A/N: I wanted to release this around Christmas time, but I never got the chance, so think of this as a belated Christmas and Happy New Year gift :)
"..." - talking
"..." - thoughts
Notes: Yuzuyu, Marika, Ken, Shouta, and Namiko are all in high school (So is Satsuki, who is in a grade above them but he's a minor character in this story :P) Oh, Namiko is not a character I made up btw, I decided to use her after watching the Aishiteruze Baby anime episode 23 - this was the one where Namiko kept picking on Marika because she was jealous of her.
This is a one-shot dedication for all YuzuyuxShouta fans out there!
I mainly dedicate this to shinki7 who inspired me to write another one, but also to these following reviewers: Ramen and Chopsticks, PurpleHime, clannadsakura - they probably don't realize this but taking the time to review encourages me to write more fics for this pairing!
The Heart is Your Kingdom
High School Division
"Good morning…" Yuzuyu murmured the moment she stepped inside the school classroom from the snowy weather outside. "It's so cold…"
"Yuzu-chan!" Her dark haired friend Marika ran over to her, "Your hair is frozen, you washed your hair this morning didn't you?" she teased placing her hands on her friend's cheeks.
"Your hands are warm!" Yuzuyu laughed, still trying to get the snow off her coat and hair.
"Yo, Yuzuyu," Ken interrupted them, "Did you do that math homework? Can I see them?"
"Hey, who's notes are those? Yuzuyu's?" A brown haired boy appeared, peering over his friend's shoulder, "Can I see them? I might know the answer. Besides," he sighed, "I got a feeling today the teacher might call on me."
"Hold on, I haven't finished them yet."
Marika glanced at her friend, giving her a nudge on the arm for an open opportunity to talk to "him" as in Shouta.
"Uh…" She gave her an uncertain look, but if she didn't take this chance, Marika would definitely do it for her, in the most embarrassing way. "Okay…" she said to herself, "Relax! Push up my cheek muscles…smile…" her mind instructed her as her heart began to beat faster.
"Thanks Yuzuyu!" Shouta waved her notebook with a smile.
In an instant, her smile fell into a frown. Uh oh, she hadn't meant to do that. She took a quick peek at Shouta's disappointed expression. Great, she did it again.
"You always look so angry whenever you see him!" Marika scolded her as they were walking down the hallway, "I mean, come on!"
"Calm down," Ken muttered, patting Marika's shoulder, "Yuzuyu, you're too concerned about him. If you do like Shouta, you're making a terrible impression."
Marika punched Ken's shoulder, "What kind of support are you giving her?"
Yuzuyu sighed at their bickering, it wasn't the first or second time she's heard this speech. This happened all the time. Every morning when she tried to smile at Shouta, it would turn into a frown the moment he looked at her. "I'm cool talking with my other friends but, as soon as I catch Shouta's eye…" she closed her eyes in disappointment, "…my face tightens up."
"You know, you've been in love with him since junior high," Ken added while sipping his juice box. Seemed like the two stopped fighting now.
"Yeah! Shouta doesn't have a girlfriend now." Marika agreed, "So it's alright, but he's going to be someone's boyfriend soon!"
"I'm fine with it," Yuzuyu said half-heartedly, she wanted them to shut up about this whole unrequited love, "I'm happy just loving him from afar." Man, they can be irritating sometimes. "Oops!" the moment she turned the corner, she ran into another girl, "I'm sorry."
The girl stared at her for a moment without a word and walked away as if nothing happened.
"Did you see that?" Her dark haired friend whispered quietly to her so that the girl walking away wouldn't hear, "Namiko just glared at you."
"What?!" She didn't realize that was the kind of look Namiko gave her, "Why me?"
Marika shook her head in disbelief. "Didn't you notice? She was always carrying a big bag around Christmas," she paused, "she was knitting a pair of scarves. And the guy who got one of the scarves is…it's just a rumor but…it was Shouta."
