Title: P.S. I Love You
Rating: K+ (It's just prolonged NakaMizu fluff. Because I like them best. XP) (But there are a few curse words. Oops.)
Pairing: Nakatsu x Mizuki
Spoilers: Yes, for the entire end of the manga. I don't know how much of it's out in the old U.S. of A, but if you haven't read the whole darn thing, then read no further.
Summary: "Know this: I would marry you yesterday."
Word Count: 1,876
Warnings: This takes place post-manga, though exactly how far after the end of the manga, I'm unsure. The last chapter says three summers have passed since Sano left for America. So, they'd be… 20? Something like that. I think. ::confused:: So, this is after that. Since Rie was two-months pregnant then, when she got married. Yeah. Or something… In this story, that child is already two-years old. So Mizuki's class are all about 22.
Disclaimer: The summery quote belongs to Music From Another Room and Charlie Peters. Hana-Kimi: For You In Full Blossom belongs to Hisaya Nakajo.
One week passed, then two, and then it was a month since Mizuki had shown up crying on his doorstep. It seemed like such a short amount of time, yet, at the same time, it seemed like they had been living like this forever.
It amazed him everyday how well they fit together, how easily they had synched their daily lives with each others. How Mizuki still remembered exactly how Nakatsu took his tea and how he could recite all her favorite foods, and make them for her. How seamlessly they rotated chores or any other aspect of their lives together. He wondered if she and Sano had fit together like this, like puzzle pieces, he wanted to ask her, but couldn't, didn't want to upset her if it wasn't true, didn't want to upset himself if it was.
How could any two people in the world be as perfect together as they were, he wondered, as he entered the apartment to Mizuki's brightly smiling face. This must be like what marriage was. Coming home to the same woman, knowing that each day you loved her more and more, knowing that you never wanted to see anyone else in the kitchen washing dishes, that hers was the first and last face you wanted to see each day, every day, until the day you died.
It would kill him to give this up.
What if she decided that she wanted to move on, more on her own, wanted to live on her own, away from him, or worse, what if she decided that the kiss was just a mistake, hormones, or something, and that she didn't want to be with him that way. What if she-
The ringing of the doorbell broke him out of his thoughts and when Mizuki glanced over his shoulder towards the door, he shooed her away and told her that he would get it.
"Can I… help… you…?" The smile brightening his face as he swung open the door slowly faded as he stared in absolute shock.
"Hey, Nakatsu. Is Mizuki here?"
"Who's at the door… Shuichi…" Mizuki's voice trailed off as she peered over his shoulder, curios as to why he was standing there so stiffly; the smile froze on her face.
"Hey, Mizuki," the visitor greeted, with a half-smile.
Nakatsu blinked, closing his mouth, which had fallen open in shock, and stepped to the side, taking Mizuki gently by the arm and pulling her with him. "Come on in, man."
Stepping over the threshold, Sano glanced around, as silent and stoic as Nakatsu remembered him from High School. Well, maybe he hadn't exactly been stoic, but he hadn't been a Chatty Cathy, either. And time certainly hadn't improved his verbal skills. Nakatsu watched as dark eyes took in the apartment with interest.
The kitchen, off to the right, with pots and pans set out, since Mizuki was in the middle of making dinner, something that was starting to resemble sukiyaki, which Sano remembered as one of Nakatsu's favorite foods. But there was a bowl of candy next to the stove and Sano knew for a fact that Mizuki usually munched on something sweet while she cooked. The living room was littered with evidence that the two of them were comfortable with each other. The end-table on one side was filled with sports magazines, the one on the other side filled with dog training books. A sports bag and a soccer ball were on the floor. He could see the pictures on the wall behind the couch, and could see pictures that he knew belonged to Mizuki had been stuck randomly into frames. A picture of her brother, of her family back home, of her and Julia, of her and Yujiro, even one of her and Sano. And several that he could tell had been taken recently, of her and Mizuki out eating ice cream, with Nakatsu's soccer team, at some sort of festival.
He sighed, eyes vacant. They seemed to get along… well.
It reminded him of the beginning of his relationship with Mizuki. She'd have dinner cooking and they'd eat together. When they'd go on dates and had time to just… be a couple.
And then his career had taken off and suddenly, it seemed like there was no time for the two of them to be alone anymore. He was always training, or a press conferences, or meetings, or competitions. And before he knew it, they'd drifted farther and farther apart. It wasn't as if he wanted it to happen, but… it did.
And then, Mizuki was suddenly confronting him about it, looking angrier than he could ever remember seeing her, almost yelling, even as tears filled her eyes, asking if he still wanted to get married, asking if he was taking so long because he didn't love her anymore. He'd tried to tell her that wasn't true, but then… then she'd said something that stopped him dead.
"Shu- Well, I think if you loved me, you'd want to marry me."
"No, Izumi. Let me finish, please." She took a deep breath, squaring her shoulders. "I think that, we should get married before the end of the year, I'll give you a month to make a decision. If you say no, I… I'm leaving."
She had walked out then, going to work, and Sano had sat down on the floor right where he stood. She would… leave? But… he… they…
For a while they'd lived in a short of daze together. Until one day a few weeks later when Sano's manager had told him he'd been asked to train for the Olympics with a group of select individuals. And the first thought in his mind wasn't Mizuki, it wasn't their marital problems, it was how hard he had worked to get here.
