Hand in Hand
Disclaimer: None of the characters, settings, or plots belong to me. They all belong to Peach-Pit.
A/N: Hello there everybody! This is a one-shot that wouldn't leave me alone, but was a pain in the neck to actually sit down and write (maybe because I subconsciously knew that it was going to be long?) Anyway, a few things that I wanted to clear up beforehand.
1. There are some references to other one-shots that I've written for Shugo Chara, but nothing really major. The two are that Kuukai and Kairi are at the "final showdown" with Easter, which there is still a possibility of happening, and that Kuukai and Utau had made a bet of some kind that dealt with the winner (Utau) receiving ramen.
2. The views on characters and events that have taken place thus far in the series are presented in Ikuto's POV in this fanfic. Case in point being Yaya, I personally have no problem with her character. I don't love her, but I don't hate her either. Sadly, I think Ikuto would hate her. Thus, she is given a rather…negative portrayal in this one-shot.
3. I hope I'm not the only person who has wondered whether or not Ikuto was Christian. I know that in Japan, religion is seen more as something interesting or cool, rather than something sacred. So, I was going to let Ikuto's choker and the crosses on his outfit go as being something stylish and cool. But then I thought about episode 13, I believe, when Ikuto stopped before a church, looked at it, and then walked away. It gave me the impression that he may not have been religious, but that his father had been. Trust me; this will make more sense after reading the fic. ; ]
Those are the only three things I really wanted to point out. So, enough with this enormous author's note, and onto the fanfic!
They were both exhausted, but Amu needed the rest more than he did. As he carried her in his arms, hyper aware of the eyes on him from the other little Guardians, he looked around the small room. Here they were, in some old storage room or another, desperate to find a hiding place from the members of Easter that were sent after them.
Even though he was safe now, even though he was freed, that did not stop that man from sending people after him. It was really annoying. He hated it. He hated him. Amu had wished, when the lock and key came together, she had prayed that his chains to Easter would disappear. It had worked. His heart had felt lighter and that obligation that kept tugging on his soul had dispersed.
"Hey, Kiddy King, do you see anything that Amu can sleep on?" The question was directed at the little brat, but the moment the words left his mouth all the little kiddies started looking…with the exception of Utau. "It would be nice if you helped too." He used the 'older brother' tone of voice on her. The one that she despised, but the one he knew she could never go against.
"Hmph." She crossed her arms over her chest and looked away from him and Amu. And here he was, thinking that these two had come to some sort of understanding. But…she had witnessed that…the kiss Amu and himself had shared. It had been a kiss that had made it so that he was able to come back to his senses. Amu had initiated it, but the moment her lips had started to withdraw, he could remember his reacting all on their own. His lips wanting nothing more than to stay over hers forever, then she had fainted right there, in his arms, her lips still lightly caressing his own.
Her fainting was understandable; she had been mentally and physically drained over the battle to save him. To save him. Then he had held her close, he knew that the others had been there, watching them. He had been there too, shocked for a moment, but then realizing the situation and calling for guards. That was when Ikuto had picked Amu up in his arms and fled, calling back to the younger kids behind him.
But, really, Amu had saved him. She had nearly been killed by him, quite unwillingly on his part, and yet she still went and saved him. Still kissed him. No one had treated him like that. The only exception being Utau, but…it was no good for her. And now it seemed…
He could feel those blue, near purple, eyes of hers staring at him. They were drilling into him, as if he were some wasteful piece of ground. Hating him. He wondered sometimes if he spoiled her with his love. Had he cared for her too much? Had he been too many things for her at once? Because, it seemed, no matter how much his sister said that she would be able to get over him, that she would be able to move on, a small part of her would always love him. Right now, that part of her was pissing him off!
"Look. Do you want me to put you in with all these other kiddies? 'Cause I will. Stop being a brat, Utau, or I won't talk to you for a whole week." He meant it too. He didn't like being mean to his sister, she was the only thing that he had left…their mother wasn't who she used to be, not anymore, and their father was gone. But, he had to be mean to her sometimes, she was just so stubborn! If he wasn't stern with her every once in a while, she would never listen, and never grow up.
Amu's sleeping body was starting to feel heavy in his arms, but still, Utau wasn't budging. An irritated sigh left his lips. If she wasn't going to listen to him, then she wasn't going to listen to anyone…right?
"Hey, Utau, stop being lazy or I won't buy you that ramen that I promised you." It was a punkish, cocky sounding voice to Ikuto's ears. He knew who it belonged to, one of those little Guardians-no-an ex-guardian. He could remember Utau telling him about this one.
What was his name again? …The first Jack…he was less annoying then the rest of them, with the exception of Amu of course. Ikuto reasoned that it was because this kid was the oldest one in the bunch. It started with a 'Ku', he knew that much, but what was the rest of it?
"What! What do you mean by that, Little Jack?"
"Just what I said, if you don't start helping, then you can forget about ramen."
Kuukai. That was it, his name was Kuukai.