Yuzuyu froze, not knowing how to react to this new information.
"There are lots of people who know you love Shouta, except he doesn't know. It's been a long-term, one-sided love since elementary school."
"I think Namiko may have heard about it," Ken added.
"You should have given him something," Marika murmured quietly, watching the look on Yuzuyu's face go blank. "Don't make us tell you the same thing every year."
"If I tell him how I honestly feel…" Yuzuyu debated with her inner self as she swept the classroom floor with the broom, "I'm afraid he's going to say no and get hurt. Valentine's Day, Christmas, his birthday…I never do anything…" a soft sigh escaped her lips as she glanced at the ceiling, "I can't even smile at him every day."
"Ah, I have gym next! I gotta go change, see you guys later!" Ken waved, quickly speeding out the door.
Yuzuyu averted her attention to her friend. "Speaking of love, Marika, what happened to your planned Christmas confession?"
"Eh?" Marika stopped wiping the windows. She blinked for a moment and stuck her tongue out at her, "It's been postponed until Valentine's Day."
"What's that?" Yuzuyu repeated, "You sit there and lecture me, but you're exactly the same!"
"Ahaha…" she laughed nervously, then something caught her eye outside, "Look!"
"What?" Yuzuyu wasn't going to be happy if this was just an excuse to change the topic. But Marika wasn't joking, she was pointing to the two people walking outside in the snow. Namiko…and…Shouta. She touched the window glass softly, watching them laugh and smile despite the cold temperature.
"Yuzu-chan…" Marika said in a worried tone. She regretted pointing them out now.
"They're wearing matching scarves," Yuzuyu muttered quietly, before Marika could offer some sympathy as she laughed lightly, "they look good together…"
The older girl took her time stepping on the white covered streets home. "It's a blizzard, I hope school is canceled tomorrow," she said to no one in particular. Along the way, she started passing by a familiar building, making her pause, "In that church, I heard it at Sunday school…"
"Your heart is the kingdom in which God dwells. No one can hurt it," the priest began, "Your soul is split in half before you are born, divided between boy and girl. As you get older, you have to find your other half by yourself. And after you find it, the two of you have to support each other and build a strong, beautiful kingdom for yourselves."
The little girl sitting in the pews gazed at the boy beside her. "At that time, Shouta was sitting next to me, listening intently. I had an intuition that he was my other spiritual half."
End of Flashback
Yuzuyu continued to trudge through the snow in deep thought, "There was no reason for it. At that time, it just came from my heart. But I wonder if God really does live in the kingdom in my heart?" She tightened the scarf around her neck, it was getting colder by the minute, "Because I've been hurt deeply now."
The following day...
The following day...
"Thank you," she nodded to the man who was in charge of the garbage disposal. She shivered as she held the class trash can in her hands and turned around to walk back inside the school building. To her surprise, she looked up to see Shouta heading her way with a trash can in his hands too.
She kept walking without saying anything until he purposely tried to get her attention by crashing his trash can against hers. "Sorry," he joked, not expecting her to fall into the snow. "Oh no," he stopped walking and helped her up, "sorry, I did it on purpose but…"
His hand was holding onto her arm to help her stand. She gave him a surprised look as she patted the snow off her skirt.
"Wow," he was watching her sweep off the snow that stuck onto her uniform, "there's snow all over your uniform. Should I roll you around in the snow some more and make you into a snowman?"
For some reason, that joke had brought a smile upon her face, a genuine smile this time. Now it was his turn to be stunned, "What? You're not mad?" He gave the man his trash can to dump in the larger disposal, "Yuzuyu, you always look upset. You make that angry face, like a demon."
She chuckled softly, "Do I?" Her eyes began to stare at him while he waited for the man, "I feel sad and miserable…but I can finally smile at him, this is pretty funny." Great, she could feel herself tearing up. He felt her stare behind him and glanced back, making her look away. "I'm sorry, don't worry about me," she tried to hide her blush.
