Disclaimer: You know the drill. Nobuyuki Anzai gets the credit, not me. However, I will claim ownership for a certain character who's named Kitsura.
As always, read the author's notes, there's an important announcement there. Thank you so much reviewers for the awesome reviews, don't forget to check out the interaction corner for my personal side notes to each of you.
Let's get the show started. When I ended chapter two, I asked how much you think Fuuko loves Tokiya. Don't be startled by this chapter's title, read on if you want to get answers. After all, as Shakespeare said, "All's fair in love and war." ;)
For… Eirist who put a smile on my face simply by being the first reviewer.
FROM LOVERS QUARRELS TO BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Tokiya Mikagami brought the van to a smooth stop and turned to his girlfriend in the passenger seat. He arched a brow perfectly. "Are you sure this is the right place?"
Fuuko punched him playfully in the arm then proceeded to fold a map of Shizuoka on her lap quite innocently.
"What was that for?" Tokiya rubbed the spot on his arm which was turning a dark shade of red.
Fuuko shrugged. "That's how I say yes sometimes."
"I had to ask." He muttered, unclasping his seat belt.
Fuuko stuck her tongue out at him, after which he said something about maturity under his breath which she didn't bother to catch. "Honestly, Mi-chan. I can read directions." She positioned her sunglasses over her head so that it served as a sort of headband.
"I trust your abilities, Fuuko. It's the fact that Ishijima is actually a stock holder of this place that is not registering." He said, stepping out of the van.
"Well, wrestling can obviously pay." Fuuko commented as she alighted from the vehicle as well.
Tokiya opened one of side doors to reveal Recca snoring on Yanagi's lap. Ironically, the former Hokage healer was sleeping peacefully despite her seatmate's thunderous snores.
Tokiya poked the snoring Recca testily. "Wake up, sleeping beauty."
Recca didn't budge.
Fuuko folded her arms. "I don't see what's so beautiful about drooling on your girlfriend's lap."
Mikagami sighed. "Haven't you ever heard of irony?"
"Let me do it." Fuuko pushed her boyfriend out of the way. She cleared her throat then yelled, "OI! WAKE UP, MORON! WE'RE HERE!"
Recca's eyes shot open and his body jerked upright into a sitting position. Fuuko grinned as she realized she succeeded in waking both him and Yanagi up at once.
"Geez Fuuko, do you have to be aggressive all the time?" Recca poked an index finger inside his right ear to check if he was still capable of hearing. "I don't know why Mikagami hasn't broken up with you yet. That wake-up call just turned me deaf."
Fuuko threw a punch across his left cheek. "Leave Mi-chan out of this, fool!"
Unfortunately (and because Tokiya held her back just in time) she missed by an inch, which left Recca cracking his neck and yawning. Tokiya's smirking face then appeared in Recca's line of vision. "Do you have any idea how patient I am, Hanabishi?."
"Very patient, indeed. Or you can spare yourself the psychiatric fee and just feed her sedatives so she'd shut up." Recca drawled spontaneously, reaching for his mineral water bottle. "It's hot in here. Princess, you alright?" He raised a brow at Yanagi.
Yanagi nodded sleepily. She took out a hairbrush from her pouch nearby.
Outside the van, Fuuko continued posing severe threats on Recca's life. In a fit of rage, she almost lunged at him but Tokiya stepped in front of her, sending her halting abruptly in mid-air.
"What the--! That's the second time! Get out of my way, Mi-chan!" Fuuko yelled, infuriated.
Tokiya ignored her, though that didn't discourage her from repeatedly trying and failing to push past him. He nodded at Recca. "We'd better unload the baggage, Hanabishi. What happened to Kaoru?"
Yanagi had just succeeded in tying her hair into a ponytail. At Mikagami's question she turned delicately to look at the seat behind her. She was expecting the two teenagers to be bouncing up and down at their arrival but then she belatedly realized they were being uncharacteristically silent.
Fourteen-year-old Ganko, the beautiful blond, had her arms folded and was staring disdainfully outside the window. The seat beside her was empty. Yanagi looked back at Recca with a feeling of dread.
Recca turned to Tokiya and silently mouthed. What the heck happened?
