Summary: She leaves behind the bottled message because it is not for her. HanaxRyohei.
Disclaimer: I don't own.
She's thought about it before, a fleeting glance into the world of if's and maybe's, and turns her head a little to the right.
But for a long time, it's been just Kyoko's 'onii-chan' and that's it.
She doesn't turn back.
He's like a kid. Who does he think he's fooling anyway?
Not his little sister, not Hana—
"I'm gonna protect you with my life, even if I lose it!"
Nobody asked him to die. Honestly. What he does and says are two exact same things and he's just like a little boy, puffing his chest out and standing in front of her as if she's his little sister. Which she is not.
Like a kid, he should listen.
Like a kid, he doesn't.
Sometimes she feels so old. What was that she said in middle school? She tries to remember (an explosion of smoke, no more little brat, a handsome young man) and realizes there's no point.
There's no point anymore.
Because he's not listening.
"I told you to stop."
He—Kyoko's onii-chan—lets her words hit him and then keeps moving forward. Just like the boxer he is. Take punches—
"I love you."
--and return three-fold. She feels like she took a blow to the gut, only it doesn't leave her in blinding pain but breathless shock, and now her stone walls are crumbling down, layer by layer.
He is so close now she could feel the heat from his body. He's so honest, just like a kid, and she's a dishonest shadow of the girl who was his little sister's friend. It's hard to look him in the eye, he's so brilliant and pure like the sun, it almost hurts.
Now his hand ghosts over her skin.
"Look at me."
It's a whisper, but she reacts like he's shouted at her.
And like a child she runs away.
Because after all this time, she'd seen it coming.
Out of the corner of her eye, she'd seen him approach from afar, afar, afar. It was like watching a bottle floating in the water, bobbing up and down, the ocean waves carrying it closer and closer. But she hadn't been waiting for it, wasn't curious about what it contained inside the battered glass, only knew and acknowledged its existence. And she watched it carefully, until Kyoko brought it to her notice.
"Onii-chan says he's moving to Italy."
Tides were turning.
"Did he say anything to you, Hana-chan?"
Only three words. Her wavering wall falls like a curtain, swift and silent. The end of the show.
"…I think he liked you."
She's a coward.
The day before he leaves, Hana watches him from afar. Jogging in the morning, working out at the gym, boxing practice, always moving, always fervent. Almost like a little boy (but his back is not the image of a boy anymore).
An Italian girl, maybe brunette or blond, looks at him, looks at his light hair, his athletic body, his strength and passion, and will bend to pick up the bottle—open it—
Hana knows his daily schedule by heart, his smiles and secrets, and it is then that she peels away the film of denial from her eyes.
For a long time she'd ignored it. But now it's too late.
He's going far, far, far...
At the farewell party everybody is happy and glad for him. She sees Kyoko's smiling face (which is not fooling anyone, especially Hana and onii-chan) and wonders if maybe (maybe) he is leaving because of her.
And now he's standing in front of her. To say goodbye.
There's an awkward moment, and Hana realizes this will be the last time they talk like this. Suddenly she grabs his sleeve. This is the last chance for her, the bottle, that world of if's and maybe's that she's ignored for so many years—
His eyes that are looking at her right now, with concern, with question, with disappointment but also slight hope—she turns her head and looks back at him. Just as she has been looking without realizing for the past years. Her mouth opens to say it.
Everybody is coming into the room again. Quickly, he takes her arm and guides her into the bathroom, closing the door with a soft click. She lets him. Nobody seems to notice and they continue talking and laughing outside the door.
It is pitch dark. She can hear their breathing, feel his hand on her arm, and is fearful no more.
"Sorry, you probably hate—"
He stops, and she smiles. Saying his name was all it took.
His arms are around her without a sound, pulling her against him so she can smell, hear, touch, feel. She closes her eyes, even though its already dark, and puts her arms around him.
She'd seen it come from afar. She'd walked closer and closer, day by day, towards that floating glass bottle, thinking she would pass it because it was not meant for her. She walks farther and farther, while the waves move along with her, and when she finally stops walking, the bottle lies in the sand ahead. It has been waiting for her to come.
She bends down, picks it up, pulls out the folded paper—reads the three words on it.
She's known all along.
A/N: My eyes feel sandy and dry as the desert. I love Hana and Ryohei so much that I thought of them really hard, wrote this fic and didn't stop until I got to this author's note. But my fangirl's heart is satisfied that RyoheixHanaxHanaxRyohei is finally written.
I hope you enjoyed reading.