A/N: This is the result of a challenge between Guardian_Kysra and myself. We each listed all our OTPs and she got to pick three OTPs and challenge me to write about them and I got to pick three of hers. Mei and Rihito was one of her picks, and she challenged me to write something using the song "Hole Hearted" by Extreme.
I'd never written this pairing before, and those of you who were called to this posting due to having me on your author's alert for the other fandoms I write, I hope you'll forgive me for straying fandoms and for those of you who are fans of this fandom, I hope I didn't get it too wrong.
Disclaimer: Neither these characters nor the world in which they belong in belong to me. This is based off of the drama, since I haven't read the manga.
"If music be the food of love, play on; / give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, / the appetite may sicken, and so die."
- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, act I sc. i.
Mei loved Rihito. There could be absolutely no doubt on that score. (No one doubted it, even before Mei and Rihito themselves figured it all out).
She loved him the way she'd never thought she could love another human being. Just looking at him sometimes made the love swell inside her until she felt it would spill from her pores in a wash on the floor (something he would, invariably, feel he had to clean up).
She loved him, she really did. (She didn't always say or show it, precisely, because really, that wasn't the way she rolled, but she did love him...and he knew her well enough to know that.)
Sometimes she really wished he'd take up a hobby that didn't involve being involved in every little aspect of her life.
Like golfing, or something.
She was sure he'd be awesome at whatever hobby he took up, because let's face it, Rihito was awesome at anything and everything he set his mind to (and this wasn't even her obvious bias as far as he was concerned talking). He was already a god with a needle and thread, cooking, knitting, not to mention whatever the highest skill level was in fencing. He was, she had learned, also tops at horseback riding, painting (even though she had gotten him to admit that he didn't like working with watercolors - who did, really - not that he was anything less than perfect at it, but just that he admitted to not enjoying it. Hey...it was something), working with clay, and flower arranging. (She should mention, for the sake of her ego, that she was actually pretty good at horseback riding and flower arranging and she had a knack with charcoals, even if she was shit with oils).
But something like golfing was an option. Or fishing, maybe. Macrame? Scrapbooking?
Anything to give him something he enjoyed doing for himself - just for himself - and for no other reason than because he enjoyed doing it.
She wondered sometimes if being a Butler meant that you would do things only for your Lady for everyone, or just for S-Class Butlers. Maybe it was just Rihito...Kami knew he was a perfectionist with himself.
Because really, having a perfect boyfriend might sound like an ideal situation for a girl, and having a perfect boyfriend that lived to please you and take care of things for you and for whom you were his primary focus might sound like something out of a fantasy in theory, but in practice?
It was a little exhausting, really.
Just having someone around all the time- no matter how much you loved him and still got butterflies in your stomach when he was close enough to just feel his body heat-could drain the patience of a much less independent girl than Mei.
For Mei, sometimes-just sometimes - it was downright frustrating.
It was hard to constantly be aware of how much you wanted your boyfriend, after all.
Those girls who had to be parted from their boyfriend during school hours, or if they worked, or at night when they went home or whatever couldn't understand (although they of course missed them) what a relief it was to be able to forget - for a little while at least - how friggin' attracted they were to them.
One might think that being around the object of your attraction (some might say, desire - not Mei, of course...she was not ready to think in those terms quite yet) practically 24 hours a day might cause one to become used to the other's attractiveness. And truthfully, sometimes, Mei could. When he was standing at her side during classes, for example, and she became involved in whatever they were learning or reading, she could - not forget - but feel a lessening of the awareness of him. But it would flare right back to full awareness as soon as he reached over to turn a page for her or to give her a sharpened pencil or to replace her pen after she'd been chewing on the one in her hand. (And yes, she tried getting him to stop doing those sorts of things, but Rihito was very good about separating his Butler self from his Boyfriend self, and there was no way his Butler self could allow her to write with a chewed up pen or a pencil who's led was less than ideally sharp.)
