Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own Hana Yori Dango

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Soujiro leaned against the wall, sighing to himself. What was he even doing there? For all his experience with women, he never claimed to understand the inner workings of the female mind, which landed him in the predicament he was in now. Over the past few weeks he had begun to notice a certain distance between his current girlfriends and himself. Bluntly put, they avoided him like the plague. At first it was only a few girls, the ones he'd just met, then it was ladies he'd termed "repeats". Whenever he visited nightclubs, he was either turned away or the girls made every excuse not to approach him. His pride wouldn't let him force his way in. It was officially the worse month of his life. Then came the girl that was to blame for his troubles: Yuki Matsuoka. To be fair it wasn't really her, just his perceived relationship with her. It began when he had listened to a conversation between a group of his repeats.

"This is her. See? See how he looks at her? She's obviously different from us." She pointed to a picture in a file. It was of Yuki and himself having lunch at a café. It wasn't that unusual. They got together at least once a week to catch-up.

"Reiko-chan, how many times have one of us had dinner with him somewhere? She is nothing."

"No, she's not." Reiko insisted .She took out another picture, one of he and Yuki talking at a park, and another of them laughing at an ice skating rink and another…the number of pictures she had was frightening. I have a stalker, he had thought. Reiko always disturbed him in the little things she said, but she had been too much fun to let go.

"She's always with him, and he goes to her more than he goes to us. Look here…his phone records." She took a sheet of paper, and pointed at something on the page.. "Don't ask how I got it, but this number here is hers. They talk all the time, sometimes for a long time."

"She's not that pretty. They could be just friends." Another girl said.

Reiko gave an elegant snort. "Nishikado-san cannot be just friends with girls. My money is that he's too scared to admit his feelings and is using all of us to get over her."

Several girls laughed. "I don't mind being used. I'm sure more than one of us has a boyfriend besides Nishikado-san."

Reiko shook her head. "You guys do what you want, but until this girl is out of the picture I'm always going to be wondering if he wishes I was her every time he looked at me." It was no secret that Reiko had had experience in the area before, and things got really ugly for her. When Reiko left, she didn't bothering taking the picture with her, and the other girls speculated over them.

"She's not that unfortunate looking. They actually look... kind of…good together." One girl said, meekly, as if reluctant to voice the opinion lest it be true.

"And he does look different. I've never see his eyes so warm." From there it seemed that word spread like wildfire.

It was only after cornering a girl, and working his magic was able to ferret out the promise they all had made. No girl in Japan was going to sleep with him or date him until he broke off his friendship with Yuki. Frankly, he was amazed that so many women agreed on this one thing. If it was only one girl or even a few, it would have been too easy to ignore, knowing the whole thing would be forgotten eventually, but apparently things have been blown out so of proportion that the whole of Japan believed one thing: Yuki was his unofficial girlfriend, and he was too scared of rejection to give up his promiscuous night life.

The only solution he saw was to somehow prove that he and Yuki, despite their seemingly close relationship, were just friends. To do that, he'd planned to spend all his time focusing on her. It's almost like trying out monogamy. It'll be good practice.

So, that's how he found himself outside her house waiting for her. He checked his watch again. 6:15 a.m. Where is she?

"Mama, I'm going now." A girl called out. He heard a door slam and moments later his target was in sight. "Eh? Nishikado-san?"

"Good morning, Yuki-chan." As it always did with her presence, the genuine smile came easily. "Going to school?" Maybe it was that he hadn't had a girl in so long, but he couldn't help from eying her uniform. The simple white blouse wasn't as loose and shapeless as most schools, giving him a teasing hint of her form. Her pleated skirt stopped mid-thigh; with enough wind…

"Um, my eyes are up here, Nishikado-san." She said, dryly.

He grinned. "Can I offer you a ride, Yuki-can?"

She shook her head looking apologetic. "No, thank you. Traffic is terrible as we get closer to my school, but I appreciate the thought."

