The Ponta, the Bear, and the Strawberry Marshmallow
Innocent amber orbs met innocent brown orbs.
The boy stared at her as she fiddled with the hem of her skirt. She had two abnormally long braided pigtails and was almost the same height as him.
Echizen Ryoma honestly never saw a person with such a long hair before in his life… at least, his five-year-old life.
Rinko smiled at her youngest son and knelt down to find his height. "Now Ryoma, be kind to our visitors, okay? Why don't you play with their cute daughter while we talk about adult stuffs in the kitchen?"
Ryoma grunted annoyingly. The last thing he wanted to do was to play with a girly girl in his house. Girls were yucky and annoying!
"Kaa-san! I want to play tennis with Ryoga!" he protested.
Then, a taller guy in a monk suit interrupted their conversation in the living room. "Ryoma, you should know better how to treat cute girls like her nicely!" he said in an irritating tone.
"Nanjiroh-san!" the stranger with the young girl in pigtails said, "Don't tell me you're teaching your son about things like that already!" the guy stepped closer to Nanjiroh, "If ever your son does anything unnecessary to my daughter, I swear I'm going to—"
"Shojiro!" the woman next to him interrupted, "Don't talk to Nanjiroh-san like that!"
He tried to reason with his wife at first, but in the end, Ryuzaki Shojiro nodded in defeat with his wife's scolding.
The woman faced Rinko and bowed apologetically in front of her, "I'm so sorry for my husband's behavior, Rinko."
Rinko smiled guiltily. "Oh, please don't," she turned to Nanjiroh and pinched his cheek, who yelped in pain in return, "It's Nanjiroh's fault anyway! Now, apologize to Sanako this instant!"
Nanjiroh had tears forming on his eyes as he waved his arms around, "R-Rinko! S-Stop it! Okay, okay! Sorry, sheesh!"
The two kids in the room were left watching them in a corner.
"So," Rinko stood up properly and smiled as she faced Shojiro and Sanako, "How's Sumire-san these days?"
The adults continued their conversation as they walked towards the kitchen. But not before Shojiro gave his daughter her favorite bear, of course. He grinned at his daughter and patted her head before he followed the other adults to the kitchen.
Ryoma and pigtails watched as the adults finally left the room and gave them silence. He turned to pigtails and watched as she hugged her bear tighter.
"Name," he simply said.
The girl looked at him in confusion, "N-Name?"
"You have a name or what?"
"Oh," the girl blushed in embarrassment, "Sakuno. It's Sakuno."
Then, Ryoma got irritated and jumped off the sofa and out the house.
The girl noticed him leaving and decided to follow him.
Sakuno tiptoed her way up to the doorknob and trembled as she opened and closed the huge and heavy door. When she finally got out, she looked around for any signs of the boy that was supposed to accompany her in her stay at their home.
She walked around and stumbled upon meeting a random rock on her way. She lay flat on the lawn and she could feel tears already coming out of her eyes. She stood up and sniffed her nose to prevent further distress. She grabbed her teddy bear that got squished as she fell on top of it.
With that, she looked around again, hoping to find the boy with an overly sized cap.
After a few more moments of walking, she finally found him. She saw him standing near a tree. He was holding a can of something and seemed to drink something from it.
Sakuno timidly approached him.
Ryoma noticed from the corner of his big amber eyes a person approaching him. He inwardly panicked and immediately tried to hide his Ponta can behind him. His mother told him to only drink that soda once in a while, but he got addicted to it as much as normal kids would be addicted to chocolate chip cookies.
When Ryoma successfully hid his drink through his back pocket, he looked at the person who approached him again, only to find out it was the pigtailed girl.
He unknowingly sighed in relief.
Sakuno stopped when she was two feet away from him. "A-Anou… w-what are you h-hiding behind you?"
Ryoma stared at her with no emotions. Should he trust pigtails, or should he not? Better not; girls are troublesome. And she might tell his mother on him.
"Nothing," he replied.
"But I saw you hiding something!" the girl stubbornly said.
"I said it was nothing!"
The girl pouted and stepped one foot back. "Then let me see it!"
"Let you see what?"
"Because I'm hiding something!" Ryoma yelled.
The girl got surprised by Ryoma's yelling and began crying childishly. Ryoma panicked. He never really knew how to deal with crying girls. He pouted and decided to just ignore her annoying and squeaky crying. He turned his back on her and crossed his arms.
When Ryoma turned around, Sakuno got to see what's behind him through her tear-filled eyes. Her crying stopped immediately and she put her hand on top of the unknown thing. She unknowingly dropped her stuffed bear.
