Edit: Thanks to everyone who reviewed. 8) I really appreciate it.
A.N. When I am having a bad day, I need happy fluff, dammit. This past week really sucked and I couldn't concentrate enough to read. Instead I wrote my own borderline fluff. This is not quite a songfic, because I'm not including any lyrics. However the song "Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt is a very strong inspiration, hence the name.
Not sure if this "scene" will ever be expanded/inserted into a full story. I just wondered if such a confession were ever to take place, how would it go? Once I wondered that, the bunny bit me and wouldn't let go until I wrote it out. While I do think they are meant for each other, I don't think true love will ever run smooth with these two. XD
I did my best to keep them in character, but that was hard to do with Naru.
It stars the usual suspects. And Ghost Hunt still belongs to Fuyumi Ono, not me. She would write outright romance much better than me.
Something to Talk About
I admit that I like gossip as much as the next girl. Sometimes it is just fun to find out secret or embarrassing things about people. However, I never realized how much gossip could suck until some was directed at me. It wasn't even particularly malicious gossip, but it was painful all the same.
Its sort of an open secret that I have a crush on my boss, Naru. He is an annoying narcissistic workaholic who I thought would never notice me. When rumors started circulating amongst our coworkers that he and I were dating, well things got interesting. Actually interesting is a bad word to use. Things got stressful.
Things had become so strained between us during the past few days that hearing him speak made me jump. I was glad I wasn't carrying tea. It would have spilled everywhere. Instead only one book fell harmlessly to the floor.
"Y-yes?" I said as I picked it up.
Naru had been staring out the window with his back to me when I entered his office with my armful of books. Now he was looking in my direction, and I couldn't read the expression on his face. He took a step towards me and then suddenly seemed to change his mind and veered towards his desk instead. He picked up a file or something off the top of it and started flipping through it like he had never said anything. Maybe I was just imagining the weird tension, but then why was he ignoring me? I turned back to my task of shelving books to hide how confused I felt. What the hell was that about?! All the books were replaced within a couple of minutes—I knew his personal filing system well enough by now to shelve his stuff without thinking about it. This was good because I was too frazzled and stressed out to actually concentrate on anything. I was too aware of my boss; his office suddenly seemed much too small for both of us. I needed more space.
"We need to talk," he said as soon as the last book was in it's place.
If you counted my name, those were more words together than he had said to me in the entire past week. I paused and took a deep breath before cautiously turning to face him. My hands were trembling, so I hid them behind me. I leaned against the shelf with my hands supporting my lower back and did my best to look unconcerned.
"Ok." Somehow my voice managed to sound almost normal—yay me. It didn't reflect my inner turmoil at all.
I was not looking forward to this conversation because I was afraid of what he might say. At the same time I knew we needed to have it—we should have had it a week ago. Our friendship—and we did have one—wouldn't survive much more of this. I wanted—more than it was healthy to admit—for what had happened to have meant something to him as well. I had been certain of him that day when he unexpectedly kissed me, and then he had withdrawn and become colder towards me than he had ever been. I'm not stupid; logically this meant it hadn't been something he wanted to do. In typical fashion he had overreacted afterwards, and the result was this awkward hellish week we had both endured. The rumors—and subsequent teasing from our coworkers—that we were dating and having a "spat" had not helped matters.
Though it's nothing compared to his level, I also have pride. The thought of being rejected yet again by him was not appealing in the least, but anything was better than the awful strained silence. I didn't think I could stand another week like this; I would quit first.
Naru's face was carefully neutral. I hadn't seen him look so...closed...around me in years—not since the first time we had met. Somehow that clued me in that this week had bothered him too—even though it was his fault. He had put the file or whatever back down and was now absently tapping a pen against the edge of his desk. I wondered if he was waiting for me to speak first. If he was, then it would be a long wait. I stubbornly remained silent in retaliation for his week of silence. The slightly irritating noise caused by his pen tapping was the only sound in the room.
