Disclaimer: I don't own KnM. Dammit.
She made a promise, and she intended to keep it.
"This is the closest thing you'll ever have to a perfect life." She still remembered Oogami Kazuki's words, his eyes so damn gentle, like he understood her. He understood nothing. "Give her up. You are not meant to find her in this lifetime."
He understood nothing.
She made a promise to Chikane-chan, before they were separated again; a promise to find her no matter what, to search and search until the day she died, and most importantly, to never forget.
To never forget the pain, the struggle, the tears and the blood. To never forget the joy, the laughter, the smiles, the way it felt to love and be loved in return.
She only had enough money in her pocket for one bus ride.
She was gone by the time the sun rose the next day.
Makoto tracked her down and tried to drag her back home. When that failed, Makoto threw her hands in the air, declared that somewhere up there God hated her, and ordered Himeko to never leave her behind again. "Two people searching are better than one, anyway," she'd said, closing one eye and smirking like she always did. "Between the two of us, we'll find your precious Chikane-chan in no time." Her words were firm and full of hope and belief, though Himeko knew her well enough to tell it was an act; she thought they were on a wild goose chase for a ghost they would never find.
Not that Himeko ever told her this; it was just a thought, anyway, and not a particularly solid one at that. She accepted Makoto's company mainly because it felt nice to have companionship again, but that horrible restlessness never ceased even with the auburn-haired girl's presence.
Something called to Himeko; something in her heart, something with no name. Some nights she'd lay awake and wonder if, unknowingly, Chikane was calling for her, aching as she ached. It was a comforting thought, in a twisted kind of way.
But then, we're twisted like that, the light-haired young woman thought with a smirk before closing her eyes and letting sleep claim her while Makoto snored beside her, quite unconscious.
Every now and again Himeko entertained the thought of leaving Makoto behind; she was certainly capable of it, and she knew how badly her old friend missed Souma. But every time the thought began to form she'd find some way to push it back, putting it off for the next day and the next and the next in a never ending cycle.
Makoto wasn't Chikane, but she was still Himeko's best and oldest friend, and Himeko still wanted human companionship. Needed it, really. She'd never been able to pull of the act Chikane had done so well—the act of being cool and composed, almost distant from everyone around her. No, that was definitely more of Chikane's thing.
Besides, at night when the dreams were too painful, Makoto was only a few steps away, in the other bed of whatever hotel they'd stay in for the night. She would snore loudly and make a big show of being asleep whenever Himeko crawled in next to her and curled up beside her, but the golden-haired beauty was never fooled.
It all started with a dog.
Makoto had been inside the fast food place ordering lunch when Himeko saw the dog wandering down the street, looking quite lost and a little muddy around its paws and belly. It was a husky dog, bearing an uncanny resemblance to that puppy, albeit bigger and appearing quite a bit older.
It was something Himeko couldn't have ignored even if she tried.
She darted across the street, calling briefly to Makoto to just stay put and wait for her, before leaning down and grabbing the dog by its collar. It looked at her curiously with gentle dark brown eyes before deciding she could be trusted, gently licking at her fingers with its tongue as she slid its collar between her fingers, reading the tags.
The dog's name was Miya, according to the tags, and by a stroke of luck the house the dog had run away from was just down the street. Himeko gently scratched Miya behind her ears (she figured the dog was a girl, given the name) and stood before softly calling her name; and to her everlasting shock, the dog bounded easily to her side and followed her obediently as she walked.
Almost as though the dog was waiting for her.
It was by the gate that Himeko gave in to the urge and knelt by Miya again, gently ruffling the dog's ears and generally petting and spoiling the husky; the female dog accepted it as though it was her due, wagging her tail and trying to get in as many licks as possible.
"What's with you, huh?" Himeko laughed and scratched Miya behind her ears. "It's almost like you were looking for me or something. Were you looking for me?"
"I'd say so, by the look of it."
The soft voice was not Makoto's, not by a long shot; Himeko froze as recognition flashed through her, shock and joy and all those different emotions before slowly looking up.
She looked the same.
Chikane leaned quietly against the fence as though it was the most natural thing in the world, watching Himeko and Miya with blue eyes torn between amusement and relief. Himeko swallowed gamely and rubbed Miya's head. "Ah… is she yours?"
"Yes. I've had her from her puppy days." Seeing her master, Miya gave a soft yip of delight and pranced over to her, holding her tail high; Chikane knelt to ruffle the dog's fur, though her eyes never left Himeko's. "Taught her your scent and everything, so if she ever saw you by chance she'd recognize you and bring you to me."
"I was counting on it."
Himeko nodded and slowly stood, and Chikane rose with her. Miya trotted away and flopped down on her side, watching the pair with content brown eyes; she'd done her job, after all.
"I, uh…" Himeko wondered why her mouth had gone dry now of all times. "I know this is the part where we're supposed to run to each other and say a bunch of sappy things while bawling our eyes out… but all things considered…"
"Fuck it." Chikane stepped toward her.
And then she didn't know how it happened but Himeko was crushed against Chikane and the dark-haired girl was holding her like she'd never let go, and then she was kissing her and Himeko was kissing her right back, pressing close, trying to absorb everything and oh God we have so much lost time to make up for…
From across the street, Makoto watched the pair reunite for a moment; narrowing her eyes she glanced quickly from side to side to make sure no one would see what she was about to do, double checked to make sure the pair were occupied, and quickly whipped out her cell phone, getting a snapshot of the two and saving it. She grinned, sliding her cell phone back into her pocket, raising a brow.
"… Damn, don't they need to breathe?"
... Y'know, this was originally supposed to be hella angsty. But hey, whatever. (shrugs)
An AU to the end, kind of sort of... but God I just couldn't resist.
Read and review, please!