Light the Night with Stars
'Yuki, Zero's getting impatient.'
I answer the chairman to calm his anxiety. I tuck in the last piece of hair into my loose side bun, it sat low at the side of my head. I was finally ready, I grabbed my pouch and made my way to the door, walking awkwardly since I wasn't used to the wearing a yukata. It was the first day of summer and Zero and I- well I mostly- decided that we should go watch the fireworks. I should have known better than to inform the chairman of our plan, he had gone all out and brought a whole Yukata as well as a matching pouch for me to wear today. The cloth of the Yukata was a dull burgundy color with numerous elaborate round and golden designs. The midsection was golden and wrapped itself securely around my body. Yori had helped me put it on and had left to watch the fireworks with a cousin of hers. I walk down the stairs and just as I enter the room a sudden flash blinds me and I cover my eyes. I hear a squeal and look up to find the chairman holding a camera and taking a hundread pictures with it. I resist the urge to roll my eyes but a small smile makes its way to my lips as I witness his eratic behaviour. Zero stands leaning against the door behind him, his eyes on me, expressionless.
'Yuki my beautiful daughter you look so beautiful.'
'You said beautiful twice,' I point out to him, walking to the door and putting my wooden slippers on. Zero opens the door, a gust of wind blows in and I resist the urge to shiver. Though it was summer already, the night air still had the spring chill to it.
'That's because you are, my beautiful daughter.'
I smile at him. 'Thank you chairman.'
'Oh wait let me get one of both of you.'
Zero is already out the door when he takes a picture. He frown but I try to smile at him. I give him brownie points for trying so hard even though he knows better than I do the nature of Zero's reaction to these kinds of things.
'Okay, so you guys have fun now.'
I nod and step out of the door, turning around I give the chairman a final wave before closeing the door on him.
'Took you long enough,' he says. I huff at him.
'Zero sometimes you forget that I'm a girl and it's almost a law that girls always take more time to get themselves ready.'
He gives me a blank look. 'Did you just make that up or do you actually need that much time to look like...this.'
Maturely, I stick my tongue out at him and turn away, walking to where the festival was. When I don't feel his presence behind me I turn. Zero stands there, his eyes intense as his eyes rack over me, landing on my face. I feel my face heat up at the way his eyes stare into mine, my stomach breaks into numerous butterflies and I am frozen in place. He starts walking towards me, his hands in his pockets. He walks past me and my eyes follow him.
I realize I had stopped breathing and take a deep breath. My stomach slightly jittery. That look was rare from Zero. He never showed any kind of emotion but sometimes I would see him looking at me with such intensity that I would feel my heart jump to my throat and my stomach drop.
'You gonna stand there all day,' I hear him call to me. I shake my head and start to follow him.
20 minutes later and we arrive at the festival. I already feel the blisters forming from where the sandal touches my skin. I ignore the irritation and focus on the variety of shops and events hosted here. The fireworks would start at exactly midnight. We had a little less than three hours to enjoy the festival until then. I can't wipe the smile off my face and my eyes dart around like hummingbirds. I hear a sigh from Zero beside me and I look at him to see a bored expression already on his face.
'Don't tell me your not getting excited from being here.'
He shrugs. I roll my eyes.
'Come on,' I say, taking his hand in mine. 'Let's go win me some prizes.'
His eyes widen slightly as they land on our entwined hands. I feel jittery, and slightly light-headed. His hands are large and squared. They are unusually warm against mine, though the night air is a little chilly. A nostalgic feeling of wrapping a warm blanket around my body on a cold night consumes me and I start to feel giddy. I ignore his look and pull on his hand, leading him to a stall that has a large and cute teddy bear on display. I let go of his hand when we reach there and it suddenly feels cold but I couldn't exactly grab hold of it again when we were playing. The game was to toss at least three rings to land around the opening of a bottle. I lost, Zero won. No surprise there. I jutted my bottom lip out and make my eyes wide and teary as I looked up at him. I knew it had the desired effect when I see him sigh, look heavenward and slump him shoulders. He looks at the guy behind the stall and points to the large black and white panda bear. I widen my eyes at him as he hands it to me.
'How did you know which one I wanted?' I ask, taking hold of the bear. A childish urge to cuddle it takes over me but I resist. Instead I hug it to my side. He rolls his eyes and turn around.
'Only you would want something as childish as that.'
I take a few steps so I'm in front of him. I smile widesly at him and hug the teddy bear to me.
'Thank you, Zero.'
