Who comes to Japan and NOT attend a cosplay event?
Fingering the fringe that fell lightly over my forehead, I took one last look in the full length mirror before I stepped out of the bathroom. My cousin, Atobe Keigo, was in his costume already, scanning me with a critical eye before flashing a triumphant look.
"You look the part Rika-chan," Yuushi commented from the side, his own costume donned on.
"Thank you," I blushed a little. Long hair really did fit Yuushi.
"Of course," my cousin had to put in. "It's top grade and tailored to her size."
It was Saturday and my sleep was disrupted by my beloved cousin who kidnapped me to his house at 9 a.m in the morning. It was a Saturday AND Fuji canceled training so I finally could sleep in. I would have given him a piece of my mind but I was thrust into the bathroom and ordered to change. When I saw the costume neatly folded on the toilet seat, I perked up and got down to business.
"So, mind telling me what's this about?" I shot Kei-chan a clearly annoyed look. I still hadn't forgiven him for waking me up.
"You wanted to cosplay didn't you? I figured you'd enjoy this," he replied, dropping the honorific for my sake.
"Well, yeah. Uh, thanks, but you could warn me at least a day before," I was dressed the part of C.C from the anime, Code Geass. A long green wig made my hair (I bet it was real hair – it felt real), the simple white attire was comfortable on me and gold contacts worked the eyes.
Kei-chan, had black hair this time, different from his usual brown. Clad in the dark purple standard uniform for guys, he also had one contact with a symbol on – He was Lelouch. I nearly snorted. World domination? Yes, that was so his style. Yuushi was made to play the part of Xing Ke. He had on a long black wig, the customary Chinese outfit and a sword strapped to his side. Joining in the parade was Ji-chan as Kurugi Suzaku, although, this was a very sleepy Suzaku. Ji-chan was sprawled over the couch in the room, dead to the world.
Kabaji was Charles zi Britannia… I blinked at the out of character-ness. Chou-kun was clothed as Lloyd – must have been the hair, and Shishido went as one of the members of the Black Knights. Hiyoshi was Gino, one of the Knights of the Round, and blonde was… odd on him. That left Gakuto with the part of Lolo. I think.
"RRRIKKKAAAA!!!" a faintly accented voice broke my train of thought and the door to the current room slammed opened suddenly, causing Ji-chan to tumble off the couch in shock.
"Is it morning?" He asked blearily to no one in particular.
"Damn woman, can you shut up?" Shishido winced, covering his ears. The said person merely ignored him, leaving the job of reprimanding to Chou-kun.
She stood before me, pushing Kei-chan out of the way, with the Ashford Acadamy girl's uniform on, together with blonde curls that were definitely natural no matter how real Kei-chan's wigs were, and there was only one other person in the world that could be rude to Kei-chan and get away with it – it was Karen Kawaguchi.
My eyes widened with surprise. "Karen... it's been a while," I grinned, taking her into a hug.
"A while too long," she grumbled back and I laughed.
Karen Kawaguchi was American-Japanese. She had her blonde tresses from her mother, framing her delicate face that was a mixture of western and eastern features, giving her a natural beauty fit for a model. She was the first true friend Kei-chan and I ever had – we met in some event long ago and instantly clicked, but two years ago she had moved to America and we haven't saw each other since.
"Why didn't you tell me you were back in Japan?!" I demanded, sending her the sternest look I could muster.
"Actually I'm back in Hyoutei… and playing for the team," she replied lightly. "It's Keigo's fault here that I couldn't contact you for the past weeks since you arrived."
"Keigo wanted me to meet you on the tennis court, actually, but that would take months," she continued, sticking her tongue out childishly at Kei-chan.
The accused Keigo gave Karen a pointed stare. "Be glad Ore-sama even let you come along," but we all knew he was joking.
"So," Karen took a step back and twirled, "How do I look?"
"Just like Milly Ashford," I assured her.
"How did Kei-chan manage to drag all the regulars to this cosplay?" I whispered to Karen.
"By abusing his powers as captain, of course," she said deadpanned.
We were seated comfortably in Kei-chan's limo, though my face was pressed up against the window. I was excited, of course. After a while the limo slowed to a stop in front of an amusement park, and when I stared harder, I could make out various characters inside the park.
"Karen! I saw Cloud Strife!" I gushed and tugged at her sleeve.
She sighed and rolled her eyes until I continued, "There's Sephy too!"
I felt myself being squished against the door as she peeked out the window, nearly throwing me off the seat in the process. I grinned at her actions.
