Entitled: The Electra Complex
Fandom: Kimi ni Todoke
Length: 3,500 words
Disclaimer: I don't own Kimi ni Todoke and etc.
Notes: OH MY GOD DON'T KILL ME. First off, I like Kazehaya/Sadako. I honestly do. Their love is so pure it intimidates me, actually. I'm afraid of writing it. I would contaminate it with sexual innuendos and naughty language. It's off-limits.
Summary: I mean, there are other reasons, but it's the first thing I think of when I see you two together. That he should want me more, because I'm prettier. Isn't that hideous? — KazehayaKurumi
Her hand pressed against the glass.
Kazehaya didn't look at her like that. But she'd thought--thought it hadn't been her. That it'd just been a Kazehaya thing, that he was too nice to notice things like that, that he liked her in his own, safe way, and that was alright, just so long as he--
But the way he looked at Sawako wasn't safe at all.
Her head twisted around too fast, before she'd thought to compose herself. Emi's eyes widened. "Are you alright?"
"Oh, yes! Just looked into the sun for too long," Kurumi waved her off, ran a hand below her eyes, and turned her back on the window.
"Oh, you don't get it," Kurumi snapped, "And I don't want to make you understand." She tossed her hair angrily and slammed her locker closed. "I don't want to be your friend! I don't want you to think that we can just talk this over because I will not give up!"
She worked hard to get the seat next to Kazehaya on the bus ride out to the mountains.
"Alright," Kurumi said softly, "You want to know why? It's disgusting. It's such a stupid reason," she turned her head, and felt awful just for saying it, "Which of us is prettier?"
"You are," Sadako said, without a second of hesitation or envy or pettiness. She didn't even seem to mind it. Kurumi's shoulders slid down to rest.
"Yes," she said, and made herself look Sadako straight in the eye, "That's why. I mean...I mean, there are other reasons, but it's the first thing I think of when I see you two together. That he should want me more, because I'm prettier." she looked at Sadako fiercely for a moment, and then laughed recklessly, feeling almost sick, "Isn't that hideous?"
"I don't..." Sadako trailed off, and Kurumi found that she was quiet as well, waiting to hear what the other girl wanted to say. Sadako bit her lip, "I don't know if it's a question of better or not. Kurumi-chan is very cute. I just--I think that there are other, important things. Oh! I don't mean to say that I'm better than you in that way, I just meant--I just think that you're more than what you look like."
"I know that," Kurumi's hands tightened into fists, "Of course I know that! But that's all anyone's ever told me, you know? They never say that they love me. Just that. Just that I'm pretty."
When she dared look at Sadako again, she recoiled, for the other girl was crying silently. "What's up with you?!"
"I love you, Kurumi-chan!"
"Oh, for God's sake," Kurumi snapped, and wiped angrily at her eyes. She picked up her bag and started for the door, but stopped. It felt somehow wrong to leave Sadako crying like that.
So she went back, and leaned against the lockers, and looked coolly to the side while Sadako sobbed.
She made three batches of chocolate and they all turned out horrible. She fed them to her cat, and then splurged the remainders of her money on boxes of chocolate waiting to be rejected.
Her mother caught her before she could hide them away in her room, and sighed. "Oh, Ume."
"What," Kurumi snapped, "It's almost Valentine's day, you know? I'll need a lot."
"It's not the boy, you're just in love with misery," her mother said, sadly, "It runs in the family, you know."
Kurumi struggled out of her shoes, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"That boy you like," her mother looked at her frankly, "What would you do if he accepted your chocolates? What then?"
"Then I'd ask him out," Kurumi rolled her eyes, but with her back turned so that her mother wouldn't see, "It's not that complicated. But I guess it doesn't matter, anyways," she stopped, then took a breath, "He isn't going to say yes."
And then, angry at herself and at her mother, she stomped into her room and shut the door sharply behind her.
"Is there anyone you like, Kurumi-chan?"
