Never Let You Go
Asago raised a hand to the doorknob and tried to quell the pounding of her heart. Ever since that incident, she had hesitated before going into the ward. Today was no different. Does he even want to see me? Will he be irritated? She swallowed the wave of nervousness that rose up and steeled herself, pushing open the door.
Kai looked up from his book and hurriedly hid the jolt of happiness at seeing her again. She's blushing. God she looks so cute when she's blushing. He frowned. Wait, why the hell is she blushing? The sting of jealousy ate at him. Despite that, he thought she looked exhausted. No wonder. She's been taking care of him night and day, bringing his meals and sleeping in the ward at night. The idiot. Don't you realize that you need to rest?
"Oh, it's you again." Kai drawled belligerently, cocking an eyebrow at her. He didn't see the hurt that flashed in her eyes.
Asago drew a deep breath and forced a smile. "Yeah. Me. Again." She set the food onto the bed tray and went to help Kai sit up. As she lifted him, she felt a sharp pain in her right arm and gritted her teeth against it, forcing herself to continue as if nothing was wrong. She knew Kai was watching her. She could feel his eyes on her.
Stuffing a pillow behind his back, she pushed the tray up to him. Still he said nothing; he only watched her with those eyes. Asago smiled at him without meeting them. Those eyes that could see right through her.
"I'll go and get you some water," she mumbled and disappeared behind the partition. Turning on the tap, she ran the cold water over her wrist while massaging her upper arm. Hot tears stung her eyes. Damn this arm! The icy cold water gradually numbed it, lessening the pain.
Kai felt a tightening in his chest when he saw the brave smile she wore on her face. He knew that her arm had hurt. She couldn't hide the redness of her eyes.
"Here you go," she said cheerfully, placing the glass of water on his tray. "I'll peel this apple and you can have it after you finish your meal." She smiled again, eyes averted, and started peeling the apple with a small knife.
"You should go home." Asago flinched at his sharp tone, causing Kai to regret his words instantly. He didn't mean for it to come out that way, but he couldn't help it. It was habit. "Never mind, forget it." He went back to his meal, sneaking glances at her every now and then. Damn, are those tears in her eyes? He shut his eyes and berated himself silently. I'm such an ass.
The chair scraped as she stood up. "I'm sorry, I need to go to the washroom. Excuse me." Unable to hold back her tears any longer, she laid the apple and the knife on the bedside table and fled. Locking herself in one of the bathroom stalls, she broke down in heart-wrenching sobs.
Back in the room, Kai cursed and threw his glass onto the floor, where it shattered with a loud crash. "What the fuck is wrong with me?" Damn it, I'm always making her cry. He groaned and banged his head hard against the headboard.
"Aren't you afraid that you'll become more of an idiot, banging your head like that?"
Kai looked up and saw Mikako, his colleague at GRAVE, standing at the door.
Mikako saw the glass shards on the floor and grinned wryly. "Throwing tantrums?" she took the broom and dustpan that were standing in the corner and swept it up quickly, throwing the shards into the thrash can. "This is not like you."
"Yeah, and hello to you too." Kai rolled his eyes and continued eating, ignoring her.
Taking a look at the blank expression on his face, Mikako sighed. The 'cop' look was there again. "You know, I only ever see you with expressions when the Gokudo girl is around. Raising her eyebrows at his still expressionless face, she went on. "She was crying when she ran past me just now." Mikako saw the slight shift of his eyes and mentally patted herself on the back at her small success.
His eyes trained on a spot on the wall, Kai started to speak haltingly. "I always say the wrong things around her. I'm always making her cry." He remembered the look of pain on her face and sighed. "There's really no point in going on. She should find someone better."
Rolling her eyes, Mikako sat next to him on the bed. "Yeah, she should. Yunno, I heard that that Green Dragon Clan's successor is planning to propose to her. They're childhood friends." She tried to hold back a smile at the sight of Kai's clenched fist and went on. "He's rich, young, and not to mention only four years older than her." She hid a smile. "Oh and he's really handsome too. Good fighter. He'd be able to protect her well, now that she can no longer fight."
Kai lighted a cigarette and let out a resigned sigh. "Maybe he is better for her," he said in a monotone, ignoring the protests in his heart.
"Maybe." Mikako agreed with him. "She'd probably be contented. Not happy, but contented. She took the cigarette from his mouth and patted his cheek. "Because she loves you." Smiling softly, she went on. "Talk to her. Tell her you love her."
