White Day Blues

A/N: I really hoped that TPTB of Engine Sentai Go-onger would have given a bit more time or depth to a possible relationship between Miu Sutou/Go-on Silver and Sousuke Esumi/Go-on Red, particularly in light of Miu's explicitly referenced interest in Sousuke during GP26 ("Love Affair") and subtle references sprinkled through the remainder of the series, but I suppose that it was decided that there would be nothing more made of it, aside from the rest of the team recognizing Miu's interest… everyone except the ever-oblivious Sousuke. Because of that, this fic is an AU-type situation in which Sousuke does acknowledge Miu's interest in him. I'm putting the time of this story as not long after GP30 ("Friendship's Punch").

A little background for those not familiar with the "White Day" reference…

In Japan, on Valentine's Day, it is customary for women to give men chocolate. There are generally two types of chocolate given; the first is honmei-choco, or "sweetheart chocolate," which is generally given to someone the giver has romantic feelings for, like a spouse, boyfriend, or prospective boyfriend. The second type is giri-choco, or, literally, "obligation chocolate," which is given to co-workers, casual acquaintances, and such. On White Day, which falls on March 14, men are expected to return the favor, which entails buying gifts for the women who gifted them previously.

Synopsis: On White Day, Saki and Miu receive their gifts from the boys, but Miu becomes upset when it seems that Sousuke has forgotten her. Where is Sousuke's present to Miu?

Disclaimer: Engine Sentai Go-onger and all related characters and references are the property of Toei Japan. No infringement is intended or implied.

Saki accepted the gift bag from Hanto. "Thank you, Hanto." She pushed aside the cloud of tissue paper on top to find a Hello Kitty plush in a yellow bear costume and a large bar of white chocolate. "How cute!" She nuzzled the plush.

Hanto blushed. "I'm glad you like it." He turned to Miu and handed her a gift bag similar to the one he had given Saki.

"Thank you." Miu extracted the tissue paper from the bag and found a Hello Kitty plush, this one dressed in a gauzy white dress with silver wings, and a large bar of white chocolate. Miu squealed. "It's perfect!" She patted Hanto on the shoulder.

"Thanks to all of you for the presents!" beamed Saki. She took stock of all her White Day presents; in addition to Hanto's gift, she had received homemade cookies from Ren, a beaded bracelet from Gunpei, fuzzy bear slippers from Sousuke, and a set of hair clips from Hiroto. "My smile is so blooming right now!"

Ren smiled as he entered the room. "You're very welcome, girls. I just picked up a cake for the occasion. Shall we all go outside and enjoy it together?"

Excitedly, Saki, Gunpei, Sousuke, and Hanto scampered after Ren to the canopy set up just outside the Ginjiro-go, where Ren had set up a table and chairs. In the middle of the table was a white frosted cake adorned with strawberries.

"Hey, that looks yummy!" said Sousuke.

Meanwhile, Hiroto had just reached the door when he looked back to see Miu sulking. He turned and walked back to where she was sitting, crouched next to her, and asked gently, "What's wrong?"

"Big brother, Sousuke didn't get me anything."

Hiroto looked over the gifts laid around Miu. "Are you sure?" There was Hanto's Hello Kitty plush, a large assortment of nail jewels from Gunpei, homemade cookies from Ren, and a black clutch purse from Hiroto himself. "Huh. You're right. I don't see anything here from Sousuke."

Before she could stop herself, Miu whimpered, "And I didn't even give him giri-choco, like I did everyone else, either. I gave him honmei-choco that I made myself."

She did what? Even though Hiroto knew that his sister seemed to be unusually fascinated by Sousuke for whatever reason, he was still caught off-guard by her admission. He cleared his throat. "Um, well, maybe he forgot?"

"No, he got Saki those cute slippers. Maybe he doesn't like me like that. I think I've made a fool of myself." Tears began to well up in Miu's eyes.

"Hey there, don't cry, Miu." Hiroto looked around, grabbed a couple of tissues from the box on top of Ren's tool chest, and gently patted at Miu's eyes. "Look, let's go outside, put on a good face, and have some cake with everyone, okay? We should be happy with our friends today."

Miu nodded morosely. She gave Hiroto a tiny smile and let him steer her out the door and out to where everyone else was enjoying the cake that Ren had bought.

"There you are," said Saki cheerfully. She handed Miu a piece of cake.

"Thank you." Miu took a bite of the cake and marveled at how light and moist it was. "Yummy!"

"It's almost as good as the one you made a while back, Saki," said Ren.

