A Fine, Fine Line
They sat side by side, not really talking, just sitting in uncomfortable silence and staring in front of them, watching autumn leaves fall gently down the soft, grass-covered ground. The Asou-Welcome-Committee (comprising of Ran and Yamato Kotobuki, Miyu Yamazaki and a reluctant Aya Hoshino) had just finished a late lunch in a fancy restaurant to celebrate Yuuya's return. Afterwards, the future Miyu Kotobuki, Kami bless her soul, offered Yamato's services to carry back the model's luggage in his apartment, where he would be temporarily staying until after the wedding. That gave the model and the timid brunette time to talk, as Yamazaki made sure to drag the female Kotobuki with her before she even got the chance to ask Yuuya anything that would dampen the already tense atmosphere.
Still, it seemed as if all of Miyu's efforts would go to waste, as Yuuya and Aya hasn't spoken a word since the group left them in the park before driving off to Yamato's apartment. Truth be told Aya wanted nothing more but to walk away, as she didn't know what words to say if the pretty ex-Meisho Number Two began asking her how she had been for the past year that he was gone.
How could she tell him that the night after his departure, she decided to break her relationship with his best friend? Or the fact that Rei Otohata, cold-hearted as he was, couldn't bring himself to hate her for it? Or that the Ice Prince would cringe involuntarily every time Yuuya's name was brought up, that the group stopped mentioning him altogether? She blamed herself for the rut that they were all in, and she knew that even if things did work out for the best, Yuuya and Rei's friendship could never be fully healed. And it was all her damn fault. Curse her for being so weak.
And she froze at his voice, because she knew that that was it, and she still couldn't bring herself to face him even after he called her name.
"Do you hate me?"
And she clenched her fists tightly on her knees, because how could he ask that? She hated no one else but herself, and she doubted if she'll ever get over that feeling for a long time. To even think of hating Yuuya felt like a crime, because after all that's been said and done, she still loved him and feared the thought of losing him forever.
"Don't be silly."
And he gently took her hand, and she had no choice but to return his gaze. When their eyes met, she felt more splinters form in her heart, and she decided it will never ever be whole again.
"I never want to be apart from you again." His voice sounded so sincere, yet so heartbroken.
And she cried, oh how she cried, because at that precise moment a picture of Rei's smiling face crossed her mind and her heart constricted so much she had to clutch her chest with her free hand to lessen the pain she was feeling.
Yuuya smiled sadly and cupped her chin, forcing her to face him again. "Baka," he whispered, and it reminded her of Rei again. "I never asked you to leave him for me."
"But why?" she sobbed. "Why are you doing this? Why are you both doing this?"
A chuckle. "I guess we are best friends after all."
And he pulled her close, wrapping his strong arms around her delicate figure, and she sobbed loudly in his chest. "I'm so sorry," she kept crying, gripping the front of his chest and selfishly trying to rob him of his warmth. "I'm so sorry."
And Yuuya pulled away, smiling before planting a soft kiss on her forehead. "There's nothing to be sorry for," he whispered. "I would have told you this earlier, but you stopped answering my calls long before I had the chance to do so."
"I now pronounce you husband and wife."
At that moment, there was no one in the church as radiant and as happy as the new bride of Yamato Kotobuki. Miyu Kotobuki was breathtakingly beautiful, that everyone in the audience couldn't help but admire this gentle lady who was just officially announced as the wife of a wonderful Shibuya detective.
As the couple walked down the isle, friends and family congratulated them from both sides. Even Miyu's mother was there, and though they didn't exchange hugs nor shed tears, her smile told Miyu that she acknowledged her as her daughter and that somewhere in that cold heart of hers, she loved Miyu as well. And the pretty gal's spirits soared to new heights.
The reception was held in Machida's Black Haven, because it had been home to them for the longest time (plus Yamato and Miyu wanted to help Tatsuki too), and the place was packed with laughing friends, classmates and relatives all basking in the afterglow of the newlyweds' happiness.
Aya Hoshino looked around and saw at a far corner Tatsuki busying himself with refilling the buffet table with all kinds of treats, and to her pleasure she watched as the caramel-haired Kotobuki woman tapped the monkey boy's shoulder and offered a warm albeit shy smile. Said monkey boy smiled back, and as Aya's discerning eyes watched the usually carefree (or careless, whichever way the situation presented itself) Shibuya policewoman offered help in fixing the food. Aya vaguely heard a comment from Sayo about an ulterior motive (a.k.a. binging on the desserts when no one was looking), but Masato had the foresight to drag his girl friend away before a silly fight between the two sisters took place.
