Title: Out of My League
Characters: Yuuya Asou, Aya Hoshino, Rei Otohata
Comments: He tells himself that she is out of his league, that they will never be anything more than friends, that her heart belongs with Rei, and just like what happened with Ran before, he will always be just "Second Place" to her.
A/N: I have not written anything for GALS in a year. I've hit a dry spell, and because of that, I haven't written anything for Fairy Tales and Castles. angelrei06 gave me the coolest ideas a year past, and I wasn't able to do them justice—heck, I haven't done anything with them at all. Plus, I wanted to write an alternate ending for There's a Fine, Fine Line, but I haven't done that either. So, please accept my apology and read this little one-shot I came up with while I was cleaning the bathroom this morning…okay, you guys did not have to know about that.
Out of My League
He isn't sure when or how it all started; he just knows it's been going on for quite a while now. He guesses it's because of her eyes, or the way her hair would fly in every direction possible when the wind blows softly to caress her cheeks. Whatever it is, he knows that he's falling deeper and deeper each day, so deep that he can no longer remember a time when he has not loved every little thing about her.
Most of the time he would catch himself staring at her when he thinks no one is looking, and he is always amazed at how she could be graceful and so delicate, how she is slowly learning to let go of her inhibitions, little by little, bit by bit. She has confidence the size of a mustard seed, and still she goes on, even when she is easily upstaged by her outgoing friends.
He thinks he loves her, and it scares him, scares him more than that time when he thought he had lost Ran to Tatsuki, more than that time he had to face Mami's father to prove to him that he deserved to be the boyfriend of the Honda heiress. But Ran and Tatsuki are finally tying the knot in a couple of months, and Mami flew out of the country, breaking her promises of everlasting love. And she—timid, little Aya—had blossomed into someone so wonderful, that even his best friend has finally learned to love her for real.
He looks up and sees copper orbs staring at him, pretty brown eyes that used to be filled with so many tears. It feels like a lifetime away. "Second Place" is a name from the past; years of friendship made them see that he is no longer just a second placer to wonderful, beautiful Rei Otohata, that Yuuya Asou is a winner in his own right.
"Aya-chan?" He is surprised to find her there, alone. The park is not her favorite place to hang out in, especially not alone. He vaguely wonders if she is meeting up with Rei. The thought makes his heart constrict just the tiniest bit.
"You're spacing out again," she says, worried. There is no greeting, as if finding him there is something she had expected.
"Am I?" He didn't think she would notice. Then again, Rei is not there to distract her, to steal her attention from everyone else.
"Are you…do you miss her?"
And he is surprised, because he hasn't really thought of Mami for the longest time. What is the right answer to that question anyway? He does not love Mami anymore, and his broken heart has healed a thousand times over.
"I guess I do," he answers truthfully, because he realizes that he can never lie to her, "But not because I am still in love with her." He pauses, studies her face. She looks at him in wonder. "I guess what I miss the most is the way she upset my world, how everything would turn upside down when she's around."
And Aya smiles, nods, and offers him the coffee can she is holding. He accepts it silently. She sits down beside him, two friends staring at everything and nothing at the same time. He suddenly remembers the ski incident from so long ago, how she had comforted him when he became so depressed over Tatsuki's question about what he was to Ran. She had said things that made him smile, made him think how lucky Rei was because of her.
He still thinks that way, even up to now.
"I know I'm no masterpiece…but I've got my pride, strange as it may be. Suddenly, it hit me—maybe I'll never be anything but Number Two to Ran. And that just took all the air out of me."
"But, you never know. Yesterday, you cried. Today, you laugh. Your boy or girlfriend says a few words that make you down in the dumps or soar to cloud nine. If you get hurt but still feel the same way about Ran…well, who knows what tomorrow will bring? That's how it is with me."
"Thank you, Aya-chan. You're a really nice girl, you know that? I hope Rei knows how lucky he is."
And for a moment, there were no other people in the universe—just them, two friends, laughing their pains and worries away.
