Because these two make me love them.
Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Knight or its characters.
From the Start
The rain fell, cold and loud, and it almost drowned out Juri's sharp intake of breath as she tried to pretend she wasn't shivering.
It seemed she still hadn't learned when it was best to just give in.
It was a quiet autumn night and they'd been walking out at the very boundaries of the gardens as the moon rose bright in the sky, wandering, if you asked Juri, without rhyme or reason or any fixed place to go. It'd been nice, calm, and Juri thought it was one of those spontaneous things to which Haruka was not usually inclined.
Haruka had in fact been planning this for some time, but it was not one of those things acceptably disclosed before it actually happened. In true Haruka fashion, contemplative and patient, he'd just been waiting for the right moment. With Juri, you had no other choice but to take your chances, and today Haruka had a feeling that his chances were somehow better than usual. And so he'd had cautiously high hopes, and a rather good feeling about this.
Or at least he had until it had started raining.
They'd been drifting in a vague circle around the grounds, talking about not much; and Haruka had been considering, and had thus convinced himself that this was indeed a good idea. At the very least he'd hoped so; otherwise he was in for something like a world of pain, or something perhaps worse. But he'd dared to allow himself to hope for the best. Juri was in a good mood, after all.
But then the rain had started, and now they were standing under a tree out far away from everywhere, caught short by the sudden downpour. It had almost been fun (Juri grabbing his hand, sprinting with him towards the nearest shelter while they tried not to slip on the wet grass, and laughed like teenagers), but in the last five minutes he'd noticed that she'd gone unusually quiet, and he had a sneaking suspicion that the weather was to blame.
He had a stronger suspicion that he was to blame for that. He'd almost allowed himself to hope that she'd forgotten that by now.
It had been a while. Juri was by human terms twenty-two, an adult now – capable of making her own decisions and, in an ideal word, of choosing to forget everything Haruka had done to wrong her.
But this was Juri, and an ideal world was as Juri saw it, not Haruka.
And for some reason Juri was still holding on to her foolish pride, that need she had not to appear weak in front of him. He didn't understand why she did that. It was the middle of the night, and now that the rain had started it was rather freezing. And she was trying to act as if she wasn't bothered by it.
Silly, stubborn Juri.
Haruka was the last person who'd ridicule or judge her for admitting that she was cold, and yet she was still refusing his periodic, persistent asking if she'd like to wear his coat. She'd just fold her arms tighter and turn her head resolutely away.
Haruka was tempted to give up on her just this once, because she was terribly cute like this, making her hmph noise and refusing to even acknowledge that he was there; but he'd been brought up better than to let a woman stand shivering in the cold. So resigning himself to any violence that might be brought upon him by it, he without a word stepped closer to Juri, removed his coat and placed it gently over her shoulders.
(And thus realised that it was a very bad idea because maybe she'd notice what was in the pocket, and then there'd be trouble. He found himself hoping rather fiercely that she'd remain oblivious, at least for a little while longer.)
Haruka was half-expecting Juri to shrug the coat off and give it back, but then she brought her arms up and clutched it tighter around her, and any cold Haruka now felt was irrelevant, because she'd finally not refused him. This was, by all accounts, a very good sign. Maybe Haruka's hopes were getting a bit dangerously high, but wasn't he allowed that, at least just for once?
Juri was still looking straight ahead, though Haruka supposed it might be too much to ask for her to make any obvious gesture of appreciation. But he stayed there standing next to her, because he had a very strong premonition that she'd tell him off for moving away. Juri could be strange like that.
She was moving slightly then; hopefully not in a coat-removing fashion was all Haruka could think. If she'd continued to refuse his concern for her, he may have almost been tempted to give up hope. Almost, but not quite.
If there was one thing he'd never give up on, not even if the sun fell out of the sky and the earth caved in beneath their feet and all hope of redemption was gone, it was Juri. She was light when his world could so easily have gone dark; light which there was no way to turn off even if he had wanted to. Whether she knew it yet or not, she was here to stay.
(And somehow, Haruka didn't think she'd mind.)
So here they were, and here was Haruka realising that it was now or never, because he didn't know if he'd get another chance like this for a long time. And he'd waited long enough.
Juri, apparently, unknowingly, thought the opposite, and saw fit to distract him.
That slight, deceptively innocuous movement was her reaching down to take Haruka's hand, her fingers lacing gently in his, holding him tight. She moved sideways at the same time, leaning against him with her head on his shoulder.
Haruka regained his common sense a split-second away from pinching himself or biting his lip to make sure he wasn't hallucinating. He was standing next to Juri, and she was holding his hand and leaning her head on his shoulder, and all of her own accord. It was a situation the likes of which would never have occurred even in his dreams (but then again, the content of his dreams was not up for discussion).
Haruka's plan could be put on hold for this, if just for a while.
He waited, wondering if she would say anything. The rain fell loud and rhythmic, Juri's heart beat louder than before, and Haruka got distracted enough that his mind was somewhere far, far away when Juri did speak.
Haruka only realised this when Juri's fingernails dug sharp into the back of his hand.
He looked down at her, and his heart twisted and something flooded his chest as he saw that she was smiling at him, rather than glaring as if she were about to remove his kidneys through his mouth.
That was helpful.
"You," she said, turning back to face the rain, falling a few metres away outside the shelter of the tree, "really should pay more attention."
As if he hadn't been paying attention every day for the past hundred years.
But it wasn't worth provoking her and incurring a beating just because he thought it might be amusing.
"What did I miss?" he asked, because there was a chance it had been somewhat significant. Either that or Juri had insulted him. He didn't mind either way, because she was still holding his hand and, wretched fool that he was, he was happy just with that.
Juri's hand tightened on his, only enough for him to barely notice.