He stares at me, not saying anything and I feel a blush forming. I reach my hand forward and take his. I tug on it and lead him to the next stall. After winning consecutively to every stall we went to, I gave up trying to keep up to his perfection. I stop at a small stall displaying hair ornaments. there was one that caught my eye, it was the same color as my Yukata. It was delicately shaped like a flower with a leaf bending out from behind it. I look at the price and sigh, I couldn't afford it. I turn to Zero and find him paying the old lady sitting quietly behind the stall. She smiles at him and nods. Zero walks to me and picks up the ornament. i stare at him. Did he buy that just now? He snaps the clip open and looks at me. He uses one hand to brush the loose hair from my forhead to the side and clips the ornament atop my bun. My eyes are still on him as he concentrates on making my hairstyle look perfect. He brought that for me?
'Zero...did you buy this for me?'
He nods, putting his hand in his pocket and looking away. I blush, this thought brought so much happiness to me that I step foreward and give him a small hug. I feel him stiffen against me and I pull away. I think I imagined the blush that took control of his face but didn't find the need to tease him about it.
'Thank you Zero. I'll pay you back.'
He shakes his head. 'You don't have to. Besides I knew you were going to start complaining if you didn't get it.'
I huff at him. 'No I wouldn't. I'm not a spoiled brat.'
He shrugs and turns away. Pouting I follow him, but there is no anger inside me. Throughout the evening I see almost every female look Zero's way. I try to act ignorant but still a feeling of heaviness enters my heart as I see a beauty queen eyeing up Zero. I knew that any girl would be lucky to get Zero. Though he never showed any kind of affection or emotions, he had a caring and sensitive soul. He was loyal and selfless. The thought of another girl in Zero's arms made bile rise in my mouth. The thought of him smiling at her created a lump in my throat. I feel insignificant and inferior. These feelings confuse me. I shouldn't feel this way, my feelings for Zero weren't that of love…were they? But the feeling was different with Kaname, I felt nervous and uncomfortable with him since my heart was always on edge and it was always hard to breath with him. Kaname had saved me and I owed my life to him. I had loved him for as long as I could remember. I was confused for my feelings for Zero, I knew that I didn't see him as a brother figure and not exactly a friend…but then what? Ugh. I wanted to slam my head against a wall. What was wrong with me? I suddenly felt hungry and we head for a stall and get a few hot dumplings. I see a cotton candy stand and get a bunch on a stick. I put it to my mouth and then hold it out to Zero.
'Want some?' I ask, feeling like a child.
He gives me a blank look and lifts his hand to wipe away whisks of cotton candy from the side of my lip. Maybe it was my imagination but I felt his finges linger on my lips. He pulls his hand away and turns around. My lips tingle where he touched them. I take a step and let out a yelp as I feel myself fall forward. An arm wraps around my waist and I hover only a few inches from the ground, I look around to find Zero had caught me, a frustrated look on his face.
'Your such a klutz Yuki,' he breaths out sighing.
'Sorry Zero. My slipper ripped.'
It was true, I had felt the strap rip from the shoes before I had fallen. My feet was blistered and my heels hurt, the strap had ripped and it hurt to walk anymore. He straightens up and pulls me to his side. I fit snuggly against him, he is warm and I want to stay like this. He half drags, half carries me to a deserted bench. I put the teddy bear on the table as I sit down and lift my leg up, bending my knees to my chest I inspect the damage to my feet. I was right, blisters had formed and I sighed. I didn't think I could walk wearing those anymore.
'I'll be right back,' he says, standing up and disappearing back to the crowd of the festival. I take a breath and lean back against the bench. I realize my cotton candy had fallen out of my hand when I had fallen. I look around the expense of the area. It was dark where I was sitting, the light from the festival didn't exactly reach here. I start to massage the bottoms of my feet. I hear voices coming from my left and I look up to see a few guys coming my direction. I look down and try to become invisible. I think they were drunk by the way their voices slurred slightly. Life being as it was, I feel one of them approach me.
'Hey girlie, you alone?'
Ugh. 'No,' I say, not really in the mood to talk.
'You wanna hang with us?'
'Aw don't be like that.'
'Could you please leave? He's not gonna be happy to see you,' I whispered the last part to myself, knowing the reaction Zero would have if he happened upon us now. Unfortunately he heard me.
'And who is he? Your boyfriend?'
Even though the answer had slipped from my mouth I felt right saying it. I wanted him to leave but I didn't want to make a drunk angry.
'Could you leave me alone please?'
He suddenly takes ahold of my arm, I try to pull away but that encourages him more and he pulls me up, my feet sting as they hit the ground, carrying my weight. The sharp pebbles scrape my feet and I bite bottom lip as the pain hit's a soft spot.