Tokiya, whose arm was draped around Fuuko's shoulder, revealed a masked expression on his face. And even though Fuuko was breathing heavily from exertion she couldn't miss the cloud of gloom hanging over Ganko's head. She squinted so she could see Kaoru. He was sprawled all over the backseat, ears plugged with earphones and lips forming a heavy frown.
Uh-oh. Fuuko thought.
"This is all your fault! If you haven't been flirting on the way, our vacation would have been perfect!" Kaoru Koganei raised his voice as he dragged two heavy roller bags towards the resort's entrance.
"Grow up, Kaoru!" Ganko followed him closely, one hand on a hip and the other carrying a cooler. "Don't accuse me of something you can't prove!"
"Grow up, Kaoru." Kaoru, the dashing eighteen-year-old spike-haired boy, mimicked in a falsetto voice. He turned around to face her, the backpacks sent flying in his movement's wake. "Well, what do you call all those text messages in your inbox, huh?"
She flicked an index finger at his chest. "Get over it! You're so immature! I told you he's just a friend!"
"He's just a friend, my foot! Tell it to the weatherman!" Kaoru yelled back emotionally. A droplet of his saliva landed on her cheek.
"Eeew!" Ganko took a step back, horrified.
"Break it up, you two."
When they wouldn't stop glaring defiantly at each other, Recca broke their proximity by stepping between them and holding them apart at arms length. The backpack he carried dropped to his feet. "You guys are ruining this trip."
Yanagi fell into step beside Recca. "It's going to be okay, you don't have to fight about this. Let's settle this inside, okay?" she smiled at them kindly and gestured towards the people who were chatting animatedly, playing volleyball or strolling across the resort's wide, garden-like lawn.
Recca and Yanagi walked towards the glass doors that loomed in front of then.
Kaoru sighed and was about to say something when Fuuko and Tokiya stopped in front of them, holding hands—just as he had pictured him and Ganko to be doing at this stage of the trip. If it weren't for this stupid fight. He thought bitterly.
To his horror, Mikagami removed his shades to shoot him one of his infamous penetrating glares. "Smooth, Kaoru. You're a real gentleman."
"Ni-san, I can explain." Ganko began, but Fuuko silenced her with a look.
"Try later, Ganko." Fuuko replied, giving her a sympathetic look.
Mikagami and Fuuko walked past them.
Kaoru and Ganko were left to stare awkwardly at each other. After some time, Ganko rolled her eyes and threw her arms up in exasperation. She stomped off, muttering incoherently about the absence of trust in a relationship.
Kaoru waited for her to be at a safe distance before picking up the roller bags and following her steps miserably.
"ISHIJIMA!" Recca hollered as a Mohawk-haired man stepped into view to greet them. He ran over to give his friend a hug and instantly regretted it when Domon Ishijima crushed him with his wrestler strength.
Domon released a wave of deep laughter as Recca doubled-over in pain. He smiled at the woman who was immediately at Recca's side, helping him up. "Yanagi, you're as pretty as ever."
Yanagi blushed and said, "Thank you, Domon-san."
Domon felt a slight pang slice across his chest as Fuuko walked through the door. Still, after all these years, she could fill a room with her presence. Her hair had grown long and fell past her shoulders in wavy locks. Looking radiant in khaki shorts, a pink tank top, flip-flops and a dashing smile on her lips, he found her to be more attractive than the last time he saw her—which was when she had made it public that she and Mikagami were a couple.
She caught his eye and the grin on her face stretched. "DOMON!" she run towards him and flung herself into his arms. The wrestler guffawed in delight as he twirled her round and round before setting her on her feet.
"Whoa." she said dizzily as her hand flew up to hold her head. She took two unsteady steps backwards. Domon almost rushed to her but there was a blur of silver and next thing he knew, Mikagami held her protectively against his chest.
Ah, yes. Her boyfriend. Someone was looking after her now.
Domon suddenly remembered Kitsura. When he met his girlfriend, he finally understood why Fuuko was not meant to be his. It was because Kitsura was the girl for him, not Fuuko. But despite that, Fuuko would continue hold a special place in his heart.
