** Finding You **
== Author Notes ==
Lord knows how long I've wanted to get this chapter done and posted. *sigh* Gomen nasai for the delay, minna-chan. If it weren't for writer's block, a twisted ankle, and the flu, I just might have been able to get this out a little bit sooner.
There's really nothing I'd like to say except that I don't like the way this chapter came out. :P~~ It pretty much sucks shit. If anyone has a hammer, would you please lend me one so that I can blow the writer's blockade to nothing but ashes? I don't know. I just didn't find this chapter too appealing when I wrote it. I thought it would be the best out of all the chapters before I started writing this part. Guess I was wrong. Other than that, I would say the only thing you have to worry about is the mush. But I can't help it. I think it's my genes. My sister used to write mush too…that is, before she went off to college.
And yes, thank you to all the reviewers! You're the best. Sugoi da yo! =) It's your reviews that make me actually want to continue. Hehe. It's motivation at its best. Arigatou gozaimashita deshou! This fic is dedicated to you all. *glomp*
Anyhoo, enjoy chapter 4, ne? Or at least enjoy it more than I did. :P~~~
"Konban wa, Mrs. Kirisawa."
"Oh, Tokiya-kun, come in. Please." The older woman swung the door wider to allow the tuxedo-clad boy to enter her home. "Gomen ne, Tokiya-kun, but Fuuko is still getting ready. This is her first prom after all."
"That's alright," Tokiya answered with a faint and rather amused smile.
Fuuko never really found the idea of wearing anything with a skirt very appealing, and the thought of wearing an evening gown had never, once, crossed her mind. She was a woman with free will and she would not allow the opinions of society to tell her otherwise. That was one of the reasons why Tokiya had always found her fascinating. She was different. Perhaps conservative? No, she was just independent.
"Why don't you come in to the den and make yourself more comfortable?" Mrs. Kirisawa led the way walking down a brightly lit space before entering the appointed room, Tokiya sauntering right behind her, his right hand occupied with a clear plastic box holding the carnation corsage.
"Can I offer you anything to drink while you wait? Tea perhaps?"
"No, thank you. I'm all right."
Mrs. Kirisawa observed the boy with wonder as she took her place on the seat across from Tokiya. Her daughter had been dating the senior boy for close to half a year now, and he had come to their place on more than one occasion. And it never failed to amaze her how he always managed to please her. Truth be told, she approved of him, and so did her husband.
Tokiya was charming, polite, and sincere. They had the satisfaction of knowing that their daughter was in good hands. As parents, they had feared that Tokiya was just another hormone-driven teenage male, and the fact that he was two years older than their daughter made them worry more. But after their first meeting with one another, they were very impressed and gave their consent.
"This is your last year?"
"Hai. I'll be going to Tokyo University next year and majoring under law."
"Sou ne. It's good to know that at least some of the younger generation knows where they're headed in life. Fuuko's still not sure, and it worries her father and me."
"She's a smart girl. I'm sure she'll get through life without much difficulty."
"We know that, but as parents we worry. As parents we always fear how our children will do later in life. We won't be there forever, you know."
"Saa." A chuckle escaped Tokiya's lips. "It seems like that with all parents – even my own."
"Yes. Well, let me go up and check on Fuuko for you. I wouldn't want you to be waiting here for Kami knows how long, and I'm sure she wouldn't want to miss any more time than she has to. These nights go by fast, you know." Mrs. Kirisawa stood up and casually walked past the den and up the stairs.
It was as if that night was clearly imprinted in his memory. Even photos were not capable of retelling that night with the same perfection as did those in his mind.
Mrs. Kirisawa's words still sounded fresh in his ears, though it had been almost a year since that night.
…As parents we always fear how our children will do later in life…
…We won't be there forever, you know…
An almost bitter smile crept onto Tokiya's visage. Had he known that day was closer than could rationally be imagined, maybe he wouldn't have let Fuuko go that easily…maybe…
Tokiya sat on the same couch that Fuuko had occupied the night before in the ill-lit parlor of Mai's home reminiscing of days long gone but wanted more to never have ended. He berated himself for not having the strength to go on, for not having the strength to hold on to Fuuko. Perhaps it was the initial shock of being turned away that weakened him.
He didn't know. All he knew was that she was back again, and he would find a way to make her his once again.
It would take some time…but time was but another obstacle and love is always full of obstacles, was it not?
He waited patiently for Fuuko, who was still on the second floor tending to her cousin, who was currently not in a stable state of mind. Hopefully, she was making progress. He had a hard time as it was keeping her still while he drove her home.
