Permanent Mask

Pair: KanonRingo // RingoIkki-ish
Genre: Romance, Drama
Rating: T (Maybe? Just to be safe.)
Style: CU, One Shot
Summary: It started with a stolen kiss. It ended with excruciating pain. He said it for their sake. He did it for her. He knew he would be the one who will hurt. And what do you know? He was right on all of it.

Disclaimer: Am not the genius who owns Air Gear.

Warning: SPOILERS to those who haven't read the manga :( *starts from Ch. 130. It's basically re-telling the whole story there, fully Kanon's pov though

Oh yeah, special thank you to miikka-xx and her awesome story, "peekaboo". The first KanonRingo fic here, and it brought upon huuge inspiration. I seriously wasn't too sure others liked KanonRingo pair at all, but the story proved me wrong, so thank you very much! :)

Written under © REALITY-CONVICTION


It started with a small and innocent, stolen kiss.

Well, as innocent as stolen kisses go nowadays anyway.

But anyway, the beginning was rather unimportant. I picked Ringo-chan from her cram school, and immediately we headed towards the Crow.

He just got dismissed from the hospital, and there was a party that awaited him at the Noyamano household.

The Lucky guy.

Now, like many others have concluded, the first impression the Crow gives is a troublesome, manner less delinquent. Everyone was not far off; he is meaninglessly troublesome to the point where he would demand to be treated to something expensive during your first meet.

I should know. I was one of the many the recipients of the said demand.

And although that was our first actual meeting, it wasn't the first time I've seen him. That leads to the fact that I already knew information about him. It's actually harder not to get by it nowadays. He's the Crow, Minami Itsuki, leader of the widely known team Kogarasumaru. And as gullibly stupid as he looks, he is also said to be the closest to attaining the wind regalia.

He and his group has definitely made their way from unknown to the AT world's most talked about team.

Again, the Lucky guy.

From many points of view, it would look as if Luck has coated itself around Minami Itsuki and his team. Since their miraculous win against Behemoth, and even their unbelievable feats in Kansai, Luck has definitely been one of the major aspects that drove this team forward.

Now, I watch him laugh and have fun, surrounded by close friends and trusted allies.

It was such an enthusiastic sight. They were all enjoying their time.

Although for me, it just meant one thing.

He was having fun and so—typically, she was having fun, too.

And while keeping that satisfied grin, she turns to me briefly.

I smile in return, that happy face in place.

In less than a second she was looking back at the main star of this event.

Ofcourse.

Thinking about it, I'm probably the only one who notices that special glow in her eyes every time he does a stupid move. Only I can see how she unknowingly moves herself in perfect response to the Crow's actions. Better yet, I am the only one who can distinguish that catch in her breath every time he grabs her arms. Only I can hear that rapid change in her beating heart whenever they come into contact.

Did you know that, Ringo?

Just me.

Only me.

Still, I kept my face cheerful, hiding that smidge of growing irritation deep inside.

The sight that followed after the party greatly resembled a scene after a wild storm. The room was a complete wreck, but it was also quiet and almost serene—save for the occasional mumblings and unsightly snoring from the people lying around that is. Many of the guests weren't able to even make it outside the door. They just made themselves comfortable on the floor, the table, the couch—wherever there was space left in the Noyamano household.

I silently sat in a spot—back to the wall, arms around my guitar, head against a forearm and eyes closed shut. I was thinking. Well, more like mentally getting ready, actually. As soon as I lift myself up from this spot, things will…well, I'm not exactly sure how things will go. But I've got this sinking feeling deep inside my stomach telling me that what's coming ain't too pretty.

Again, quite typical.

I cracked an eye open and peered towards the floor where Ikki slept, snoring loudly, arms clattered above his head and his left leg lying heavily atop one of his team-mate, the one with the beanie—Kazu, I think. His friend's pain-filled face contradicted Ikki's satisfied one as his leg freely crushed the unfortunate guy.

I closed my eyes again and sighed one last time. Noiselessly, I pushed myself up, strapped my guitar bag on my back and gathered the box entrusted to me earlier. I spared the messy room and everyone contained inside it one last glance before stepping to the hallway with a relaxed mask on.

Honestly, I thought it was badly placed annoyance when she answered to my knock. It was just an answer. But still, it peeved me.

"Ikki?" She answered with rushed expectance as she stumbled clumsily to the door.