He also understood (though it tortured him for a while) the deep attraction between Mikagami and Fuuko. It was exactly how he felt about Kitsura, maybe even deeper. So, even if the only time he would tell Mikagami this was over his dead body, he knew Fuuko and Mikagami were soul mates. Just like the lead characters he watched in his favorite Japanese soap.
He let out an unexpected sniffle and reached for his handkerchief.
Mikagami smirked at him. "Fuuko's a big girl, Ishijima. No need to bawl."
Domon blew his nose on his hanky. "Oh. Fuuko. Right."
Domon extended a hand to Tokiya. "Belated happy birthday, Mikagami. You've just turned twenty-three, right?"
Tokiya nodded and stuck his hand out when Recca cleared his throat. "Doesn't Mikagami get a hug?" he asked with a sneer. This merited him a sharp poke in the ribs from Yanagi.
"Shut up, Hanabishi. This is how real men do it." Mikagami proceeded to shake Domon's outstretched hand. "Your jumping into Ishijima's arms a while ago--that was very gay."
Fuuko broke into a fit of laughter at Recca's expense. "Man, you are soooo articulate, Mi-chan!"
"Uncle Domon!" Another female voice rang out, and Domon turned to see a tall, blond-haired girl rushing towards him. Domon gave her a big bear hug while laughing breathlessly. "You're a real knock-out, Ganko." He winked at Kaoru who just stepped through the door. "This guy knows how to take care of you."
The group fell silent and Kaoru froze in mid stride.
There was not a sound, except the music playing in the background, which ironically, was Chicago's hit song Hard to Say I'm Sorry.
Domon scratched his head questioningly. What was going on?
Fuuko cleared her throat. "So, uh, where's Kitsura?"
"Kitsura, oh!" Domon's attention snapped and he was able to catch on with the diversion. Today was proving to be one of his better days. "She's checking your accommodation. I placed you in the suites. It's world class. Come on guys, you must be tired. Let's get you drinks. Head for the bar, it's this way." He pointed to the right. Recca grabbed Yanagi's hand while grinning idiotically and both immediately took off in that direction, Yanagi being more like dragged.
Domon rolled his eyes then snapped his fingers twice, and two bellboys appeared behind him.
"Make sure there are no mistakes and that these bags get to the suites."
"Yes, sir." The two men bowed and rushed to do their jobs. One of them disappeared and emerged with a pushcart while the other was preoccupied picking up the backpacks, briefcases, coolers, and plastic bags strewn on the carpeted floor.
"Oh, be careful with that. I've got my sketchers there." Ganko cautioned the man who lifted the pink backpack Kaoru had formerly been carrying.
"Why the heck did you have to bring rubber shoes to the beach?" Kaoru demanded.
Ganko flicked him an irritated look. "Why the heck do you care? Number one, I could use it to run off the next time I see you. Number two, I don't get why you're so agitated about rubber shoes when you're wearing one yourself."
Kaoru seethed silently as she walked out on him for the second time. It was really getting on his nerves!
Fuuko sighed as she noticed Domon staring at Kaoru with jaw dropped open. "I'll explain later."
"Ganko is absolutely driving me crazy!" Fuuko exclaimed the next day.
It was two o'clock in the afternoon, the sun was shining hotter than ever, and she was on the terrace of the hotel's restaurant which overlooked the sea, sipping piña colada with the love of her life.
She rested her cheek on an open palm. "Do you know what she was doing when I left our room? Watching episodes of Fushigi Yuugi --Fushigi Yuugi for crying out loud! That's the first anime teenagers in a relationship crisis should not watch. The mush can turn you homicidal."
"You sound like her mother." her companion shook his head, a half smile lingering on his lips. "Believe it or not, Koganei was watching the Rurouni Kenshin episode where Kenshin Himura said goodbye to the woman he loved—Kaoru Kamiya. He left her because he was the only one who could put an end to Mikoto Shishio. He fought to protect her; he fought in order to preserve her life."
"Looks like you were watching it with him." she couldn't resist but joke.
"I was. Brought back memories." He said, giving her a look mixed with tenderness, hurt and despondency. It was so powerful that it unnerved her. It was so transparent she could see he was scared. And she knew in that instant why he was scared. He feared that what happened in the past would come back and he would lose everything he owned at the moment, above all peace and security.