I glared at him and was slightly surprised when he looked away instead of glaring back. Naru sighed and distractedly ran his free hand through his black hair. He abruptly stopped tapping the pen and set it carefully on the top of the desk. I wondered if he had just noticed that he was fidgeting.
"This...is stupid," he muttered half under his breath.
"It is," I agreed. My voice sounded cold even to me. "You wanted to talk...so talk."
He frowned as if he'd heard my unspoken comment. His blue eyes met mine, and there was the slightest hint of irritation in them along with other things I couldn't interpret.
"Fine," he said in his usual clipped tone. "I apologize for being...difficult."
That was so unexpected that I just blinked at him stupidly. "Eh?"
I'm not sure what I had been expecting him to say exactly, but I definitely hadn't thought it would be that. I could count on one hand the number of times he had apologized to me during the past four years. It wasn't a flattering reflection on him, but I think I had a right to be surprised. Naru was too prideful to easily admit to his own mistakes. The few times he did, it was done very grudgingly. This time was no exception.
"I'm sorry. Now will you talk to me?" The look on his face was highly annoyed.
I nodded, feeling more confused than ever. "All right," I said after realizing he was waiting for me to answer verbally. "What...what do you want to t-talk about?"
There were so many topics that could cover this past week—and none of them were particularly comfortable chat fare. No doubt that was why he had waited until everyone else in the SPR office had gone to lunch to bring it up.
"I'm not sure what...we can do to dispel the rumors."
He said it in his usual matter-of-fact way, but I thought I detected a trace of uncertainty in his voice and wondered if he had actually meant to say something else before the pause. Was this some indirect reference to what had caused the rumors, or was he really bothered by being teased? With Naru it was just hard to tell. Okay. We could talk about the rumors. Mentioning them would eventually get us to what we needed to talk about. It would be best to just be direct with him. Mainly: I knew what I wanted to do about the rumors, but what did he want?
Naru was leaning against his desk with his arms crossed—clearly waiting for my response. Other than the carefully maintained distance between us, he looked as calm as he always did. I was gripping the bookshelves with my hands and not feeling anywhere near as composed. My idea wasn't necessarily a good one, but...it was what I wanted. The atmosphere in the office was so tense—despite his apology—that it was an uncomfortable place to be. I got the strong impression that we had reached some point of no return. Whatever I said now was going to change things between us—one way or another. My stomach was suddenly full of knots as I realized what I was going to do. My choice had already been made. It was inevitable.
Faint heart never won fair...narcissist, or something like that...ehehe
I squelched the nervous laughter in my head and spoke before I lost my nerve.
"Well..." I said recklessly, my voice slightly higher than normal due to stress. "They only tease us because we are uncomfortable with...w-what happened. We could always try really d-dating and see if it's something we want to do. That would kill the rumors anyway, and might make them uncomfortable enough that they will stop."
Naru shot me a sharp glance, and for once his eyes revealed his thoughts clearly—I had just surprised the hell out of him. Then he caught himself and his expression resumed a more neutral mask. One of his eyebrows lifted quizzically.
"...Just like that?" He sounded very skeptical.
Okay...that went over well. Not.
My heart was beating too fast and I could feel myself blushing. Gah. I couldn't believe I had just—in a round about way—asked him out. How did other people do this without feeling like giant idiots? Could this possibly be any more awkward?! I was so tempted to just give up and run away. There was no way this was going to work. I had to be insane...
Instead of running, I shrugged and did my best to act casual by leaning a bit more against the bookshelf. If he could act like he wasn't bothered—the big liar—then dammit, so could I. "Why not?"
Naru opened his mouth as if to protest and then shut it again without saying anything. He frowned slightly and looked uncomfortable, and I had no idea what he was thinking. Not that I ever did...but well this time I really wanted to know.
"I hate the whole contrived idea of this sort of thing," he finally said while looking down. "It doesn't appeal to me." His eyes darted up towards mine and then glanced away to stare towards the window.