Soon enough, our car pulled to a stop and I got out before the driver could assist us. The other half of the regulars alighting from a limo behind us, and I just purely stared at the attraction fair in wonder. It was purely a dream come true. From afar, I could already spot a group in the Ouran High School uniform heading inside the entrance. Kei-chan took his own sweet time and finally snapped for attention.
"Imouto," Kei-chan paused for a dramatic effect, all while bringing us nearer to the gates.
"This is your official welcome party."
Streamers and sparkles burst out in a happy affair just as he said it. I blinked.
"You mean… you organized this?" I asked, clearly shell-shocked.
"Of course," he replied easily, flipping his hair. He pointed to one of the large posters and read, "sponsored by Atobe Cooperation." Which was in large bold lettering. "All cosplayers get to go in for free. Otousama and okaasama say it's the least they could do, and that they want you to visit."
"Sure," I agreed.
"It gets better." He smirked and snapped his fingers.
A familiar j-rock tune started playing. I know this song.
"Risa-chan, turn around," the voice was very familiar too. Of course, who else dared to call me Risa?
Blade Chord by Abington Boys School. That was the song. So definitely, this was D Gray Man Seigaku was cosplaying.
The first person that caught my eye was Fuji. Not to be biased but he was the one standing in front of me. And cosplaying Kanda Yuu the swordman exorcist who was my favourite character helped too. Straight dark blue hair was bound in a ponytail and the exorcist uniform was fitting on him. Mugen, the sword, was strapped to his side. He would make the perfect Kanda… only that he was smiling, and Kanda definitely did not smile.
"Fuji-senpai," Ryo-chibi spoke up from his place next to him. "Kanda doesn't smile. At all."
Ryoma was none other than Allen Walker. I bet he got the role because of his height. I held in my laughter. However he certainly was not keeping in character either, since he was scowling like nobody's business.
"And the moyashi is supposed to be smiling all the time," Fuji retorted, showing his piercing blue eyes and fitting an expression that was more Kanda-ish.
"Che, whatever Ba-Kanda,"
Everyone else raised an eyebrow, extremely amused at the exchange.
"Wait," Karen held up a hand. "Wait just a minute."
She turned to me with a worried look and felt my forehead. "You're not sick, are you?" She questioned.
I blinked. "Not that I know of. Why?"
Karen leaned in and slid an eye towards Fuji. "Tell me if I'm wrong, but did that guy just call you Risa?" she whispered urgently.
"Then why isn't he being smacked like you usually do to people when they call you that?"
I opened my mouth to answer but I realized I didn't know what to say.
"Rika-chan, who is this nya?"
The red head was made to play Lavi. It suited him well – the hyperactivity was present.
"Guys, this is Karen. She's my long time friend and she's currently playing for Hyoutei." I introduced her, and they all murmured welcomes.
Oishi was going as Link today, and I couldn't help but think he pulled it off well. Momoshiro was grinning in the exactly same freaky way as none other than Tyki Mikk, one of the Noah clan, with the star shaped "scars" embedded in his forhead.
"And here's Tease," he pulled out an origami of a butterfly to show me. I was impressed.
Yukiko and Akiko were dressed as the same person, but in different times. Akiko had long vocaloid hair –the two ponytails, while Yukiko had on shoulder length hair, but the same dark green colour. Akiko adorned on the white exorcist uniform but Yukiko was wearing a similar uniform, only the edges were red. It was the newer exorcist uniform.
"Pleased you meet you, I'm Lenalee Lee," both of them smiled simultaneously.
"Wow," I breathed.
Inui was next in line, glasses glinting ominously in the sunlight. He was Komui Lee, the overprotective brother of Lenalee… but oddly, the role did fit him. The only thing that spoiled the look was the constant notebook and pen in his hand. Kadioh was next. He was another one of the Noah clan, Skin Brolic, I believe. Miwako was dressed as Cloud, the female general. A stuff monkey toy sat on her shoulder. Long blonde hair covered half her face, but I couldn't help but think she looked amazing as Cloud. She looked much prettier when she wore contacts.
That left Tezuka and I gaped at him. Of all characters to portray, his was just… unspeakable. He looked scarier then ever with the large hat. He wore the golden rimmed exorcist uniform of the general. He wore a half-mask, and long red hair completed the look. I looked towards his hands and discovered "Judgment", that huge silver gun Marian Cross wields.
I remembered how to breathe after a while and looked to my side where Karen was.
"Karen, you're drooling," I smirked and she clamped her mouth shut. She still looked besotted with Cross but didn't say anything.
"Where's Taka-san?" I asked, noticing that he was missing out.
"He has to help his father with sushi making, Kurogen-san," Oishi offered.