Nameless emotions swept through her as she lifted her hand and used it to cover his. "Mi-chan, listen to me. It's not the first time I've told you this, but let go of the past."
"I have and you are the reason why. It's the future I'm not certain of." He averted his eyes, but not before she caught a pained look in them. Her heart dropped at such a sight. What do I have to do to convince him?
"Right now, there's us. You have me and I am here for you always. That's all that matters." she spoke freely and straight from the heart while trying to swallow the lump in her throat. "Am I not enough for you?"
There was an eternity of silence.
Finally, Mikagami took a deep breath and removed his hand from hers.
Fuuko recognized it as the third sign of withdrawal (the first was his hesitation, the second his silence). She knew his character. He'd walk away. That evening, he would stop talking to her. Tomorrow, he would refuse to see her. The next day—
She didn't even want to think about it. Shaking her head, she rose to her feet, left some bills on the table and dragged a reluctant Mikagami by the hand to the first private, empty place she would set her eyes on outside the restaurant.
They found themselves in a room with a fountain in the center and an array of orchids covering the walls. The floor was filled with pebbles of different sizes and colors. She remembered it from yesterday, when she toured the resort with Yanagi and a very dismal Ganko. At present, it caught her eye, maybe because the water and the fountain reminded her of Tokiya.
Fuuko closed the door behind her and locked it.
"Okay, Mi-chan. You can't run away from me here. Spill. " She cupped a hand to his chin and turned it deftly so that he would be forced to look her in the eye.
"Leave me alone." He pulled her hand away from his face and moved towards the door.
Oh no you don't. Fuuko predicted this move and stepped directly in front of the door, blocking him squarely from it. "Escape is out of the question. The only way you're leaving is if you tell me what's bothering you."
Tokiya folded his arms and stared at her stubbornly.
Several slow, awkward minutes passed.
Fuuko grew impatient. "Is this your flight plan? Just wait for me to grow tired and give you free access out this door? We can stare at each other till the Armageddon comes for all I care. I won't budge till you tell me why you're so paranoid."
Tokiya flinched. "Fine. I don't believe in us." He paused to let the words sink in and sighed when her shoulders slumped. "Sooner or later you'll get tired of me. You'll leave. Just like the rest of them. It's just a matter of time. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Fuuko took a deep breath and stepped up to him so that their faces were merely centimeters apart. The fire in her eyes danced.
Tokiya braced himself. She was either going to punch him or kick him, but either way, he was going to get hurt. Yet he didn't even bother with a defensive stance.
He waited for her blow but was surprised when all she did was flick an index finger to his chest. "THAT is the most ridiculous, absurd and nonsensical thing I have ever heard from someone so well-grounded in logic!" Her eyes narrowed to slits and the next words hit him with an irresistible force. "Get this through your thick skull--I LOVE YOU TO DEATH, YOU STUPID ICEBERG!"
He almost stepped back in shock, but she grabbed him by the lapels and closed the distance between them with a passionate kiss.
After a while, she pulled back, leaving him breathless and gaping at her in admiration.
She couldn't help but smirk in satisfaction. "And if you don't want me to leave, ask me to marry you."
His eyes widened. Everything suddenly became clear. He was a paranoid fool unworthy of this incredible, wonderful woman before him, whose love for him was slowly starting to fill every spare room in his heart.
He dared look into her beautiful dark blue eyes and everything just fell into place.
Letting his senses take over, he pulled her towards him and kissed her until the need for oxygen overwhelmed them both.
"Okay, Hokage meeting." Recca said as he walked through the door of one of the resort's lounge areas. He flicked a bored look at his comrades. "Everyone settle down. This meeting is about to start."
His remark was out of place, as everyone had clearly settled down a long time ago. The energy reverberating from a typical Hokage assembly was missing and one could practically hear a pin drop.
"So, what's up?" Fuuko asked casually.
Recca raised a brow at her. Was it just him, or was Fuuko sitting closer to Mikagami than usual and was practically on his lap?
"Are you guys finally going to tell us what's going on with Kaoru and Ganko?" Domon asked in behalf of himself and his girlfriend, Kitsura, who nodded from the piano bench.
