Note: Yes, this is a revised version. Hopefully better, yeah? : ) And all disclaimers activated.
Sweats trickled down her cheeks as she bounded her way to the park, her hair flying around her head. It was not a brilliant idea to be out and about during autumn, but the situation demanded her to be lashed by the harsh wind. Her eyes roamed the park wildly as she paused now and then to catch a long, reliving breath. Under her breath, she swore madly at the fallen leaves that were blocking her vision, especially the few people sheltering in the park.
"Hikari," someone whispered her name. Blissful relief soaked her and she bounded over to a spot hidden by shadows.
"What took you so long?" the same breathy voice whispered again as its owner placed his cold fingers gently on her warm, flushed cheeks.
"My damn, damn brother!" her voice echoed in the nearly empty park. Her newfound companion hushed her and she continued with a whisper. "He was bossing me around, here and there, dropping stupid hints about you and me, luckily mother's a little deaf, and so she only shouted at him to speak louder! But then, that was a bad thing, since I had to talk louder than him to drown his you-know-what speech-"
"I bet you completely drowned his voice," he smiled slightly.
His sudden smile made her breathe her next words. "Well… You know how I can be when, when I get panicky-"
"I do," his fingers gently brought her face closer to his. "I believe I do."
And when his lips softly melted hers, her panic thawed along.
A five-year-old Hikari Yagami was getting really tired. Her brother kept fussing over her, and she hated it with all her heart and soul, like how her kindergarten teachers kept telling her to sing the national anthem.
"Hikari-chan! Where are you?"
So she ran away, just like a bold, and rather idiotic, little girl.
A defiant five-year-old Hikari hugged her knees, scared of getting caught by her brother. It scared her more to be alone under this big, big and dark, dark tree because her friend, Miyako Inoue (who had this really weird purple hair, which her brother snickered about whenever he picked her up from kindergarten) had just told a very scary story the day before about kids who get kidnapped by fairies because they were naughty.
What if the fairy comes and takes me away? What if it won't let me go back to Taichi-kun? I love Taichi-kun and dad and mum, I don't like fairies, I don't want them to take me away because I don't think they know how to bake blueberry muffins
"Hello," a breathy voice murmured into her ears.
She looked up, horribly frightened and stared into a pair of clear, blue eyes. Hikari rubbed her eyes; it hurts her eyes to look at the new pair of eyes. They were blue, just like the naked girls' in the strange magazines her brother collected and hid under his bed, which he sometimes showed to his friends, who came over to their house sometimes.
"Who are you?" she asked slowly as the new boy sat by her in the dark. She liked sitting beside this blue-eyed boy because when the fairy comes, it will take him instead of her because his eyes were blue and hers weren't. Blue eyes are pretty, Hikari thought, and brown eyes aren't.
"Ta-ke-ru," He said miserably, his head down between his legs. "I can't say it pro-per yet."
"Well, I can," She said proudly, delighted that there was something she was more superior than him about, because she felt really envious of his eyes. "Hikari!"
He looked at her glumly, his blue eyes dejected. "That's fantas… fantas…"
"It's fantastic." A cold voice sliced through the building excitement.
Hikari looked up to another pair of blue eyes, this time more piercing and more menacing. She flinched under the newer boy's sharp stare, wishing for her brother, not knowing her wish would come true very, very shortly.
"C'mon, Takeru, get up, Mum's looking for you. Hey idiot! I found your sister!"
A ten-year-old Hikari asked a glaring ten-year-old Takeru, her face flushed from running down the stairs. Her hair was tied into pigtails by her cooing mother, complete with a bright red ribbon headband, which embarrassed Hikari extremely, as it was not cool for girls her age to still wear pigtails, let alone headbands. She was trying to loosen her hair as she waited for Takeru's answer, her cheeks already red from some rouge she had managed to put on before her mother shooed her out.
"We're late. You're late," He said tiredly, leaning into her postbox. Takeru was wearing his idiotic hat, which she had told him repeatedly and tirelessly, made him look like a turtle with two legs. He answered with a teasing attack about her rouge, which made her cheeks redder. But all in the name of fashion.
It was their routine; she would be late, he would glare at her, she would ask why, and he would say they're late, she's late. Lastly, she would punch him softly on the arm.