So, Mei wished he'd find himself a hobby that had nothing to do with her. Something he could do for a few hours once or twice a week and leave her to do absolutely nothing in peace.
Of course, she should've known, even before she brought it up, that it wouldn't quite work out.
Rihito looked up from where he was picking up the tea things and his eyes found her across the room sitting on her bed. "Yes, Mei?" (She had, finally, gotten him to stop using honorifics, at least when they were alone.)
"What do you like to do?" she asked.
He straightened, absently folding the tablecloth he had just removed from the table as he did, and frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Mei thought about how to phrase it. "What do you like to do?" she repeated.
He smiled, but not like he completely understood her question. "About what?" he asked for clarification.
Mei sighed. "As, like, a hobby?" she asked. "What do you enjoy doing?" she tried again. He opened his mouth and she recognized the gleam in his eye, so she narrowed her eyes and raised a warning finger at him. "And if you say you enjoy doing laundry or running my bath, I'll flick you."
Rihito set aside the folded tablecloth and stepped towards her. "But I do enjoy running your bath," he said, and she recognized his tone of voice, too, and it made her flush straight down to her roots.
Teasing!Rihito was something else to get used to, but he had been around long enough in this new facet of their relationship that she recognized the slight shift of tone or manner that signaled the Butler switch going off.
"Stop changing the subject," she said, just barely avoiding fanning her face.
He chuckled. "I'm not quite sure I get what the subject is," he admitted, stopping a few feet from where she was.
Mei exhaled in mild frustration and managed to push back the embarrassment enough to look at him. "I just mean it seems to me that everything you do is related to me in some way. I mean, I know you didn't learn all that you can do just for me..."
"In a way, I did," he interrupted. At her look, he explained. "I learned all that I learned to be a Butler, and it could be said that I learned to be a Butler to be your Butler, so..." he spread his hands and shrugged.
Mei understood what he meant and she found herself smiling with as much love as if he had just told her he'd been waiting for her all his life...in a way, he had. She mentally shook herself, however, before she melted and got back on track. "Which just further makes my point," Mei said.
"Which is?" he prodded.
"That...that..." she cast about for her point for a few moments while Rihito waited, patiently. She sighed. "I feel like being with me is keeping you from, well..." she fluttered her hands about as if the gesture might be sufficient to explain what she was failing to explain in words. When he continued to look at her patiently, she exhaled. "Being you," she decided, hands flopping back onto her thighs. "Or, at least, doing the things you might want to do if you weren't with me," she said, flushing a little from the way he was looking at her as she tried to explain. It wasn't until after the words had left her mouth that she realized how very true they were. She really did feel like that sometimes. She hated thinking that he couldn't be himself with or because of her. "So, I guess I just wanted to know what you like to do for yourself, because of yourself, without it being related to me or being a Butler..."
Rihito came up close to her, kneeled in front of her and took her hands in his. "Being a Butler is who I am," he told her seriously. "And being with you..." he trailed off and shook his head. "Mei, nothing I could do alone would be something I want to do if it wasn't for you or with you." He leaned in close and gently touched his lips to hers and when he pulled back, he was smiling. "It's like there was a hole in my heart that could never be filled no matter what I tried to fill it until I met you." He could read the awe and even the love in her expression and hoped she could see the same in his, so he smiled at her. When she smiled a little back at him, he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her to him, tucking her head under his chin. He didn't speak until he felt her arms wrap around him in return and heard her sigh into his neck. "So, to answer your question, what I like to do is be with you."
Her arms tightened a bit in response to his words and he smiled.
They stayed like that for a little while, until she spoke again.
"So, I suppose golfing is out?"
Rihito lowered his head onto her shoulder and shook with laughter.
"Fishing?" she tried.
Rihito pulled back, and smiling still, brought a hand to her chin. "You want to learn how to fish?"
She sighed as her face fell, and still laughing, he brought her in for a kiss.