Author's Notes- Okay, I give. This pairing is cute. And abusing Gino is hilarious. Though I think I might have gone overboard.
Also, Rivalz+Tamki=BFF. Remind me to write about them later, guys.
I'm a lot like you so please
Hello, I'm here, I'm waiting
I think I'd be good for you
And you'd be good for me
-"El Scorcho" by Weezer
Looking back, Gino credited Rivalz with starting it all.
After all, without him, there would never have been a celebratory pool party to commemorate the reopening of Ashford Academy (which had moved its grounds away from the ridiculously gigantic hole in the ground caused by the FLEIJA bomb).
And without that, Kallen would never have knocked him into the pool, without which he never would have gotten his first date with her. Admittedly being pushed into the pool was not the direct cause of getting the date, as there was a bit of a roundabout chain of events which led to that first date, but Gino liked to say it started here.
It would make a great segue into his speech at the wedding, after all.
But let's back track a bit.
A long, long time ago, in a universe that was… well… this one, there was the Creator, and nothing else. Which was really pretty boring and not all interesting, so God said let there be light-
Whoops, too far back. Nobody wants to get into that debate, anyway.
In the year 2010 a.t.b., the Holy Empire of Brittania invaded Japan-
Wait, wait, still too far. Nobody wants to go through all that again, right? And if you do, then watch the damn series yourself on your own time because this author is jonesing to play some Halo 3 to celebrate finishing this.
Alright, one more time.
"Hey there," Gino said cheerily, shirtless, wearing rather hideously patterned lime green swim trunks, carrying two glasses of punch in his hands, offering one to her. "What brings a cutie like you to a party like this?"
"Gino, we came here together," Kallen responded irritably, rolling her eyes, even as she took the drink. "You were the one who even dragged me from my studies to go to this party, even though I'm already a year behind everyone else here."
"Aw, you'll be fine, no sweat!" the former Knight of Three assured her, grinning from ear to ear. "You've got beauty and brains."
It was just the heat making her cheeks a little red, that was all, Kallen assured herself, as she replied bitingly, "Versus you, who was apparently denied both."
Gino clutched his chest, giving her a wounded look. "I'm hurt."
"I'm sure you'll live," she sniffed and looked away, taking a slow, long drink from of the punch.
"You two are so cute!" Milly squealed, clasping her hands in delight, practically swooping Kallen into a hug, before flicking a grin over at the former Knight of Three.
"Don't mind her," the former Student Council President assured him, giggling, "Our Kallen-chan is just a classic tsundere-type."
"Oh, don't worry, I know she loves me," Gino responded, smiling back.
Growling, Kallen attempted to kick him in the shin, but unfortunately Milly was apparently stronger than she looked because the redhead only managed a futile strike at the air.
Gino, the bastard, blew her an air kiss as she struggled against Milly's surprisingly powerful grip.
"Kaichou, let me go!"
Milly only giggled.
Emboldened, Gino stepped forward, and poked her in the stomach, taking a hasty step backwards as her legs lashed out in an attempt to break his kneecaps.
Unfortunately, his poke to her stomach revealed one of her more embarrassing weaknesses.
"Are you ticklish, Kallen?" Gino asked, eyes widening like a kid who just found a toy store.
Milly's grip tightened, and, even without looking at her, Kallen was sure that the other woman was grinning from ear to ear.
"Touch me again, and I'll tear your arms off and beat you to death with them," Kallen promised, narrowing her eyes at the grinning blonde.
The former Knight of Three gave her a wide eyed look of innocence that fooled no one.
"Gino…" she said his name in stern warning, which went completely unheeded as he leapt forward, and began tickling her sides mercilessly.
Unfortunately, Gino failed to take to understand that, when people are tickled, they not only laugh uncontrollably, they also convulse, their limbs flailing about like fleshy maces of pain. And Kallen, being much stronger than the average person off the street, had a rather stronger convulsion, knocking Milly away from her and accidentally delivering a bone crushing kick, straight to his groin.
Rivalz and the other assembled males, in a display of masculine empathy, winced in unison.
Face a ghostly pale, Gino staggered backwards- straight into the shallow end of the pool, a mere three feet to Gino's own six.
Luckily, his fall was broken by his own skull, and he had a nice, if impromptu, nap on the surface of the pool as he floated back up.
"Oops," Kallen said sheepishly, flushing.
This was insane.
He was giving her the silent treatment.
Gino! The most loquacious, motor-mouthed jabber producing machine she'd ever met (she'd seen him outtalk Tamaki, even!), was refusing to talk to her.