"Risaka's fine," I smiled.
Just then, Kei-chan strode in our line of vision and tossed Tezuka a glare before announcing, "Let the party begin."
3rd person POV
All cosplayers had free entry to the amusement park, hence why the characters that were around them were clearly not from the sane world. Risaka stared dreamily at the mass of people in the area.
"…and there's Sesshoumaru-sama and Rin…ooh, I can't believe there's even Jenova here… and Suzumiya Haruhi… wonder if she'd do the Hare Hare Yukai?..." she was mumbling to herself but everyone else either didn't hear it or passed it off as normal.
"Hey, that looks interesting," Karen grinned widely and pointed at a spooky looking house that gave off a very bad aura. Risaka shuddered. She should have known it was inevitable. Karen, along with the rest of Hyoutei regulars, loved horror. It was one reason why Risaka never agreed to have movie marathons with them. Unfortunately, they had, on several occasions, dragged her and locked her in. Needless to say she was scarred mentally for life.
The whole group went closer. The vendor was wearing a skeleton suit, complete with other weird objects that decorated the entrance she knew she'd never want to see again.
"Only two at a time to enter," his voice even, was eerie.
"Sweet," Karen smacked her lips and devilishly smirked. "Keigo, you're coming with me." And promptly swung an arm over his shoulder to drag him in, winking at Risaka. Thank you Karen, she sighed inwardly. For sparing me just this once.
"I bet you're too scarrreddd to go in," Momoshiro taunted the viper, haughtiness clearly evident in his voice.
"Fsshh.. as if peach-butt," Kadioh returned the venom, albeit not as strongly. It was true that Kaidoh Kaoru definitely did not like scary things but to admit it so easily would be a wound to his ego.
"Momo-kun, you can go with Aki," Yukiko spoke up, surprising her twin sister.
"Why?" Akiko furrowed her eyebrows for a moment. "Oh… oh, okay. I'll see you later." She grabbed a dumbfounded Momoshiro and headed towards the entrance.
"Kaidoh Karou! You better look after Yuu or I'll kill you!" was what Akiko last said before she entered the building.
"Wha-.. fshh." Kaidoh stared blankly at the spot where Yukiko was standing a moment ago, only to find her walking away towards the food stand. Quickening his pace, he decided to join her since he had no intention of stepping into that freaky house.
"Umm Shishido-san, do you want to g-" The sliver haired youth started.
"Choutarou, we're next in line," His doubles partner cut him off matter-of-factly. "You want to go in right?"
Choutarou only had time to nod before the vendor lifted the bar and they entered.
Soon, they large group had cleared to a few. Oshitari had gone in with Gakuto earlier, and so had the Golden pair. Ryoma had obviously ditched the group ever since the beginning and Hiyoshi did too. That left an over excited Jiroh high from sugar tugging at Kabaji to go in.
It was down to Inui, Miwako, Risaka, Tezuka and Fuji.
Looking at the apprehensive expression on Risaka, Miwako decided not to ask her to join her. Turning to the three other boys, she concluded that Fuji would be sadistic and try to scare her excessively and use it to blackmail… and Inui as the data man would probably find out something about her that would be of blackmail material, as well.
"Tezuka," she bit her lip. "Do you want to…?"
He stared at her for a second, his gaze even more intimidating with the half mask on and red hair, before tilting his head in affirmation. "Aa."
They disappeared into the door.
"Rika-chan, are you going in?" Fuji asked, blatantly ignoring Inui. His grudges go deep.
"Nope," she replied. "I hate these kinds of things. You guys can go in."
"Risaka-san, you can go with Fuji," Inui said without looking at her, his gaze at something in the distance. He didn't seem to hear either comment from the two other regulars, and mumbled something about percentages as he towards whatever that captured his attention.
The both of them just blinked at the abrupt departure before shrugging.
"Let's go then," Fuji smiled and gently pulled Risaka forward, only to be met by resistance.
"Sorry Fuji, but I really don't want to go in," she took a few steps back, fully intending to spend her time somewhere else.
Fuji frowned thoughtfully for a moment. He did want to go into the haunted house and getting ideas on how to scare his teammates again would be good too.
"I don't like your sadism at the moment," Risaka pointed out the huge evil grin Fuji was sporting. He fully resembled a black Kanda.
"You do realize I am stronger than you right?" A smirk crossed his features before he grabbed her waist and pulled her forward. Fuji sent a death look to the vendor who decided to lift the bar to the door of the house, dragging a reluctant female who had no say in this matter in.
