Disclaimer: I don't own Orange Planet.
'Haru-san, does this mean my love affair is over?'
'Ever since we started school, I've been interested in Amanatsu-kun.'
"Gah! No more. No. More!"
Kaoru's words rang in Rui's head like a broken record. She couldn't believe her bad luck. Kaoru was in love with her best friend - the universe must really hate her.
"How can you be okay?"
She closed her eyes. Now she heard Tachibana's words in her head. They were so comforting...
"If you love him, fight for him. Don't give up. Never give up something important."
Oh, yeah. That's what he said to her. Not to give up. But it was over now, right? Nakamura-kun liked Taro, so...
'I never told him how I feel.'
An empty void occupied the place in her chest where her heart once resided. She hated the emptiness, it made her sick. As one tear slid down her face, she made a decision.
'Haru-san, I have to tell him.'
If she didn't tell him, she would never find closure. And, afterwards, well, whatever happened then was anyone's guess.
~ At School ~
"Uh, g-goodmorning, Kaoru-kun. Can I talk to you for a moment?"
Success! She had spoken to him without running away.
He tilted his head, replying easily.
They walked to a private place and waited while the silence grew to an awkward tension.
Kaoru raised a brow, crossing his arms.
'Haru-san, can I do this? I'm so nervous!'
Her heart thumped so loud she was certain Kaoru could hear. She clenched a fist and mumbled something under her breath.
The other brow rose. Kaoru was now intrigued and hung on every word.
"Sorry, Nagasaki-san, I didn't hear you. What did you say?"
She narrowed her eyes in determination.
'Haru-san, this is it. I'm going for it."
Taro stuffed his hands in his pockets, gazing at Rui intensely.
"What are you talking about?"
"This is a private-"
"Its nothing, we were just heading back."
Kaoru replied smiling.
Taro looked unconvinced, and Rui looked hurt. She was really going to tell him.
Taro simply shrugged and grabbed Rui in a headlock.
"Then let's go back together."
Rui's heart sank as she was lead away. Kaoru hung back as the two left. Rui glanced back and Kaoru mouthed silently to her. Rui's eyes widened.
"Meet me outside after class."
"Taro-chan, sorry, but I can't go home with you today."
"Huh? Why not?"
"I-I just can't. Go without me."
Taro frowned, and picked up his pack.
"Are you meeting someone?"
Taro snorted, not believing her.
"Fine. See ya."
Kaoru leaned against the bike rack, smirking at her.
Rui tried to smile, but Kaoru could see how anxious she was. She was nervous about something.
She nearly choked on the words.
"Wanna go somewhere else?"
He guessed that whatever it was shouldn't be discussed there.
A soundless nod answered his question.
He gripped her hand and started walking.
"W-wait, where are we going?"
His reply was short and blunt.
"Are you sure you don't want to sing?"
"Yes, I'm sure. I really want to tell you this - and I don't want to be inturrupted."
Nakamura was surprised by Nagasaki's boldness; she wasn't usually like this.
Rui felt the butterflies fluttering in her stomach. Her hands were sweating profusely. Bile rose in her throat.
'Haru-san...I can't do this.'
Her knees trembled and she paled, swaying slightly.
Kaoru caught Rui as she fell.
"Are you okay?"
Rui stared through half-lidded eyes. It wasn't fair - she still couldn't say it.
Nakamura gently sat Rui in a chair and handed her a cup of ice. Rui had a sudden flashback and it made her blush. Kaoru had given her ice before, at the same Karaoke place. Squeezing the cup, she stared at Kaoru blankly. She was thinking of how to say what she wanted to. Finally, she stood up, putting the cup down.
She picked up a mic and stared at him with such intensity it snapped his mouth shut.
Without a second thought, Rui spoke clearly into the mic.
"Kaoru-kun, I love you."
Rui opened her eyes to see cat-like violet eyes gazing at her. Kaoru held her as she lay on his lap - her head and shoulders on his legs while the rest of her sprawled on the floor.
The orange-top chuckled lightly and played with a strand of her hair.
"That was like a soap opera. You tell me your feelings, with a microphone in fact, and faint directly afterwards. But it was cute, Nagasaki."
Said girl blinked as he purposely left out the honorific on her name.
He placed a hand under her chin.
"It would be interesting to see if things work out, but,"
He leaned close to her, face centimeters from her's.
"-what about Amanatsu? I still like him, and he likes you. Would you really hurt him so carelessly?"
'Shoot! I forgot that.'
"H-he'll get over it. He's turned me down once already. And I won't lose to him, so there!"
Kaoru giggled, then leaned further until he was inches from her lips.
"You really are adorable."
Then, he kissed her.
She was falling through air, zooming downwards, hair whipping her face. The wind slapped her face, making it hard to breath. A rainbow of colors blurred her vision, and-
she was suddenly brought back to reality by a voice.
Rui just remembered to breathe.
"Uh, um, uh..."
Kaoru cocked his head innocently, confused as to her reaction to one kiss.
"Do you want to go out?"
He spoke bluntly, yet his expression was like a curious kitten's when they find an interesting plaything.
...Is what Rui wanted to say. Instead, she asked a logical question.
"What about Taro-chan? You still like him, right?"
His expression and tone turned deadpan.
"When I decide I like someone, I never stop liking them, but I can't turn down a cute girl either. I guess I'll let go of Amanatsu then."
"W-what do you mean?"
He gazed at her blankly.
"Your kinda dense. I'm choosing you over Amanatsu, because I really like you."
Rui turned a color that would make the ripest apple jealous.
Her eyes flooded with tears of joy.
'...he likes me. He really likes me.'
Heart pounding like a brass drum, she finally answered.
His eyes softened.
Quick as lightning, his attitude became nonchalant once more.
"But if you cheat on me, I'll leave in a flash."
Rui anime fell, then got up sweatdropping.
Before Rui knew what had happened, Kaoru had kissed her again.
'Haru-san. This boy is full of surprises.'
Just as slyly, Kaoru moved his lips near her ear and said something so softly that if he wasn't so close, she wouldn't have heard it.
"I love you."
'But I am so happy, my heart could burst.'