A/N: I'm so sorry.
Really, really sorry.
"I love you, okay?!" I shouted, stumbling back and feeling my cheeks go red. "... oh yeah, and I hope you die." I added, somewhat contradicting my statement. After fifty chapters of whining, the words were out and hanging between us. I could actually hear 'love you! love you!' echoing in the faraway mountains.
"What?" Nagihiko said softly.
"Don't say 'WHAT' like some kind of stupid idiot," I said, wishing that there was a paper bag lying around somewhere that I could hyperventilate into. "Isn't it obvious?"
"Do you have a paper bag?"
He acted like he didn't even hear me, just still had the anticlimactic shock look on his face.
"What's with that face?" I demanded. Although I shouldn't have said that, because I still looked like I had a tomato for a head. "Everything was there, you really should have seen, the fangirls were going insa – " And this is where my sentence cuts off.
Because, the reason I was forced to stop my dialogue there was because I was unable to finish. And I was unable to finish because Nagihiko stepped forward in one swift motion, pulled my face forward and kissed me so hard that I couldn't breathe.
(For the record, it was probably really bad for my health).
His nails dug into the skin under my jaw as he kissed me harder and more breathlessly, and almost unconsciously I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back, blissfully, innocently... (well, no. not that innocently. Just humor me, why don't you).
After a while, he got bored of chaste kissing, so experimentally he ran his tongue over my bottom lip. My body reacted instinctively; my mouth immediately opened and his tongue playfully caught mine. As quickly as it had started, he pulled his mouth away and I (what was I thinking?) gave out a little cry of disappointment before he started kissing the base of my throat. As I pulled up my head to give him better access, that was when...
... it hit me.
It wasn't like this was just something that could happen and forget about tomorrow (believe me; I had long ago worked out the fantasy of having no-strings-attached sex with Nagihiko but it basically just... no). Actually, once this in-between moment finished Nagihiko would undoubtedly – unless the little sneak had already read my mind – find out that I loved him and then... suddenly my blood ran cold. Because I was suddenly completely aware of why KusuKusu had disappeared, and why... Kanon had fallen silent.
(A/N: Oh shit, I've totally forgotten about Kanon. Wish I had cut her out of the story but yadda yadda oh well)
"No," I mumbled, pushing at Nagihiko's chest, and he stumbled back a couple steps. "Rima?"
"I..." I tried to swallow the insanity that was building up in my throat (A/N: Holyshit this is getting angsty, what the hell am I writing?) and shook my head a couple times. "This can never happen. Nagi – Fujisaki-san, this will never work."
He probably almost gagged when I used his last name (I sure know I did). Before he could do anything more than look like he swallowed a bunch of marbles I ran. He could have caught up to me if he wanted, he could have chased after me if he really cared, because everyone knew that I couldn't run to save my life.
And I kept running.
By now this entry's getting pretty dramatic, but whatever. The point is, I ran faster and farther and longer than I ever had in my miserable, heartbreaking life, and I reaped the consequences by stumbling to a stop with two stitches on either side of my ribs and a hurting throat. And then I saw a creepy shadow come up behind me.
Five Minutes Later
... which decides to tell me AFTER I've screamed and slapped him that the creepy shadow is indeed Ikuto.
"Rima?!" he spluttered, nursing a red mark on his shoulder. "What are... where's Fujisaki?"
"None of your business."
He seemed taken aback by my cold attitude, but seemed to think better of shutting up, unfortunately. "What are you doing here?"
"Running away – what does it look like?" I snapped.
"So Fujisaki... told you?" his face was unreadable, as usual.
"Told me what?" I asked testily.
"Nothing. Never mind."
"Yes he did," I muttered darkly.
"Oh, so he did?" I had forgotten that he still had kitty hearing, and I flushed. "Good for him. So what are you doing here?"
"Running away." I looked straight at him, and to my mild interest he was actually looking rather sympathetic. Which was amazingly OOC for Mr. Stoic. "Really?"
"And what's that going to fix?" he lazily held up his head in one hand. "You'll have to go home, eventually. You'll have to go to school, eventually. And you'll have to talk to him. Eventually."
"Throw in one more eventually for the road, please?" I said sarcastically, but he just looked at me.
"You can't run away from your problems."
I gaped at him for a minute, but he kept talking. "You know, when I was your age..."
"The hell? You're not that much older than me! Stop sounding like an old man."
"When I was your age – well, maybe older, I used to think that running away would solve everything as well. As it turns out, it just hurt the people I cared about most."