Kai was looking her in the eyes, thinking over her words when the door was pushed open suddenly. Asago took a step into the room and froze. "I- I'm sorry." She turned to leave, but Mikako was at the door before she could.
The policewoman took Asago's hands in her own and gave her a reassuring smile. "Wait. Kai has something to say to you." Patting Asago's trembling hands, Mikako left the room.
Asago felt tears starting up again and hurriedly forced them back. I can't cry. Not in front of him. She stared at the ground silently, willing the tears to stop.
"Asago…" Kai started. He could tell that she was trying to not cry. "Asago, come here." His voice was unexpectedly gentle.
Wringing her hands, Asago stayed by the door. What's he going to say? Is he going to ask me not to come anymore? Who was that woman just now? Thoughts were flying through her head at the speed of light.
Suddenly, a grunt of pain startled her out of her thoughts and she looked up. Kai was trying to get up. He had a hand on his ribs trying to hold in the pain.
"Kai! What are you doing?" Asago rushed to his side, trying to get him back into bed. "You've just had a major operation. If you move about you'll reopen your stitches!" she was frantic and scared out of her mind to see the normally strong Kai in pain. He was white around the lips with the effort of moving. She settled him back in bed and went to get another glass of water, holding it to his lips while he sipped it gratefully. She was dabbing at the sweat that had formed on his face when he caught hold of her hand.
Asago stilled. "Asago, what's wrong?" Kai asked her gently. She opened her mouth to deny it but was cut off by him. "Don't lie to me. You haven't met my eyes all day, and you've been skittish for the past few days. What's bothering you?" he held her hand in his, stroking her soothingly with his thumb.
She looked down at their clasped hands. He wasn't holding on tightly; she could pull her hand away if she wanted to. The heat from his hand warmed her heart. She felt an urge to tell him to never let go, but she quelled it. "Nothing!" She shot him a trembly smile. "Nothing's wrong. Really." She tried to pull her hand out of her grasp but he tightened his hold.
"I said not to lie to me." He gentled his tone. "Is it your arm? What did the doctors say?"
"Nothing's wrong with my arm! It's fine!" Asago denied it vehemently. You can never hold a gun again. "My arm's perfectly okay," She said softly as she tried to ignore the voice of the doctor in her head.
Kai tipped her head up and looked into her eyes. She turned her head away. "Then tell me what's wrong. Talk to me. Please, Asago." Kai pleaded with her, unable to bear the pain and sadness in her eyes. He had once told her that he saw in her eyes the life of pain that she lived, and he swore to himself that he would take that pain away. But now it seemed that he was the cause of the pain.
Feeling a stab of regret for hurting her, Kai clenched his jaw. "I'm sorry that I've caused you pain. I think… I think it's better if we don't meet anymore."
Asago could no longer hold back her tears. "So… y- you don't want me a- anymore." Her body was shaking with silent sobs.
"It's not that." Kai sighed and released her hand. "Look, you're a Yakuza princess. I'm a cop. We're from different worlds. Your dad, he…" His heart hurt. He punished himself with every tear that fell from her eyes, every sob that escaped her. He tried another tack. "I heard that the successor of Kuryugumi's Green Dragon Clan is courting you. Maybe-" He stopped. He didn't want to say the next words, but he forced himself to. "Maybe you should accept him. He's better for you."
The breeze from the air-conditioning blew over them, and Asago felt her heart breaking as the warmth from Kai's hand gradually disappeared from hers. Suddenly, something in her snapped and she glared at Kai with tears in her eyes.
"You're right. Maybe I should. God knows he's more than capable of protecting me, instead of the other way round. Besides, it's rumored that he's a really good lover." She spat out the words at him.
Naked pain showed in Kai's face as he recalled what Asago had to go through at Megafloat. His heart felt as if it were being squeezed by a strong fist. A red haze clouded his vision as he thought of that gaki marrying her. Touching her. Though he had said that she should marry him, there was a part of him that had been confident that she wouldn't. The words burst out before he could help himself.
Asago snorted. "Why can't I? You said it yourself, he's better for me."
Kai gritted his teeth. Damnit! "You don't love him. You won't be happy."
Why is it that you can see the feelings that I try to hide so easily? "With time, I would fall-"
She flinched as Kai grabbed her shoulders. Pain shot up her right arm and she let out an involuntary gasp. Kai softened his grasp, but didn't relinquish her shoulders.
"You are not to fall in love with him. I won't allow it!" His face was menacing as he went on, "I'll kill him if you do."
