Written by: kohee
Fandom: Flame of Recca
Disclaimer: Still don't own. Will never own. My second attempt at writing since I had fun doing the last one. Italicized words at the beginning and end of the story are stolen and (badly) translated from Jacky Cheung's (张学友) Kiss Goodbye (吻别), one of the best Chinese songs in history.
Author's note: Loosely inspired by The Pursuit of Happiness by Eirist and Saturation (Chapter 3) by abubi-chan. This is a repost; I re-read my posted version and thought it could use a little more hashing, especially characterizations.
remnants in clouds of smoke
even if it is goodbye
i still couldn't
"You don't have to see him." Raiha said, for the umpteenth time, as she moved around with a distracted air, stuffing random items into her purse.
"I have to." Fuuko answered, repeating the same answer she gave him, every single time he said that. Tucking her purse under her arm, she stopped by the mirror, giving her shoulder-length purple hair a careless brush. Turning to him, she gave him a look laced with the slightest bit of guilt. "I'm going."
Exasperated, he stood up and grabbed her hand. "Are you going to come back?"
She gave a start, and glared at him. "What do you take me for?"
He shook his head, a wry smile on his lips. Holding up her left hand, he traced the engagement ring on her fourth finger. "Despite this, I know you never stopped loving him."
Giving him an impatient look, she yanked her hand out of his grasp, and turned to the door.
"Fuuko." He called, the mildest trace of desperation in his voice. "Promise me you'll come back."
She paused, one hand on the doorknob. "I have to do this. I have to get my closure. Please try to understand that." With that, she opened the door and left.
It was evident to both of them that she didn't promise to go back.
"It's going to be a simple ceremony." Fuuko was smiling at him, but her voice was strained and she kept fiddling with the sugar packets in front of her, a sure sign that she was nervous, or uncomfortable, or both. The slight shake of her hands when she lifted her cup didn't escape him. Mikagami, on the other hand, was much steadier than she was. Picking up his cup calmly, he took a sip, regarding her unfalteringly.
"I see. My congratulations are in order, I supposed." He said indifferently. As nonchalant as he could force himself to be.
"Am I invited?"
She raised her eyes to his, trying to search for traces that bellied any sort of emotion in his tone, but found none. The words were matter-of-fact, just a realistic question.
"I think it's too late to send out an official invitation, but yes, of course you are." She replied, trying to assume his brisk tone. "After all, we used to be close." She added, as an off-handed afterthought, not able to resist a jab at him.
A scowl settled over his face, the reaction she was going for, but then cleared in a flash. "We were." He affirmed coolly.
She toyed with the corner of the tablecloth with one hand, as a hot flash of emotions surged through her, so complex and jumbled, she couldn't even tell what she was feeling. She did know, however, that she felt like throwing a punch at the man who sat across from her.
Damn him. Damn him for showing up now, of all times.
"Are you happy?" he asked, rather suddenly.
Taken back by his question, she could only stare. Quite frankly, it wasn't something that she had thought about, at least, not lately. Was she happy? Why yes, she should be. She was engaged to a man who loves her dearly. One who would provide for her, care for her. She made the right choice when she agreed to marry him. He was a good man. He never kept her guessing about how he really felt. He let her know that he loves her.
But was she happy? She didn't know, but she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of letting him know of her indecisiveness.
"I am." She said defiantly, a tone more definite than what she really felt.
He looked at her silently. "We were happy." He said, almost under his breath.
She could only glare at him. "We were not."
"What do you mean, we were not?" He snapped.
"You wouldn't have left if we were." She retorted, and then instantly regretting it. It wouldn't do to let him know that she was still resentful. It already wasn't right for her to be bitter about it, not when she was wearing another man's engagement ring on her left hand.
"Still bitter about that, Kirisawa?" He drawled, stirring his coffee with a detachment that he did not feel.
Her eyes darkened, and she wished she was sixteen again, when she could still beat him up in public without feeling embarrassed about it. She met his gaze, squarely and coldly. "I'm not going to feel resentful about something that is not of my doing. You left. It wasn't the other way round."
His jaw tightened, and he half-wished that she would punch him, instead of the cold, sharp and direct words. He wasn't used to seeing her so poised and in control. It wasn't characteristic of the Fuuko he knew.
"I was…apprehensive." He said flatly, the fingers of his right hand curling into a fist. Apprehensive, yes. The intensity of his feelings scared him, and he did the only thing he could think of at that moment: run. It wasn't often that Mikagami acted without thinking of the consequences. And this was certainly the first time that he had managed to screw up in such a major way.
