Uninteresting Matters of the Heart
In the end, it is like any other unrequited love: a little bit funny, and not terribly tragic. He must be a masochist to love her, he thinks. She likes the flowers, but doesn't understand the language he's speaking. Izumi/Hana
When he and Miya had made that promise in middle school - to be the best of the best in their respective activities - there had been a second sort of promise, the unspoken kind. Sure, they would try to return to 'normal' life (try not to beat up too many people, try not to threaten, maim, or kill, try not to stand out too much), but they wouldn't fall into the 'normal' routine.
Although Miya will go to his club everyday, and cheer them on and encourage them and watch out for them, he will never actually go to anyone's house, will never actually stay too late, will never actually get too close.
Although Izumi will go to every student council meeting, do every duty a vice-president (the real vice-president) is supposed to do, and heck, even hang out with those morons from time-to-time (read: everyday), he will not go to any of their houses, will not have needless contact, and will never call any of them by first name.
It's a matter of distance - of unfamiliarity.
And really, it's a matter of affection as well. Of knowledge (and wariness) for their past affiliations and afflictions, and for the present, which neither of them are willing to shatter.
It is because of these little quirks, these little 'limitations' they've wordlessly promised each other (and themselves) to follow, that neither Miya nor him expected to ever get too close. Understanding, yes. Empathetic, yes. Able to cry and laugh and hell, maybe even appreciate? Most likely. But to love? Never.
Which is why it's so stupid when it happens - to him, of all people.
Miyazaki is the one that's always bubbly and cheerful, easy to get along with (so long as one does not press his 'Berserk Button'), approachable, really. And yet, he does not seem to be affected by the girls that parade around him. Well, not so much parade around him as around his club, but still.
Izumi - still somewhat in denial, and most certainly not acknowledging the fact - would have bet his life savings, heck, his life, on the idea that Miyazaki would be the first to fall in love.
Not Gaku Izumi.
It's irony; the kind that the literature teachers are always talking about, the kind that he can write about for pages on pages (and still lose to frikkin' Chiba and his frikkin' nerdish brain who has the balls to talk about assonance and deconstructionism and the stuff teachers melt in puddles of goo for). It is irony, and irony - as it always is - is a little bit of bitter and perpetually fucking hilarious.
In that 'haha I feel like someone's cut off my finger' sort of funny, he thinks.
And he's not a schoolgirl (not even a student - he's still the leader of a bosozoku, even if he's been 'inactive' for a couple years) so he does not blush. Or stutter. Around her. Ever. Ever.
Somehow of another, he still remembers their first official meeting. There were a couple ones before that, namely watching her failing rank and seeing her run around with that delinquent (the idiot Shinagawa, of course) and her lackey (the yankee girl, Himeji, who would glare at statues for 'looking at her wrong'). It was right before the student council elections, and Shinagawa - of all people - was running for Vice-President. It was not only completely out of his plans (he had thought Kasukabe, or even Kumagaya would have run for StuCo VP) but utterly stupid as well. And then the former Yankee had the guts to ask him, Gaku Izumi, to step down to some girl?
Hell, no - no way in hell - and of course, he and Shinagawa had give-or-take schooled one another. He'd thrown a few punches, and gotten a few thrown back at him.
And then she - Adachi Hana, the one anomaly in his plans, his school, his life - had shown up, raging and screaming, right back at either Shinagawa or himself (he didn't even know what he was saying at that point, mainly because he was so pissed off). And he had said something rude, and she had tried to kick him.
Two seconds; that's really all it took for his heart to beat. Once-twice (and then fasterthaneverbefore) because Adachi Hana was stupid and insipid and hell, the girl willingly hung around Shinagawa for crying out loud. And, Izumi would never admit this, even on his deathbed, but she was also pretty damn hot with her glasses off.
One wrong move (it happens, even to the best of them - himself included) and he makes that one wrong move, and Shinagawa is looking at him, with some degree of pity, as Adachi Hana simply trashes him. Even Miyazaki would be reckoning her, he thinks, even while he's seeing stars because necks are not supposed to make contact with toilet seats like that.
It's not love at first sight, thank God. That would just be too humiliating, and he would never be able to hold his head high, if he managed to fall into that bad (and that hard) of a cliché. No, instead, it's a bit more painful, a bit more dragged-out, and bit more funny. He must be a masochist, he thinks, because only a masochist would be able to laugh at their own misfortune.
And here's the real problem: he doesn't feel any pain when he's with her.
No highschool clenching of the heart, no voice in the background talking about how 'this will never be' and 'she will never see you as you sometimes, somedays, and somenights, see her'. Instead, he's busy ridiculing the whole Student Council's antics (and sometimes even his own stupidities), and they're just having a good time.