I couldn't't do anything other than reply in my normal, playful and singsong, way, "Hey !"

"…Kanon?" She asked. It was a normal enough reply, but I still distinguished disappointment at the end of her answer.

Pushing aside my feelings, I focused at the task at hand. I showed her the box, and ignoring her quizzical eyes, I encouraged her to open it.

Her brows furrowed into a puzzled look, "These are Ikki's…"

I smiled, "There was a conflict of feelings you know. Hako-chan handed them to me, to return to Ikki-kun ." I explained to her, analyzing her amazed expression before jumping into the next point, "…What do you think ? It would be easy for me to make 'adjustments' to these AT's." I allowed another playful smile, " Don't you like the idea? Imagine, for example, what would happen if it just fell apart after a big jump."

I accepted that shocked hitch in her voice, and drowned myself in that nervous face and wide opened eyes. "If that were to happen, his 'wings' would break…very easily."

Her lips parted into a shaky retort, "Wha…What're you saying?!"

I could hear her heart pounding heavily inside her chest. But I continued, disregarding her every word, her every expression. "I'm talking about using the easy way to get rid of Sleeping Forest's greatest threat in the AT world…"

I levelled my eyes to hers', switching from playful to serious, "Doesn't he already know, anyway? Don't be foolish…" She looks straight towards my eyes. She saw the seriousness in them. The persuasion. The tempting darkness… "He is, and has always been Sleeping Forrest's…No, your enemy."

Her eyes flickered in confusion as I continued to leave my words inside her head. "So why don't we? Before anything bad happens…"

Time seem to have paced slower than normal as her lips parted and closed in confused hesitation. From the living room and hallway, my hearing picked up idle shuffling of feet.

And unaware of these movements, Ringo finally managed a reply, "Kanon!" My name called out, her tone is a perfect copy of what she must have been feeling.

Confused. Angry. Chaotic.

All I could hear from then on was her hammering heart. And I know nothing. All I could see was that perfect set of lips.

I liked to believe I had lost control over my body. It was easier that way.

Because when I did regain 'control', all I was sure about was that my eyes were closed and…

…my lips were pressed against Ringo's.

A stolen kiss.

Soft and warm and full—it was exactly as I had envisioned—even better, in fact. But I didn't have time to sink these thoughts inside my head.

She quickly pulled back and I only had a split second to set a proper expression. The back of her hand covered her mouth, her whole face lightened as blood rushed to her face in the form of a blush. Her eyes were wide in question and surprise—I had to fight back a teasing grin.

I would've been satisfied if we had stayed like that for a bit longer, but no, the Crow stood a few feet ahead of us. Unconsciously, these words dripping of menacing persuasion cropped out of my own lips, "I am more suited to be your strength than Ikki-kun is."

I lifted my hand and pressed my fingers to my forehead.

"Because I am your tuner."

I shifted my gaze and took in the Crow's face as it shifted from confusion to shock. My lips spread into a mocking smirk and the words next came out in a sharp, derisive tone, "Besides, I'm the one who knows you more intimately than anyone else."

I wasn't sure where the words came from, or what I wanted out of it, but still, I made sure the Crow heard it.

I made sure she heard me.

If she really did hear, however, I wasn't quite sure because her next move definitely wasn't anticipated.

She kicked me in that important part. Right in the middle of it.

And I was cringing down in pain at the exact same time she bursts in discomfited laughter.

She ignores my cry of pain and turned to Ikki, "Umm…No! About that…"

Awkward silence was paired with the stupidly speechless I-didn't-need-to-see-that look we received from him.

"There's nothing wrong. Just tell him the truth . Ringo!"

Her head whipped back towards me, followed by a furious, "Stupid Brat!" and mumblings about using her first name casually. I swear I saw fangs and devil horns up there for a second.

But then the light atmosphere swiftly dissipated as Ikki noticed the box on Ringo's hands.

"…Ah…Aren't those my…?!"

Ringo's heart increased in beats once again as she gripped the box, "Ah! Uh…these are…"

"Hey..." Ikki started his question steadily, "How…did you get your hands on those?"

The way she covered her flustering face in that odd way is a scene I've seen quite alot—I could easily tell that she was having an internal conflict. "Wa-wait... Just wait...Give me a moment, please..."

They were engrossed into a conversation that could easily turn into an argument.

Especially when helped by an outside force.