"C'mon, it's not like us to be early, isn't it? Make a grand entrance, let them applaud us…" Hikari grinned as Takeru groaned. "Anyway, Mum woke me up late and I had to wake Taichi up, which was very difficult, you know he never respond if you just shake him, you have to sit on him-"
Her excuses kept buzzing into his ears as they made their noisily slow way to their school until he admitted defeat and Hikari jumped into the air, victorious for yet another day.
All the while, Takeru's warm fingers would grip hers protectively, like they had always done.
A twelve-year-old Hikari opened her eyes as a piece of folded paper landed on her desk. She quickly unfolded it, and giggled mischievously. Her fellow classmates, all of whom was still slumped over their desks as their teacher droned on and on, were aroused curiously in hope of something, anything, interesting but was in vain.
I'm bored… Let's get the hell out of here, the elegant handwriting stated.
Hikari scribbled a hasty answer and threw it at the desk next to her, which sat a blonde who was looking the other way.
Five minutes, tops!
Noting his small smile at the corner of her eyes, Hikari's hand shot up into the air, desperate for attention. The teacher stopped her lecture and peered at her student (who was rarely the slightest bit attentive and a common receiver of her punishments).
"Yamada-san, can I be excused to the toilet? It's just that I've a very bad stomach ache since yesterday because my mum made this really tasty muffin and I guess I ate too much, and I can't focus on what you're saying, though they're really very interesting," her classmates snickered under their breaths. "I really want to learn this, err, thing, and I swear with all my heart and soul I'll be back in ten really short minutes-"
The teacher sighed. "Just go."
Hikari winked slyly at Takeru as she stood up and got out of the class. She walked a couple of steps, looked out for scolding teachers and waited impatiently, her feet tapping the concrete floor anxiously.
To her relief, only a minute passed before Takeru strode out of their classroom calmly, his face as usual nonchalantly imperturbable.
"What took you so long?" Hikari crossed her arms, pouting.
"She mentioned something about waiting for you," Takeru bent down, re-tying his shoe laces. When he stood up, Hikari was slightly annoyed by his taller height but his very fit physique didn't bother her slightest. "I told her I don't want to fart in class and she agreed that it was a good idea."
They snuck out of captures from stern teachers and disciplined students alike, although Hikari did have an impulse to knock a passing Ken Ichijouji on the head because he once ratted them out to their teachers but Takeru restrained her unhappily. After successfully dodging unwanted people, they got out to the roof top, enjoying the cheerful spring breeze.
"Hikari," his breathy voice murmured behind her.
"Hmm?" Hikari turned to Takeru, grinning happily as the breeze teased her hair playfully. She noticed his blue eyes were a shade of electric cerulean, much like the blue sky above them. There was never a moment in her life she had ever thought him as gorgeous as then.
"You're pretty, you know?" The offhanded, tiny smile brightening his eyes held her.
Hikari blushed then laughed nervously, looking away from him. "Of course I know."
At the age of fourteen, Hikari leaned into a shady tree and was given her first kiss.
But somehow, she thought as he devoured her lips, it hadn't felt right. Maybe it was the position, because it was uncomfortable as the tree grazed her skin.
As Hikari shifted her position and pushed him to the tree, she glimpsed someone in front of her and froze horrifyingly.
Among the crowd of people cheering them on, there was one who wasn't cheering. Her best friend, Takeru Takaishi, who was staring at them more detached than she had ever seen him. His cold gaze reminded her forcefully of his older brother, who intimidated her terrifyingly.
Hikari tried to speak, but her mouth was engaged. She pushed Daisuke Motomiya away from her and he fell to the ground with an embarrassingly loud thud. He gave her a confused look but she ignored him, her attention owned by someone else.
"Takeru, look, I can explain-" her voice rang shrilly through the school court, but he was already turning away from her. People turned to stare and she tried to get to Takeru, but they pushed her back, egging her to get back on with Daisuke.
The rain later that day yelled at her and Hikari's first kiss made her feel more phenomenally wretched than ever before.
One gloomy winter, a miserable autumn, a wretched spring, and even a dreary summer passed before Hikari can look properly at Takeru in the eyes. Daisuke's desperate pleas were ignored and yet, Takeru remained as silent as ever.
On one fine day, the weakly glaring sun had reprimanded her too much and she snapped under the pressure. Hikari decided to go straight to the source instead of asking people if Takeru ever said anything nice about her nowadays.
