Be My Daddy
"Mama, I'm back!" Ryuzaki Choutaro gave a peck on Ryuzaki Sakuno's cheek who was folding their laundry. "Hey, Choutaro. How was tennis?" She asked as she turned around to see her son. How wide her eyes opened as she saw the bruises on her one and only Choutaro. "Choutaro, what did you get yourself in to? Are you okay?" grinning goofily, Choutaro looked at Sakuno in her eyes. His hazel eyes glinting with excitement.
"Mama, you're not gonna believe what happened! Something happened!" He exclaimed as he jumped around excitedly. Sakuno chuckled as she saw how excited her son was. "What was that something that had to be hard to believe? UFOs?" She chuckled more at the end of her words. Choutaro shook his head vigorously and suprisingly he sandwiched his Mama's face between his two small hands.
"Chouta meet Echigoya Ryoma!"
Sakuno frowned at the name. "Echigoya?" Choutaro tilted his head when the name didn't sound right. "No, the man that save Chouta was... Echi? Echizen.... Ryoma?hmm... Yes! That's it, Echizen Ryoma! Chouta met Echizen Ryoma!" Choutaro exclaimed and suddenly leaped into Sakuno's embrace. "And he told Chouta to be a man! He was like, 'Otoko ni naruya', he was totally COOL!" the urchin of seven exclaimed as he mimicked Ryoma's words with a low-pitched voice which he failed miserably but continued to jump around anyway.
'Echizen... Ryoma? Ryoma-kun?' Tears swelled up in her eyes after so many years. Choutaro stopped abruptly as he saw his Mama's eyes getting watery. "Ne, Mama? Why there is water in your eyes?" He asked, with the usual innocent grammar errors in his sentences.
"No, nothing. Um, Choutaro?" Sakuno stood up as she wiped her eyes with the hem of her sleeve. Choutaro wrapped his arms around Sakuno's waist, staring at her with his usual apologetic eyes. Sakuno smiled warmly as the boy blinked innocently at her. "Why don't you take a bath, okay?" The little boy nodded instantly and quickly scrambled upstairs.
Sakuno sighed heavily as she heard Choutaro's door being closed. "Ryoma-kun... he's back?" She murmured to herself as she sat on the couch. The telephone rang, making the 25 year-old jump suddenly. Sakuno sighed relieved as she picked up the receiver.
"Hey, it's obaa-chan." An old voice answered warmly.
"Um... what's the matter?" Sakuno tried to sound calm, like she always did.
"I was wondering... the house next to yours is empty, right?"
"Of course, I'm renting it. Why?" A relieved sigh was heard at the other end as Sakuno made the statement.
"Thank god. Well, somebody's renting it for three months. You okay with that?"
Sakuno's eyes shone as she heard her grandmother. Rent meant money to her. It'd been a while since people rented the two-storey house. Not that she wasn't capable of finding money, she's even a middle school teacher so she had money. But who doesn't like money, right?
"Of course, I'm okay with that. When is the person coming?"
"He's coming today. You've cleaned up the place, right?"
"I clean it every day!" Sakuno chuckled at the answer. She didn't know why she was acting all high, maybe it was because finally somebody would rent her house after quite a while.
"Well then, I'll be at your house around eight, okay?"
Sakuno stretched her arms as she hung up. "Three months, eh? I wonder..." She rolled up her sleeves and hurriedly brought the piles of fresh cleaned clothes upstairs into her bedroom. After a few minutes Sakuno tidied the living room, Choutaro quickly scrambled downstairs ready in his blue cotton pajamas. "Mama, Chouta ready and clean!" He hugged Sakuno from the back as he said so. The brown-haired woman yelped. "Hey, that was fast." She ruffled the boy's head lightly.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. "Chouta get it!" The boy scrambled like a cockroach to get the door. "WHOA!" He exclaimed. Sakuno frowned as the boy was rudely jumping about excitedly at the door. "Choutaro, behave yourself-Eh?"