Anger flushed Asago's cheeks. "You're a fine one to talk. You were the one who asked me to marry him and now you're saying you'll kill him if I fall in love with him." She glared at him with furious eyes. "I'm sick and tired of your crap! I love you, but you make it so difficult. I wish I could stop-"
She was cut off as Kai pulled her into his embrace. His lips landed on hers hard, his tongue thrusting against her, forcing her lips to part. Asago tried to push him away, but Kai was too strong. Suddenly, his invasion turned into gentle teasing. He kissed her tenderly, even lovingly. She couldn't resist him this time and parted her lips. Kai took the advantage and slipped his tongue into her warm, sweet mouth, tasting her, drawing her tongue out to play. Asago was overwhelmed by the sensations that filled the length of her entire body and let out a low moan. Kai tightened his arms around her in reply, cradling her head gently. He could feel her fingers rising to tangle themselves in the hair at the nape of his neck as she melted against him.
He left her lips to follow the deep purring low in her throat, and rained kisses down her perfumed neck. Asago's hands tightened and she moaned again when he found the pulse at the base of her throat and kissed it. She buried her nose in his short hair and breathed in the clean smell of soap. She kissed his earlobe, her breath coming out in short pants. Kai couldn't resist her and again seeked out her mouth, unable to get enough of her sweet lips.
It seemed an eternity before Kai released her lips in degrees, dropping a light kiss on her forehead. He rested his chin against the top of her head, breathing heavily. Asago laid her head on Kai's chest, listening to the heavy thumping of his heart.
She looked up at him with eyes still glazed with the passion that he awoke in her.
"Don't you ever say that again." Kai's voice was hoarse.
Asago, still caught up in the feeling of being kissed by Kai, was perplexed. "What-?" She started to ask but suddenly remembered all that happened a few moments ago. Face flaming, she pushed against Kai's chest and sat up straight, unwilling to meet his eyes. Omigod I can't believe that I actually let him kiss me! I am SUCH a dolt! He must think I'm really easy now and-
"I wouldn't be able to bear it if you stopped loving me, so don't you ever say that again." Kai felt a rush of emotion so strong that he was barely able to choke those words out. "If you fell in love with someone else, God forbid, I don't know what I would do." He reached out a hand and stroked her cheek. "Asago, will you marry me?" The words came out in a rush.
At his proposal, Asago felt the tears pouring again. At that, Kai drew her back into his arms, kissing her tears away. "What is it? Please, Asago, talk to me. I'd do anything."
The caring in his voice made her cry even more. Suddenly, Kai was struck by a thought. "Is it a no? I-" He swallowed the lump in his throat and went on. "I thought… you loved me."
"Of course I do!" She glowered at him through her tears. "I'm not as fickle as that!"
"Then…" A sense of bewilderment was added to the heartbreak of her rejection.
"You-" Asago took a deep breath. "You never said… you loved me." Sniffing, she pressed her face against his warm chest.
Her words swam in Kai's head, before he understood what she meant. He laughed in relief, and got another glare from Asago.
"Didn't I ask you to marry me?"
She looked at him in surprise.
"Or do you need more convincing?"
Saying that, he leaned down and kissed her sweetly, trying to convey to her without words the love he feels for her. He was about to end the kiss when Asago pressed herself up against him and deepened the kiss, luring him away from sanity. He reached up around his neck and took hold of her hands, lifting his lips from hers.
She ignored him.
"Asago, we must stop now. Otherwise this bed will be put to another use."
His words jolted her out of the haze of passion and she blushed fiercely. Kai chuckled and turned serious.
"I love you, Asago. Now, will you say yes when I ask you to marry me?"
He gazed into her eyes, the sense of anticipation crippling him. He waited for her answer as if his entire life depended on it.
Asago saw the nervousness in his eyes. Kai… NERVOUS? She raised a hand and touched him lovingly on his jaw.
"I- yes. Yes."
She smiled shyly. Kai was stunned for a moment before her words registered with him. Spurred into action, he pulled her into his arms and held on tight.
"Thank God." He said fervently, his face buried in her mass of hair. "Thank God. You better mean it, because I'm never letting you go again." His voice cracked a bit on the last word.
Asago smiled and held on to him, breathing in his scent, finally feeling safe. "I'm not going anywhere," she promised him, closing her eyes. This is what she had been waiting for since that fateful night. Memories of her life before meeting Kai flashed through her head. She always thought that she had to be perfect, but Kai taught her otherwise. He accepted her for what she was, loved her for what she was, and for that she was grateful. I'm never letting you go, she vowed to herself. Never.