"Takeru!" Hikari panted as she ran to keep up with Takeru and his long strides. In one year, Hikari heard he joined the basketball team and was quickly rewarded with the MVP title, taller height, fitter physique and, Hikari thought viciously, lots of adoring fan girls. "Why won't you listen to me?"
He didn't answer, staring straight ahead. At least one thing hadn't changed- he was still as nonchalant and hopefully as polite as ever, because she shouted into the misty air.
"Why are you so angry at me? It's not like I kill your cat or something!"
Finally, he decided to grace her with a fleeting look. "I'm not angry."
"Then why are you not speaking to me? This is about the kiss, isn't it? Look, I didn't even enjoy it at all, his lips were so scratchy-"
"Doesn't look like it," Takeru murmured into the cold air, decidedly not looking at her.
Hikari fiercely adjusted her smolderingly scarlet muffler. "No, I didn't!"
"Yes, you did."
"No, I didn't."
"The point is!" Hikari half-yelled, earning her a look from a passing old woman with basket. "What's will all the big fuss over a silly kiss?"
Takeru sighed heavily, glanced at her slightly then sighed again. "Because, Hikari, you will never learn this one very simple thing."
"Learn what? I've had enough of school to lasts me a long, long lifetime-"
He sighed again. "I'm not talking about that, Hikari."
"Then what?" An exasperated Hikari said tiredly, staring at his broad back, wishing it was winter already so that she can throw snowballs at his prized coat.
"You will never learn how to read people's feelings," he waved without looking at her before striding away from the even more confused Hikari.
On Christmas' Eve, Hikaru interrupted the Takaishi's dinner by bursting into their apartment like a harassed cop, merrily wished Takaishi-san Merry Christmas, nodded fearfully at Yamato and yanked Takeru out of his warm house into the cold streets of Tokyo.
They walked side by side in silence with only other people's chatters or the cars whizzing by breaking their silence. The streets of Tokyo were decorated gaily for the Christmas celebrations and the silver moon looked on approvingly.
They had spent another season giving each other silence treatments and their fellow schoolmates had given up trying to thaw the ice between them. Meanwhile, Hikari had spent a great deal of time pondering over Takeru's words and even asked Miyako (as she seemed to know everything) about it. Miyako's giggly answer and wagging finger had left Hikari with blushing cheeks and trembling fingers.
So, like the season before, Hikari decided to once again to go straight to the source. Strangely, she was bursting with confidence before she went over to his house but now, alone with Takeru, all of her confidence had vanished weirdly into the thin, cold air. Once in a while, she would take a deep breath, deciding to get it over with but when she opened her mouth, she closed it again.
Like the perfectly polite gentleman Takeru was, he chose to spare her the shame by speaking. "Hikari? You have something to tell me?"
Miyako's cheerfully frank answer had left Hikari reeling and at the sound of his breathy voice, her heart was staggered.
"Err… Yeah," she spoke to the cold pavement. Hikari observed his Adidas shoes before his sigh brought her head up.
"They said Santa's dead," Takeru smiled his usual tiny smile.
"What?" Hikari raised her eyebrows, meeting his electric blue eyes. Heat rushed to her face and her blood pounded through her veins.
Takeru laughed gently. "Finally. What's with the mood, hum? For once, there's some peace and quiet when you're around."
Hikari punched him gently on the arm, noting happily the tight muscles under the layers of clothes. He laughed again, his electric blue eyes brightening.
"It's… Well, it's something important," she murmured, swinging her hands. God, she was dead nervous.
"Are you sure?" Takeru took her hand and squeezed it. Her heart staggered even more.
Hikari forced herself to hold his eyes. His eyes looked on amusedly, chuckling at a private joke. Despite the overwhelming cold, she felt extremely warm. His long fingers lightly caressed her cold cheeks, bringing fervent warmth to them.
She raised herself to her full height and he gently lowered himself to her height as she kissed him.
It was very much unlike her kiss with Daisuke. Daisuke's lips felt rough and coarse, but Takeru's was very soft and warm. She could taste the Coke he'd gulped earlier as her left hand streaked through his golden hair as her right held his neck for much-needed support. She breathed into him, drowning little by little. Heat coursed through her fingers as his skin rested on hers.
Takeru broke off first, staring into her eyes. She tried to breathe properly under his gaze, her cheeks still flushed. He held her in his arms as she was dangerously close to collapsing on the cold pavement.
His eyes smiled. "What took you so long?"