"Me?" Kurumi smiled, her old defenses running back full steam, "Oh, goodness, no, I--"
"Yes," she said, voice edged with knives, "More than you could ever imagine. It's awful. I hope I never forget the feeling, because it makes me so miserable, I could just die." She adjusted the strap of her bag, pushed up her sunglasses, and walked the next several steps buoyed by the hot bubble of defiance simmering within her chest.
"That sounds wonderful," the girl walking beside her said earnestly. Kurumi smiled without restraint.
"That's a nice hairclip," he'd said, and she'd put it in a drawer and never worn it again.
"I very sorry, but I can't accept these," Kazehaya bowed from the waist, tone as polite as he could manage. Kurumi tucked the box of chocolate under her arm and waited for him to straighten.
"As expected," she smiled tightly. He had the grace to look sheepish.
"Thank you for making them for me."
"I didn't. I tried to. They were awful, and now my cat needs its stomach pumped."
Kazehaya snorted, and then flushed, "Sorry."
"It's fine," she abruptly ripped at the cardboard corner, tongue between her teeth. "I understand that you've rejected me, but do you want one? I can't eat all of this myself."
Kazehaya eyed the chocolate dubiously, "I don't...think that would be right. I'm sorry. Thank you, again."
"Oh, I see," Kurumi turned, "Guess I should be going."
"Just as friends?"
"Yes," she began, then stopped. She shook her head. "Is that what you think of me as?"
Kazehaya looked flustered, "Uh..."
"Because I'm not," her face was burning, she could just tell, and it was so humiliating to say this to him, to keep flashing out her heart when she knew he wouldn't take it, "I confessed to you, and that was hard, so...I should get some recognition. Even if you said no."
Kazehaya stared at her, silent. Kurumi pushed back her bangs. "You got it? I'm a girl, and I like you. If our positions were reversed and you were the girl, you wouldn't dare go to see a movie with me."
"Does...that mean you're going to assault me?" Kazehaya scratched his head.
Kurumi's face burned red, "Don't rule out the possibility!"
"Oh." Kazehaya said, dumbfounded. After a minute, he shrugged, "I like hanging out with you, Kurumi. I'm sorry. I'll think about what you said."
"Do you still want to go?"
"I've been waiting for this sequel for almost three years."
Sawako rocked back into the wall, lips bending the straw of her juice box flat, "Wh-Why do you like Kazehaya?"
"Why? What do you mean why? There is no why. I just do."
Sawako stared at her earnestly, "Oh...just like in the movies!"
Kurumi inhaled sharply, felt herself lock down. She stood up quickly, shaking out her skirt, "Don't say that!" she whispered. "Don't you dare laugh! It's not like that at all! It's awful! If this were a movie, he would have picked me! I--I worked so hard to get him to like me and then you showed up and...I hate you!" she drew her arm sharply across her eyes, and tried to glare Sawako into submission. Sawako stared back, startled. Slowly, Kurumi slid back down the wall, letting her legs splay carelessly before her. She looked straight ahead.
"I admire Kazehaya-kun very much," Sawako began, her voice very small, "I want...I want to know everything about him. Even the bad things. I'm...I'm a little bit jealous. I wish I could have as many memories of him as you do."
Kurumi pulled her legs up, and buried her face between her knees. After a moment, Sawako touched her shoulder.
"Are you crying?"
"Don't be stupid."
There was a carton of milk sitting in the refrigerator at home. Without knowing why, she opened it, and poured the whole thing down the sink. She smashed the eggs, shredded the parsley, wadded slices of bread into moist, doughy balls, and she kept at it until the pipes backed up.
She came home to find her mother in her room, systematically turning through Kurumi's old photo albums, dissecting them. Her stomach clenched. "What're you doing?"
Her mother pulled out a picture of her middle school's baseball team, and slid her finger across the row of boyish faces. Kurumi stood straight in the doorway, pulled tight as a bow string and vibrating for it. She bit her lip, and held in her air, as though the pressure in her chest would be enough to make her mother leave.