He hadn't expected Fuuko to be the one standing dumbstruck at the other end of the door when he arrived. It had taken her a while to allow him passage, and why exactly, he could not decipher and he had been too caught up in getting Mai out of the rain to really delve into it.
After a short introduction, Tokiya helped Fuuko get Mai to her bedroom wherein she tended to her after ushering Tokiya to go downstairs and make himself at home and she would be with him shortly. He had intended to go straight home but Fuuko wouldn't hear of it and insisted that he wait until the rain let up or dwindled a bit so that he would get home ably with an umbrella and not get blown away.
He smiled at the notion. Her mind was completely wiped out of all things past, but she still showed the same kind of almost affectionate attitude that she did back then…
"Mifuyu-chan, where's your brother?"
Mifuyu turned around to the sound of the hostess's voice, Kohryuu.
"I haven't seen him this entire night. You said he came along, didn't you?"
"Well, he was with me. Where did he run off to this time?"
"Younger brothers! What can I say?" Kohryuu let out a giggle and grabbed Mifuyu's arm. "Bummer. Some of the girls really wanted to meet your brother. His fame is spreading like wildfire you know."
Mifuyu rolled her eyes at the comment. That statement could not have been any more true. If one had thought that the girls that obsessed and worshipped Tokiya at their school were horrible, then that particular individual must not get out much. Truth be told, there were even worse young ladies at schools that haven't even seen the boy's blessed face yet.
"Anou, Kohryuu-chan, I'll catch up with you in a minute. I'm worried about my brother and I don't really want to spend the entire evening searching for him."
And indeed, you couldn't blame the poor girl. The house was a maze and during parties, they were hell. The last thing anyone would want to do is go around looking for an individual among the hundreds of people scattered about the place. Mifuyu took out her cell-phone and dialed Tokiya's number, and this is why the Mikagamis are smart.
Tokiya had not long been sitting on the same couch that Fuuko had slept in the night before when he heard his cell phone go off. Not even bothering to look into the screen of his phone, he sighed and picked it up. No doubt it was Mifuyu – how could he not know? They had this psychic brother-sister thing going on.
"Hey, Tokiya? This is Mifuyu."
"Figured." He took a breather, both sides silent before his mouth started moving again. "So, what's up?"
"Just checking up on little bro. Where are you? You just disappeared."
"Oh, that. Sorry, Mifuyu-chan. I guess I forgot to tell you before I left, but it looks like the boys couldn't go through one night of party without getting some fun. And Mai just happened to be their victim. I would have told you that I went to take her home, but you looked busy anyway."
"Sou ne. Well, don't forget to pick me up, kay?"
"Ne, onee-chan, I didn't take your car. I put your keys in your purse before I left, so when you decide to go home, just go. I'll just walk home from here. The house isn't too far off."
"In this weather?"
"No. The hostess of the house doesn't want me to leave the house until the rain lets up. So just go home without me. I'm most likely to get there before you do anyway."
"Are you sure?" Mifuyu asked, her voice filled with skepticism.
"Well, okay. If you say so. I'll see you later then, Tokiya-chan."
"Later then, nee-chan."
Tokiya pressed the end button and stuffed his cell phone in his pocket where it rested before Mifuyu called. No sooner had he done so and he heard footsteps coming down the stairs and a head cropped with purple-pink hair peep in through the corner that lead into the ill-lit room.
"Sorry to have kept you waiting. It took Mai a while before she finally hit rock bottom."
"No prob. I was just sitting here drying up anyway."
"Sou ka. Anou, you want a towel or something?"
"No, I'm fine. Just a little damp, but I think I'll survive."
"Hai. So are you hungry? I'm planning to go cook something anyway. I haven't had anything to eat myself."
She began to trudge towards the kitchen and Tokiya stood up to follow, silently wincing. He hadn't been her boyfriend for nothing and as far as he knew, Fuuko couldn't cook to save her life. Maybe there could be a possible way for him to help her out a bit. There was no way he could ever get Fuuko back if she died of food poisoning.
"Do you have anything in mind that you wanna eat? I don't mind really. I can eat just about anything now."
"Not really. Anything sounds good to me too."
"Okay then. That just limited my options by about…" she paused and looked at him with a smile on her face, "…zero. Does ramen and vegetable salad sound good?"
A simple nod came as her response.
She began rummaging below the counter and sounds of clanking metal indicated that she was looking for the pots. It seemed the perfect time to offer the poor girl some help.
Leaning over the counter, Tokiya could only make out as much as the girl's backside. Blushing, he leaned back and tentatively asked the girl if she needed any help.