Ryoma felt her hands on his Ponta and abruptly turned around. Sakuno got surprised by his sudden actions and decided to walk around him to see the thing he was hiding again.
He avoided her actions by turning around again.
For now, the two looked like a dog chasing its tail.
When the two finally got tired—with Ryoma's constant twirling around and with Sakuno's chase for his back pocket—they sat down and panted for breath.
The two heard a sound of a can breaking.
Suddenly, Ryoma felt his back pocket turning wet and sticky…
Oh boy… he just sat on his half-empty can of grape Ponta, didn't he?
He quickly stood up and stated his complaints on how stupid the world was for letting him sit on his sneaked out can of Ponta. He took the crushed can out of his pocket and watched with disgust as the thing let out droplets of sticky (yet delicious) liquid.
Then, he heard pigtails screamed in panic before sobbing continuously.
"What now!" he asked irritatingly.
Sakuno sniffed before answering him with her tear-filled eyes. "M-My bear! Y-You ruined my bear!"
"What?" Did she just accuse him of something he did not do?
Sakuno stretched her arm down and grabbed her bear that was lying on the ground. She held it up for him to see, only to find out that the poor stuffed bear was wet with violet-colored liquid.
"You sat on my bear and made the can of something spill its content all over him!" she yelled as she started crying again.
Ryoma paused and looked at her guiltily. But then again, he didn't want to apologize. "So? It's your fault for dropping it in the first place."
Sakuno cried louder and began shouting for her mom's name.
Now, that made Ryoma panic.
He quickly shut her mouth up with his hand. He obviously doesn't want to get scolded by her mom… or his mom… If ever the adults find out about this, then his mom will find out that he sneaked out a forbidden can of Ponta from the fridge.
"Quiet! Don't call for your mom!" he hushed her.
Sakuno spoke some words that were incoherent, since Ryoma had his hand all over her mouth. He removed his hand from her mouth and asked her to say it again.
"I said now I won't be able to sleep anymore!" she cried. Her precious bear was the only thing she can't sleep without.
"It's not my fault you can't sleep without your stupid bear!"
"Karupin is not stupid!" she retorted.
Karupin? That was a nice name… Ryoma thought he could name one of his future pets with that name.
"Mommy!" she cried again.
Ryoma watched her cry louder as she called for her mom's name. He twitched. What could make a girl shut up?
He remembered his dad saying something about a kiss. But he can't remember how he was supposed to kiss a girl… He imagined his dad wrapping his arm around his mom… Is that what you call kiss?
He sighed irritatingly. "Fine! I'll replace your stupid stuffed bear!"
Sakuno stopped crying and looked at him. "What? How?"
"I SAID! I'll replace your stupid stuffed bear!"
"I heard you… so how?"
Ryoma groaned. "Me! I'll do it! I'll replace your bear!"
Sakuno stood up, "That's why I asked you how you're going to replace Karupin!"
Ryoma stepped closer to her. "You're really slow! I said I'm going to replace Karupin. With me! I'll be your new Karupin!"
"Oh," she finally got it. She thought he suggested replacing Karupin with another toy. Now that he made it clear to her, what he meant was he'll take over Karupin's place.
Sakuno looked at Ryoma unsurely. "But you don't look like a bear. You look more of a cat."
"Che. Karupin suits a cat's name better than a bear," he replied.
"And you don't look soft," Sakuno added.
"Try me," he implied.
Sakuno raised one finger up and poked Ryoma's cheek. She blushed in merriment. "Wow, you're really soft!"
"See? I told'ya. Kaa-san and Nanako kept on pinching my cheeks and said that it's soft."
Sakuno grinned childishly and jumped to Ryoma. She hugged him like how she hugs her teddy bear. "Karupin-chan!"
Ryoma won't admit it out loud, but he finds the girl soft, as well.
"Now, it's nap time!" Sakuno said cheerfully. She took one of Ryoma's hands and dragged him back in the house.
When they got inside, Sakuno asked Ryoma where she could take a nap. He led the way to his room and opened the door for her. "This is my room. You could sleep in here. Oyaji said that I could bring a girl here anytime." Then he remembered Rinko bumping Nanjiroh's head after he said those words to his son.
Sakuno ran happily around the room and jumped into the bed. She lied on her front and adjusted herself to the bed's softness. She buried her face on the pillow and smiled happily.
She sat up and turned to Ryoma who was still standing in the doorframe.
"What's the matter? Aren't you going to go in? I said I can't sleep without Karupin, remember?" she said as she bounced up and down his bed.
Ryoma shrugged his thoughts about Ryoga and his dad and jumped next to Sakuno in bed.
