Disclaimer: I do not own Hana Yori Dango
"Excuse me, could you please tell me what room Makino Tsukushi is in?"
Rui had to smile at the furious blush that stole over the head nurse's face. She must have been at least 60.
"Makino Tsukushi? Ah, yes she is in room 219. Would you like me to take you there, young man?"
He politely declined and made his way to her room. It was the second time in the last month her incredibly busy work life had sent her to the hospital. Overworked, undernourished, and sleep deprived she had collapsed. I must remember to thank Yuki-chan for letting me know.
He stepped into her room, and shut the door as quietly as he could behind him. Pulling up a chair he noticed the handful of daisies at her bedside table. Visiting hours were over, so most likely her parents had come and gone.
He rested his eyes on her, watching the slight rise and fall of her chest as she slept. The look on her face was a new discovery for him. In the few years he'd known her, he'd thought he'd seen every expression of her myriad emotions cross her face.
In anger, her eyes were lit with steel fire, her face a delightful mixture of fury and frustration. Her determined belief that she was right, and how dare you tell her differently had always charmed him. Lately, he had such trouble suppressing the urge to kiss her when she got angry.
She was most difficult to resist during her moments of vulnerability. Drained and just past tearful, he likened her to a lost kitten he couldn't help but protect. She could ask anything of him and he wouldn't deny her.
Tsukushi at her happiest was when he couldn't take his eyes off her. Though she was usually energetically cheery, he'd seen her with a look of quiet joy and blissful contentment, like when it was just the two of them at their emergency staircase. But this unguarded expression she wore now was something else entirely. The muscles in her face were lax, and as she slept she radiated an aura of complete peace. As if nothing in the world could touch her. Was it any wonder he'd lost his heart to her?
I wonder when it started. He thought to himself. When did I begin to fall for Makino Tsukushi?
At first she was just a bothersome creature that imposed on his solitude. It had happened before. Girls that wanted to get close the quiet member of the F4 would show up everywhere he went. He had sensed her feelings, even back then. She got so shy and flustered that he couldn't really make himself dislike her. She was clearly different from other girls, that much was certain. When he and his friends walked by, instead of screaming or desperately trying to get their attention, she looked both curious and unimpressed with the fuss everyone around her was making.
She came to the staircase, not to see him, but to scream out her frustration and escape the wretched oppression Tsukasa inadvertently forced on her. She understood him, did not try to change him and before he knew it, he had come to count her as a genuine friend. From there his feelings had only escalated.
And now I'm in love. Even while she was still with Tsukasa, loving him even when he was promised to others, his feelings did not fade. Looking back, there never was any panic with the discovery, nor frantic denial, only a warm calm, from the very beginning. So different from what I felt for Shizuka. It was stronger, overwhelming and consuming, as if his heart recognized something real and lasting.
He reached out and stroked the soft skin of her hand, marveling absently at how such small fingers could be so calloused. It's not going to be easy, he reflected, her heart still belongs to Tsukasa, but I can definitely make her happier. He squeezed her hand and smiled down at her. "I guess I'm going to chase you, Makino." He laid his head beside her on the pillow, not leaving the chair. "Should be fun, ne?"
And so it began.
This is a rewrite over the original first chapter. I'm currently working on Chapter 19, and thought to strengthen the beginning chapters for flavor. Enjoy!