"That's him, isn't it?" her mother asked, and pointed to Kazehaya. Kurumi said nothing, only followed her mother's movements with her eyes. The corners of her mouth pinched together. Her mother sighed, and looked down.
Don't say it.
Please, please don't.
"He looks like a nice boy," she said at last, and set the photo in the stack on her lap, then went back to the albums. It was like she was trying to erase Kazehaya. Kurumi's shoulder loosened, and she let her bag drop to the floor.
"You can hate me," her mother said, not looking up, "That's the problem. I don't mind. I can't--I can't let that happen to you. I can't let you become me."
Another picture joined the stack. Kurumi forced a laugh, "You're being silly. It's just high school. He's just a boy."
She hid her lying tongue behind her teeth, and smiled. Gently, she bent to tug the photo album away from her mother, only to have the other woman grab her wrist.
"No," her mother said, the dreamy sadness falling away from her voice as she said the word, "Not this one."
The ugly, swollen girl in the mirror was definitely not Kurumi. Kurumi would never be bent over the sink in the girl's bathroom, scrubbing the tears off of her face.
When she heard the door open, she deliberately refused to turn her head. Let them think whatever they wanted.
"Oh, you're surprisingly sensitive," a girl drawled. Kurumi's jaw tightened. She pumped the soap dispenser.
"What do you want?"
"Hm," Ayane raised her eyebrows, braced her hands on either side of the sink, and leaned close to the mirror to inspect her eyelashes. "Honestly, nothing. I couldn't care less."
A wave of relief broke over Kurumi. She kept looking ahead, examining how ugly crying could make her. "Then why are you here?"
"Don't snip at me," Ayane snorted, and looked over at her. "Hey, come on. Let me fix you up." She pulled out a tube of mascara, foundation, lip gloss. Kurumi just stared. Ayane gestured impatiently, "Well?"
"Why should you help me?" Kurumi snapped, arms folding defensively, "You hate me, don't you?"
Ayane rolled her eyes, "Are you always this melodramatic?" she grumbled, then gripped Kurumi by the chin and dusted a layer of foundation across Kurumi's reddened nose and puffy cheeks. "Just because I happen to dislike you doesn't mean I want your hysterical breakdowns to become a regular occurrence. Don't blink."
Kurumi rolled her eyes up, trying not to twitch as the mascara wand hovered dangerously near her eye. She could think of nothing to say.
"Now, listen," Ayane said again, "You've got to stop this. You're not being fair to anyone, most of all yourself."
Kurumi jerked away, glaring, "You think I'm acting this way because I want to?!"
Ayane made a short, reproving noise, and grabbed her chin again, "Of course you are," she whispered, "You think you're the only one with a broken heart? Now, stop dragging it about and put it together again. Move on. Kazehaya's a nice guy, sure, but it's not like he's the only one out there."
Kurumi stayed quiet until the other girl had capped the mascara wand and put it away. She checked her reflection. She looked almost normal, now.
"You won't have to do this again," she said tonelessly. Ayane raised her eyebrows.
"Love is suffering, huh?"
Kurumi turned away.
"Stop punishing yourself like this."
"I heard that you and Sawako are going out."
Kazehaya tugged on the end of his bangs, blushed shortly, and then bent back over the plans they were making, outlining the next field trip. "I guess."
So, no more going to the movies just as friends. No more boxes of chocolate she'd have to eat herself. She wasn't sure if she was relieved, or heartbroken. She drew an almost-perfect heart in the margin of her page, then covered it up with her arm.
This was when she was supposed to give her blessing. Be a graceful loser.
She looked up at him through her eyelashes, "Hey, Kazehaya?"
"Do you think I'm pretty?"
"I, uh..." Kazehaya trailed off, looking at her in bewilderment. But then something shifted, and his eyes widened a little, a heart moved up into her throat, beating faster. "I guess I never really looked," he smiled sheepishly, and then clapped his hands together in embarrassment, bowing quickly, "Uh, I mean, I'm sorry!"
She nodded dizzily, wondering if he'd avoided the question on purpose, "No, don't worry about it."