"That's our agenda." Recca folded his arms across his chest. "Apparently, it's getting out of hand."
Tokiya shot him a withered look. "What an understatement."
"You think?" Recca challenged Tokyo University's top law scholar.
"Recca, last time I saw Ganko, she was practically depleting the resort's supply of Kleenex from crying her heart out. I can't stand to see her like that." Yanagi said.
Recca threw her a sympathetic look.
"Yeah, and Kaoru's in the karaoke room singing depressing stuff like Breaking Up is Hard to Do and every other song with goodbye in it .What the heck happened?" Domon demanded.
"Last time we got together, they were acting all mushy." Kitsura, Domon's famous supermodel girlfriend (and not to mention, number one fan), looked bothered by the change.
Recca crinkled his nose. "Eew, I remember. They were feeding each other chocolate ice-cream. Kaoru probably got the idea from Fuuko and Mikagami, only difference is these two shared torrid kisses."
Fuuko automatically turned purple. "You're such a pig! I don't even know what torrid is!" she charged at Recca and this time Tokiya did nothing to stop her.
Recca gracefully dodged a kick. "Torrid is the way you kiss him! Update your vocabulary! The moment I walked in and saw you all over his lap, I knew. You two just made out." He grinned lecherously and ducked as Fuuko aimed an uppercut to his jaw.
Recca stuck his tongue out at her when she missed.
"You'd better shut up if you know what's good for you!" Fuuko raised an antique, priceless china over her head (which triggered Domon's panic) and was about to hurl it at the smug ex-ninja when Mikagami's voice, filled with an unknown timbre, cut her short.
He addressed Recca. "If you don't want your limbs strewn all over the Pacific Ocean, I suggest you take her advice."
Recca's swallowed as he looked into Mikagami's eyes that same moment. He could have turned into stone but he turned mum instead.
After a minute, Kitsura giggled uncomfortably. "Enough of Fuuko and Mikagami's private moments. Did it ever occur to you that you and Yanagi hold the title when it comes to public display of affection? "
"Thank you, Kitsura." Mikagami drawled.
Recca placed both fists on his waist. "Well, have you ever watched yourself and Domon in the mirror?"
"Enough, Recca-kun!" It was one of the very few moments Yanagi's reached a shrill pitch. "You're just showing that you have no respect for women."
But Recca just didn't know when to stop. "Well I don't know about these two, but I obviously have respect for you." He smiled sweetly at Yanagi while Fuuko and Kitsura seethed in the background.
Everyone started at the sound of piano keys being bashed. "Would you like me to show you how much of a woman I am?" Kitsura exclaimed in rage.
"Kitsura!" Domon's eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets at the implication of his girlfriend's remark.
Kitsura pouted. "What?! Honey, I'm only putting Recca in his place. Sometimes I don't get why he's like, your friend."
"Guys, the business at hand." Yanagi sighed. "Ganko and Kaoru, remember?"
Kitsura threw her hands up into the air. "Well, what happened? It's so hard to get answers here. We can't solve a problem without the necessary facts."
Domon nodded in agreement.
"Ok, sorry." Fuuko held up one hand. "But here's Ganko's version of things."
At this, all eyes and ears focused on Fuuko.
"There was this guy whom she got paired with for a science project and then next thing she knows Kaoru's breathing down her neck and asking her all these stupid questions. He jumps to a conclusion and assumes that Ganko's interested in the guy. After that, things cool down for a while. But on the way here, the guy texts Ganko and asks for advice on a history project. Kaoru's like, Who's that?" Fuuko imitated Kaoru's voice so perfectly, Yanagi broke into a giggle. "Nobody important.' Ganko says, and then Kaoru gets all moody and hops to the backseat and basically he's sulking till now."
"That's it?" Recca blinked.
"What? You were expecting Kaoru and Ganko to slit each other's throat?" Fuuko asked sarcastically.
Recca folded his arms. "No, but that's so immature! There's really nothing to fight about!"
"Uh-huh. Coming from the guy who cried rivers and wouldn't speak to his girlfriend for two weeks after she cancelled their date two months ago. Why did Yanagi call off their date in the first place, Mi-chan?" she made a show of leaning towards him as if hanging on his every word.