At first he was only answered by the sound of more clashing pots but after a short intermission, the girl finally emerged from the cupboard below with a bright smile.
"Found it," she beamed. "And what were you saying? I couldn't quite hear you down there."
"I could help if you want."
"That'd be great."
"Do you wanna boil the water?"
Tokiya walked around the corner to the sink where he carefully put some cold water into the metal pot. Upon placing it onto the stove to allow the water to boil, he looked at Fuuko who was strangely too fixated on the chopping board and the chopping knife.
Tokiya had walked beside the girl and looked at the counter with the scattered vegetables and back to Fuuko. He pointed at the chopping board.
"I could help out with that too. Our late dinner would get finished quicker."
Fuuko blinked, surprised, and shoved him another chopping board and knife.
"Ne, Tokiya-san, since you're being so generous, you may have the honors of mincing the carrots."
Tokiya took hold of the items and, with deft and skillful hands, began to artfully mince the carrots. Cooking had never been a difficult task for him; he had been cooking by his sister's side for as long as he could remember.
Fuuko stared at the speed that her companion was chopping up the poor vegetables. She was almost afraid that he might chop off one of his fingers. She had been so preoccupied with watching his movements and getting lost in her own musings that she failed to notice that he had finished.
When reality decided to finally knock the poor girl out of dream world, she saw a smile-infected Tokiya looking at her, his elbow leaning against the tiled counter. Bewildered, she blinked but said nothing. Tokiya just allowed his finger to point on over to Fuuko's clean chopping board and knife and the other various vegetables beside it.
"Need help mincing those too?" he asked with a grin.
Fuuko blushed and immediately shook her head. She immediately set to work with her part of the cooking job, Tokiya standing beside her, a silly smile plastered on his face.
It had not escaped him how she seemed to pay attention to the neat pile of bits of carrot not far from her. Occasionally, she would arch a brow and then set to work with her own chopping. It entertained him to a certain point – that is until it began to remind him of "his" Fuuko.
No, she may have completely lost all memory in her main databank but she was still the same person, and with her she carried the same habits.
Whenever she saw something she liked, she would try just as hard to replicate it, even if she failed miserably, and more often than not, she did.
"How do you do that?"
Fuuko's mutters took Tokiya out of his previous contemplations and he averted his attention to the half irritated, half determined girl.
"That." She pointed her knife at Tokiya's pile. "It's perfect." She looked down at her own mess and turned crimson. "And mine. Well, let's not even go there."
"Call it practice."
"Still…" she began to poke at her own pile.
"I could give you a small lesson if you want, Fuuko-san."
"Sure. It's not that hard, and after you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake."
"That would be…nice."
Tokiya tentatively walked towards her, and only a few moments before she could step aside, she found Tokiya behind her.
She was silent but she nodded her approval.
Tokiya took a deep breath and put his hands on her petite ones. He hadn't failed to notice the bandage around her arm, and his best guess as to what lay behind it was pretty accurate. Not paying much attention to it, he took hold of her hands and gave her a step-by-step lesson in preparing veggies.
He could feel his heart pounding madly in his chest. And he stood so close behind her that he was almost quite certain that Fuuko could feel it through her back.
He breathed in her scent – the same strawberry crème scent that always left him intoxicated, reasons completely unknown to him. Yes, truth be told, he did miss it.
Leaning in closer, he began to point out things to her that she should pay especial notice to while performing the task at hand. He may not have known it but Tokiya was rambling, not knowing exactly what words he was dishing out. He was too preoccupied with the feeling of Fuuko so close to him and in his arms to pay attention to anything else.
He liked her a lot…dare he say love…
…no…maybe not just yet…
…but still I know that you're the one for me…
…I'm just waiting for the day when my heart can honestly say it…
Fuuko liked this feeling of him being so close to her. So what if he was a stranger? Though she barely knew him, she liked being around him. He made her feel comfortable – safe even. It was almost as if she had known him for a long time and no words were needed to communicate what the other wanted to say. And yes, she had to admit that he was an eye-catcher.
The intimacy between them caused her cheeks to warm in temperature and each time he spoke, his breath mingled with her skin and it sent chills down her spine – chills that she happened to like. They weren't anything like those she felt when the black images ran through her mind at night, but they were more the chills that left you on the edge. She liked it…
…don't let go…
Yes, she did hear his voice, but that was all she was able to decipher. Deep and sure…that was all. The words…they were all insignificant. She knew words were being said but to make sense of any them were for naught.
It seemed as if time had sped up while Tokiya held the girl in his arms for when he regained concrete thinking, he realized that he was finished with his small lesson. Fuuko, too, was disappointed as he slowly let her go. And it was this sudden revelation that half excited and half scared Fuuko.