"Spare me your excuses."
He shook his head. "Whether you believe it or not, it wasn't an excuse. It was the reason."
Suddenly, she just felt tired. What was she doing here? To get her closure? No, there was no closure as to where he was concerned. It was all games; mind games, word games. She was wasting her time.
She had had enough. Pushing her chair back, she stood up, and forced a smile on her face. "It was so nice seeing you again." She said sarcastically, and then turned to leave. She had barely taken two steps away from the table when a hand caught her wrist, and she found herself being pulled towards him. And before she could even think to react, his lips were on hers.
The familiarity of it almost overwhelmed her as she automatically responded, for a few short seconds before she realized what she was doing. Pushing him away, she shot him a look of pure ice and slapped him soundly across the face.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" She took a huge step back, wishing she could tear him apart. A slap wasn't enough to satisfy her anger.
"No. Don't you dare." She snarled, and turned to leave.
She stopped, and he took the opportunity to catch up with her, grabbing her arm. Almost instantly, she shook him off, not turning to look at him. "Don't. You. Dare." She whispered again, and whirled around to face him, sparks of fury shooting from her eyes, her face a picture of anguish. "You have no idea what you did to me, Mikagami. You have no fucking idea." She turned, and ran out of the door.
He didn't go after her.
It was almost midnight when he heard her key in the lock. A huge wave of relief swept over him, as he watched her walk through the door, her face pale but eerily serene.
"I'm glad you're back." He said simply.
She paused at the door, not saying anything. Then she walked towards him, and sat down beside him. There was a two-second silence, and then she spoke. "I'm sorry."
He felt his relief gradually ebbing away. "Why?" He didn't really have to ask why, actually. He knew her better than she thought, and he knew what was coming. And he was right.
She took off the ring, and set it down on the table. She turned to face him, her eyes dry, but clear. Filled with regret, but at the same time, with was filled with determination. She had made up her mind, and as stubborn as she was, nothing could change her decision. He had to turn away; it was painful to look at her. "I'm sorry, Raiha."
He stared at the ring on the table, searching for words. There were many things he wanted to say, to maybe rave and make a scene, but he couldn't. Finally, he managed to find his voice. "It has always been him, hasn't it?"
She was quiet, contemplating what she was about to say. "Yes, and no."
Was that supposed to make him feel better? He didn't know but if it was intended to, it didn't work.
"I do love you. But this wouldn't be right. I'm sorry." She could say that she was sorry a million times, but she knew that it wouldn't make up for what she had done to him. But marrying him would make it even worse. Marrying him would be the cruelest thing she could do this man who did nothing but love her whole-heartedly. She hated herself then, but she would hate herself more if she continued with the charade. Pushing herself up, she grabbed her purse, and headed for the door.
He was still staring at the ring. He couldn't look at her. "So you got your closure."
She stopped, an ironic smile breaking involuntarily over her lips. "No. No, I didn't. And that is why I am leaving."
With that, she walked out of the door, and left him.
Mikagami was leaning against his car, half hidden in the shadows, waiting for her, when she walked out of Raiha's apartment. He stepped out of the darkness, effectively blocking her way. He was bracing himself for another slap, but it didn't come. She merely looked at him tiredly.
"I know I fucked up." He said.
Fuuko didn't say anything, but continued looking at him with the same weary air. Taking a step closer to her, he took her hand in his.
"I won't do it again."
She closed her eyes, seemingly reaching a conclusion of her own. She opened her eyes again, stared at him directly. Tightening her fingers on his, and closing the gap between them, she reached up and kissed him. Hope – he dared to allow himself to hope - flooded through him as he pulled her closer and kissed her back, telling himself that he'd be damned if he ever let her go again.
She broke off after a while, and locking her eyes with his with a strange sense of resolve, she eased his arms off her waist. The look in her eyes told him what he needed to know. At that precise moment, he felt something in him break, and he knew that he, and she, and the man inside the apartment, would never be whole again.
Neither would they ever be the same again.
"I will never, ever, give you a chance to fuck up again." She said clearly. Side-stepping him, she brushed past him, and walked away.
He watched her retreating back, not moving, until she was a tiny dot drawing further and further away from him. And even as she gradually disappeared into the night, he remained motionless.
kiss you goodbye
in a silent, soundless street
even as the wind laughs
i cannot resist
It's meant to be a little disjointed, a little choppy and a little vague. Call it my lame experimentation with writing. Constructive criticism, as usual, is welcomed. And yes, I do have something in my head for a sequel although the likelihood of that actually getting off ground is rather slim.