"Alright, I'm sorry, alright?" Kallen muttered defensively, winding the bandage around his head, determinedly avoiding his gaze. It was hard, considering that the nurse's office at Ashford Academy was rather small and she was sitting on a stool just off to the side of the bed.
"… if you're really sorry, can you do me a favor?"
Feeling sorry enough as it was, the redhead nodded reluctantly.
"I heard there's a nurse uniform in the Student Council room. Do you mind putting it on? I bet you'd look really hot in it-"
Because he was injured, Kallen took pity on him.
She only throttled him a little, and she even let go once he started twitching and turning a rather hilarious shade of blue.
There was a blessed silence for a while, as Kallen was still attempting to control her indignant anger at being so easily tricked and Gino was trying to make sure his vocal chords were still intact.
"You're an idiot," she scowled, "Here I was feeling sorry for you and you go be a complete ass about it."
"I was being serious," Gino said sincerely, grinning back at her roguishly (though the image was marred as he continued rubbing his throat gingerly). "You'd make a really hot-"
"One more word and they'll have to invent a word for the kind of pain you'll be in," Kallen interrupted, glaring at him.
Wisely, the former Knight of Three left the rest of his sentence unfinished, and, after a few more moments of fierce glaring, Kallen returned to bandaging his head.
His eyebrows are the same color as his hair, Kallen observed absently, winding the last of the bandage. It's a really beautiful color.
She blushed immediately afterward, turning away so that he wouldn't catch it. Luckily for her, Gino was too caught up in his own words to notice.
"Well, if you won't think about the nurse thing, then at least change back into your bathing suit-"
Kallen was gracious enough to pay for Gino's hospital visit afterward.
"Jeez, you must really hate this guy, Kallen!" Tamaki joked, laughing boisterously as Rivalz gleefully related the story to him (surprisingly, Tamaki and Rivalz, despite the age and cultural differences, got along splendidly after the war), Ougi, and the assorted crowd at Tamaki's bistro/bar.
"Well, I mean… I don't really hate him," she mumbled back, unable to meet the eyes of her friends, "He just kind of… ticks me off."
To be honest, she couldn't exactly say why Gino triggered her so easily, so often. Maybe it was his careless, easygoing attitude towards life, or maybe it was because he reminded her eerily of her brother, who had that same cavalier attitude. Or it might even be because sometimes he would smile and she'd find herself smiling back and forgetting all the terrible things that happened in her life, the things that brought her to where she was today.
But, more than likely, it was the sexual harassment.
"Let's have a spring wedding," Gino announced, practically planting himself in front of her desk, mere minutes after the teacher announced a free study session for this period.
Around her, girls squealed and giggled, praising him for his dashing forwardness.
Kallen, on the other hand, was rather annoyed because she was right in the middle of reading the chapter for the next class and was already in rather dire straits after the last test.
Should have put him in the hospital longer, she thought to herself.
"Wouldn't that require us to be dating, first?" she asked, turning the page without looking up.
"You're right!" Gino nodded, tapping his finger against his lip in a classic thinking pose. "So we should date then! That way we can have a spring wedding!"
"There will never be a spring wedding for us, Gino," Kallen informed him, fixing him with a steely look over the rim of her book.
Gino, however, was too caught up in a sudden naughty librarian fantasy to be hurt by her statement, confident she'd change her mind about the whole thing sooner or later.
However, Kallen was right.
There was never a spring wedding.
There was, however, a date.
Kallen blamed Gino.
Gino blamed the fact that class was boring and it was much more interesting to continually text Kallen about increasingly random topics in an attempt to stave off said boredom, and that the teacher apparently had ears like a… like a… well, like something that hears really well. Would have gone with hawk, but apparently that's not a real idiom, and there is no official "ears like a" euphemism in the dictionary anyways.
The more you know kids.
In any case, they were forced to clean the classroom afterwards as punishment for disrupting the class. Kallen thought it was punishment enough to have to endure Gino's company alone, frankly.
And so it was that Kallen went about mopping the floor, studiously ignoring Gino's attempts to speak with her.
"Come on Kallen, let's sing! It'll make this go ten times faster, I promise!"
Mopping, mopping, ignoring Gino…
"No singing, eh? How about whistling then? Whistle while you work!"
"So seriously, you're not going to reconsider the wedding?"
Man, was the floor always this dirty? Geez, she'd better start mopping harder.
"Hey Kallen, if you'd like to go on a date with me, stay silent."
Just keep mopping, mopping- wait, what?
"HA! Alrighty then- let's go!" he said cheerfully, and grabbed her by the arm, taking strides toward the door.
