AN: I finished Bokura Ga Ita this weekend and it's been stuck in my mind since then, so when I accidentally woke up early I went to my computer and spat this out. SPOILERS FOR VOLUME 8. I was really upset that Yano left and I read the end of volume 8 where she says that was the last time she saw him, so this is based off of that as a scenario, where Nana is 21 in college in Sapporo and is seeing Takeuchi. I haven't read further in the series past where the anime ends (nor do I want to, as I enjoy what sanity I've got) so this might be AU. Regardless, enjoy!
I was walking down a side road off campus when I saw Yano.
We both stopped dead in our tracks.
Yano, my first love. Yano, my on-off boyfriend all through high school. Yano, the boy whose last girlfriend was a cheat. Whose last girlfriend died in a car crash. Who still had had feelings for. Whose younger sister he had slept with.
Yano, who had kissed me under the stars that night and told me he believed in eternity.
Yano, who fell for flighty women but ended up being hurt by them.
Yano, who had moved to Tokyo senior year after his mom's divorce, whose train I had chased as far as I could with tears streaming down my face as it sped away, as Yano ran to the back of the train for one last glimpse of the girlfriend he was leaving behind.
I was 21 now, a college student, an adult. He was an adult now too: His face was a little older, he was a little taller, he had lost some of the childish innocence that I remembered in my dreams. But he was as handsome as ever, and despite my better judgment—as if I had any control over it—my heart skipped a beat.
"Takahashi," he said, sounding surprised. I couldn't imagine why he was surprised to find me when he knew what college I attended in Sapporo.
"Y-Yano," I stammered, unsure where to begin with him. Where had things ended?
"Long time no see." And there was the smile that made me melt. It hadn't changed at all. That smile could make me do anything.
"Long time no see," I answered. "What are you doing in Sapporo?"
"Just…stuff," he grinned. "How have you been?"
"I've been good," I replied. I wasn't used to this, always being off guard. But I remembered that was the effect Yano had on me. That was the biggest difference between him and Takeuchi: With Takeuchi, I never had to leave my comfort zone—he caved in any argument, he lived to make me smile, he watched over me with that soothing voice of his. Yano made me smile, laugh, cry; with him my heart trembled, and I couldn't hold anything back in front of him. His love was powerful.
"Glad to hear it," he said genuinely. "I was hoping I'd run into you."
"Why's that?" I faked a casual air.
The question seemed to trouble him. He answered slowly, "Rumor has it you're seeing Takeuchi these days."
"Mm…Oh! No, it's not like we got together when you left, I—"
"I know, I know," he said with a weak smile, waving away my protests.
I took a deep breath and steadied my eyes on the ground, afraid of how he would respond as I said, "After I heard about you and Yamamoto-san…"
His eyebrows raised. "Me and…Yamamoto-san?" I looked up at him. "What are you talking about? Nothing happened between me and Yamamoto-san."
I gave him a look that he understood. "Recently," he elaborated.
"But she went to college in Tokyo so you—"
"I have no feelings for Yamamoto Yuri." His smile faded only slightly, but his eyes were hard. "Anything I did with her was…well, it was out of sympathy. I was hurt and lonely, and she was too. She hasn't changed, though…and I have."
"Back then—" I tried to remember her words. "She said she knew you better than me. Because she had been with you back then."
Yano's warm eyes called mine and I couldn't look away. "Yamamoto-san has suffered a lot. She understands suffering." He stepped closer to me and hesitated, then took my hands gently in his. "She doesn't know how to make a person happy."
My throat choked up, but I fought the tears down. I wasn't an overemotional girl of 17 anymore.
"You made me happy." He smiled nostalgically. "You made me so happy I couldn't take it. I thought I was wrong for you, I thought I didn't deserve you because of my past. I wanted to hurry up and become an adult so I could take care of you and protect you like you deserve to be protected."
I knew my words stung, but I said them. "Takeuchi-kun protects me now."
He flinched. He sighed but it still seemed to pain him. "I'm not going to try to steal you from him. Takeuchi is a good guy, and he will take care of you better than I did." Then his eyes met mine again. "But not better than I can."
My heart fluttered at the thought of being with Yano again. I wavered. Takeuchi and I weren't that serious in our relationship—we had been friends for years, of course, but we had only started dating six months ago. Yano had never come back, and slowly he stopped calling, and slowly I stopped waiting for him to. It had seemed futile to wait for someone you only spoke to for a few minutes a week, someone who had chosen to leave you to take care of another, someone who was never coming back. Takeuchi was there, he was gentle, he had waited for me. Had he taken advantage of my weakness like he used to when Yano was around? But Yano would only hurt me again, I told myself. He had left me.
"You—you left me," I echoed my thoughts aloud and realized tears were streaming down my face.
"Nana-chan." He pulled my hands closer and wrapped me in a tight hug. My hands clung to the back of his jacket as I buried my face in his shoulder. My chest heaved as all the achingly painful and amazingly happy memories came flooding back and I realized I still loved him.
"Takeuchi told me that sometimes what's most important isn't always the most right," he murmured in my ear. "Staying with Yamamoto-san in the hospital was right, but you were the most important. Going with my mom to Tokyo was the most right, but you were the most important. You still are the most important person to me."
He released me only to place a hand gently at the back of my head and kiss me tenderly on the lips. I thought my heart might stop; I'm sure for a second it did. Fireworks exploded before my eyes. Kissing Takeuchi was just as gentle, but it was nothing like this.
As he pulled away, my cell phone rang cheerfully in my coat pocket, ignorant of the emotional scene it was interrupting. Muttering an apology I answered it without thinking.
It was Takeuchi-kun.
"Takahashi, where are you?"
My eyes could only stare at Yano. He looked slightly on edge, as if he had heard Takeuchi's voice too. But he was still holding my free hand.
"U-um, I just ran into an old friend. Go on without me, I'll meet up with you later," I heard myself say.
Takeuchi made a noise that sounded slightly surprised, slightly annoyed. He could have no idea who I was seeing, probably only concerned that our plans were being pushed back.
"Well, I'll see you later then." Click.
Yano broke into that winning smile of his. "Keeping me a secret are we?"
I tried to come up with some explanation for what I'd done, but my emotions were too muddled for me to sort them out.
"Nana-chan." He moved in close again. "I love you."
He kissed me again.
I love you too.