And that's when he realized that… he didn't need Mizuki anymore. Well, not in a mean manner, but he didn't need her by his side anymore. He still loved her, but… he wasn't in love with her. He… he didn't want to marry her anymore. He wanted to love her with that same affection he felt from back in High School, wanted to feel those same feelings that made him try everything to make her happy. But, they'd changed, matured, grown up since those days. They weren't the same anymore. And neither were their feelings.
And when he told her, he didn't know who was more upset, her… or him.
Standing in their living room (because it was theirs, there was no escaping that), he felt at peace. Mizuki could be happy here, and that's what he wanted for her, her happiness.
"Ummm… Izumi…" Mizuki said softly. "What… what are you doing here?"
He turned around, smiling at her gently. "I came to see you." He glanced down at Nakatsu's hold on her wrist, protective, loving, the same as always. "To see how you were doing."
"Haven't you done enough, Sano?" Nakatsu asked bluntly.
Holding up his hands in a sign of surrender, he said, "Calm down, Nakatsu, I'm not here to take her back."
"You… you're not?"
He winced at the hurt in her voice. But, even as he opened his mouth to tell her what he told her before, that she got him back into high-jumping, and it was her that made him want to reach the top… he just, got caught up in it, and had… changed along the way. But she was already speaking.
"Actually, I didn't think you'd come here at all. What, with your hard training schedule and all."
He smiled back. "I'm never too busy for you, Mizuki."
"Seemed like it before," Nakatsu muttered angrily.
Mizuki shushed him, sliding her wrist from his grasp.
"He's right, Mizuki. Back then, I was too busy for you, and… I'm sorry."
She was still smiling, stepping forward to stand in front of him. "No, you were just too busy for a marriage and your dream. And… you know what? I'm okay with that now." She glanced backwards at a pouting Nakatsu and her smile grew softer, tenderer, and Sano could see how much she had come to care for him in the past month. "Shuichi… helped."
"I can see that."
When she glanced back and him, and saw that he had caught her staring, her face flushed, and she lowered her eyes, embarrassed.
Sano laughed lightly at her. Still as cute as ever. "I just came to apologize, see if you were alright. But, I can see you're doing fine." He glanced from her to the man behind her, then back, his smile widening. "I'm in Japan for some staff meetings, so… maybe we can… meet for lunch or something?"
"Yeah," she said with a smile, "I'd like that."
Nakatsu huffed when she gave him a hug, leaving them there and walking away.
After Mizuki saw Sano to the door, she followed Nakatsu's steps to his room, where he sat on the edge of his bed, cradling his head in his hands.
"Not going out with Sano?"
Her eyes widened. He was jealous! She smiled, walking over to sit next to him. "Shuichi." He didn't say anything. "Shuichi, look at me." He did so, grudgingly lifting his head to stare at her, eyes filled with jealousy and sadness, like he honestly thought she would leave him. "Do you remember what you told me when I first come here?" His brows furrowed as he thought about it. "You told me," she continued, staring down at her hands, "that I needed time to get over Izumi, and that we should wait until the time limit I gave him was up. It's past that time limit and… well, I've had enough time to think about everything."
He sat up to stare at her, both wanting and not wanting her to finish.
"I've realized that… Izumi… he is very dear to me, and, he probably always will be, I was in love with him for a long time, but… people change, and well," she looked up at him, smiling brightly, "he's not the one I love, like that, anymore."
"What are you…"
"You have always been there for me, Shuichi, ever since I met you. You've always been supportive of me, open about your feelings for me, and, I have the feeling that if I told you to stop playing soccer, you'd do it."
"Of course I would! I would-"
She held up her hand. "The point it, to Izumi, high-jumping is everything to him, and, well, I am the one who wanted him to get back into it, it'd be wrong to make him stop, he love it so much. And I know what you're going to say," she said over his interruption, "that if he loves me, he'd stop, but, if I love him, shouldn't I want him to be happy. By letting him go, we can both be happy; we can find new people to love."
"And I… I already found my new person."
Nakatsu blushed bright red as she leaned forward, closer to him.
"Oh, and p.s.," she said with a grin, cheeks a faint pink, "I love you." And then she pressed her lips to his.
A/N: Apologies all around! School, school, school-y, school! Yes, indeed-y, it is taking up, well, pretty much ALL of my time, so, that explains the ridiculously long wait. So I apologize for how long you waited for such a sappy chapter.
It wound up being a lot from Sano's perspective, because I wanted people to see what he was thinking. I don't dislike him, so I didn't want him to be all, "High-jumping is more important than you. Get lost." This way, it's more plausible, or, at least, more Real Life applicable. People do change. As I am being taught in Psych right now.
And the ending is sappy enough to cause cavities, and I apologize for that. Also, just an epilogue left, I think.
Oh! And question for lightblue muffin, since you normally just read the Sana x Mizuki stories, can I ask why you decided to read mine? And why, for some strange reason, you like it? It's hard (like, impossible) to get me to read stories with pairings I don't really care for, and I'm just wondering why you like mine? ^.^V