After a few more minutes of doing nothing but jumping up and down the bed, the two got tired and Sakuno stifled a yawn. She lied down and pulled Ryoma beside her.
Ryoma watched as she gradually fell into deep slumber.
He was tired but he wasn't feeling sleepy at all.
He stared at the ceiling and once in a while turns his head to see Sakuno's relaxed breathing.
His minds wandered off to anything he could think of. From his birthday parties to his relatives… and finally, to what his father said to him.
One day, he saw his father putting his lips on his mother's lips. He asked what they were doing and Nanjiroh whispered to him that they were kissing. Oh, so that was how kissing was done. Ryoma got curious on why they were kissing and his father only replied that it was fun.
"So people kiss someone because they want to have fun," he muttered to himself.
He also remembered his father saying that kissing was only done by two people in opposite genders. It's either a boy kisses a girl or a girl kisses a boy. And his mother's kisses on his cheeks were not the same as the one his parents did earlier. What his parents did earlier, as told by Nanjiroh, were way fun than innocent kisses on his cheeks.
"What does innocent means?" he asked himself.
"Ryoma, when you kiss a girl, it means that you like her. You don't just do it with any girl." He remembered his mother said to him once she found out that Nanjiroh was teaching him ways on how to score with the ladies.
"Score with the ladies? What was that suppose to mean?" he grunted as he tried to rack his brain for an answer.
He turned his head sideways to meet Sakuno's sleeping face again.
He likes her, simply because she's the only girl he encountered that didn't try to kiss him; unlike his classmates that kept on pestering him. Didn't their moms tell them that kisses were only given to someone you like?
And besides, he also likes her abnormally long hair. He had never seen a girl with such a long hair before. He also didn't know that hair could grow that long—maybe even longer. He can't wait to see her hair reach down to her feet.
And now that he had proven that he likes her, he can kiss her now, right?
At last, he'll be able to know what a kiss feels like!
He turned his body sideways so that he could meet her face-to-face. He leaned down and finally captured his lips with hers.
Sakuno sleepily opened her eyes when she felt something touch her lips. When she finally adjusted her vision, she saw Ryoma putting his lips on top of hers.
Ryoma saw her waking up and innocently leaned back, "You're awake…"
Sakuno sat up lazily and rubbed her eyes. Ryoma also sat up and continued on staring at her.
"What were you doing, Ryoma?" she asked innocently.
Ryoma blinked. "I kissed you."
"What's a kiss?"
"I'm not sure, but from what I remember, it's what you give to a person you like."
"You like me?"
"So… how'd do you kiss someone?"
Ryoma recited to her what Nanjiroh told him before. After he was done, he began wondering if a kiss was when you put your lips on top of another's lips or when you wrap your arms around someone.
"I'm confused! It's Oyaji's fault! Was it called a hug or a kiss? I can't remember!"
"Maybe, a kiss is when you wrap your arms around someone and a hug is when you make your lips contact," Sakuno said.
"Oh," Ryoma seemed convince. "So what I did was hug you?"
Sakuno nodded. "So, is it really fun?" she asked, curiously wondering if what Ryoma's father said was true.
"I don't know. But your lips are as soft as marshmallow and it tastes like strawberry," Ryoma said.
Sakuno narrowed her brows. "My lips don't taste like strawberry."
"But it does! I tasted your lips! It tastes like strawberry!"
Sakuno licked her lips, "No it's not!"
Ryoma leaned forward and crashed his lips with hers again. After a while, he pulled away, "See? I told you it tastes like strawberry!"
"But I can't taste it!"
Ryoma looked as if he was thinking of something deep before getting back to her, "Maybe a hug tastes different when it's done with someone else," he concluded.
"Maybe your right," Sakuno agreed.
"So? What do my lips taste like?" Ryoma asked innocently.
"Grapes," Sakuno answered.
"Oh," Ryoma said with amusement. "Cool!"
The two went quiet for five minutes when Ryoma broke the silence.
"I also remember something else!" Ryoma shouted.
"Ryoga told me that when I hug someone, that person will become mine," he said as he faced her.
"So… since you hugged me… does that mean that I'm yours?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
Sakuno pouted, "But you're my Karupin! That means you're mine!"
"But I hugged you! That means you're mine."
"No, you're mine!"
"You are mine!"
"That's not fair! You destroyed Karupin, so now you're mine!"
"Ryoga said that you'll become mine when I hug you!"
"Kids, snack time!" The two bickering children heard Rinko said from the kitchen. They immediately forgot their arguments and happily ran down the kitchen.