She stooped to lift her bag. It was heavy with love letters. He held the door open for her on the way out.
There was a gentleman standing by the school gate, waiting. Kurumi stopped, Kazehaya didn't. Sawako was drifting around by the flower beds, watering here, weeding there. He looked back just once to wave, but her heart was pounding to hard for her to wave back.
She had the irrational desire to run after him. He would have saved her. He always did.
Sawako turned to meet him. They smiled at one another, timidly, not looking at Kurumi or the man at the gate or even the distance between them.
Kurumi took a step. And another. When she was about half way across the yard Sawako looked away from Kazehaya long enough to wave, bolder and friendlier than she had been before.
Kurumi waved back, then wished she hadn't.
"Friends of yours?" the man asked. She didn't stop, and he had to hasten to catch up with her.
"You've grown, Kurumi."
Kurumi bit her lip, "No, I haven't. Not at all."
The gentleman, for he was one, was tall and slim with kind, if politely distant eyes. He was young to be the father of a high school student, and his face still retained some of its boyish features. They looked almost nothing alike, and so there was nothing to tie them together.
If anything, he looked like Kazehaya.
(He looks like a nice boy.)
"I've brought my car."
"I'd rather walk."
There was a part of her that wanted to run away then, just to spite him. But she did stop, and she did turn, with her arms crossed and her chin raised. "What?"
Her father began to say something, then stopped. He sighed, "No, never mind. I've left you something in your room. I'm going back to Europe. I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer."
He put his hands in his pockets, and she didn't care what her mother said, because Kazehaya would never be this--this man who was too polite to say he didn't love her. And she would never be that woman who sat at home and cried but never spoke of it, who only locked up her misery and bowed her head and went on loving regardless.
"I'll let you go," her father said at last. He touched the back of her head, pulled it to his chest. She smelled the starch on his shirt and something she only associated with childhood, before he let her go, and returned to his car. Her eyes blurred--and she was furious with herself for crying.
She didn't love him. She didn't. Crying made her ugly, anyways, and nobody loved ugly girls.
Her father drove off, and Kazehaya turned the other corner, and there was nothing to be done then but to start walking, ducking to hide her wet nose and her hot eyes, the storm in her chest.
She stopped at a light.
She looked down.
"Here," a flower passed hands, and a child with a sticky smile and braids and her mother's eyes helped Kurumi weave the flower into her hair, "Oh, it looks good on you. You're so pretty."
Kurumi stood numbly, and only remembered to move after the light had changed back again, so she had to wait even longer.
She pulled the flower out of her hair.
"Your father said he'd call tomorrow." her mother called from the kitchen. Kurumi set down her bag, and walked towards the voice.
Her mother didn't look up. She had been crying, but with her daughter present she wasn't allowed to continue. So she kept her shoulders taut and still and didn't allow so much as a quiver.
There was a present sitting on her bed. She unwrapped it tiredly. Another music box or dancing figurine. Something fragile and feminine. Jewelry or teddy bears when she felt like matchsticks and kerosene.
She looked up and saw her mother in the mirror.
Her hands clenched and something splintered--she let the pieces of ornament fall into her lap. There was a bright red sliver on the inside of her thumb.
For a moment, looking at the sad thing in her lap, she felt like crying. But there was nothing to cry for! Why, there was a bottle of glue in her drawer and the break was clean, she could fix it good as new--
She packed the broken pieces into the rubbish bin. And then her favorite music box. Her dangling earrings. There was so much of it that she had to keep pausing to take out the trash, and when it was done her room looked sad an empty and she felt light headed with relief. There was so much space to fill up, now. The empty places in her photo albums, for starters.
She dug out her phone.
"I'm not giving up." she said breathlessly, "You understand? Just because you're his girlfriend doesn't mean that I can't take him back."
There was a beat of silence, and then Sawako wailed, "Kurumi-chan, I'm so glad!"
"Whatever," Kurumi snorted, and snapped the phone closed.
She looked up, and her reflection smiled.