"She had to pick her grandfather up at the airport." Tokiya finished with a flourish.
The whole room burst into wild laughter.
"Dude, you were jealous of her grandfather, man? You're such a baby." Domon rolled on the floor in laughter.
Fuuko slapped Tokiya a high-five.
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever." Recca pretended to examine his fingernails. "Don't get me started on you, Domon."
Domon wiped tears of joy from his face. "Ooh, I'm so scared."
Recca growled and threw him a fierce look. He then jumped on the wrestler, engaging Domon in his own sport.
Kitsura rolled her eyes. "I can't believe you're junior executive manager of a hotshot advertising company, Recca. You're such a kid."
"Enough already." Recca, trapped between Domon's left thigh and elbows, actually looked close to tears after being the butt of the day's jokes.
Yanagi cleared her throat. "What should we do now? About Ganko and Kaoru?"
"I think we should leave them alone. They're smart kids. They'll work it out on their own. We'll just get in the way." Domon tried to give wise advice. Recca used his hand to serve as a gun and pretended to shoot himself.
"I actually think Domon has a point." Mikagami said.
Fuuko raised a brow at him. "I don't. It's just like men to be so evasive. You think if you sit on your butt and wait all day, world peace will be achieved."
"Well it's just like certain women to stereotype." Mikagami replied, coolly.
"At least women show emotions, unlike some certain stone cold men who think doing so will turn them gay."
"Just because I rarely show emotions doesn't mean I'm homosexual." Tokiya muttered.
Fuuko snorted. "Boyfriend, you took it personally. My bad. What're you gonna do? Cry to prove you have emotions?" she pouted at him tauntingly.
"There is another way." with a knock-out smile reserved for her eyes only, he drew close and kissed her in broad daylight.
The gang hooted and cheered. Or to put it aptly, the men hooted while the ladies cheered.
Tokiya leaned down to whisper in Fuuko's ear. "Miss Kirisawa, I don't think it's smart to challenge a future lawyer at something he's good at. Convincing people I'm right is my job. I hope I have erased any leftover doubts you have of my sexuality. However, if you need more evidence, my body is open for your inspection. Just make sure we're alone."
He had the nerve to don on one of his signature smirks, which made Fuuko turn a shade darker than a ripe tomato. It also made her weak in the knees, which did not usually occur and which only he could be the cause of. It also made her think he was so sexy.
Kitsura winked at Fuuko while Domon punched Tokiya in the biceps (which left a bruise for several days). The wrestler looked at him with stars in his eyes. "Mikagami, you're the man! I always thought you were girly but you're even more macho than Recca!"
Thankfully, the comment did not register with Recca, who was too caught up in the moment. "Boys rule and girls drool!" He exclaimed, making a face at Fuuko.
Fuuko looked like she was ready to explode from embarrassment and annoyance. "Yanagi, get your infantile boyfriend out of my face before I severely dislocate his nose!"
"Get out of there, Recca-kun!" Yanagi's eyes widened in panic. She pulled him out of the way before he could take another breath.
"Hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned." Tokiya quoted.
Kitsura yawned, used to the entire ruckus. "Alright men, we ladies plan to hit the spa so let's wrap this thing up. What's the game plan?"
"Let's take a vote on this one." Tokiya said.
"Hey!" an annoyed Recca interjected. "I called this meeting. I call the shots too. And I say… let's vote."
"That's just what I said." Tokiya rolled his eyes at Recca.
"Well, I said it better." Recca said authoritatively.
Yanagi stepped in front of Recca and threw Mikagami an apologetic look. "Okay, all those in favor of Domon's suggestion which is to let Kaoru and Ganko fix up this mess on their own, raise your right hand."
Domon raised both hands, Tokiya followed suit and after a while, Recca's hand shot up into the air. Domon and Tokiya eyed him suspiciously.
"Recca-kun? I thought you were against Domon's plan?" Yanagi looked confused.
"Whatever gets me out of here, princess. I'm itching to join Kaoru at karaoke." Recca said sheepishly.
Yanagi shook her head. "Okay, who votes for doing something other than, in Fuuko's words, sitting on our butts and waiting for both parties to achieve world peace?"