"Yeah, between this cake and Saki's, maybe I do like sweets after all," Gunpei mused.

Hiroto smiled at the sight of Miu in higher spirits than she was a moment ago. His smile faded as he approached Sousuke, who had just shoveled his last bite of cake into his mouth. "Hey," said Hiroto, leaning in and speaking softly enough so that only Sousuke could hear him, "can I see you for a moment?"

Sousuke looked puzzled, but set down his empty plate, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and followed Hiroto to the side of the Ginjiro-go. "What's going on?"

"That's what I'd like to know." Hiroto folded his arms. "For some reason that I can't understand, Miu seems to really like you, and she's upset that you didn't give her anything for White Day. Personally, I think she went a bit far in giving you honmei-choco, but in any case, you should have at least given her a small gift or something."

Sousuke's face turned as red as his hair. He leaned closer to Hiroto. "Will you keep it down?" he hissed. Sousuke glanced from side to side furtively, then unzipped his jacket. He reached inside his jacket and fished out a small box and showed its contents to Hiroto.

Hiroto's eyebrows raised slightly as he saw what was inside the box. "I don't understand. Why didn't you give it to her when we were handing gifts out?"

Sousuke slipped the box back inside his jacket, zipped back up, and fidgeted uncomfortably. "I, um, I didn't want to have everyone else around when I gave it to her. See, I, uh, I really like Miu, too, if you know what I mean. I wanted to wait for the right moment."

Hiroto nodded in understanding. "Okay, I get it." He smirked. "All right. You do what you think is right. But remember," he added, sotto voce, "if Miu cries again, and you're the reason, I promise that I will make you cry in return."

o-o-o-o-o

After the cake was all gone, Gunpei managed to talk Hiroto into practice sparring with him, so the two of them were in a field adjacent to where the Ginjiro-go was parked. Saki amused herself by using Hanto as a practice head for the hair clips that Hiroto had given her, while Ren busied himself with washing the dishes.

Miu sat on a bench up against the Ginjiro-go, watching Gunpei and Hiroto. She started slightly when the door to the RV opened and Sousuke emerged.

"There you are," said Sousuke cheerfully.

As happy as she was to see him, Miu still remembered that he had neglected to give her a White Day present. "What do you want?" she snapped.

Sousuke plunked himself down next to Miu. Sheepishly, he said, "Look, I'm sorry I didn't give you anything earlier for White Day. But that's only because I wanted to give this to you in private." He unzipped his jacket, pulled out the box he had shown Hiroto earlier, and held it out to Miu. "Here."

Miu looked warily at Sousuke as she took the box from him. She opened the box and was stunned into silence. Nestled in the box was a small silver pendant on a chain. The pendant was shaped like an angel, a sparkling round crystal set in place for the angel's head. Miu turned to Sousuke, her eyes wide. "Sousuke, this is beautiful! Thank you!"

"Happy White Day." Sousuke smirked mischievously.

Miu suddenly poked Sousuke in the arm. "Why did you make me think you'd forgotten White Day?"

Sousuke felt his face growing warm. "Because I wanted to make it special. Because you're special. I don't know when I started having these feelings. Doesn't matter when, though. What is important is that I, um, I… I like you, Miu Sutou." He turned away quickly.

"Sousuke." When Sousuke turned at the sound of his name, Miu leaned closer and rested her head on his shoulder. "I like you, too, Sousuke Esumi."

Sousuke smiled his crooked smile and took the box from Miu. "Here. Let me." He took the necklace from the box.

Miu sat up and turned so that her back was to Sousuke. She tipped her head forward so he could fasten the chain around her neck. When his fingertips grazed the side of her neck, Miu felt goosebumps sprout all over her body and gasped lightly.

When Sousuke heard Miu's light gasp, he felt his heart beating faster, but as much as he wanted to kiss her at that moment, he decided not to rush things. When the necklace was secure around Miu's neck, Sousuke slipped his arm around Miu's waist and smiled as she leaned her head on his shoulder once more.

Miu gently touched the pendant, and gently chided herself for thinking that Sousuke had forgotten her on this special day. Her head still on Sousuke's shoulder, she looked in the direction of Gunpei and Hiroto. When she caught her brother's attention, Miu grinned broadly and when Hiroto simply gave a subtle grin and a single approving nod back, Miu couldn't help but break into a full smile. No matter what the future held for herself, Sousuke, Hiroto, or anyone else on the team or in the world, she would remember this day as the most sparkling White Day ever.

A/N: Anyone catch the very subtle references to Saki, Ren, and Miu's roll call phrases? Anyway, hope you enjoy!