"Stop pouting." Ikuto examined the interaction between the two. A Cheshire cat like grin was over the younger boy's features and his sister was pouting, but her eyes reflected amusement.
Were they flirting!?
What an odd feeling. He wasn't angry, he wasn't jealous, but he wasn't happy either…he was feeling…protective. Ikuto never had to feel that way towards Utau before; usually he was always being defensive around her. Protecting himself against one of her possible 'kiss attacks'. The small pressure of Amu being in his arms brought Ikuto back to his senses. And, as he looked over at his sister, she was moving useless items out of the way; he noted the light blush on her face.
He would have thought more on it, if that annoying little girl hadn't shouted (really loud) that she found something that Amu could sleep on. Slightly surprised by the fact that he wasn't the only one glaring at the girl, Ikuto made his way over to her, wondering what exactly it was that she had found.
Shifting Amu in his arms, her body adjusting itself slightly, Ikuto looked down at a small, folded futon.
He knew that the people Easter hired were idiots, but really…? Did they honestly have a futon in a supply room, he had been hoping, but he hadn't thought that they would find anything like that. Maybe some blankets and that was it. At least now he was confident that they could all get some sleep here.
The people who worked at Easter really were stupid.
Nodding his head at the cherry girl, who then proceeded to scatter away like a scared mouse, Ikuto placed Amu down on the futon. Glad that she could finally get a comfortable rest and that his arms were finally free. Moving both appendages lightly, to make sure that the blood was flowing through them properly, Ikuto took a look around him.
Everyone seemed to be curled up, ready for bed, with mismatched, and extremely thin, blankets spread over them. Reminding himself to have a talk with Utau later (he saw how close she and that Kuukai were resting and he saw the blushes on their faces!) he wondered where he would go to bed.
Tadase seemed to be stuck in another love triangle (who would have thought that such a girly looking boy would get so much attention, and boy, was he quick!) That Rima girl, who was shooting him death glares throughout the whole time he was holding Amu (and who, he was fairly certain, wanted to kill him when Amu had kissed him), was in-between Tadase and that long haired boy, Nagihiko.
Meanwhile, annoying girl was being…well…annoying to Kairi. He felt sorry for the boy. Not only did he have to put up with that girl giving him the 411, and apparently trying to tickle him, but he also had to put up with that obnoxious and train wreck of emotions sister of his. Ikuto gave him a lot of credit; the boy didn't even seem bothered by the girl.
In actuality, most of the little Guardians didn't bother him; just crazy, blondie Rima, Kiddy King Tadase, and annoying-girl-whose-name-he-couldn't-recall-for-the life-of-him-and-didn't-really-care-enough-to-try. He thought briefly about adding Kuukai to that list…but then he realized that he was bias, so he wasn't being all that fair to the kid. So he didn't. Shaking his head, Ikuto went back to thinking about his sleeping arrangement.
Really, there was no other choice.
Curling up next to Amu, on that futon, under the thin, yet warmer-than-the-rest blanket, it was then. This bed was smaller than Amu's. He would have to hold her in his arms to make sure there was enough room for him. A devious expression was etched on his face, he knew it was, and he knew why too. His heart was beating so fast in his chest, it was pounding; so much so it seemed as if the butterflies that most got in their stomach had gotten trapped in his heart instead.
His heart always did this. When he was near Amu, that is.
Teasing her was the only way he could ignore it, the only way he could avoid it, the only way he could get it to calm down. If he didn't tease her, then he wondered if he would ever be able to leave her side. Every time he walked away from her, though he never showed it, he felt so weak. So alone and so frail. But when she was there beside him…
By now, he was sure that his features had behaved themselves and had begun to relax. Sleep was beckoning to him, luring him, and that sweet scent of strawberry that was coming from Amu's hair wasn't helping any either. So, he pulled her tighter to him, buried his nose into her hair. How he wished that they could stay like this forever, that tomorrow morning would never come. Because, when it did…
When it did, when they had all gained their strength, when that man was put into his place, and when Easter was finally destroyed…would they go their separate ways? He brought her even closer, even tighter, and thought briefly that he may be hurting her, but she simply slept on. Giving the girl he loved a smile, it suddenly gained a bittersweet look to it. He wanted her to be the last thing he saw before going to sleep every night and the first thing he saw upon awakening.
She was only twelve years old.
Amu may have a crush on him now, but he was sure that through middle school and then through high school she was bound to find someone that she would love. And he was positive that it wouldn't be him. "As long as she's happy", he's heard men say. Would he really be okay with that? He had no doubt that he would love Amu forever. He had already gone through his crush phase; he already knew what it was like to think you were in love with someone, so he knew.
In school he didn't really have friends, all the guys were mostly 'jealous' of him, and his icy attitude and looks kept the other boys away from him. Never mind the fact that he was smart, he was good in school (even though he skipped a lot) and that made him even more unapproachable. And the females all kept their distance, as if he was some prince that they could only admire but never touch. He even heard about some kind of fan club. It was all so ridiculous!