I should have been expecting an answer like that—after all, the first time I had confessed he had totally blown me off—but for some reason my heart had been sure he would say something different this time. Pain stabbed through my chest, and it was so intense that I couldn't breathe for a second. Damn. How had I misread him so badly? My intuition still insisted that he liked me. Why the hell had he kissed me then?! Tears stung my eyes and I bit my bottom lip in an attempt to keep them from falling. Damn, damn, damn. I really was an idiot, believing in something as vague as intuition and traitorous memories. Of course he wasn't interested—why would he be?—he was totally out of my league. Now would be a good time to run away, and we could pretend this awkward episode never happened. Surely he would do that much for me...
Naru sighed and shocked me by abruptly pushing off his desk and closing the distance between us. I whirled around feeling panicked and rapidly walked away with the intention of fleeing to the relative safety of the reception area. There was no way I could face him now, or I would start crying in ernest—neither one of us would enjoy that. I would just grab my purse off my desk and go home. If I hurried, everyone else would still be at lunch, and no one would see me looking upset. I was very surprised when he caught my wrist and stopped me before I could open the door.
"Idiot. Don't...please don't look like that..."
Did he just say please?
I froze in place and stiffly refused to face him. OK...what the hell? Why was he sounding like he cared now? I couldn't help being confused and a little pissed off. He didn't really expect me to stick around and chat after being rejected again, did he?! I wasn't that much of a masochist.
"How am I supposed to look?" I snapped, staring determinedly at the door. It was distorted due to unshed tears, and even though it was right in front of my face, all I could see was a dark rectangular blur. I kept my eyes carefully wide. If I blinked, those tears would fall. "You just said I don't appeal to you."
I heard him sigh again. "That is not what I said."
I closed my eyes tightly and tried to force the involuntary surge of hope his words caused back down. Dammit. I deserved better. It was time for Naru to actually make a choice—I had already told him mine—twice. I lifted my chin and faced him, uncaring that my cheeks were now wet. I intended to jerk my hand away and storm out the door. Instead I was caught by his dark blue eyes. He looked troubled, and his eyes clearly showed that I had upset him.
"You misunderstood..." he said quietly.
"What?" I was also upset—too upset to not sound angry.
Naru frowned and looked away from me. He shifted his hand, but didn't let go of mine. Instead he twined our fingers so we were holding hands. I looked at our hands and felt completely lost. I knew he had issues with unnecessarily touching people—why was he holding my hand? Surely he wouldn't be holding my hand unless he wanted to. So...what was up with him?
"I-I don't understand."
"I know," he said and sighed again.
He still wasn't looking at me, but his hand was warm in mine. My heart sped up involuntarily, and I felt a bit dizzy wondering what he actually meant. I was surprised he was even attempting to deal with this—any type of emotional stuff usually made him flee. We were both tense with whatever was going on—there was a tangible feeling of...something...between us. I had no idea if we were declaring our feelings or about to have a really nasty fight.
"What do you hate then? The idea itself or the contrived part?" I said faintly, after thinking over his exact words.
"Well obviously I'm not opposed to the idea," he said while shooting me an annoyed glare. "Or I wouldn't be having this conversation."
That earned him an eye roll. Was he obnoxious on purpose?
"Then be clearer. Making me cry is not a good way to start anything," I pointed out. "Neither is calling me an idiot. Geez...I really have no idea what you mean half of the time."
"Exactly," he said and frowned. "Do you really think this can work?"
I stared back at him and could clearly see he really wanted to know. His eyes were very blue and filled with questions. Questions that were echoed in my own eyes.
We were so different—almost opposites. Was it really possible to get past that, or was it just a silly dream? Was what I felt for him really love? I thought so, but never having been in love before, how could I be sure? I didn't know. I just knew I couldn't imagine any sort of life that didn't include him. Somehow the narcissist had become essential to me...on the same level that air was. I didn't think I even had a choice any more when it came to who owned my heart and a good chunk of my soul.
"I don't know," I finally admitted, and this time it was me who glanced away.
I was afraid my eyes had just given me away by showing too much. My cheeks were hot so I knew I was blushing again. Screw it. I might as well just confess everything.