It was then Risaka realized how strong Fuji actually was despite his small figure. He was probably the shortest after Ryoma, and not to mention he wasn't exactly buff either, but this guy actually managed to push her in despite using all of her strength to stop. Then she remembered he practically carried her while running… so maybe this shouldn't have been surprising.
"Fuji! I told you I absolutely HATE places like… this?" Both of them stopped as the room they had stepped into was extremely bright and painted stripes of yellow and red. Hardly what you would expect in a haunted house. Four more doors stood in front of them, all seemingly identical.
"Which one should we choose?"
"The door behind us maybe," came the reply, still sour.
Fuji ignored the remark and pushed her onwards towards door number two, the door creaking open even before he had put his hand on the door knob, presenting void of darkness that they couldn't see into.
Risaka shivered and involuntarily stepped back. She really hated anything to do with freaky stuff and the door was one hell of a freaky door. Fuji entered without hesitation and she figured she should too, after all, being left behind was even worse.
Quietly, the door clicked shut behind them.
Yukiko happily bought a strawberry flavoured ice and sat down at one of the many benches, only to have Kaidoh Karou join her. She lifted her head in surprise to look at him.
"Kaidoh-san, not going in?" She gestured to the looming building in the distance.
"I don't.. like.. horror," was the meek reply, his cheeks tinged pink.
Yukiko merely nodded and continued to eat her dessert.
"Fsssh… and you, Kamiya-san?" his gruff voice returning back to normal.
"It reminds me of something bad," she answered simply, though her eyes gave way to a darker expression, which Kaidoh noticed. He stayed quiet, not knowing what to say.
"Aki didn't see the scene, but I did," she continued after a period of silence, attention turning back once again to the ice.
"…Can I ask what happened?" Yukiko glanced at him for a moment, not expecting him to say anything. His voice had gotten softer, as though he understood the seriousness of the incident that happened so many years ago.
She kept quiet, debating her answer. He wasn't anyone she talked to much, but for some reason, it made prefect sense to talk to him now. It felt as though he wouldn't be able to judge her; he wasn't someone she was so comfortable at keeping the happy spirit that this intimacy was too deep to share. Kaioh was just a neutral force, and maybe that was what she needed.
"Ten years ago, our father and sister were murdered," she muttered loud enough for him to hear. "Our mother had already passed away a long time ago, probably a year after she gave birth to Aki and me. Aki and I… we used to practice Kendo. Our father had his own dojo, and our sister was the one to inherit it."
She paused and closed her eyes, relieving a bad memory.
"I came home one day and saw my father's and sister's blood all over the dojo, along with their dead bodies. I can never forget that moment."
Yukiko drew in a sharp breath, but no tears flowed. "Aki was still in school at that time, so she never saw it. The police eventually caught the murderer. He was some ex-apprentice my father kicked out after he tried to assault my sister. I couldn't practice Kendo after that, so I changed to tennis, and Aki joined me."
"After that, we moved to Tyoko and are living with our Aunt. We've never been back since."
They sat in silence once more until Yukiko felt a hand on her head, slighting ruffling up her hair. "But it's alright now right?"
"Yeah…" she smiled softly. "It's alright."
There was no "I'm sorrys" she was always thrown with whenever anyone knew of her plight. There was no pity lacing his words, no sympathy, and just genuine concern that it was time to look forward into the future, that the murder was a thing of the past and it was something she couldn't change.
It was ironic how she was dressed as Lenalee in the new uniform, plus short hair. It signaled a start into the future, an end to the past, and that was exactly how Yukiko felt at that moment. She had stop crying over their deaths many years ago. But it felt like she had some closure after reciting all that has haunted her for the past 10 years.
It was odd that the story was told to Kadioh Kaoru of all people, but she guessed that there was probably no one else as understanding as he was under that tough exterior. The way his eyes glimmered told her that.
And she was thankful.
"Did you want to go in, in the first place?" Miwako glanced at Tezuka after they decided to take door three.
They were currently enveloped in darkness, but a few seconds later, a path before them illuminated. Cobwebs, old furniture, spooky green lights as well as unbearable silence made the atmosphere. The ground was littered with skulls.
Tezuka "hn-ed" non-committedly.
"I don't want to, but I need some inspiration for drawing…" she trailed off. There was something else in this room, and it spooked her. Her heartbeat was rising faster as her eye darted about in the darkness to try and figure out the source of problem. A flash of white caught her attention at the corner of her eye but it disappeared just as quickly.
"Miwako?" Tezuka looked at the female who wasn't paying any attention to him. He noticed that although she kept her ground and didn't scream, but the hand that was trembling slightly told him otherwise.
"I saw something," she hushed him.