I just stared at him. He was getting all misty-eyed, not to mention rather creeping me out. "... and besides..."
"You know, you could always just tell Amu that you like her," I blurted out. And proceeded to want to hit myself.
Looking startled for a minute, he turned his head away. "You sound like Fujisaki."
"Great minds think alike?" I stood up.
"Where are you going?"
I felt like smiling, like the sick old dopey idiot I was inside, but instead I ran off (leaving Ikurin to emo by himself. I could practically hear the angst).
I was a coward. Why did I run away? I felt a sickening lurch. It was so easy to forget that I loved him, not when he acted normal, but when he... I touched my bottom lip quickly but pulled it away again. Argh. I was already acting disgustingly cute. Deep down, I knew that I would put Nagihiko first, before my charas. How ironic – he was the one I thought I hated. How long had it been since he was that nasty new boy that was a friend-snatcher?
Well, that didn't matter, because now I could confess how much I loved hi –
I let out a muffled moé sound somewhere between a wail and a sob as I tripped over my feet and doubled over, catching my breath. Dammit! How could my non-athletic body and useless chibi legs get in the way of me and Nagihiko?
Somebody owes me big-time for this.
I shakily got up again, this time at a dignified walk.
Five Minutes Later
Oh my god.
KusuKusu and Kanon have Xs.
I... don't know how.
I think I feel kind of...
Maybe I should go to sleep, although I should probably solve this little X-egg problem first.
I reluctantly got out my cell phone and dialed somebody's number. I forget who, actually. I just remember somebody picking up and saying sharply, "Rima?!"
Conversation went a bit like this.
Person: This is Rima, right? Where are you? Are you okay? Where did you go? Your mom's been calling like crazy, this—
Me: I think...
Person: Think? There's no time to be thinking!! [PERSON takes deep breath] Look, I'm really sorry that... that... has messed up our relationship, I know it was really terrible of me, but please just come ho-
Me: I think I have two X-eggs.
Person: [Makes lethal-sounding choking noise] WHAT?!
Me: KusuKusu... she has... an X... and... so does Kanon. And I feel sleepy. Do you feel sleepy? Because I feel very sleepy like I could fall asleep standing up. Like a horse—
Line goes dead.
A Million Minutes Later
I think I will go to sleep.
I've just woken up, and I can't see anything.
Hence, why my writing's CRAPPP and probably going off the lines.
But I can hear voices.
Lots and lots of voices.
Too many voices.
Going to sleep.
I think Later? Maybe Later? LONG TIME LATER
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
I have to start from the very beginning.
... Er, to be blunt, Ikuto saved my charas. Same with Amu.
Ow, my head hurts. MUST KEEP WRITING.
It was Nagihiko I called. Obviously, or else there wouldn't have been any story. NAGIHIKO!! Is my phone out to kill me? So being all OCD and responsible and stuff, he appears to have called up half the cast of Shugo Chara. Including Ikuto, who told him exactly where I was. Thanks a lot, Ikurin... I'll let you decide whether or not that's sarcasm.
And Amu, being Amu, totally spazzed out and worked off her steam by having several consecutive monologues about her feelings before running off like a maniac and bumping into several other frantic Guardians. Frantic people! All I see is frantic people.
Did I mention that I'm lying on cement? And nobody's noticed that I'm awake yet because they're so frantic?! I think I'm in... a cul-de-sac. Nice.
Anyway. They managed to find me. Where I was... sleepwalking.
No. That's a lie. I thought I feel asleep, but really I was spouting crap about how useless I was. Having somebody inform you of things like this you said that you don't remember is kind of... creepy.
Anyway, I got to be Filler Character of the Week by having Amu do negative heart. ON ME! ON ME! I mean, I know she's supposed to be the heroine and stuff but it's slightly degrading to have to be saved like that.
Understatement. VERY DEGRADING.
AJLASJDHFLWEIE I—UH, I THINK I BETTER FINISH THAT STORY SO I CAN GET TO NEW DEVELOPMENTS.
And so then, I woke up and started wailing about how I couldn't see anything. And somebody was so kindly happy to inform me that it was because I hadn't opened my eyes.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," I said angrily, rubbing at my eyes. "Next time I'll be sure to ask—Oh."
I quickly shut up as soon as I opened my eyes, because it was... Nagihiko. Looking quite pissed off.
"What's with you?" I asked, turning my face.
"What do you think?"