"You think you can take it from here?"
"Yes, thank you," she half-stuttered.
Fuuko set to work and occasionally glanced from the corner of her eye at her companion. It was more than a mere attraction. Whatever it was, she couldn't figure it out, and was nearly driving her insane. Her thoughts dwelled on that topic for a long time until dinner started and she had forgotten all. Yet in the darkest recesses of her mind stood a dark image of a boy – a boy she knew, a boy she had given her heart to, a boy she had left behind for a life that would forever change her…
"I'll see you tomorrow, Kohryuu-chan."
"Hai, hai. It's best that the guests be leaving now anyway before this rain begins to turn into an outright furious hurricane."
"Sou ka. And hopefully, Tokiya-kun got home in one piece."
"Whatever did happen to your brother, Mifuyu-chan?"
"His manners kicked in and decided to take home one of your drunken guests."
Kohryuu giggled, her lavender curls bouncing lightly. "You've got a smart brother, Mifuyu. I'm sure he got back home. Ne, and won't you tell him I said hello? I never did get to see him the entire night."
"Gotcha." Mifuyu waved goodbye and ran into the rain to her parked car just a few yards away from Kohryuu's driveway.
She drove carefully through the winding, criss-crossing streets as the rain was now pouring relentlessly outside, the wind having picked up, howling as it coursed down the streets. The last thing she needed was to get into an accident.
On her way home, she passed Mai's place and wasn't too surprised when she saw it was the only house on the block with lights still on. Her instincts told her Tokiya had not gone home yet and she was just about to call him but then thought against it at the last minute.
As Tokiya's older sister, not only did they have the ability to sometimes read each other's minds, as freaky as that may sound, but they could also tell if there was something amiss. And being a Mikagami, Mifuyu inherited a pretty intelligent brain, if anything at all. When Tokiya had mentioned Fuuko earlier, she had already begun to get strange vibes from her brother but let it pass, thinking he still hadn't gotten over Fuuko yet, but now her feelings began to change. Mai was Fuuko's cousin, was she not? Well, if anything, Mifuyu probably knew the most about what had happened between Fuuko and Tokiya months ago than anyone else. And if Fuuko was here…well, may her mind not jump into any other conclusions.
Stepping on the gas, Mai resumed her driving through the lonely street and around the corner entering the highway that would take her home. As she drove, a part of her was hoping that Tokiya wasn't home.
"Thanks for helping me with dinner and everything, Toki-chan."
Fuuko blushed. "Do you mind?"
"No, it's fine," he replied, his lips turning up slightly.
The two stepped back into the living room and Fuuko hopped onto the couch with only half as much enthusiasm as she would normally have given that it wasn't midnight.
Tokiya shook his head in amusement and seated himself down beside her. During their dinner, they gradually began to open up to each other. He was surprised that Fuuko was the one to break the barrier but was glad nonetheless that at least the barrier was broken.
She had even gone so far as to ask if he had an intimate relationship with Mai, which he denied with much gusto. He mentally laughed as the thought of he and Mai ever being official entered his psyche once more. That was something he could not see happening, and hopefully the gods would be kind enough to kill him before it ever happened.
It wasn't that Mai was unbearable – it was just she wasn't his type and he saw her more as a younger sister and confidante when Mifuyu wasn't around or couldn't give him an answer. And he loved her like a brother would a sister, nothing more. His heart, as far as he knew for now, was reserved for one woman, and one woman alone. Only time would tell if that woman was truly the one for him…the one who held the other end of his crimson destiny.
What took him by complete and utter surprise was her openness in conversation with what she remembered of her life. He could feel himself trembling at her too calm words as she spoke about the accident, the parents she could no longer remember, and the past long forgotten. He thought he had caught a glimpse of a glint in her eyes but she looked down and stared just a little too abnormally at her ramen and vegetables just when he began to think something of it.
He felt sorry for her, but she would not accept his pity. Instead she bounced back into a happy smile, Tokiya knowing full well how apocryphal her attitude was but let himself be dragged in it. Their conversation shifted into Tokiya's major at Tokyo University, their meal ending nicely, and now both teenagers found themselves sitting on the couch in the living room.
"What's it like?" Fuuko's voice sounded tired and she was shifting in all directions for a comfortable position.
"To have a family…" Fuuko's eyelids were beginning to weaken and everything about her seemed nothing but a blur. Sleep…that was the last thing she wanted to succumb to.