Suddenly, a loud clang sounded throughout the room as one of the old photo frames in the room dropped to the ground. Then a plastic light bulb fell right in front of them, narrowly missing them by an inch.
Tezuka placed a comforting hand on Miwako's shoulder, hoping that she won't scream. And she didn't. He frowned, cocking his head to one side, then suddenly drawing "Judgement" to some general area at the side and unlocking the safety. The click of the gun vibrated throughout the air. The room became quiet once more.
"Tezuka… is that a real gun?" Miwako stared at the shiny metal.
"It is not loaded… I think," Tezuka replied her.
Miwako's lips twitched into a smile and she chuckled quietly. "Let's move on then."
The duo stepped onward, ready to face whatever was in front of them, and Tezuka's hand remained on her as they continued.
By the decorations, a young man sat defeated behind one of the old rocking chairs. He cupped his head in frustration.
"That guy aimed a freakin' gun at me! What's next? A bazooka?"
He sighed and pulled on his zombie costume once more as he heard the door creaking open.
"Thank god this job pays well."
"Fuji…" Risaka refused to move after the path was laid out for them. "Can we please go back? I'll do anything else…"
The place creeped her out immensely. It provided the basis for her ever running wild imagination that something was going to jump out at her. A noise vibrated throughout the room and she held back a scream.
Fuji studied the girl before him for a minute. The idea of scaring her was indeed fun at the beginning, but Risaka looked genuinely scared and they haven't even begun. He shifted slowly and placed an arm around her, guiding her to walk forward.
Then a skull rolled in their pathway and Risaka decided that closing her eyes would be a better strategy. The hand on her shoulder was drumming some random tune on her collarbone and it sent tingles down her body. Her hands clenched for a moment.
"Fuji can you stop moving your fingers?" she pleaded.
"But I'm not touching you…" Immediately Risaka grabbed the offending appendage and hurled forwards, using a twisting momentum, sending Fuji on the floor in front of her.
"Risa-chan.." he winced from the floor, his sword had made that tumble painful when he landed partially on it. "It's a joke…"
Risaka huffed in anger but helped him up anyway. "Don't try stupid tricks like that again," she smacked his arm, drawing a low hiss.
He could feel an on-coming bruise from where he tried to block the fall. She apologized, hands roaming over his body to check for bruises, but gave up when his exorcist uniform was too thick to roll up.
By now she was aware that Fuji was staring straight at her. She tried to meet his gaze but she failed when she realized his hair tie must have loosened off somewhere during the scuffle and his hair was now worn down. She bit her lip and stared at the floor. Her cheeks were burning, she knew, as he looked extremely attractive at the moment – his aura practically screamed beautiful and dangerous, something she knew she couldn't resist.
"Wh-hat?" her voice came out shakier than she intended, but it broke the tension anyhow.
"Let's go," was all he said in a deeper voice than usual, grabbing her hand and pulling her in step with him.
Risaka's mind was filled with confusion. He didn't seem like he was angry… but he wasn't his sadistic smiley self either. She decided it was better to leave him as he was at the moment, since the firm grip on her hand didn't seem like it was going to let go.
The bruise at my hip was swelling up, I can feel it. I bit in another hiss as the Mugen rubbed against the same spot as I walked. But there was something else bothering my mind at the moment. Why do I feel so guilty? Was it because I dragged Risaka in without her own will? If so, why was that?
I ran my thumb over her fingers as I held them in my grasp. She had beautiful nails, although her hands were slightly coarse due to tennis and probably sailing. An unusual wave of heat collected in my face. …Am I…blushing?
This was certainly odd.
Risaka hasn't said a word since she threw me on the floor. Did these things really frighten her so? I took a good look around. There were coffins with corpses, a piano that played mysteriously, broken mirrors on the ceiling, cobwebs about, skeletons tossed around, and blood splattered everywhere. I felt her other hand wrap around my arm and she pulled closer, whole body trembling. Maybe they really do.
I had this sudden urge to…protect… her. Maybe it was because her beautiful complexion had paled, or that she was clinging on to me like a lifeline that made her so vulnerable.
An evil laughter played via background music, and a figure crashed right before them, shocking Risaka thoroughly. "Fuji… please…" her head was down.
"Wh-here a-are yo-ou goin-ng…." a creepy voice cut through. It was from the figure in front of us. It was obviously some guy hired to do some scaring. His costume, though, was pretty good. It had no face, but its limbs were splattered with blood and it crawled. Disgustingly on the ground, may I add.
I could feel Risaka's muscles clenching - sign that she wanted to run. However, I steered her to walk around that thing in costume. I made sure she walked in front of me, until I deemed a distance far enough, than did I slow down.