"What?!" He asked in disbelief, "I finally see you smile after all this time and now what?"
Yuzuyu wiped her eyes into her school sleeve so he wouldn't notice her sad face, "Don't worry about me, leave me alone."
"When you cry in the snow, your face freezes."
"Really?!" She turned around in panic only to realize he was joking, "Wait, what am I doing?"
He laughed, "I was just joking around."
She sighed, how could she fall for such an easy trick?
"Yuzuyu, you know what?" Her eyes went back at him, "Your heart is a kingdom which God will protect. So no one can hurt you."
"What?" Her inner self started, she was shocked that maybe she was hearing things. Was he saying something that…
He turned red in embarrassment and laughed, "I used to go to church when I was a kid. I liked to listen to the priest, I'm not Christian, but…"
"We've both remembered the same thing over the years…" her mind thought in awe as a smile spread upon her face, "I think I might have heard the same thing before."
"He doesn't remember that I was sitting next to him that day," The two walked into the building together. She looked at him though he hadn't noticed, "But I'm happy just knowing we remember the same thing. In the kingdom of my heart, no one can hurt me."
Later after school as she began to put her shoes on, she could feel herself smiling again, "Shouta told me that. I'm going to start believing again." She sadly turned her head at the two students wearing their matching scarves beside the doors, "Even if I see Shouta and Namiko walking together."
She leaned against the shoe lockers, "Of course, my heart is throbbing with pain but…" Her eyes closed in deep chant, "I'll be fine, I'll be fine, I'll be fine."
The next morning
The next morning
"Yuzuyu, did you do your classics homework?" It was Shouta again, asking for her notebook the very next day.
She held her notebook out to him, "Yeah, I just copied the reference."
"Thanks," he grinned as his fingers skimmed through the pages. The look on his face was making her smile a bit too. He paused, "You're not angry today…scary!"
Her smile dropped, "Maybe it is too late to believe in…but…" she stood up from her seat, fuming in anger, "Scary?! Excuse me!!" she glared.
"See?" He laughed, pointing at her, "You got angry again."
"I repeat his words over and over again like a spell. Your heart is a kingdom which God will protect. No one can hurt you." Yuzuyu smiled as the girls class were running around in the snow, playing snow soccer.
"Aw, the girls are having a soccer game in the snow," Ken complained while the boys had to stay inside, "I want to play, it's so much better than karate class."
Shouta took a look through the window as he watched Yuzuyu catch the ball that was coming her way.
"Baka, you're not the goalkeeper. Don't catch the ball!" Marika scolded her while Yuzuyu laughed in embarrassment with the soccer ball in her grasp.
"The look on her face…" he smiled, "it's cute."
"Hey Satsuki, we want to play snow soccer!" Ken suggested to him as the rest of the boys cheered in agreement.
Satsuki, the boy who was supposed to be in charge of the class, went quiet as he usually did to debate whether or not to give them permission. Well, he didn't like dealing with loud people anyways, might as well give in, "If their teacher says it's okay, go ahead."
"Uwah!" Marika was tugging on Yuzuyu's arm to point to the group that was heading in their direction, "The boys are going to play us!" she beamed in delight.
Yuzuyu sweat dropped at her friend's excitement and ran along with the other girls to play soccer. She didn't realize that Shouta was running side by side with her, the look on his face was making her laugh, "Ha ha ha, your nose is red, you look dumb!" she pointed at him as she immediately stopped running to laugh.
He stopped running too, "What? Your cheeks are red too, you country girl!
"We all live in the country. City boys and girls don't play snow soccer." She argued back while the teams were running back and forth with the soccer ball. They looked at each other and laughed.
"They're coming towards us." Yuzuyu pointed.
Shouta grabbed her to avoid the stampede of students, "Run! They're gonna run over us!" As they fell onto the snow, luckily without being run over by them.