" Just before you came, I was asking Ringo..." I touched my fingers on my forehead again, "...if she wanted to me to sabotage your AT."

Ringo's eyes snapped to mine, they perfectly accusing. She's thinking I had betrayed her.

You don't really believe that, do you, Ringo?

But I didn't stop. Instead, each words came out even harsher than the last ones. Somehow, I couldn't stop. " You do know that your precious migratory bird was attacked by Sleeping Forest, right? Ringo is their leader."

That shocked face the Crow returned was quite priceless.

He believed my words—a total stranger's words—over Ringo's.

This was what I wanted, but at the same time, I had this sudden urge knock that ugly face to the ground.

"Although she acts as though nothing is going on..." The anger inside myself urged me forward, and with a wicked grin, I planted the last of my intentions inside his head. "In actuality, she is plotting against your back..."

Ringo didn't have time to react, the Crow snatched the box from her, "Is this...Are you really like this? Ringo!"

He believed my words over Ringo's

He wasn't aware of it, but his words surely sliced her into pieces.

I wanted to rip him into pieces myself.

"N-No! Wait! Ikki!" Ringo called out in desperate uncertainty.

I could hear the tears in her voice. It just hasn't come out yet.

"Li-Listen to me!"

But he was already gone.

I grabbed her hand and clutched onto it. "Your 'road' has already split in two."

Will you listen to me, Ringo?

"He will eventually walk down a path..." I gripped her hand tighter, "A path that will destroy Sleeping Forest..."

Hear me out. See through it.

"Now is our only opportunity." I continued, but she wasn't listening. "The chance to destroy Ikki has presented itself..."

She wasn't listening.

"Take it."

A loud sound rang through the air, and then the pain. It took me a full second to realize that the pain was inflicted on my cheek, and that ringing sound was a slap to my face.

"No way..." She was trembling.

Do you truly believe this...Ringo?

"I'm...This...this isn't the time!" She stole her hands back as if she found any contact made with me repulsive. "I'm...not ready to be Sleeping Forest's Crazy Apple again!"

Tears ran down her face. Her eyes reflected a flawless mixture of accusation, anger, pain.

She was blaming me. She's mad at me.

I had hurt her.

"I never want to see your face again!"

Unknown to her, she had hurt me, too.

I raised a hand to touch my stinging cheek and gave her the only answer my mind could compose. "No way ..."

But she was already gone, too.

She's gone to follow the Crow.

Were my words of any significance to her at all?

And then I choked back a bitter laugh. Here I was, alone, my work accomplished, but still thinking about her. And my cheek is still stung. A lot.

I was vaguely paying attention to my surrounding when another voice entered my head.

"Having a thank-less role...not easy, is it...Kanon?"

Thankless, huh? I guess it fits the definition.

I pulled my hand from my cheek and stuffed it into my pockets, "Rika-san..." I acknowledged her and relaxed back into my 'normal', "Oh my...Did you hear all of that?"

She was leaning on the door frame, "Well, with all that noise, it was kind of hard not to." A smile lifted her features, "Resorting to a tactic like that..." Her eyes met mine, "..what a rotten act."

Again, what sharp description.

"Well, it did come with a nice perk ", I answered her offhandedly, remembering the kiss, "Although, thanks to this, that first date with Ringo-chan I always dreamed of will most likely...never come to pass."

The raised eyebrows she sent back told me she knows I wasn't fooling her.

"I really do like Ringo-chan, Ikki-kun too." With a slight smile, I launched into an explanation of my primary reason for this 'act', as she had put it. "But recently, Ringo-chan's 'sounds'...has become extremely faint."

It got me worried—these were words I didn't bother adding.

"To be honest, when I heard it, I got a little curious." I continued on the statistics, my senses returning to me. Ofcourse, that meant I'm now able to fully tell that the Fang King has also been listening in, and that many of the other visitors have also started stirring. But I couldn't really care any less at the moment.

I honestly don't give a damn about the Trophaeum Tower, or anything related to it.

Contrary to what most people thought, it wasn't a merry road that leads them to the sky. It has its own drawback—and a deadly one at that, too.

The day I first met Ringo was the same day she became queen.

I wasn't able to forget her words.

"From this day on, I don't need freedom."

That's what she said.