"I just want to be with you...I haven't thought much past that."
Naru's fingers tightened on mine a moment in reaction. I was looking at the floor rather than at him, so I had no idea if his face reflected whatever emotion caused him to react. When I did look up, he swiftly turned his head so he was looking towards the window instead of at me.
"Typical. We are both the same type of idiot then."
I studied his profile while I tried to process what he had actually just said. I wondered if he really meant what I thought he did. If we were the same...then did that mean he felt the same? Naru looked almost as lost as me—for once his face showed how unsure he was. Had he turned away to hide his own eyes? He wouldn't normally do that...unless...he was afraid of what I would see there. I was the last person who would ever try to hurt him. Didn't he know that?
He really was an idiot.
"Wow. We suck at this, don't we?" I said only half joking.
Feeling greatly daring, I raised my free hand and gently touched his cheek. Naru jumped at the contact, but didn't pull away. He let me turn his head so he was facing me. His eyes were unguarded and what I saw in them made my heart race. Holy crap...we were confessing to each other.
"Most people don't freak out when they realize they like someone," I said dryly in an attempt to lighten the mood.
The corner of his mouth twitched like he was about to smile. "I like to think I'm not most people."
Of course not, most people aren't anywhere near as stuck up as you!
He sighed and looked down for a moment. I couldn't read the expression in his eyes when he looked up again.
"I...don't know how to react..." He grimaced slightly. "Though I do know that acting like an idiot isn't the correct response..."
Naru seemed very uncharacteristically at a loss for words. I was silent, waiting for him to spit it out. He was trying, and I could tell it was difficult—the least I could do was be patient with him.
His blue eyes met mine again and the expression in them was very serious. "Mai, I don't want to press unwanted...attention...on you."
Oh. I guessed that what he left unspoken was the fact that he was also my boss. I supposed the whole issue of possible sexual harassment was valid enough. But really, had he really thought it was unwanted attention? Had he not noticed when I kissed him back? What the hell? How had he not noticed?!
"Are you blind?" I said incredulously. "Unwanted?! I have been in love with you for years, you idiot scientist!"
His eyes widened slightly like I had surprised him again, and it pissed me off. I poked him in the chest with the hand that had previously caressed his face.
"How the hell could you have not noticed?!" I asked while poking him again for emphasis.
He caught my hand before I could poke him a third time and raised one eyebrow. "You never noticed either."
Instead of replying verbally, he tugged on my hands so I had to take a step closer or lose my balance. I couldn't help feeling flustered when he let go of one of my hands and slid his arm around my waist. His other hand pulled my arm around his back and left it there. I forgot to breathe for a moment when he lightly ran his hand back up my arm and ended up resting it on my shoulder. Naru's dark blue eyes stared into mine like he was issuing some sort of challenge. I wasn't sure how to respond—he had just sped things up faster than I had ever thought he would after his week of deliberately ignoring me. It had never mattered to me that I lacked any sort of romantic experience before, but I was bemoaning it now.
There had been extenuating circumstances behind that first—my first—kiss we had shared. Dangerous experiences really shouldn't be used as accurate judges for how people feel about each other—due to the stress of almost dying and all. That kiss had been so spur of the moment the question of how we were doing it never came up. We just suddenly were kissing, and then we were staring at each other feeling shocked. Our coworkers, who missed the kiss and only observed it's aftermath, had still seen enough to make comments at our expense. Now I had the feeling that another kiss was imminent, and I panicked a little. Should we be doing this at work?
"Hn?" he said and actually smiled at me.
I couldn't finish...whatever...I was trying to say, because seeing that super rare smile affected my ability to think. The way he was looking at me now was doing odd things to my breathing.
"I'm noticing now. Does that scare you?" Naru said with a smirk.
He was so close now that I could feel his breath on my lips. His eyes glinted with dark amusement. The part of my mind that could still observe things noticed and was slightly annoyed that he had found a new way to tease me. The rest of me was a bit overwhelmed. I couldn't think properly with him that close. My cheeks heated up in what had to be another furious red blush.
