinsuke, who stayed standing. "Shinsuke? Why don't you sit down? Sit next to me."
Shinsuke placed his tray on the table and looked up, glancing at Fuu from the glass window. She sat on a bench with her hand clutched onto her chest as she watched traffic going on through the streets. "Mugen, what happened? What did you do?" he asked him.
"Isn't it so easy to place the blame on me? Don't insult me 'cause I didn't do shit. It was that idiot girlfriend of yours who was acting crazy. She must be PMS-ing or something..."
"You can be a little cruel sometimes, you know...? I wonder just how long that girl can stand being with you until she gets tired."
Mugen didn't even turn to look at Shinsuke. In mere seconds, he already saw the thief outside to find Fuu. Mugen stared at Fuu before shutting his eyes, trying to erase the image in his mind. Of how painful Fuu looked when she looked at him.
Shinsuke approached Fuu, who lied against the bench with a dazed expression. He hesitantly waved his hand in front of her. "Um, Fuu? Are you all right?" He noticed a few chestnut brown strands of hair were in front of her face. Shinsuke moved it aside, but his hand retreated when he realized what he was doing. "Wh-What was I doing?! S-Sorry, I-I meant nothing by that!" he quickly apologized in embarrassment.
"He is the absolute worst…," Fuu dryly whispered under her breath. Shinsuke stared at Fuu, confused. "A total jerk, a perverted creep, and a heartless pig. And he's an idiot too. So, why...?"
"Why did it bother me so much…? Why do I feel... like such an idiot right now?"
"Even if he won't admit it, Mugen seems to like Fuu. And Fuu likes Mugen too, right?"
"You like Fuu too, don't you?"
Shinsuke lowered his gaze. "Fuu... do you like Mugen?"
Fuu's eyes widened, awakened by the very mention of Mugen's name. Her eyes were finally focusing from the traffic. She looked up at Shinsuke in bewilderment. "What... did you just say?" she slowly asked him.
"Do you like him? Mugen?"
"Really, I leave you two alone in hopes that the dispute would cease, but I find the problem escalating instead. What a shame."
"Just what in the hell are you spouting off now, woman?"
Shino bit into her crepe. She chewed quietly, swallowed, and stared at Mugen. "What I meant was you really blew it!" Shino told him, "Honestly, what did you do to the poor thing?"
Mugen glared. "Jeez, first that stupid thief, and now you. Do I have to repeat myself? I didn't do shit," he muttered, "That twerp has everyone wrapped around her little finger just 'cause she looks so damn innocent."
Shino sighed. After a period of silence, she finally whispered, "... She doesn't hate you."
Mugen stared at her.
"If that's what you're thinking, then I'm telling you otherwise. Fuu doesn't hate you. In fact, I'm almost certain it's the opposite. I don't think she hates you at all. To be frank, I think she actually..."
"Do you like him?"
Fuu's eyes began completely focused, as did her mind. "Wh-What?!" she stammered, blushing as she looked away. Th-Th-There's no way, no way... Jin's the one I like, so why... Why is it that Mugen's the one in my head right now...?! "N-No, I... Th-That's..."
"Then go out with me," Shinsuke told her.
Fuu stared at Shinsuke, confused. "What...?"
"I like you. So if you don't like Mugen, then go out with me."
Preview: After the previous day's events, Fuu must come to terms with Shinsuke's abrupt confession, her unrequited feelings for Jin, and her exact relationship with Mugen. A reunion between Jin and Shino, and a confrontation between Mugen and Shinsuke leads to an untimely new discovery…