The brunette merely giggled at the scene, but when she turned she saw a sight that stopped her short of freezing. To her far left sat Rei Otohata and Yuuya Asou, engaged in what seemed as the most serious discussion Aya had ever seen any two people do.
She slowly approached them, not knowing why her feet won't obey her command to stop and turn around. As much as she hated to admit it, she was dying to hear what the two were discussing, especially if it involved her and her miserable life.
"You really are an idiot," she heard Yuuya say, and she stopped in midstep, face turning crimson as the two gorgeous men turned to look at her.
And Yuuya chuckled and shook his head, stood up and winked at the blushing brunette. "I was just telling Otohata how stupid he was for letting you break up with him." At Aya's involuntary gasp and Rei's warning glare, the Second Placer chuckled all the more. "If it had been me, I wouldn't have let you go even if killed me."
And before Aya could think of a response, the Ice Prince stood up and grabbed her arm, dragging her away, Yuuya's soft laughter ringing in their ears.
"Rei I…" she tried to say breathlessly, because Otohata was still clutching her arm and was speeding away from the restaurant, with no apparent direction whatsoever. They've been walking for around ten minutes tops, and she wondered if there was actually a point of leaving the café in the first place. Besides, she was still in her bridesmaid dress and two-inch heels, and walking briskly wasn't really a fun thing to do at that moment.
"Rei, Miyu will start to look for us if we don't return," she tried to reason out, and when her companion suddenly stopped in mid-stride, causing her to bump her nose against his broad back, she wondered if her plea finally reached listening ears.
Only when Rei let her arm go did she realize they were at the same spot they were in a year ago, when Aya tearfully told him that it would be better to break things off as to avoid hurting each other all the more.
"Rei?" she whispered, wondering why on earth would he bring her to a place with such painful memories attached to it. "What's…"
And he suddenly turned around, grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to him, trapping her in his arms until she thought she could no longer breathe. Surprisingly, unlike the last time, the feeling of Rei's arms around her didn't bring tears of guilt to her eyes, but tears of relief. Could it really be possible?
"He's right," she heard him whisper, but she didn't have strength enough to ask him what the hell he was talking about. "I shouldn't have let you break up with me." A pause. "Would have saved us both the pain we went through the past year."
And she sobbed involuntarily, because a huge burden just lifted from her shoulder and she couldn't stop crying, and cry mightily she did. It dawned upon her that the reason Rei brought her to that spot was to replace that bitter memory with something sweeter, something more worth remembering.
"I still love you, you know," he continued, holding her tighter, and Aya felt her heart's broken pieces slowly mold back together, and she wondered how she could think that separation from Rei would have been the answer to her problems.
And he sealed their lips with a kiss, preventing her from finishing her statement. She didn't have to anyway. The way she passionately kissed him back was good enough a response. Apparently, happy endings could still work for her.
"You okay?" Yamato asked him, standing beside the blonde model as he sipped a cup of tea.
Yuuya chuckled. "It's your wedding day," he replied. "Stop worrying about the rest of the world for once."
The Shibuya peace office smiled and shook his head in amusement. "Are you staying here for good?"
The Second Placer smiled warmly and looked up the blue, blue sky. "I'm going back to New York tomorrow," he answered. "I do have to patch things up with Mami, you know."
And Yamato grinned, because, from how things were going, it appeared as if they were starting to find their right places again, after being suspended in chaos for more than a year. And the tiny rays of hope mingled with the warm rays of the sun, and he figured, life was really great after all.
I'm done! I'm really done! (happy dance) I hope you guys liked the ending. I really had to think hard in order to come up with something that would satisfy most of my readers. I probably won't be able to do that with everyone, but I hope the ending was a good enough read nonetheless.
Thank you so much for bearing with me this past few months as I worked on this story. I would have listed each and everyone to personally thank you, but I tend to miss out a name or two when I do that, so to avoid embarrassment and a possible heartache, I'll give a general THANK YOU instead. All of your words of encouragement meant a lot to me. Again, thank you so much!