"Are you alright?" I asked, surprising myself with the concern that laced with the words.
She would have replied, but a scream took its place. I spotted the ugly figure directly behind us, a hand grappling with her ankle. Her eyes widened with fear, her iron grip now encased my arm. A series of let-me- go was muttered under her breath. A random bubbling of anger popped in my chest. Before I even knew what I was doing, the Mugen was out and brandished against the wrists of the thing.
"Let go," I ordered, inwardly flinching at my own tone of voice.
Why was it that I felt so… angry that he touched her? Why was it that it meant enough to actually take action? Why was it enough to actually care?
The figure immediately let go, causing Risaka to tumble forward with the strength she was putting to get away, but I caught her. The crawler disappeared in sight.
"Thank you, Fuji," she sighed, breathing heavily. "I guess I'll always think of you threatening those legless nurses in my nightmares." Chuckling quietly to herself, she continued. "Or maybe Kanda, actually."
"Risa-chan, it's not as scary as you make it out to be, you know," I eyed her. "That guy was obviously someone who works for this attraction. If you look up, those cracks in the mirrors disguise the trap doors that release things as we walk. The background noise is evidently recorded, and that is most definitely fake blood."
"I know it's all fake," she replied, sighing before she straightened up. "But I can't help but think that it's something else."
We continued on our journey, passing through maze of cobwebs, then a room of mirrors, then up a few creaky stairs, more costume people came to scare us, down another flight of stairs, through a maze, and finally, we made it to what seemed like the end. There stood a tall mirror, one fine line breaking its clear reflection. It was covered in creepy swirls of mysterious symbols, but what was written on it caught my attention.
"Risa-chan, look." I pointed to a messy handwriting on the mirror. It was scrawled with blood.
"…When you see the light, don't let go of the hand you are holding," she read.
On our left side, an opening of light shone through, contrasting with the darkness we were plunged in. Eager, she pulled me forwards, knowing that it had to be the exit, and she was right. Sunlight flooded my eyesight. I could vaguely make out the sounds of the atmosphere of the amusement park as we entered back into reality. Risaka turned to me.
"I made it," she laughed, feeling relived that it was over.
She smiled, eyes sparkling in the sunlight, and I somehow, understood.
When you see the light, don't let go of the hand you are holding.
Glancing down at our clasped hands, I gave it one last reassuring squeeze before I let go. Risaka Kurogen wasn't as strong as the front she puts up. She needed someone to be there for her, to support her. Then again, the question pops up. Why do I care so much?
Did it really matter why I cared? It could just be some unexplainable feeling…
Geniuses don't search for answers. Answers naturally come to them, don't they?
3rd person POV
Ryoma sat by one of the benches near the rows of the game stalls. A large plush Tara Panda sat next him, while he threw his head back and sipped grape Ponta. After trying all the games in one row, he was tired and deserved a drink. Glancing at the huge toy next to him, he rolled his eyes.
In the last game he had played, was to bat a ball directly in the center of a series of rings to get the first prize. Of course, Ryoma only played it out of boredom, but even with the lousy racket he was given to play, the ball shot through the center so hard that it got stuck into the smallest metal ring in the center. Needless to say, it was a bull's eye at first's try. Impressed, the stall keeper thrust the big soft plushie into his hands – he nearly stumbled from the size – and refused to take it back.
"Ryom-ma…-kun?" a very familiar voice sounded.
Lifting his arm that shielded his eyes from the sun, he sat up properly and blinked. There stood none other than Ryuzaki Sakuno in front of him, hands crossed behind her face as she timidly stared at him. She was decked out in a Lolita ensemble, frills coloured her dress and a pretty bonnet lay on her head. Her hair wasn't in their customary pigtails; rather, it was let loose and draped over her shoulders, showing her slightly natural curls.
Ryoma did not want to know where that inner voice came from.
"Ryuzaki," was all he acknowledged her with a nod of his head.
She took a cautious seat beside him. "Tomo-chan, Horio-kun and the rest are buying food," she stated. "Would you like to join us, Ryoma-kun?"
The prince of tennis gave her a side long glance while drinking that clearly said no. Defeated, Sakuno twiddled with her thumbs, not knowing what to say to this anti-social youth. It didn't help that he rarely spoke to her either.
"What are you wearing?" the ever blunt prince asked.
Surprised that Ryoma actually asked something, Sakuno smiled and replied. "It's a Lolita costume. Tomo-chan has a few so she lent this to me. She wanted to come to this…event since it was free. Plus since Ryoma-kun canceled tennis training she brought me here. Ryoma-kun, why are you…." She trailed off, realizing that she had once again babbled on without knowing. "…I'm sorry!"