"Maybe," he said, looking excessively aggressive, "It's because you ran off to the other side of the bloody town and let me worry? Or, gee, maybe it's because you led me on, like some kind of shameless—"
"I wasn't leading you on," I said furiously, sitting up and feeling rather dizzy.
"Yes you were!" Stubbornly.
"If anything, YOU were the one who was shamelessly flirting the whole time, it was sickening-"our voices had risen to shouting.
"Oh, really?!" he snarled. I saw Amu staring at me, openmouthed, and Yaya looked like she was about to cry. "Who was the one that kissed me that time?!"
"You had kissed me before!"
"That was a dare!"
"Oh, so you couldn't have just backed out?!"
"Of course I couldn't, you don't understand, and I obviously wanted it—besides, you kissed me too! Non-consensual!"
"That was a present! I IMPROVIZED, DAMMIT!"
"I hope you spelled that I-M-P-R-O-V-I-S-E-D" (I didn't) "And besides, you were always clinging to me – who did you run to when something scared you?!"
"I wasn't scared!"
"Really? You sure looked scared to me!"
"Go to hell," I snarled. For a minute, I thought he was going to hit me and I regretted being so cross with him. But instead, he kissed me so hard that our teeth clashed together and I gave out an insistent muffled noise. Pulling away, I sputtered, "What the hell was that for?!"
Nagihiko looked just as shocked as me, as if I was the one that had initiated it. Slowly, he took a step back. "I'm sorry," he whispered, looking all for the world like a small child who had done something bad. "Don't hate me."
"I don't hate you," I said automatically, dimly aware of a sputtering Amu and a Yaya who had somehow gotten a pair of 3D glasses on her face and was throwing popcorn into her mouth. "I never would, and you know that."
"I love you," the words were out so much easier then I had anticipated, just slipping out casually like I was talking about the weather. "So... I'm sorry... for... running away."
He looked mildly surprised, as if I had announced that I wanted to work with the poor and needy in Africa or something. Hastily covering it up, he nodded. "Yeah," he agreed, simply. "I can see why you did."
"... Really?" I stared at him shyly.
"Obviously. Your charas... They might have..." He seemed to remember something, and paled. "Rima."
"What is it?"
"KusuKusu and Kanon. They're... they're gone. They disappeared... back... into you... after Amu purified them."
And that was when I fainted.
BLOODY FUCKING LATER.
When I woke up, I was in a darkened room, feeling very warm. There was a pillow behind my head, which felt like it was made of lead (my head did, not the pillow).
And I felt... emotionally drained, somehow. Empty, but full at the same time, and a bit lightheaded despite the bowling ball that was my head. As I sat up straighter, I could feel a warmth on my feet and I saw an orange-and-white ball of fur sleeping on my toes.
I was home. In my bedroom. In my bed.
I strained my ears listening for any sounds, and heard murmurs reach my ears from downstairs. The longer I listened, the more clear the owners of the voices became in my head. At one point, I thought I heard two people interject and my mother's soft voice, and sometimes I even thought I heard the silky voice of Ikuto, mingling in with Amu's and what sounded like Yaya. What were they doing? Why were my friends talking with my mother?
"No!" a voice shouted loudly from downstairs, and I heard another soft voice shush the other hurriedly. "Do you want to wake her up?!"
There was several more voices talking over each other, the creaking of a chair sitting back, the padding of feet to a cupboard. More humming of talk, soft dreamlike voices that were tempting me back to sleep but were too good to pass up.
Finally, I heard the same gentle voice go, "I'll check on her," and feet approach my door. A thin, sharp blade of yellow-gold light made a strip across my carpet and up over my bedsheets, as Bakatan lifted his head dimly and regarded the new stranger with citrine (Nagihiko Word) eyes.
God, I feel like I'm writing a harlequin romance or something.
The figure came right up to my bedside, hair swishing softly, and he knelt down. "Rima?"
"Nagihiko," I said quietly, wrapping my arms around his neck automatically, and he pressed my shoulders down. "Sleep. You've had a long day."
"I..." suddenly, it all came back to me, and I fell forward. "I---" tears suddenly overflowed, and I found myself suddenly bursting into loud hysterical sobs. "Gone—"
"Shhhhh!" He shushed me, cradling my head against his chest like a mother would. The ongoing muffled speech going on downstairs stopped for a minute, but started up again at a rapid pace after several moments of silence. "You don't need to be worrying your mother more," he said into my hair. "She's having a difficult enough time as it is."