She sat up with a grin on her face, "Why did you run away? We should join them."
"Yeah, you're right. But they almost killed us!"
"His panicked face…" She had never seen him with that sort of expression. Suddenly…uh oh, she covered her mouth with her hands, "I can't stand it anymore, it's just too funny," she was shaking with laughter.
"Yuzuyu," at first Shouta was worried, but that slight frown turned into a chuckle, "I didn't know you laughed so much."
"I could never relax and laugh in front of Shouta before. I don't remember exactly what I'm laughing about, but I can't stop." She had no control over her laughter now, once she starts, it starts.
"Hey get up." He interrupted her happy moment and lifted her arm, "You're gonna get wet sitting in the snow like that."
Instantly, she stopped laughing at the feel of his warm touch in surprise. "His hand is warm…" she noted as she took his hand, "This is the second time he's helped me up." As if this was played in slow motion, she slowly stood up, only letting go of his hand if he let go first, "My other half who will support the kingdom of my heart-"
"Ah, sorry," he laughed nervously seeing that his hand was still attached to hers, "let's go, the others already left us out in the snow."
"-has to be Shouta…"
"I'm exhausted!" Ken announced as the foursome were getting ready to leave after school. "Hey…" he looked at Shouta.
Yuzuyu and Marika glanced in the same direction Ken was pointing to, "Namiko…" Shouta began, he wasn't expecting her to still be waiting for him. "Sorry, we still have to go back to homeroom, we just had gym. You don't have to wait for me."
"But you'll be finished soon, right?"
He scratched his head trying not to seem annoyed, "Yeah, but…we just have to clean the room and…"
"Okay, see you." She turned around to walk off and wait in a different area. That tone, sounded more of a command than a sweet voice a girlfriend should've sounded like. But this was Namiko, she rarely expressed happiness.
Once she was far enough from the four, Marika poked him, "You're a liar, it's not your turn to clean up."
He kept quiet as he pulled out the matching scarf from the coat hanger, "She told me that she loves me and gave me this," he murmured gazing at the knitted scarf in his hand, "I thought it was cool. I accepted it instantly because I wanted a cute girlfriend."
"Is that so…" Marika whispered softly, then a light bulb lit up. "Well, let's go home together and stop and get some oyaki! You guys are free right?" She grinned at Ken and Yuzuyu who nodded yes, in fear of what she'd do if they said no. "I'm going to the bathroom! Can you wait a minute?" She asked sweetly, dragging Ken by the arm to give the two some alone time.
"Hey! Why am I being dragged along?! There's no way I'm going to the bathroom with you!"
Yuzuyu giggled at the two who were now gone in sight, "Hmmm…sweet bean or chocolate today? The cream is good too." She wondered aloud.
She grinned at Shouta, "I'm thinking about the types of oyaki!"
"Ha," he crossed his arms to think, "if you mean real oyaki, it's gotta be sweet bean."
"Eh? I think cream is considered real oyaki, but chocolate and cheese aren't," she declared, she stopped talking the moment Namiko came walking towards them again.
Just as Marika had told her earlier, Namiko was glaring at Yuzuyu before turning her attention to her boyfriend, "I thought you had to clean the classroom," she grabbed the scarf that was lying on top of his school bag and tied it around his neck with a fake smile, "Whatever. So you can go home with me, right? It's snowing outside, so wear your scarf, ne?"
She securely wrapped her arm around Shouta's, still eyeing Yuzuyu suspiciously as Shouta gave her an apologetic look, "Sorry Yuzuyu, tell them I'm sorry. Next time okay?"
"I'm fine with it. Even if you look at me like that…" Yuzuyu thought as she looked away from Namiko's glare, "…you can't hurt me Namiko, because," she smiled at Shouta sincerely, "That's alright. We can go anytime, it doesn't have to be today," she paused, "because Shouta, you're my other half."