Then, like all other rational people, he'll try to brush it off - think it's probably just his mind on overdrive (or his heart, really), and that he's not really the type for sentiments, or romantic feelings at all. And then it's in those godforsaken moments that he'll see Adachi Hana in a different light. How her eyelashes are pretty long, how she's constantly propping up her glasses, and how her fingernails have never once been clean.
Izumi - against his better conscious - begins to notice the other things. That mole under her left eye, the curve of her elbow when she writes, the fact that in English, she can't help but forget to dot her i's and cross her t's. The way she smiles, and her face just cracks up and her cheeks get a little redder, but it's because she's happy, and not actually embarrassed.
Never embarrassed - unlike him.
And he sometimes smiles back, until Shinagawa says something stupid, and he just has to school the other guy.
His heart beats, or begins to beat, faster when she's around. And though he still (sure as hell!) isn't blushing, Miyazaki notices something different the first time he lays eyes on Adachi Hana. And then Miya smiles, amicably, before attempting to egg him on. To no avail, of course, he's not stupid like Shinagawa. And like that - it's a highschool romance, the unrequited kind. It's not that she doesn't like him, it's not that she doesn't know he exists, and it's certainly not because she likes someone else.
It just... isn't.
She - Adachi Hana, the girl of many faces, many moves, forever unforgettable and perpetually in-motion - is not like that.
And so, it is the most tragic kind of affection, for him, at least.
Give it to her, or not? Give it to her, or not? He knows that it's the duty of the girl to give the boy chocolates on Valentines' Day. But the fact of the matter is, she's Adachi Hana, and she wouldn't have the time, much less the culinary capacity, to make chocolates for the sake of an Americanized holiday.
But he is Izumi Gaku, and when there is no time, he'll make time.
And just when he resolves to give it to her, rounding the corner of where the Student Council office is, he sees her hand a package of chocolates to Shinagawa, and he feels his heart drop to his stomach.
But she is Adachi Hana, and she would not be Adachi Hana (and he would not think of her to be 'Adachi Hana') if she were not able to make him feel an actual spectrum of emotions in a day. Or even a couple minutes. Because then she turns, and sees him, and beams, saying:
"Izumi-kun! I've been looking for you!" And then she hands him a bundle of chocolates, exactly like Shinagawa's; three chocolate hearts, loosely tied together, and sloppily decorated. And he knows he'll eat them, even if it's in the safety (and privacy!) of his own home. Because it's Valentines' Day, and he was given chocolate and - well,
"Well?" she asks.
"Thank you," he mumbles, taking the bag. Shinagawa scoffs in the background.
White Day, white flowers - it only makes sense. He gives them out to all of the girls who happened to give him chocolate on Valentine's Day. And although Adachi Hana gave him chocolate (and it was not honmei chocolate and he was not disappointed and it, surprisingly, did not taste like shit), like she did to every other guy on the student council, she does not get one.
Because - he's stupid and unable to count (and somewhere in his devious heart, maybe it was planning this) - he didn't buy the appropriate amount of bouquets.
But he's a solver of problems - because he'll never be able to solve this problem - and he gets a solution quick enough. There is a bed of roses, and he's not too certain what color they are, right below the faculty room, and they're within reach. There's a baseball game today, so most of the faculty should be out observing, and it's only too easy to sneak into the flowerbeds.
And damn, because there is, apparently, only one type of rose, and it's red.
Cliché, cliché - the gardener must have some romantic issues himself, Izumi thinks. And then wonders if death by thorns is as painful as it sounds.
At the end of ten minutes, he's extracted three roses, one for each of the chocolates (oversized they were) that she gave him. And his fingers are bit sore and very bloody, and he wonders if she'll mind. But then again, this is Adachi Hana, so no way. There's nothing to tie them about, to keep the thorns she won't notice from pricking her so he just...
Uses his uniform's tie.
"For me?" Adachi Hana asks, eyes wide. Izumi nods, curtly, before handing her the makeshift bouquet. 'For White Day,' he mumbles, and then shuffles away. He catches her smile, and places it, gently, at the head of her StuCo President's desk. And his fingers are a bit numb and his heart is still pounding, but he's glad - he's glad - that she doesn't get the message.
Because she's Adachi Hana, and she isn't something to own, something to 'get' - someone to 'have'. She exists, and she thrives, and hell, she knows him and he knows her and they're on speaking terms in the student council and isn't that good enough for him?
And then Izumi laughs, and she turns around, and he flippantly waves a hand. It might be tragic later, but for now, his unrequited love is actually pretty damn funny.
And he wouldn't have it - wouldn't have her, wouldn't have this - any other way.