"N-no...o-of course n-not." Dammit. Why did he know exactly how to fluster me? It wasn't fair.
I was trying to think of a suitable reply to that, but my thoughts scattered when his lips lightly touched mine. His hand moved along my neck and through my hair and it was very distracting. I reacted without conscious thought. It didn't matter that I had no idea what I was doing, somehow I seemed to just melt against him. My arms twined around his neck to pull him closer and Naru reacted by turning his head slightly and deepening the kiss. It was impossible to resist kissing him back—not that I wanted to. This kiss was much better than the first one had been, and I totally lost myself in it.
Sudden noise in the reception area made us both freeze in place. By that point I was somehow pressed against the office door and Naru was kissing his way down my neck. I'm not exactly sure how we got there, but it was fortunate for our reputations that we did. We were in a good position to clearly hear that Lin-san had returned and that Bou-san and Ayako were with him. I could barely understand what the sounds of them being out there meant—that amazing kiss had totally managed to blow my mind. I had completely forgotten that we were at work, and that there was a good reason not to make out in the office. If it had been left up to me, we would have started much more scandalous rumors that day.
Naru remembered though and pulled away. I made a faint sound in protest; words were beyond me at the moment. The smug look in his eyes told me that not only could he tell, he also found my reaction very satisfying. Gah.
"I think I approve of your plan," he said a little breathlessly. "Let's do it."
I blinked at him feeling stupid. My mind wasn't working well enough yet to have any idea what he was talking about—well okay, I had an 'idea', but surely he didn't mean that—not so soon anyway. I mean, we weren't even dating, were we? I felt myself blushing again.
"Wh-wh-what?" I stammered. My voice was even more breathless than it normally would have been because of my traitorous thoughts.
He raised one eyebrow. "Date, of course. What did you think I meant?"
"...Uh..." I couldn't think of anything to say. I was blushing so badly that even my neck felt hot.
His blue eyes filled with amusement. "I must be better at kissing than I thought," he said with a smirk.
I rolled my eyes and smacked him on his chest. "You are so stuck up it's unbelievable..."
"But that's why you like me."
Before I could counter that, he cheated by kissing me again. This kiss was just a light brushing of lips, but it still disrupted my ability to think. I couldn't really protest when he pulled away and smiled at me again. I loved his rare tiny smile even more than the smile I had only seen in dreams.
A few minutes later we got everyone's attention when we left Naru's office on the way to lunch. We weren't the least bit disheveled, but Ayako and Bou-san still stared at us suspiciously. Lin-san merely raised one eyebrow and wandered back into his own office. I got the distinct feeling we had just interrupted a conversation about...us.
"Oh? You two were in there...alone...this entire time?" Ayako said suggestively after glancing at Naru and then at me. "What—"
She was unexpectedly cut off by Bou-san, who had put his hand over her mouth. "Escape while you can," he suggested with a wink.
Ayako was so angry that her face began turning redder than her hair. She started hitting Bou-san with her purse. This started a scuffle that would not have been out of place in a school yard. Really, they acted more like children than adults. I wondered if they were using the excuse of teasing us to justify flirting with each other. At least I assumed they were flirting.
"Idiots." Naru rolled his eyes at them and walked to the front door. I grabbed my purse and followed him. For some reason this seemed to surprise both the monk and the miko, because they stopped their struggles and stared.
"Eh...?" Bou-san said. He looked so shocked that I almost felt sorry for him.
I smiled and opened the door. "We are going to lunch. See ya!"
"Of course together. Why else would she say 'we'?" Naru said with a frown. Then he completed freaking them out by taking my hand as we walked out the door.
As might be expected, this did cause a dramatic increase of rumors. But, as they were true by that point, neither one of us cared.
I have serious doubts as to the quality of this fic.--I had to get it out of my system though because it was interrupting my work on Echoes. I hope it was at least entertaining. O.o;; Please review, but be nice, eh?