"Well," Aya starts, her face thoughtful. "I think it's okay to find someone else to turn your world upside down again." And she grins, and pokes his forehead playfully, and then looks away, sighing happily.
And he freezes, because at that moment, that very second, he knows, oh he knows, that Aya just managed to turn his world upside down. And just like her friend a long time ago, the beautiful girl, no, woman, has no clue of what she's done.
She is just sitting there, waiting, waiting for her prince charming to come. Rei is no longer the cold-hearted guy that he once was, and although it makes Yuuya happy, he feels just a little bit jealous too. Aya is going to get her happy ending, and he can never be a part of it.
He tells himself that she is out of his league, that they will never be anything more than friends, that her heart belongs with Rei, and just like what happened with Ran before, he will always be just "Second Place" to her.
"Say, Yuu-kun," Aya suddenly whispers, and he becomes aware of how close they are, so close that they invade each other's personal spaces.
"Hmm?" he responds, ready to listen to her every word.
"Do you think we'll get our own happy endings, just like Miyu and Ran did?"
The question startles him, because he has always thought that out of everyone in the group, it is Aya who deserves a happy ending the most.
He smiles. "I don't know about myself," he answers, "But I'm sure you'll get yours."
And Aya beams, but then frowns, and she pokes Yuuya on the forehead a second time. "But I want a happy ending for you too," she says. "You deserve it. Besides, you have so much love to give, it would be a shame if there is no one to receive it."
And Yuuya blinks, because the woman in front of him is just wonderful, and he wonders not for the first time why it took him so long to realize that.
"Aya-chan," he says softly, gently.
"Don't worry," Aya grins, giving him a thumbs-up. "One day, you'll find someone who will turn your world upside down, and then you will get that happy ending you truly deserve." Her smile widens. "And when that happens, I'll be one of the happiest people for you."
I want a happy ending with you, is what he wants to say. Instead, he flashes her a big smile, and pats her head affectionately. "I know you'll be." And he sees Rei from afar, and tilts his head to his friend's direction. "Your happy ending is coming."
And Aya turns, and Yuuya watches as her eyes become a little brighter, her smile a little wider, and he suddenly feels his chest grow tighter.
"Rei-kun!" Aya says, standing up, happily waiting for her prince charming to reach them.
"Yo," Rei answers, a small smile on his handsome face. It still amazes Yuuya how Aya has managed to make Rei's ice-cold exterior melt, but then again, it is just one more thing he loves about her. "Did you wait for a long time?"
Aya shakes her head. "Not at all," she answers. "Besides, Yuu-kun is here to keep me company."
Rei nods at his best friend, and Yuuya nods back. "So, you want to grab something to eat first?"
"Sure!" Aya replies, then turns to Yuuya. "You want to come with, Yuu-kun?"
And although he wants to spend every minute of his life with her, he shakes his head. "Wouldn't want to get in the way of your happy ending."
Rei raises an eyebrow, and Aya chuckles. "Right," she beams. "Well, don't take too long finding yours, okay?" Then, turning to her boyfriend, "Let's go?"
Rei nods, bids Yuuya farewell, and the two leave, hand in hand. Yuuya watches them sadly.
"Happy ending, huh," he whispers, and looks up the blue, blue sky. "Maybe someday." And a smile spreads on his lips. "Definitely someday."
/start gushing moment
My favorite scene in all of GALS? That portion where Aya stuck a band-aid on Yuuya's cheek, after his rumble with Tatsuki during their skiing adventure. Good heavens, I LOVE that panel. I think that sealed the deal with my AyaxYuuya shipper self. It sucks that the mangaka didn't do something about their dynamics. It would have been so cool.
/end gushing moment
Not the happiest of endings, but I think it fits. Please review, and don't mind the switching of tenses. I tried my best to be consistent, but it's not really working. Pray that my dry spell ends, because I REALLY want to write that alternate ending for There's a Fine, Fine Line.