The pro tennis player didn't bat an eyelash but simply said. "Your question?"
Flustered, she breathed deeply before answering. "Ryoma-kun, why are you in a place like this? I'd thought you would not like these kinds of places…"
It was true. Ryoma didn't like crowded or noisy places, and the amusement park was one that fit into both criterias. He'd rather play with Karupin any day.
"…Team bonding," was all he could say.
Sakuno gave a slight nod but she didn't really understand his answer. Spotting Tomoka in the distance with food in tow, she waved and signaled. Just at that moment, Ryoma crushed his empty ponta can and tossed it into the bin five meters away, standing up to leave.
"Ah, Ryoma-kun, your toy!" she reached over to grab the stuffed toy to pass it to him.
"You can have it," he waved backwards without a glance. He walked a few steps forward, before stopping again.
"You should wear your hair down, Ryuzaki, if you don't want to cut it." And he disappeared into the mass of people crowding at the game stalls.
A minute later, Tomoka made her way towards Sakuno and flopped beside her, grinning excitedly. "Sakuno-chan! Who was that? Who's that white haired boy who stole your heart?"
"Stole my… wait, no! I don't like him!" Sakuno protested, but the blush spreading rapidly over her face couldn't deny it.
Tomoka screamed and pointed to the Tare Panda Sakuno was unconsciously squeezing to her chest. "He gave you that didn't he?!"
The timid girl nodded once and winced again when Tomoka grabbed her by her shoulders and invaded her personal space. "He likes you, Sakuno-chan! What's his name?"
Sakuno buried her face into the toy and mumbled two words, extremely embarrassed.
Inui strolled forward until he reached the person he had been targeting from a distance, clapping a firm hand on the victim's shoulder.
"Renji. It was a mere twenty four point six percent I'd see you here," the data man stated towards his childhood friend.
Yanagi Renji from Rikkadai turned and let a smile cross his features before answering in the same fashion. "It was an eighty six point seven percent that Seigaku would be forced to come here."
Inui tapped his pen on his notebook as he surveyed his friend's costume. Renji had chosen to appear as Yomi, one the three kings of the demon world from Yu Yu Hakusho, a shounen manga both of them enjoyed when they were younger. Fake horns protruded from Renji's forehead and he adorned two extra pairs of fake ears. His eyes were closed as usual, giving off the impression that he was indeed blind.
"So what's your reason to be here?" Inui asked, still shocked that Renji surpassed his calculations.
"Niou wanted to have some fun, so he dragged Yagyuu and Ayaka with him. Seiichi told me to supervise them," the Rikkaidai player replied, pointing at three figures in front of the cotton candy stall nearby.
The trickster had his pure white hair doubled in length, probably a wig, and he was dressed easily in a flowing white tunic. Two fluffy ears sat on his head and a tail protruded from his tailbone. He was most probably playing the role of Youko Kurama, the infamous fox demon from the similar manga.
The two others beside him were obvious too – Yagyuu Hiroshi had a turban-like article on his head that was scribbled with weird letterings, a fake glass eye was seen and he wore a Japanese-style fighter clothes, roleplaying Mukuro, the other demon lord. Akaya was Hiei, a fire demon with the jagan, or third eye, dressed in a black cloak and white scarf, and his hair was spiked up.
"Does Yagyuu know Mukuro is a girl?" Inui muttered, but Renji heard it anyway.
Renji shrugged. "Niou picked the characters to dress up."
Both of them stared at the trio for a while.
"So anyway," Inui started, turning back to Renji. "Risaka Kurogen is playing for Seigaku now."
"Ah, yes. I heard from Kurogen-san when Seichii was having one of his checkups."
"I bet you didn't know that she is Atobe Keigo's cousin," Inui smirked slightly, confident in this knowledge, and he was right.
Renji's eyes widened for a second before it closed. "You have an edge there, Sadaharu," he admitted. "What else is new about Risaka?"
It was a tiring day out, but they did have fun. After a good dinner of Sukiyaki, courtesy of Atobe Keigo, Risaka found herself in the Atobe mansion in one of the many rooms with Karen. At the side lay a huge banner that read: WELCOME TO JAPAN, OFFICIALLY. And a smaller handwriting that scribbled beneath: Welcome to Seigaku, we will pwn Hyoutei ;D
She fumbled with the zipper that released her from the cosplay suit. Her wig was already off – jet black hair pooled around her shoulders.
"Rika… you like Fuji-san, don't you?" Karen suddenly asked, running fingers through her hair as she frowned. "Ugh, hairspray."