I was still crying – there goes another uniform shirt of Nagihiko's – and it was another long silence until I managed to swallow the lump in my throat and speak. "Who's down there?"
"Amu. Ikuto. Yaya. Kukai and Utau are... dealing with things." He started petting my head absent-mindedly – how long had it been since he had done that? "You won't believe this, but Ikuto's mother... papers... divorce... well, Easter. It's gone. Ikuto... he's the... director."
I gave a muffled cry of surprise, and his fingers tightened on the back of my neck. I felt his body quietly tumble down onto my bed without a second thought, still running his fingers through my hair in an almost dreamlike fashion.
"Wait," I said softly. "Why is Amu and Yaya and... whatever, why are they talking with... my mother?"
"We're telling her," he said plainly.
"How is she... is she..."
Nagihiko tilted his head up, and I pulled my face away and stared at him – just stared at him. He was looking out the window, to the gibbous moon that was shining through the a thin layer of clouds. No stars. "We're not sure yet. She's very quiet. At the beginning, she was ready to dial the therapist's number – because really, who wouldn't when confronted by people who claim to listen to invisible little people?" he gave a soft chuckle. "She's coming round. Not particularly sleepy or freaked out." It made me stop and wonder – it was a side of Mama I had never seen when she was living with my father. It almost made me speculate for a minute over how she might have had a guardian character herself as a child. "But, let's stop talking about that, for now. I wanted to talk about something else."
"Like...?" I wiped my eyes on my sleeve. I was in pajamas. Please to god, let it have been Amu or Utau that undressed me-
"Us." I nearly choked, more memories crowding into my brain noisily like at a subway station. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
"Don't swear." Shit.
"I... I'm sorry."
"That's not it!" his voice rose a little, but he dropped it quickly by the end of the sentence. It made his voice crack slightly like he was hitting puberty or something. "Rima, I love you. A lot. It started out, so small, and sometimes... I'd have tiny inklings... but it was so little to keep my interest alive on. But I just... couldn't stop... after a while, I had to accept it."
I tightened my arms around his neck. "Stupid Tadase," he muttered darkly. Imitating a high whiny voice, he said, " 'Why're you so angry that I asked her out, Fujisaki-san? You shouldn't have a problem with it, unless you actually like her. Which you obviously do.' He did not have to... am not jealous..."
I felt my face heat up. "Can you say it again?"
"That whole speech?!"
I rested my head in the crook of his neck, feeling almost like it fit there perfectly. "Only the important part."
"I... I love you."
"I love you."
"Agai—" "Rima, how long are you going to make me say it?"
"Just one more time!"
He sighed, curling a piece of my hair around his finger as he pulled me closer to him. The talking had stopped, but there was a quiet clink of dishware. No! I remember dimly thinking in the midst of my bliss. Not the food processor!
"I love you."
Like I said. Really sorry. If you forgive me, I'll love you forever and give you a virtual cookie. And I'm so sorry, my writing style suddenly changes all randomly at the end and I'm like SOB WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ILLITERATE RI-RI-TAN I LOVE?!
Anyhoo. Other stuff:
Good Lord, I cracked 800 reviews! Thank you, everyone, I feel like my life's complete.
Oh yeah... I may not have told you this, guys, but spamming my inbox doesn't really make me want to update. It was hard to write this – I had to sit down and think hard about how I wanted to end this, how it needed to feel like the fall of an era but a new beginning and make sure that RiRi and Nagi were very much in love n'all that and-- /rambles. BUTBUT, many thanks to RimaxNagi for nagging and xLinaChamax for not nagging at all. You are my twin betas of loveliness *hugs*. //SEE NOW DON'T YOU FEEL BETTER FOR PUTTING UP WITH MAI CRAP?//
My next story: *shudder* OH, MY GOD, MY NEXT STORY. WILL. BE. WAY. BETTER. I'm sure you think RiRiKan't was great and all, but after rereading it I'm quite humiliated to go through a lot of the chapters. I mean, the OOCness goes off the scale. Sure, a bit of character manipulation is good but this is ridiculous. Plus, a lot of it was inconsistent with what the anime revealed later, which forced me to leave some plot holes. It was so freaking difficult to end this thing. And sorry, by the way. I got a handful of requests to continue it, but... I just couldn't stand this thing going on any longer. If you like, feel free to write a sequel if you want. Better you than me.
Haha. The kiss scene(s?) = bunch of random borderline-M moments strung together crappily. Um, it was fail. Sorry. I wrote that... a long time ago. *fails x1000*