Sakuno froze as she saw the person standing at the door.
Ryuzaki Sumire rubbed her hands vigorously together as the spring breeze blew. "It's so cold out here." She complained as she blowed at her hands. Heavy steps were heard suddenly, catching her attention. Realizing who it was, Sumire waved her hands frantically at the person.
"Yo, Ryoma!" The said name lifted his head as he heard the familiar voice. He smirked at the sight of his former coach. "Ryuzaki-sensei is still the same." He answered with a toneless voice. Sumire patted his back as he stood by her side, coughing lightly at the unbelievably strong pat. "And you're still as cold as ever! I was just about to ring the doorbell." She said as she pressed a small button embedded in the wall next to the doorframe.
Light footsteps were heard before the door opened to reveal a familiar little boy who adressed Ryuzaki-sensei as "Sumi-chan!" Ryoma blinked his eyes as he saw the boy. "You..." He tilted his head at the boy. Choutaro who was hugging Sumire by the waist turned to Ryoma.
"WHOA!" The boy exclaimed, startling Ryoma with his high-pitched voice. Small hands pulled Ryoma's adult hands, urging him into his house. "C'mon, Chouta wanna show you to Mama!" Ryoma blinked, unsure what to do. He turned to Sumire, a frown forming on his forehead. The old woman stood by the door, chuckling by herself.
"Choutaro, behave yourself- Eh?"
Dore dake aruite, kitan darou
Ryuzaki Sakuno froze as she saw the familiar man by the door, Choutaro's small hands wrapped around his thumb, pulling him in.
furimuitara namida no ato
"Ryoma…kun…" His name came out in a whisper.
The familiar hazel feline eyes, the same raven hair, the unchanged structure of his strong jawbone...
She knew there and then, it was Ryoma.
ima koko ni kimi ga iru...
Brown eyes gazed into hazel feline eyes. Ryoma's lips immediately seemed hard to utter a word as he heard that warm voice of hers.
He missed that voice.
"Ryoma-kun, when are you leaving?" She asked through the phone. Ryoma took a deep breath as he twisted the doorknob.
kimi dake sa
"Today." He answered. He could hear her quiet tears.
itsudemo motome sugite...
"Sakuno..." He said, finally getting her name right.
"We'll meet again-"
"No." She cut in his words.
kimi nashi ja
She didn't want to be heartbroken again. If he said that they will meet again, she'll just love him again and be heartbroken again.
imi nai yo
"From now on... let's just live our own lives... ne?" She said, her voice sounded calm. "Gomen, Ryoma-kun... to be saying such things..."
"I should apologize..." He said, his voice was deep and hoarse.
"Bye..." He murmured before he hesitantly hung up.
Mirai nante kimi nashi ja
A bitter smile found its way to Sakuno's face.
Sumire sighed again. She patted Ryoma's shoulder as she stood up. "I'm sorry, Ryoma. But my house is at Tokyo. And you have to stay here to practice with Tezuka." The tennis-pro shrugged. "It's okay, I'll figure a way."
"Take care. And I'm sorry, about Sakuno." The last words were mumbled. Ryoma heard it though, pretending to not hear.
Sighing, the unlucky tennis star laid down on the wooden floor of the steamhouse. Men wrapped half naked in towels walked by, not noticing the tennis star who was laying around in a corner, wondering of a place to stay.
He smirked. He was actually trying to keep his cool, from being rejected by Sakuno. He never thought that the so-called house owner had to be Sakuno. And when she saw him, she quickly changed her mind and then said that there was somebody using that house for a business trip. He should've seen that coming. "That old hag." He mumbled tonelessly. Being so confident about him having a place to stay and ended dumping him at a steamhouse.
Then a light bulb appeared in his head.
He suddenly got an idea. Quickly, his fingers dialed Tezuka's number.