"Maybe I won't tell you," she said, "seeing as it clearly wasn't important the first time." Her voice had a hint of mischief in it, the one which meant she was laughing at him.
She tipped her head up, grinning at him like butter wouldn't melt. "What'll you do for me?"
Now that was a question. What would he do for her, indeed.
Biting his tongue before he could suggest something very indecent and get himself a slap, he decided he'd be better off reasoning.
"What would you like me to do for you?" he asked.
And then realised that what he'd just said probably was going to earn him a slap.
Thankfully, Juri either didn't notice or didn't care. And Haruka had no more time to be concerned by it, because what Juri said next practically stopped his heart.
"You can be my stupid boyfriend."
Haruka was torn between being protesting at being called stupid, and doing something incredibly silly which would have Juri laughing at him for the next hundred years.
Going with his better judgement, he decided on just leaning closer to Juri and saying "Okay."
And then it occurred to him that, despite how astonishingly significant this was, it was not quite the right thing.
Because the reason they were here in the first place, that he'd waited months for the right moment and driven himself quite near crazy wondering if it was actually a good idea or not, was that he was going to ask Juri to marry him.
Oh, it'd been understood for a long time – they'd be married one day. But when it came to admitting it to themselves, finally accepting it and making it official, Haruka was the type to do things right. And he'd been waiting for this for a long time, for when he could tell (because he loved her, and he knew) that Juri was ready, and the most he could do was ask.
He didn't really want to go back on what he'd just said, but this was as good a moment as any, if not better.
So he turned to her, bracing himself for how she might react, and said, "Actually, Juri…"
She blinked, tilting her head to the side, confusion on her face. "Huh?"
Haruka didn't answer her. Unable to suppress a slight smile, he reached into the pocket of his coat, still around her shoulders – which was only a little ironic – and pulled out the small, clichéd box.
He stood in front of her, glad that the grass under the tree was still dry, and like he'd imagined doing for so long, went down on one knee, opening the box as he did (glad that he had in fact opened it the right way).
Juri blinked again, Haruka's heart stuttered, and then Juri smiled at him in a way that made the whole earth bright.
"Haruka," she said, amusement pretty on her face, "you do know we're already engaged, right?"
She leaned forward, her eyes bright to match her smile.
And said, "Yes."
This was, by all accounts, probably the best moment of Haruka's life so far. And he'd been alive for a very long time.
Juri had said yes, and it was official, and there was actually going to be a wedding.
Haruka supposed that, to some, it might have seemed like it was a given that he and Juri would be married one day. It had been, at the start.
But as Haruka had seen Juri grow up, and gotten to know her, he'd come to realise that marriage to him might not be what she ended up wanting. He'd suspected that their family would want it to happen anyway – to continue the Kuran line, and keep the power – but Haruka saw no good in it if there was a chance that it would make Juri unhappy.
So he'd managed to convince the family that if Juri didn't want him, she didn't want him, and that was the way it would have to be. He did hope that it wouldn't come to that, but he loved Juri and could never make her do something she didn't wish for. They'd been reluctant to accept what Haruka was saying, because this was a long-held tradition; so Haruka had suggested that they wait and see what happened, until Juri was older and could make the decision for herself.
And she had, and the long years of waiting had finally paid off, and Haruka almost didn't know what to do with himself.
Next to that, a small voice in his head played back to him what Juri had said – you do know we're already engaged, right? – and with it came the sneaking suspicion that Juri had accepted it all along, and had been pretending to hate him just to cause him trouble.
But he didn't mind. He couldn't have taken it if he had, because Juri was probably going to do the same kind of thing for the rest of forever. That was what she did.
It was then that it occurred to Haruka that she hadn't even let him ask the question. He was glad she'd said yes, of course, but at the same time he'd wanted to do this right, because he had always liked tradition.
He tilted his head sideways, looking up at Juri with the expression she'd once said was cute, in the desperate hope of helping his cause. "I don't get to ask properly?"
Juri looked terribly amused. "Oh, go on then," she said, waving her hand almost dismissively.
Haruka took a deep breath, could smell the rain and the leaves and Juri pretty in front of him, and finally said the words he'd been rehearsing in his mind for far too long.
"Juri, will you marry me?"
And then Juri, as only Juri could do, turned her head away and up, folding her arms across her chest (which almost didn't work, because Haruka's coat near fell off her shoulders when she did).
Haruka could only look up at her, trying to ignore his heart as it sank. Had she changed her mind that quickly? It was to be expected from her, he supposed, but still. You'd have thought she'd stopped to think before she said anything in the first place; did she care that little?
But then she smiled at him, and Haruka realised that he was worse than a complete idiot, and that she was just playing with him.
He really should have been used to that by now.
He had to shake his head at her and laugh, thinking only for a second how tradition-less this whole thing was going to turn out. With a mind to ask her what on earth was going on in her head, he said, "Juri–"
She cut him off with a simple, "Stand up."
Haruka obeyed, and she didn't look away from him as he did. She hadn't stopped smiling.
Juri hugged him then, threw her arms around him so quickly he didn't have time to react, and the coat did fall off her shoulders, but it didn't matter. Her arms were tight enough around Haruka's waist that he almost couldn't breathe; her voice was bright as she said, "Yes, of course I'll marry you, idiot."
Haruka could do nothing but hug her back, not because she was practically strangling him, but because he didn't want to do anything else. This was something like his wildest dream come true; and although it was completely different to what he'd imagined it was a thousand times better.
It occurred to him then that he was still holding the box, and seeing as he'd brought it for a reason, he may as well do something about it.
"Juri," he said over her shoulder, "the ring. Shall I–"
He did not finish the question on account of that she kissed him.
He never technically finished the question. He'd never needed to.
She'd been his from the start.