Amu was the same. At school she was always something that she was not. 'Cool and Spicy', he could remember some of her classmates saying that before. She put on a mask, even in front of her little Guardian 'friends', most of her mask was left in one piece.
Eyes lowering slowly, he continued to examine her face. "'Cool and Spicy', huh." It was more like 'Cute and Sweet'. Or maybe, that was only for him. He hoped so. Just like the rest of the world saw 'Cold and Scary', he showed Amu another side of him. Ikuto had always lifted his mask for her; always let her see his real face beneath.
He would show her his true self, forever, even if she stopped showing her true self to him.
Ikuto's eyelids were just about to cover his dark orbs completely, when his lips uttered the words he constantly thought, but never believed he could say (without it being a tease), "I love you." It had been a whisper.
Amu had heard it.
She stirred in his arms.
Why, out of all the movement and sound, did she decide to wake up when he properly confessed to her? Ikuto found it all to be slightly unfair. Nevertheless, his heart was pounding again, and his eyes were snapped wide open, or so the reflection in Amu's honey brown eyes said so. She hadn't screamed. Like the other time she had found him in her bed, she hadn't even moved yet. Ikuto fleetingly wondered if she was simply in shock.
She wasn't, she was fully aware of what was going on. Her smile was the indication of that.
Amu was inching her head closer to his. Another kiss? Another kiss that she initiated? He didn't like the sound of that. Sweeping down, ending Amu's snail like pace, Ikuto stole her lips with his. It was beyond wonderful. Holding her so close, and warm, in his arms, with her lips gently placed over his. Shyly moving and bashfully exploring.
The minutes passed and after a while his mind was no longer capable of keeping track of how many times their lips had parted and came together again. They were innocent kisses, nothing about them were hot and passionate. They couldn't be. Not yet. And Ikuto was fine with that for now. Amu was still young, he would be happy to kiss in this way for eternity, no matter what his teasing side may say. His thoughts of Amu were always pure.
Parting once more and drawing near, though neither his nor Amu's lips made any move to capture the others, Ikuto finally realized the tangled nature of their limbs. Legs twisted over and under the others, an arm each wrapped around the waist of the other, and the other arm's hands locked in their own embrace. This was the nearest to 'two becoming one' he was going to be getting with Amu for a while. He was content with that.
"I love you too." He was elated with that. His heart was jumping all over his chest. Amu must have heard it. And even though his mind kept reminding him, "She's just twelve; she doesn't know what love is!" He couldn't deny the obvious love that was swimming in her eyes.
She loved him.
He gave her a smile. No hint of his teasing in place. He was showing her beyond the face that lied behind his mask; he was showing her a part of himself that could only be described as his heart. Ikuto was scared of showing her this much, but the smile she was giving back to him…
It was so warm.
"So," she began, "are you Christian?" Her stare was slightly below his eyes, like she was looking at something on his neck.
He hadn't been expecting her to ask something like that. It seemed so random to him. Why would she…
Looking at his neck. His choker.
"My father was."
He had been. Ikuto, himself, wasn't all that religious, especially when it came to some foreign religion, but he always found comfort in the sight of the cross. The presence of a church also helped him. During those times when he felt utterly lost. Not because of some God or Jesus or Maria, but because he remembered his father so clearly then. He could imagine that his father was right there, by his side, and he could let himself hope that he his father was still alive…
Somewhere out there.
He was able to keep those private thoughts close, by wearing the choker that once belonged to his father. Sometimes he felt like giving it to Utau, who had nothing from their father, but whenever he tried…his fingers would never listen to the signals being sent to them. And the choker would continue to rest snug on his neck. Without even meaning to, those signals and his fingers made a clear connection, and before he knew it (and before Amu could protest) the choker was resting on her neck.
It fit her. It fit her perfectly.
"Iku…" He placed a finger to her lips, and shook his head, his lips slightly turned upward.
"I want you to have it." Her lips were parted; ready to object again, "It looks amazing on you. Makes me want to eat you all up." Damn it! There he went, teasing her again, his teeth quickly grabbing hold of the tip of her ear, then letting go. He wasn't supposed to do that.
"Ikuto! You pervert!" Her tone was laughing, teasing him back, she wasn't angry.
He squeezed her hand. "I may be a pervert, but I'm your pervert alone."
"Mine and mine alone." She agreed. Her hand was still in his, and her fingers gave a squeeze back. Their lips doing nothing more than brushing over the others, Ikuto knew then that they would make it. He was a child at heart and a part of Amu's soul was already that of an adult's.
Amu reminding him that she loved him, and doing the same thing back was the last thing he heard before he finally accepted sleeps invitation.
His hand still clasped in hers.
A smirk gracing his features as he thought of what tomorrow morning was going to bring. This time, he wasn't afraid, because Amu was going to be by his side.
A/N: So, that's it. I actually like how it turned out in the end, but I always value what you, the readers, think of it. So, please tell me in a review, and take care!
-LilyGinnyBlack- : )