Even at such a young age, she knew her duty as Sleeping Forest's leader. She accepted the heavy burden and has carried it all to this day, and she will continue to do so tomorrow, and the days that followed after. She will carry it for as long as she needs to. She was merely a year older than me, but she was so determined.

While Genesis flies with freedom, Sleeping Forest has bound itself into a 'law' they have imposed upon themselves. This law forced them into a road without freedom.

What I have forced Ikki and Ringo, the leader of these two teams, into is a battle of ideologies.

A team that believed in freedom, and another that has caged itself into this 'law'. They are too contradicting, and this struggle isn't something they can continue to run away from.

It was something that had to come.

I made them understand that.

It was for them.

It was for her.

It was all for her sake.

But she didn't try to undestand me.

Unable to hold back any longer, I laughed—a bitter, defeated laugh. And I sank down the cold stoned ground. The shadows created by the city lights and the passing people danced around, as if keeping in rhythm with the sound of conversations and the noise of cars rushing by.

Some people stared, while some just walked by without a care—I didn't care back either way.

I sat there, head against my guitar bag.

I sat there, thinking. Remembering.

Remembering the pain in her eyes. The anger. The disgust. The accusation.

And then thinking about how I knew things will turn out this way.

Thinking about why I still went through with it knowing it will end with me suffering like this.

Minutes passed, memories continued to flow, and then the answer materialized itself in my mind once again.

Oh, right. It was for Ringo.

Because I love her.

The answer was so damn simple, it's unbelievable.

She didn't see through it though.

The last words she said to me were the last to appear in my thoughts as I fell into a deep rest.

-

-

-

I wasn't exactly thinking when I knocked once again, for the second time now.

"Ikki?" She answered once again. I wondered why I wasn't really surprised anymore. She struggled noisily to the door again, probably ignoring her throbbing wounds. "I thought you were gone? Do you need something...?"

The Crow left the Noyamano house soon after he said his farewells to her.

"No." I answered, freezing her on the spot. "It's me ."

She heaved a heavy sigh and returned to her bed, obviously, I wasn't welcomed.

I could hear a frown in her tone, "I thought I told you that—"

The sound of the door sliding open cut off her words. I stepped inside her room, only to find her facing the wall, back towards me.

She was just turning when I sat down the floor beside her bed. Her eyes met my face. At first, we simply stared at each other, but as predicted, a doubtful smile broke out her face mere seconds later. "What are you trying to do this time?" She narrowed her eyes in suspicion.

"You said 'I never want to see you face ever again'." I told her, quoting the exact same words.

"Oh?" She replied, amusement slowly reaching her eyes, "I'm guessing that's what the pig mask is for?"

"Yep," I answered her, my grin hidden by the bulky pink-colored mask of a pig.

All amusement washed away and she turned her back to me, "Cheeky brat. Kid. Immature. Jerk. Uncute. Cruel. Little monster. Childish..."

She continued listing seemingly endless tirade of words, and I sat there, taking it all, lost in my own thoughts.

What if I tell her everything? My reasons, surely, she would understand...?

I pulled off the pig mask, twisting and turning it around my fingers.

Would it be as easy as taking off this mask?

"Kanon," She called out without turning towards me, her was voice barely above a whisper, "He understood. My run made it clear to him. He understands now."

Ofcourse.

Her words acted as a wind, all my previous thoughts she had unconsiously regarded as useless were blown away.

My lips formed into a thin smile, accepting her words, "Isn't that good enough then?"

"Hmm.." She answered, slowly falling back into sleep. "I still don't forgive you though..."

I accepted that, too.

I'll carry this burden. In fact, I'd wear that face all over again if I have to, for you.

Only for you.

I'll keep this. It'll be my permanent mask.

Because, Ringo, you haven't said you hated me.

I can keep holding onto that bit of chance, right?


I hope…you like it?

I've wanted to write this thing for who knows how long. I wasn't, however, quite sure what the right way to portray Kanon is; I even did a tiny bit of research (reading the manga over and over) to grasp his "personality" a bit more, and he's honestly one of my fav. Characters, so I didn't wanna screw up too badly. I hope the Kanon I showed you guys is a close-enough character to the original one. XP

Anyway, I hope this isn't too messy..

Questions, problems? if not then, please just tell me what you think? Will appreciate it very very very much.

PS: Anyone here read the lastest chapter of Air Gear?? Kanon has appeared once again XD He's seriously fuckin' adorable. Ringo, understand that he's a keeper already!