Fuuko was the first to raise her hand. She was followed by Kitsura, then Yanagi.
"Great, it's a tie." Recca muttered. "Why couldn't you just abstain, princess, so we can get out of here?"
Yanagi placed hands on her hips. "Unlike you, Recca-kun, I have my principles."
Fuuko snickered. "Ouch. That has to hurt."
Kitsura placed an arm around each girl's shoulder. "Besides Recca, we wouldn't be here if you didn't call this meeting."
Recca looked at the guys tearfully. "Reinforcement, men?"
Tokiya pretended to examine the floor tiles while Domon examined his muscles.
Recca sighed. "What happened, dudes? I thought men are supposed to stick up for each other."
"DUH! Of course men are supposed to stick up for their fellow men. But men are not going to stick up for babies." Domon used the tone of a college graduate speaking to a kindergartner, which wasn't far from reality.
"Score!" Kitsura winked at Domon and blew him a kiss.
Recca folded his arms. "This is stupid. Let's just lock them up in a room and force them to settle their issue."
"Why Recca, that's the first smart thing you've said all day." Fuuko taunted him.
"It won't work. The pressure they'd feel from being forced against their own will would prevent any kind of sincere reconciliation from even taking place." Tokiya said.
"I actually think it would be romantic to be stuck in a room with the man you love." Kitsura sighed.
"Yeah, if you're not having a fight." Domon said. "You could do all sorts of… er, stuff."
At that moment, the door burst open and lo and behold, Kaoru walked in and to everyone's surprise, so did a very happy looking Ganko.
"I told you it was them." Ganko giggled and reached for Kaoru's hand.
Domon's jaw promptly dropped open.
Kaoru gazed at her fondly. His eyes transformed filled with irritation as he glanced around the room at his friends. "What's with all the bickering? Your volume can be heard from the karaoke room. How are we supposed to sing our love's duet when we have to compete with your noise?" Kaoru demanded.
"L-l-love's duet?" Yanagi stammered. "You guys made up?"
The two teenagers looked at each other love-struck and nodded.
Ganko turned to Fuuko and Yanagi. "You left me in the room watching Fushigi Yuugi episodes. I tried to wait for you to get back but I got bored and found Kaoru singing Always be My Baby, our love song. For some reason, I felt—moved. I grabbed the mic and sang along—"
"You'll always be a part of me…" Kaoru started to belt out, grabbing both her hands.
"And I'm part of you indefinitely…" Ganko's melodic voice responded.
Kaoru transferred a hand to her cheek. "Girl, don't you know you can't escape me, Oh darling…"
"'Coz you'll always be my baby." Both of them ended the song with perfect blending. Both had hearts in their eyes.
"Someone gag me." Recca muttered.
"With pleasure." Domon replied and was about to do so, but was interrupted by Kitsura's nervous giggle.
"You know what? We've been cooped up here far too long. Why don't we all celebrate? Drinks are on us!" Kitsura announced happily and pulled Domon out of the door by the hand.
"Race you to the bar!" Kaoru winked at Ganko and both rushed out in a sweet chase, Kaoru stopping from time to time waiting for Ganko to catch up.
Recca grinned impishly at Yanagi and then reached out to tickle her. Yanagi burst into a fit of laughter and so did Recca, for some unknown reason. Their laughter lingered long after they left the room.
They spoke at the same time. Both stopped and eyed the other warily.
Mikagami gave her a courteous nod. "Ladies first."
Fuuko grinned impishly. "Well, we're all alone now. About your offer—"
Mikagami looked at her blankly.
"You know, about the evidence?" Fuuko waggled her brows.
Mikagami blinked thrice.
"The evidence that you're not gay? Can I have a look now?" She winked suggestively.
Tokiya groaned and engulfed her in a warm hug as she laughed away his embarrassment.
"All in due time, Fuuko." He said.
Fuuko pinched the tip of his nose. "I know. I was just kidding."
Mikagami nodded and put an arm around her waist. "You're such a tease."
They both walked out of the room, Fuuko grinning broadly on the outside while Tokiya fought to keep his mirth under cover.