By now, it wasn't too surprising a question, and Tokiya acquiesced into answering her query. His words, once again, were elaborate, but it was a shame that his mind wasn't really connected to his mouth. He hadn't the faintest idea what words he was spitting out until he felt something lightly tap him on the shoulder.
Looking down, he saw Fuuko's head rested upon his shoulder, strands and wisps of her hair resting on the sides of her face and flowing down her shoulders and back. Her feet were tucked beside her and her arms lay sprawled comfortably on her lap, the large sweater doing nothing much to conceal the bandages around her arm. Her breathing was calm and even, and her eyes a peaceful close indicating nothing else but the simple obvious that she had slipped into the world of 40 winks.
Figuring that this would be the best time to make his leave, he tentatively reached over and tried to prop her into his arms to put her in a more comfortable position, but a small stir from him was a small stir too much, and her tiny, delicate hand grabbed onto his shirt.
She moaned something incoherent and went about murmuring some more, an unbecoming frown resting on her forehead.
What he did happen to catch of her murmurs made him stop all thinking and all physical activity.
"…stay with me, Mi-chan…"
That was the last thing he had expected to come out of her lips.
He couldn't remember the last time she had said that.
Whether he knew it or not, he allowed himself to be pulled by the sleeping girl into sleep himself, and no sooner did that happen and his eyes, too, began to submit to a blissful sweet surrender, his arm unconsciously wrapping itself around the slender shoulders of the girl beside him in a firm almost protective but gentle hold.
Both teenagers ran giggling through the winding concrete path of the park seeking shelter from the pouring rain, finally finding solace in the small dome-topped gazebo.
"Ne…ne," Fuuko tried to begin between fits of giggles and trying to catch her breath, "that was fun." She looked up and tried to find any reaction, hopefully a glint of satisfaction, from Tokiya's baby blues and immediately found what she was looking for. "We should do it again," she gasped contentedly.
"Hai. Breaking the rules once in a while is a thrill."
The shorter girl snuggled closer into the chest of the taller boy. "Mou! But next time, we'll try not to get kicked out of the theater when it's raining, ne?"
Tokiya chuckled and rested his chin on her damp hair.
His hands slowly ran up her back and played with the tips of her dampened hair and as he felt her snuggling closer in his warmth, he caught a whiff of her scent, an aroma that always had a firm but gentle impact on his senses.
As he held her close, he realized how wrong the world's perception was of the way things were. Most girls envied Fuuko for she held Tokiya's admiration, and the conclusion drawn from that was that Fuuko was the lucky one. Tokiya held the contrary. He strongly believed that he was the lucky one to have such a being as she in his arms.
He would have let the ideas roaming around in his head to continue their roving if it weren't for the warm, soft hands that gently caressed the sides of his face. Looking down, he saw nothing but deep pools of blue filled with nothing but a gentle affection and he yielded to their want.
Hands firmly grasping onto his shoulders, Fuuko stood on tiptoes and brushed her lips softly against his.
Softly, almost fleeting.
She withdrew and looked back up at him, pleased with the reaction that she elicited.
Her giggle was stopped when his mouth clamped over hers in response to her previous action. Surprised at first but she conceded and closed her eyes, allowing him entry into her welcoming warmth and tasting the sweetness only she produced.
The rain persisted though the sun now shone brightly behind the distant buildings in the city just outside the small park.
For a moment they had forgotten all of their surroundings. Their kiss escalated and both had become so engrossed that for the time being they had forgotten some small but very important detail, like oxygen deprivation. Finally out of breath, the two slowly let go and Fuuko looked meekly up at Tokiya.
Tokiya responded with a cocky smile and brushed away the strands of hair that had stuck onto her damp skin.
"Want me to take you home now, Fuu-chan?" he asked in a tone so gentle that it almost came out a whisper.
Fuuko shook her head timorously and looked down at her feet. "Iie…Mi-chan. Iie."
"…stay with me, Mi-chan…"
** Final Notes **
Just in case curiosity happens to bite you in the ass, the last part with the italics is a dream sequence/flashback. Yeah, there's going to be a whole hell of a lot of them in the upcoming parts. *sigh* Gomen ne if it got too mushy gushy there, ne? ^-^;; It was not planned…sorta just happened.
And last but not least, all characters and original story belong to Anzai Nobuyuki-sama. I don't claim any rights to the characters except my original characters Mai, Kohryuu, Rinai, etc., etc. and this fic. I think you know the drill by now, ne? ^-^;; And if ever Anzai Nobuyuki-sama ever decides to get rid of his characters, I get dibs on Toki-chan!! Nyahahaha~!! X) Don't take it personally…it's just a random insert from the author, ne?