Shojiro, Sanako, Rinko and Nanjiroh were already settled around the dining table when the children arrived. Sanako smiled at the two kids and told them, "I baked strawberry shortcake for the two of you!"
"WOW!" Ryoma and Sakuno said happily and sat themselves on two empty chairs.
Sanako gave them each a slice of cake and the adults continued with their conversations.
After Ryoma and Sakuno were done eating, Shojiro noticed his daughter's messy face. She had icing all over her face. Shojiro grinned and took out his handkerchief. He always loved cleaning up his daughter's face. He found his cute daughter extremely attractive, and err, cute.
"Sakuno, look what mess you did! Let daddy clean your face up for you," Shojiro was about to wipe some icing off her face when Ryoma cupped her face and turned her head to his direction.
The adults were taken aback.
"She's mine, and no one touches what's mine," he warned the older Ryuzaki.
The adults dropped their forks in shock.
Sakuno pouted, "But you're mine, remember? Ryoma is mine!"
The adults jaw dropped.
Ryoma grunted. "Whatever," then, he began licking the icing off her face.
Sakuno only giggled as she was tickled by what Ryoma was doing.
The adults turned into stones.
"Hmm," Ryoma said as he licked his lips, "Your face tastes like your lips."
The stoned adults cracked.
"Nan-ji-roh!" Shojiro yelled threateningly at Nanjiroh, who just laughed proudly at his son when he recovered. "How dare you! Your son! Your son tainted my cute angel!" he yelled as he began throwing things at the legendary Samurai's direction.
Nanjiroh got hit by a refrigerator and so he imitated what Shojiro was doing irritatingly and began throwing things at him.
"It's your fault your daughter's too innocent!"
"Your son definitely got his impurity from you! Don't teach your son things like that if he's only going to teach it to my pure daughter!"
The two bickering dads continued on throwing things at each other.
Rinko and Sanako sipped their teas calmly. The two smiled at each other, "Young love, huh?"
Sanako nodded, "Yes, young love."
Shojiro snatched Sakuno away from Ryoma's hold. Ryoma got surprised by the older man's actions and glared at him in return.
"Give pigtails back!"
Shojiro stared at Ryoma disbelievingly. "I'll watch out for you when you grow up, Ryoma."
Ryoma groaned and began kicking Shojiro's legs in an attempt to take Sakuno back. "I said give. Pigtails. Back!"
Rinko carried Ryoma as he was punching and kicking Shojiro's legs continuously. "Now, now Ryoma. It's time for them to go home. Say good-bye to Sakuno-chan, now!"
"No! She's mine! She stays here!" He struggled as his mother kept on holding him still. "I already hugged her! That means she's mine!"
Sanako and Shojiro bowed one last time to the Echizens before departing for home. Sakuno was already asleep in her father's shoulder.
Ryoma hopelessly watched his Sakuno got taken away by her father.
Rinko observed Ryoma as the latter was about to cry. Tears were already forming on his eyes and he was fighting the urge to sniff his nose.
Nanjiroh walked in front of Rinko to face Ryoma, "Ryoma, let's just say that she'll return here someday. Then, you can do whatever you want with her—even level up the kissing more," he said the last words in a mischievous tone.
Rinko bonked him on the head.
Ryoma looked at his father's eyes innocently, still teary-eyed, "But I didn't kiss her. I hugged her. I put my lips on top of hers."
"That's called kissing, Ryoma. Hugging is when you put your arms around someone's body," Rinko explained.
"Oh," Ryoma realized his mistake. "I need to tell pigtails that we're wrong all along. We'd mistaken what a hug and a kiss is with each other."
"You can tell her that someday, when you meet again," Rinko said and dropped Ryoma on the ground. She went inside their house to prepare dinner. A vein popped on her head as she found her house with appliances here and there. A refrigerator on the staircase, a microwave oven on the couch, and her stove on top of a now-broken television.
Ryoma raised his head up and asked his father, "What is the level up you said to me before?"
Nanjiroh whispered something on Ryoma's ear.
His whisper remained on Ryoma's head even as he was already twelve years old and studying in Seigaku. Ryoma could only blush in embarrassment as he remembered what his father told him then, now that he fully understands the things—everything—that his father taught him when he was younger. He could only hope that pigtails never remembered what he did to her that day. Then again… he had fun kissing her strawberry marshmallow lips.
Argh! Ryoma scratched his head in annoyance.
'I'll never ever ask Oyaji again for things like that!'
His poor little mind was tainted even before he knew what was going on…
A/N: This is my first one-shot for the year 2011. A chibi RyoSaku for RyoSaku fans! Hope you like it!
Please leave a review if you found them cute ^^