"Then…how do you get to school every morning, Yuki-chan?" He frowned. He had planned on dropping her off at school, showing anyone watching that he was moving toward her direction.

"Same way most regular students do. I take the trains." She gripped the bag in her hands, and gave him a curious look. "What are you doing here, Nishikado-san? I would've thought you'd either be at work or still in bed."

"I wanted to see you." It was the truth, no matter his reasons. "Can I walk with you?"

She blinked, and broke into a smile. "If I'm even one minute late, Nishikado-san, I'm not going to save you when my classmates see you."

The walk to the station was…nice. Of course, he had gone on walks with Yuki before, but this was somehow different. She pointed out houses, and talked about the people who lived there. How Morikada-san just had a baby, or how the Tanakas had just moved in down the street. Several people called out to her with warm familiarity. He couldn't place the feeling, walking with her down a path she walked everyday, but for some reason he didn't mind it.

She showed him how to buy a pass and how to use it at the entrance terminal. As expected, he attracted a lot of attention, even in the crowded car. The girls, mostly prepubescent middle school chits, were all screeching and clamoring to touch him. Taking the opportunity, he slid behind Yuki, putting her between him and them. He wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder. "Protect me, Yuki-chan."

She stiffened at first, at the intimate contact, but smiled blandly at the middle schoolers. "I'm sorry. This is his first time on the train." By her stance he felt her resist the urge to elbow him, but he didn't let go. He buried his nose in her neck and inhaled, "You smell so good. I could stay right here all day."

She brought a hand up to his face, and patted his cheek awkwardly as if not knowing what else to do. "B-Behave, Nishikado-san." She was blushing, furiously. He could hear it in her voice.

Yuki's school was a good hour away from her house, and with how crowded the car was there was no room to move, so he was able to hold her for the entire trip. It was very pleasant, more so than he would have thought. He was glad she had declined a car ride, this was much better.

When they got off at her stop, necessity made him release her, but in a practiced move he caught her hand in his. "Is it a far walk to your school, Yuki-chan?"

She shook her head, staring at their linked hands, no doubt wondering what the hell he thought he was doing. "I-I'll be fine from here, Nishikado-san. You don't have to trouble yourself."

"When will you start calling me by my first name? We've been so close for awhile yet you're still so formal with me." They walked down the street, her school coming into view.

"I-I c-couldn't!" She stammered. He didn't think it was possible for a person to get so red.

"You're so cute, Yuki!" He grinned, sweeping her into a hug. She was so tense and then suddenly went limp. Alarmed, he pulled back to look at her. To his chagrin he discovered the poor girl had fainted. Damn, looks like I overdid it. Yuki always seemed more desensitized to his charms than most girls, especially lately, but he always figured she fought it. Guess I was right. He debated what to do. He could either brave the school grounds and bring her to the nurse's office or have another student do it.

Yuki took the choice from him. Groaning a little, her eyes fluttered open. "Nishikado-san? What're you doing?" She noticed she was still in his arms and with a startled Eep scrambled away. People were beginning to stare.

"Ne, can I pick you up after school, Yuki-chan?"

She shifted uncomfortably. "What's with you, Nishikado-san? You've been acting so strange today. If you have something to say, please say it. I can't take these games."

Internally he grinned triumphantly. She gave him the opening he wanted. "I like you, Yuki-chan. Will you go out with me?"

Her eyes widened. "I—" Suddenly the bell rang.

She looked apologetic, and ran through the gates. It amused him, it really did. He knew he shouldn't play with Yuki like that, but it was too much fun. This wouldn't be so bad. He genuinely liked Yuki, and spending time with her was never boring. Even if Yuki did have lingering feelings for him, this could only benefit her. He was giving her the opportunity to have him all to herself, and she'll see that they were better as friends than a couple. He'd date her, everyone would see that they were just friends, and then everything would go back to normal.

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He should have known it wouldn't be that easy.