"Hello, Tezuka here."
"It's me, Echizen."
There was a short silence before Tezuka spoke up.
"Ah, I tried calling you but I couldn't get through."
"What is it about?"
"You're staying with me next month, so don't worry about accommodations and stuff."
"Wait, did you say next month?"
"Echizen, you're in Japan... right?"
"Of course, why?"
"I'm still in Germany, I'll not be back till next month."
Ryoma sweatdropped. The sound of Tezuka heaving a sigh was heard through the phone.
"So... I've got the wrong information, right?" Ryoma asked calmly.
"Sorry, Echizen." Tezuka apologized curtly and then hung up.
Ryoma scratched his head, searching for a solution. "I think I don't have a choice, eh?" Another set of numbers was dialed again. The receiver answered.
"Ah, Ryuzaki-sensei? This is Ryoma."
Sakuno gently ran her hand through Choutaro's soft hair. With a gentle touch, she caressed his cheek and gave a peck. The sleeping toddler stirred a bit as she carefully stood up to switch off the lights.
"Goodnight, Choutaro." She whispered before carefully closing the door. Just as Sakuno turned around, there stood Sumire just behind her, a finger on her lips to tell the startled Sakuno to keep quiet. "Obaa-chan, you scared me!" Sakuno lightly tapped the older Ryuzaki's shoulder. "Let's go to the living room first." Sumire whispered to her granddaughter and led her downstairs.
"Ne, why're you here?" Sakuno urged Sumire as the old woman sat down on the couch next to somebody. "Ryoma-kun?" The dumbfounded woman stared at the now standing tennis player, slightly bowing politely at her. She didn't bat an eyelid.
"Obaa-chan..." Sakuno turned to her grandmother, a slight blush crept under her eyes as she noticed she stared at Ryoma unblinking. Sumire smiled and started massaging Sakuno's sagged shoulders gently. "Well, I gave Ryoma the wrong information, and he has no place to stay..." Sakuno's head shot up. "No way." She said firmly as she turned to Sumire. Ryoma gave an inaudible sigh. Crossing his fingers in his pockets, he prayed silently for Sakuno's approval. Maybe it'd seemed to be pathetic, but he had no choice, for now.
Sumire looked into Sakuno's eyes, searching for a suitable reason to let Ryoma stay in the house for quite a period. "Well, how should I put it..." Sumire mused as she looked over to Ryoma who had his eyes shielded underneath his raven bangs.
"It's okay." Suddenly a male voice spoke up.
The two Ryuzaki women turned to the man, brows slightly frowning. Sumire walked to Ryoma, steadily patted her hand on his shoulder. "Where will you stay?" She asked. Shrugging, Echizen Ryoma started to make a move to the door. "Somewhere." He said, a hint of pain in his husky voice.
No way in hell...
Sakuno wasn't going to care for him again.
'Let him go, Sakuno! For god's sake, he can find a place to stay somehow!'
Sakuno sighed heavily.
"W-Wait." Sakuno quickly grabbed his calloused hand. Avoiding his eyes, she slightly stuttered out. "We-Well... I have another empty room, a master bedroom... since next door is already rented... I guess you don't have a choice but... but make sure..." She quickly snatched her hand back as she realized she was holding onto him. Blushing furiously, Sakuno looked away.
"Ill make sure he pays the rent, Sakuno." Sumire chuckled as she wrapped an arm around Sakuno's shoulders. "So, I'll leave him to you, 'kay?" Sakuno's head shot up. 'Leave him to me? That has such a deep meaning...' She blushed harder at the thought.
"So... where is it?" Ryoma asked as he casually slung his bags on his shoulder. Sumire gave a peck on her granddaughter's cheek before she walked out of Sakuno's house. The air between the two ex-lovers stilled. Only the sound of the clock ticking ridiculously loud irritated both pairs of ears.