"Oi!" Kallen protested, trying to wrest her arm free (and in doing so accidentally dropping her mop). "Don't just grab me like that!"
"You said you'd go on a date with me!" Gino replied, smiling.
"I said nothing!"
"And saying nothing meant you'd go on a date with me."
"I'm going to break this mop over your skull," Kallen warned, reaching for the cleaning instrument that was apparently destined to become Gino Weinberg's doom. "What makes you think I want to go on a date with you?"
"Would it really be that bad?" he asked abruptly, letting go of her arm, but now she was frozen as he captured her gaze with his own, his cerulean blue meeting her silver-blue.
This is why she hated Gino sometimes.
"It's… just… you didn't even really ask me!" she stuttered out, fists clenching and unclenching, looking downwards, cheeks uncomfortably warm.
Warm hands enveloped her own.
Her head jerked up, and Kallen stammered out, "W-what are you doing!"
"Kallen," Gino said sincerely, lifting her hands up with his own, face probably the most serious she'd ever seen, "Would you mind going on a date with me?"
The flush in her face felt more like a blistering flame than a warm flame now.
Well, damn it, now what was she supposed to say?
"… it better be a good one."
He broke out into a grin.
"Sweetheart, if it isn't the best date of your life, I'll eat my own hat."
"You don't have a hat."
"I'll buy one and eat it."
Gino never had to eat a hat. He did have to buy one eventually, but that's a completely different story that has nothing to do with this one.
One date led to a second, and the second led to a third, and by the fifth Kallen was slowly understanding that there was the slimmest, barest possibility, that she was falling for Gino Weinberg.
Quite understandably (though completely disproportionate to the realization, in Gino's opinion), Kallen had a bit of a freak out (read: screamed so loud people in Korea could probably hear her and obliterated, not broke or shattered, the pencil in her hand once she caught herself idling twirling it and humming while thinking about the boy in question) and hid inside of her house for an entire day, phone turned off and hidden away in the darkest, deepest recesses of her closet. And then promptly left her house in the dead of night and fled to Ougi's house, because while Gino knew where she lived (and her mother, in what must have been a severe character flaw, adored him) and might even know where Ougi lived, Ougi was still the prime minister of Japan and her surrogate older brother.
And no older brother likes it when their little sister is about to be taken away by the grubby hands of any boy.
The second Ougi understood the situation, he immediately ordered all the secret service members around the house to be on high alert for a suspicious individual with blonde hair and blue eyes, and to use any method short of lethal action to drive away the individual, and then ushered Kallen into the guest bedroom.
Viletta brought her a cup of tea and an understanding ear, in an act of feminine unity.
"I don't want to be in love with that idiot," Kallen complained miserably, nursing the tea. With a hesitant look, she glanced over at the older woman. "You don't think I'm overreacting, do you?"
"I shot Ougi after I realized I'd been falling love with the 'enemy'," Viletta replied, patting her shoulder. "I don't think I'm the right person to judge."
Despite the heavily armed, burly men in suits who were doing their best to bludgeon him unconsciousness, being shot by a beanbag gun and nearly tasered, Gino still managed to make it into the house. He yelled 'safe' to make sure that the guards wouldn't follow him inside (they would have, but Viletta appeared in the window and made a very threatening gesture for them to back the hell off).
"You could have just called me and told me we should take it slow," he objected, panting.
"Sorry," Kallen mumbled, not quite yet able to look him in the eyes, wishing her heart would stop beating so fast. She was ready for him to yell at her, to say she was crazy, to say she wasn't worth this insanity.
"Nah, it's okay," Gino waved his hand dismissively, grinning. "Milly actually thought you'd try to kill me once you figured it out. But I knew you wouldn't."
"You really like me, don't you?" she said slowly, crossing her arms with an expression of deep contemplation.
"Well, yeah." He shrugged casually. "I mean, it'd be hard to try to marry someone I didn't like."
Kallen stared at him for a long time.
"You're not a masochist, are you?"
"I might be," he admitted, and grinned. "So, you wanna go get some ice cream?"
She did. She really did.
"You're the most amazing woman in the world, you know that?" Gino said suddenly, without preamble.
It probably would have been amazingly dramatic and kind of sweet, had it not been for the fact that he had a smudge of strawberry ice cream on his nose and a plastic spoon dangling from his lip as he chewed on it.
Kallen flushed, burying her gaze into her own ice cream (chocolate).
"You could be in any other ice cream place, saying that to any other girl," she accused.
"I could," Gino agreed, fixing her with a mischievous gaze, and she nearly strangled him for it, "But I'm saying it to you."
It was a summer wedding.