When he came back to pick her up later that day, a group of girls were waiting with her. As soon they saw him, they rose to their feet, the air around them crackling menacingly.

"Nishikado-san." One of them growled. "The nerve of him."

"Yuki?"

"Don't talk to our senpei, you stupid playboy." Another girl snapped.

"Yeah, who do you think you are? Asking her out like that! We ought to—"

"That's enough, girls." Yuki interrupted. "You'd better go back. The teacher is still there. I'm just going to have a talk with Nishikado-san."

They shot daggers at him, before walking away. Muttering things like, "Way too good for him." and "What an arrogant jackass."

Cautiously, he touched Yuki's arm. His brows drew together in confusion when she pulled away, sharply.

"Before I answer your confession, Nishikado, is there something you want to tell me?"

Her voice was cool, and her eyes were hard. The Yuki he had held on the train, and left blushing at her school entrance was gone. This Yuki was angry. He had never really seen her angry. She was…hot. He gave an audible gulp. She was going to be harder to predict now. But he was getting angry now, too. Who was she to judge him?

"So…you've heard have you? The great playboy is now no longer welcome to the night life. Rejected at every turn, until I confess my love to a girl who I've apparently secretly longed for." He laughed in self derision. "I've become such a nymphomaniac that this is what I've stooped to. Forcing myself to pretend—" He broke off when she slapped him across the face. The force of the blow leaving a painful red mark on his cheek.

"Don't you dare make this about you, Nishikado-san. Don't you dare." She didn't raise her voice, if anything she softened it, making her ire all the more daunting. "I thought we were friends, Nishikado-san. How could you use my feelings like that?" Angry tears began to leek out of her eyes, but she kept talking. "How long did you plan on keep it up? Are you so desperate for your usual fucking that you'd use me to get it? You're despicable! I can't even look at you. What're you doing? Don't touch me."

Soujiro, pulled her into his arms, not letting go even when she began to punch his chest. "I'm sorry, Yuki-chan. I'm so sorry." As she cried, he silently cursed his own arrogance. This was Yuki! Of course, she'd be hurt by the idea of dating someone who didn't really like her. But he did like her. Not in the way his girlfriends had thought, or the way that Yuki herself once wanted, but he couldn't deny that he did have some regard for her. He held her until she quieted, and even then he kept her in his arms. "It's not just that you're my only option right now. Never think that. My confession this morning may not have been completely sincere, but it wasn't a lie." She looked up at him and searched his eyes. He let her see his feelings, however mixed up they were.

"But you don't think of me this way, Nishikado-san, I like being your friend better, and I don't want to date you if it's going to ruin that. Can't you find someone else? I'm sure there's a transfer student at some school that doesn't care what…" She was babbling. In his experience, that was usually a good sign. It meant that she was no longer angry with him at least. He thought about kissing her to silence her for awhile, just for the hell of it, but he didn't want to push his luck. Instead, he leaned his face into hers, effectively stopping her nervous flow of words.

"What if I can promise we'll still be friends afterwards?" He offered. "It won't be any different than now…just be more exclusive. No other girls for me, and all my attention onto you. How does that sound?" No matter how confident he sounded, he couldn't help but wonder if maybe this was a bad idea. In the back of his mind he knew he was capable of straying and if Yuki grew to care for him as much as she once had, friendship would be a hard thing for her to maintain when they broke up.

She seemed to be thinking about it, too. A resigned, but determined look filtered over her face. She firmly, pressed her palms against his chest and pulled away. "I'm sorry, Nishikado-san. I'd really rather not, if it's all the same."

It took a minute for the words to sink in. Did she just…reject me?

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A/N

This is my first Soujiro/Yuki fic. It will be no where near as long as The Siege but I hope that it as well received. In this story, no matter how out of character some things are, Soujiro will understand the true depths of the emotions he had long since shunned.

Also, to those following The Siege I truly apologize for the delay. I've hit something of a writer's block, but I am working on the next chapter.