He froze at her last words to him. It was from ten years ago when-
"What is she talking about?" Namiko asked irritably and tugged on his arm, "Let's go."
"Sorry, huh?" Marika was surprised to see Yuzuyu by herself with a sad smile on her face, "Yuzu-chan, where is he?"
"I'm right here." Ken raised his hand, standing behind the dark haired girl.
"Not you Ken!"
Yuzuyu smiled, "He went home with Namiko." Her friends were now giving her shocked looks, uncertain if she was faking a smile to keep from crying or if she was really happy. "But I told him how I felt about him."
"Other boys wouldn't understand what I meant, but I'm sure that Shouta understands." Yuzuyu grinned at her two friends trying to keep up to her pace, "Hey, let's go! We have to go get oyaki!"
"Wait, what happened?!" Marika huffed after her in the snow with Ken, "Tell me!"
"I couldn't go home without buying sweet bun and cream," Yuzuyu excitedly bit into her oyaki. It was warm and yummy that she didn't mind the cold weather she was in anymore.
Marika smiled, "I got both too." She held up her tiny bag that held her oyaki inside.
"Tch, yeah, with my money." Ken muttered only to bend over in pain when Marika stomped on his foot.
"I'll treat you next time…" she glared. Her body froze once she noticed a standing figure from afar, "Eh? Shouta?"
The three stopped walking as Shouta ran over to them. "Hey, Ken! How about I treat you now?" Marika asked sweetly, yanking him away from the scene, "Good luck, Yuzu-chan!"
"What?! Now? Marika I don-"
Yuzuyu's heart began to thump nervously once her two friends had left while waiting for Shouta to catch up to her. "I gave her scarf back," he began to explain, "I told her that I couldn't go out with her anymore."
Her eyes widened in slight surprise, speechless at what to say. Was this a good or bad thing? "Here you go, have an oyaki!" she grinned, pulling out the extra oyaki she had in her bag, "You must be cold."
"You got two," he chuckled, gratefully taking the oyaki from her. He took a small bite from his, then stared back at her, "A while ago, I heard a rumor from someone that you liked me."
"But I didn't believe it, because you always looked angry at me," he laughed, "I was disappointed. When I was in church that day," his gaze changed to the building across the street. Yuzuyu hadn't realized that they were standing by the church this whole time, "I wished you were my other half."
She froze at his confession and stared back at him, stunned at what to say. He wasn't joking this time, his face was serious. Suddenly, a genuine smile broke out upon her face as she took his hand, "You remembered that I was sitting next to you, didn't you?"
The Heart is Your Kingdom/End
A/N: I hoped you enjoyed reading this fanfic of this pairing, it's been awhile since I wrote up something for the Aishiteruze Baby category. Poor Ken, always being dragged around by Marika T^T haha, I hoped you guys got the hint when Yuzuyu asked Marika earlier about when she was planning to confess (to Ken). I'm thinking about making a MarikaxKen one-shot, but I'm not sure if I'll get many fans to read it, so I'm still taking it into some consideration.
NOTE: I wrote this based off of Tomoko Taniguchi's "Aquarium" where she had this short story "The Heart is Your Kingdom" near the end of her manga. I thought the personalities fit these two well. No, I wouldn't say this is based off of any specific religion for those who were wondering. According to Taniguchi, she wrote this after the inspiration by some religions, new age ideas, music, and Joseph Murphy's books.
What is oyaki? Oyaki is a Japanese dumpling made from fermented dough wrapped around a stuffing from Japanese vegetables, fruit, or anko bean paste, and then roasted on an iron pan and is eaten hot. Oyaki might also be confused for imagawayaki - made from light batter and is eaten as a dessert. - Reference came from Wikipedia (in case if the facts are incorrect)
I appreciate those who take the time to leave a review! Even if it's just to say "I love it" encourages me to continue writing. :) I'll reply back to those who do so. Once again, I wish you all a Happy New Year! See you in my other future stories!