She caught her breath. "Well, I didn't know if you feel the same, and I was very nervous! You know, in case you push me away and I could not live with that, plus Miyako said some very embarrassing things and I-"
He placed a finger on Hikari's lips. "I cannot live without this, either."
And Hikari cast off memories of her first kiss and started claiming to anyone who would listen that this was her first real kiss.
Takeru just smiled on.
When school reopened, they were already tightly close. Flying rumours and hushed whispers raced through the astonished school like wild-fire and a distraught Daisuke cornered Takeru one day and demanded the truth. Always heartbreakingly honest (and really wanting to, this time), Takeru confirmed the rumour and crushed Daisuke's crush.
Many girls were heart-broken as Takeru's confession walked around the school and some threatened Hikari in the toilets. Miyako stepped in and applauded them, giving them her unnecessary blessing. Slowly, the others followed in her footsteps.
On their first Valentine's Day, Hikari ended up in loud tears.
"It was my fault! I didn't wait and just pulled them out! Now look what they became! I even got a burned finger just for these! It took me hours-"
Takeru stared at the irregular brown-coloured moulds Hikari had tearfully exclaimed as home-made chocolate and smiled to conceal his surprise. Her self-made cookies had not resembled cookies at all; he thought, more like little, tiny bombs. Her loud wail from the cooking room had roused him from the gym where he had been practicing and she had greeted him with his Valentine's Day's present.
Bravely, he popped one into his mouth and exclaimed loudly, somewhat honestly since the chocolate melted in his mouth deliciously. "Hmm, tasty."
Hikari, who was lying on the floor and wailing, stopped crying and looked up with her red eyes. "R-really?"
"Yeah, but I'm not giving you any since they're for me," Takeru smiled as he popped another one into his mouth.
Hikari rubbed her eyes, glaring reproachfully at him. She knew about his honesty track record and simply can't believe his outrageous lie. "Stop lying."
"I'm not. And as an early White Day present, I'll give you this," he kissed her and she could taste the delicious chocolate in his mouth. Hikari had to agree with him and she glowed with pride as the sweaty Takeru sunk down to the ground with her.
He broke off breathlessly. "And for the record, Hikari, you look very adorable right now."
Hikari grinned, tugging his soaked basketball jersey. "Then kiss me again."
"What a demanding girlfriend I have," he murmured on her wet lips.
Graduation came and went, the day came for the happy couple to finally separate for the first time in their eighteen years of life. Hikari had been congratulated joyously by her proud brother for scoring even lower than he did, but it didn't matter since her eyes had always been set away from the heavy education. Takeru, meanwhile, despite his golden curriculum record and his habit of skipping classes with his ever-obliging girlfriend to engage in heavy lip lock, had came out of high school with brilliantly high exam scores.
A university in France was impressed and Takeru was going to spend the next years of his life in France, albeit without his girlfriend.
In front of him, she had kept a proud, assuring aura while behind him Hikari had wailed, screamed and cried. For once in her life, she had regretted not studying harder even though the idea scared her when she regained her senses.
Takeru had been worried, wanting to decline the offer despite his strict parents urges to accept. He had spoken about it when alone with Hikari and like the faithful girlfriend she was (and going against her wishes like always), she had scolded him for ever thinking to decline.
"Of course you're going!" she had scolded him, reassuring him and depressing her even further.
The fateful day came and Hikari dutifully stood by Takeru as he said his farewells to his friends and family. When her turn came, she evaded his eyes as she hugged him tightly, not wanting to let go, clinging on to him for dear life. He slipped her an envelope, his eyes telling her to open it in private.
"I'll be back," he breathed into her hair. "I hope you'll wait."
"Of course I'll, dummy," she pinched his arm. "I love you, don't I?"
His electric blue eyes smile at her and her blood heated up. "Don't I know?"
It wasn't until his plane had really left the airport before her disapproving mother managed to persuade her to go. It wasn't until she reached the safety of her room, opened the envelope he had given her, her eyes fell on a photograph they had taken together during their disastrous picnic on the beach and read the elegant handwriting on the back did she finally broke down.
Did you know that I love you?
A/N: Yeah, once again, my Muse forced me to take the old one down and completely, thoroughly strengthen it. Hopefully, hopefully, you'll like it as much as the old one and perhaps, a tad more. : )
Songs Listened to: Midnight Skies by the overwhelmingly talented The Perishers and Save Me by wonderful Hanson : )