"He's a good friend after all." Risaka distractedly answered. "Can you help me reach the zipper at the back?
Karen sighed and complied. "As in you like him… more than a friend."
"How so?" the raven haired girl curiously asked as she removed her gold contacts, putting on her spectacles that she usually wore at home and adjusted herself in the mirror. Karen clicked her tongue and looked at her through the reflection in the mirror.
"You've been staring at him for the past few hours an-"
"That's because he was Kanda."
"-nd you advert your eyes when he looks at you directly. Plu-"
"His eyes are kind of intimidating, you know."
"-us, Listen well Rika," she grabbed her shoulders and shot her a serious look in the mirror. "You let him call you Risa."
"… It's my name, right?" She dropped her gaze to the floor, and that's when Karen knew she cornered her.
"Yes it's your name. It's your name that caused a suspension in your school in Singapore when you decided it was fine to whack a girl that only wanted to friend you. It's your name that had haunted you for years and never did once I or even Keigo called you again. Yuushi-kun doesn't dare call you that either."
Silence fell between the two of them.
"Do you get my point Risa?" The blonde finally spoke.
"Don't call m-" Risaka stopped in mid sentence when she realized what she was going to say.
"Now do you get it? You allow him and only him to call you Risa. If that's not special treatment then I don't know what is."
"I know… that Fuji is definitely important to me like the rest of the Seigaku. Maybe even more, but I don't know. I'm supposed to like Yuushi right? Even though Yuushi rejected me already but I still like him. Then comes along Fuji and suddenly because of that stupid kiss I keep replaying in my head from that stupid, stupid prank-"
"You WHAT? YOU KISSED HIM? WHERE? WHEN? HOW?" Karen almost screeched.
"It's not my fault! They pranked me on Valentine's Day!" the girl in question nearly slammed the table beside them that held her contact case for good measure. She sighed, refusing to say more.
Karen tried to get more information out of the girl but to no avail. She'd have to ask Yuushi then.
"You know," she commented casually, trying to change tactic. "Miwako said Fuji-san has never showed that much interest in a girl… ever."
"Since when were you close to Miwako?"
"Since I told her that her boyfriend was one hell of a sex god, though he's an ice," she stated bluntly.
I whopped with laughter and nearly fell to the floor. What if Tezuka heard it? Or better yet, if Kei-chan heard it he'll throw a hissy fit. "S-so?" I panted for breath. "What did she say?"
"That Tezuka-san is not her boyfriend and he's not that…icey… when you know him," she grinned. "And of course, she laughed for a full minute."
Risaka's lips twitched in amusement even as she continued to fold the C.C uniform, already changed into a comfortable pair of jeans and t-shirt.
"You know, I thought you'd jump Fuji-san in the haunted house," The American bred continued to persist, eyes still sparkling with determination.
"Karen… just give it up…" Risaka sighed.
"I meant it as he's totally your type Risaka."
"I have a type?" She raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know it myself."
"Come off it," Karen scoffed. "You like guys who border on the feminine side, but still have that manly aura, and must be mysterious, dangerous and sexy, but have to be gentle and caring." She counted off her fingers.
"Well he's…" He did have delicate features… but he was strong and pretty domineering too… mysterious and dangerous is right, he's a sadist. He's undeniably… attractive… Risaka mentally smacked herself. There is a reason why the whole female population in school is in his fanclub, Risaka. You know he's a pretty boy… and surprisingly, he was indeed kind…. in his own way.
"Risaka, did you ever think that you might be using Yuushi-kun as an excuse to cover up everything?" Karen's voice cut through her train of thought.
The Seigaku player would have protested but the Hyoutei player had a hand clamped firmly over her mouth.
"No, just listen. I may not be right, but I want you to think about it. We know that you had a crush on Yuushi but he cares for you differently. Then comes Fuji-san and you are using Yuushi-kun as an excuse to not like Fuji-san. It's like you're scared of being rejected again so you keep remembering that you used to like Yuushi-kun and therefore should still like him, but you don't." Karen released Risaka from her grip.
"I don't understand."
"Basically, you're replacing Fuji-san with Yuushi-kun, or something like that. Just think it over, girl."
A/N: Yay. This was a fun chapter to write, although it was extremely long since I tried to give a wider point of view other than focusing on Fuji and Risaka. Apologies to those who have not watched/read Code Geass, D Gray Man or Yu Yu Hakuho before, but it was fun thinking about who would fit what character.
I fell sick right on Chinese New Year, therefore this took extra time to get posted. It's a pretty late hour too, so I'm sorry for any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Thank you for reading!