"Um... Here, follow me." She hesitantly led Ryoma upstairs as the blush faded. Silently the two walked upstairs, not uttering a word. Ryoma had the urge to ask her about Choutaro, but at that moment, he couldn't talk. He knew he couldn't talk normally in such a state where Sakuno was treating him like an outsider.
"Here, this door." Sakuno motioned towards a wooden door painted light blue. She gave a quick bow before she left Ryoma. Just when Ryoma started to twist the doorknob, he paused.
"About Choutaro..." He suddenly spoke up, freezing Sakuno in her tracks. Slowly, she turned around, her chest thumping very hard. Locking gazes with Sakuno's brown eyes, his lips bitterly turned up one-sided. "Is he... yours?" He asked, a hint of pang heard in his deep voice. He tried to control the way he sounded, not too disappointed, not too uncaring.
Sakuno looked away before she answered with a sad smile across her lips. "He's Tomoka's..." Ryoma's heart felt relieved for a split second, but then he asked. "Where is she?"
Tears welled up in her eyes. Why? Why on earth was she crying for? Why did she feel weak whenever he talked to her?
"Tomo's... gone..." She answered, her eyes hidden underneath her bangs, her small hands balled into fists. Hatred once again fueled in herself after eight long years of endurance.
The hazel eyes widened a fraction. What happened when he wasn't there? How was his friends doing? He wondered...
"How was everyone?" he asked, nearing the distance between them as he put down his bags. He reached out for Sakuno's hand uncertainly, to wipe off the single tear that ran down her facade.
hirahira ochiru kono yuki no you ni
kimi e no omoi furi tsumotte yuku
"Saeki…" Sakuno spoke up, her voice trembling. "He dated Tomo-chan in high school… But it didn't last long though." Ryoma gazed at the woman in front him. He could've guessed what happened next. "And then?" He still asked.
osoro no yubiwa nigirishimeru to
kimi no nukumori ima demo mada aru you de
"Underage pregnancy… her father said that when he threw Tomo-chan out." She snorted. "That man flew all the way to Germany and left Tomo-chan crying in her bed alone at nights. He wasn't even there when…" She stopped as her voice cracked again, her chest ached so much when she remembered the hard days Tomoka went through.
hirahira ochiru ano yuki wo mou
futari de mireru koto wa nai keredo
"Saku..."Ryoma turned to her and gazed into her eyes. He brought his hand up and wiped off the tears streaming down Sakuno's face.
aishi atta hibi wa mudajyanai kara
kakegae no nai takara mono ni narun dayo
"A few months after she gave birth to Chouta, she died…" She gently removed Ryoma's hand and moved a step backward. "Why didn't you tell me?" Ryoma asked in a whisper.
moshimo negai ga kanau no naraba
mou ichidou dake nante iwanai yo
His heart hurt too, for Tomoka was his friend too, even though he never said it. Deep down he was very thankful to her for uniting him and Sakuno before.
semete bokura ga meguriau mae ni
"You never called, Ryoma-kun. I've waited…" She turned to him, a painful smile on her lips
modoshite hoshii kitto konna itami wa nai kara
"If I haven't met you, maybe all of this wouldn't have happened, right?" She said before she turned around and disappeared into her bedroom.
Ryoma took a glance at the door opposite of him. "Sorry, you two." He finally said before he closed the door.
Song by Tegoshi Yuya, Nishikido Ryo and Kato Shige; entitled – Pain.
Woohoo! Go Roku! Finally! I finished this chap, I just got stuck with homework and schoolwork and my water-rocket project. Well, the rocket isn't official yet but it still needed some painstaking research, yah! Now, moving on to the subject. This chappie is supposed to be the beginning of the rising feelings between Sakuno and Ryoma (Wohooo... what does that mean, ne?). I hope this chap isn't that heavy, or too choppy (whatever that means ~). So don't be shy and please review!(in a good way, that is)
Rokugo, Signing off. .-