Hey guys, having fun? Whoa. That was a long one—all for you. But let's get to the statistics…
Fuuko scores again! )
Well yeah, if a chapter with the phrase battle of the sexes is written by a feminist, what do you think?
Fuuko-2 (Terms of Endearment, From Lover's Quarrels to Battle of the Sexes)
Mi-chan-1 (Coffee Conversations)
Aww… I did love writing Fuuko and Tokiya's scene in front of the fountain. The fact that I love recording their arguments is already a given. ) Plus, I had the Hokage gang to keep me company! Writing them was a sweet ride!
In the next chapter, how will the Hokage team react when two of their friends become more than? It's Tokiya and Fuuko's homecoming as a couple. ;)
A. Okay, I can read minds and I know you guys asking how on earth "Always Be My Baby" turned out to be Ganko and Kaoru's love song. If you're not a Ganko-Kaoru person but are open-minded, try reason #2. Mealoaf is probably groaning at my constant reference to baby—but I didn't do that so Mealoaf can wring my neck (Mealoaf, stick around, you're one of my favorite readers). Here are my reasons:
1) The couple needed an appropriate modern pop song. Somehow, I doubted the popular duets like Come What May or I Finally Found Someone, or I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You would do the trick. Too old and too odd, just can't Ganko and Kaoru singing them. Can you?
2) Did you read the fic Baby You're Mine by bishounen lovah? The song just reminded me of that fic.It's the best Ganko-Kaoru fiction out there. Read it and go figure.
3) The lyrics are just what I needed to end the chapter! By the way, for those of you who have never listened to this song, check out David Cook's (the new American Idol, sigh) version. It's nowhere close to Mariah Carey's take on it. For one thing, David Cook left his signature blues-rock mark on it. You'll love it.
B. The bad news is I might not be posting as regular as I have hoped. And the reason for that is…work. Work starts June 2 for me. I won't have half as much free time as I do these days. Despite that, I'm going to keep pushing my pen. ;) So hang in there.
C. About the challenge, I revealed Kaoru's, Ganko's and Tokiya's ages here. The difference between Kaoru and Fuuko's age is three years. Do the math and it'll help you solve the challenge.
D. So, how would you rate this chapter? Send me a review!
Thank you Eirist, you're my first reviewer for chapter two again. Thanks! I hope this will turn into a trend. Hahaha! I'm glad Tokiya made you swoon in Chapter 2. Fuuko's a lucky girl, isn't she? Hope you fancied this chapter? I dedicated it to you. I will be looking forward to seeing you every Friday as well.
Aah, Mealoaf, is there any chance you'd get used to the ring of baby? ) Coz I can't get enough of your reviews, baby. ;p hehehe. Just kidding. Seriously though, have you read Baby You're Mine? It's fantastic. I think you'll enjoy it.
Yanagi-chyan! A long review, wow I love you. Thank you so much for the kind words. I had the time of my life with chapter two actually and was close to tears when I read your review. Your sensitivity, woman, astounds me. I knew I was taking a risk by presenting that moment in a YM chat format, but I was also hoping such a simple moment would present thoughts and actions as well. ) You got it again. I had fun reading your experience with the Miki-Neon-Recca-Tokiya episode. I just really hope someone from the FOR animation staff would read your fanfics and then they would definitely be inspired create more FOR episodes with Tokiya-Fuuko pairing! )
Hey there Snowcharms! ) I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter. Hope this one didn't just make you LOL but it made you ROTFLOL. Mi-chan was so creamed. Oh well, that's girl power. Hehehehe.
Greetings Nils, you really paid close attention. Love that. Were you able to do the math in this chapter? I'm glad the notion of writing a Tofuu couple fic was well received. Thank you so much for the vote of encouragement. I hope you enjoyed this installment. ) Write me another note, okay?
Hello Suryasree! Phew, characterization is really tough especially if you have great (the technical word in the literary realm being round/complex) characters like Tokiya and Fuuko. But I gotta tell you, the FOR fandom isn't running out of talent when Yanagi-chyan, Khay, Mia Fitzpatrick, MS Word, Autrevalse, Bishounen Lovah (to name a few) are around. Their characterization of Tokiya and Fuuko is simply brilliant. Wow, it's almost midnight, here's chapter three. I hope I beat the deadline. )