'Let go of me,' with as much authority I could muster, but it comes out a little more than a squeak. I hear them laugh and my insides curl up. I suddenly trip on my feet and with his hand still on my forearm, my knees scrape roughly on the ground. I let out a grunt.
'Why don't you listen to the girl and let her go?'
The grip on my arm is pulled from me. I look up to see a stranger with blond hair standing in front of me, he had pulled the man away from me and was holding his color in a vice-like grip.
'Hey, you her boyfriend?' I hear his friends say from behind him.
The stranger who had interrupted didn't loosen his grip on the man, neither did he avert his glare from him.
'No, but I suggest you leave her alone. We don't want any trouble.'
'Your right. So as soon as we get rid of you, we'll leave with the girl.'
One of the guys suddenly appears from behind him, he raises his hands for a punch to his blind spot but it doesn't reach him. Zero appears and knocks him out from behind. The other two drunks start towards him but he moves so fast that I don't even catch it. They drop to the ground like flies. Zero looks at me, I can't see his eyes but I feel the air around him tighten and his body tense. I suddenly realize what I must look like; on the ground, in a disarray and hurt with two guys fighting a few feet away from me. He slowly makes his way to the drunk who had approached me. He removes the strangers hand away and pushes the guy.
'Zero,' I say to him in almost a whisper. I found that in situations such as these, where I felt his anger was beyond his control, if I said his name it would make things slightly better and bearable. I see his fist twitch slightly. The blond stranger turns to me pulls me up. I find myself leaning against him for support. I hear a grunt and find the drunk on the floor. Zero is beside me in a second and pulls me to him, his eyes in level with the stranger.
'I'll take it from here,' Zero says, his voice slightly strained from anger. The stranger nods and looks at me. I lock eyes with him and suddenly realize what had exactly happened. I bow low to him.
'Thank you so much for saving me.'
I hear a slight chuckle after a pause. 'It was no trouble.'
I stand back up and see him smiling, his light brown eyes slightly twinkled. 'Besides, I couldn't let them get away with hurting such a beautiful lady like yourself.'
I blush at his comment. Did he just call me beautiful? He lifts his hand to me.
'My name Tamaki.'
I take his hand in mine and shake it. 'Nice to meet you, I'm Yuki. This is Zero.'
'Your boyfriend,' he states with a raised eyebrow towards Zero.
'No he's not,' I say quickly. As if Zero would ever find me suitable as a girlfriend. There was a slight pang in my heart and I wondered why the thought hurt so much? I feel Zero's grip on my elbow tighten slightly. He had been quiet this entire exchange.
'I see,' Tamaki says, his hand still in mine. His smile widens.
'We have to go,' Zero says, I see him reach for the teddy bear which I had completely forgotten about and pulls me away from him.
'It was nice to meet you Tamaki,' I yell back to him as I struggle to keep my footing. I didn't understand why Zero was acting so awkward, the guy had just saved my life for God's sake.
'Likewise,' he yells back. I realize that Zero is practically carrying me so I didn't have to put much effort into moving.
'Zero you can put me down now,' I say as we walk a fair distance away from where we were before. He stops and lets me go. The warmth of his body moves away, leaving me in the cold. He bends down and takes my left ankle.
I suddenly feel him slip a pair of shoes on my foot. He does the same for my right one. I look down to find a pair of big pink slippers on my small feet. They were open-toed so I didn't have to worry about the blisters. I look up at him. He shrugs.
'They were the only ones I found.'
I smile at him. 'They're perfect.'
I don't know why I got so happy from a pair of bathroom slippers. Maybe it was the fact that Zero had cared enough to go buy me a pair because I was hurt. This gesture made me happier than I thought possible, my heart jumps and my breathing catches. I took his hand hesitantly.
'Come one, the fireworks are going to start. Let's find a good seat.'
This time I wrap my hands securely around his and have no intention of letting go unless forced. My feet are on cloud nine in these slippers and we walk to the field that would display the fireworks. We walk a light bit further from the crowd since I know Zero hates crowds. Just as the field merges to forest we stop. The bear is laid on the ground and I stand with him in the slightly chilly night, holding his hand with the sound of crickets in the background, waiting for the fireworks to start.
'You told them I was your boyfriend.'
I look to him. He had a blank look on his face and he stared straight ahead. I blush as I register what he said.
'Uh, yeah. I thought it would help in the situation. I'm sorry I know you don't like the idea of me and you-'
'Don't be sorry.'
I stop talking and look his way. What does that mean? He had a distant look on his face. Suddenly his eyebrows knit together.
'I'm sorry I couldn't protect you.'
I shake my head. 'You beat them all up.'
'I was a second too late.'
I shake my head, feeling my brain rattle. 'That doesn't matter.'
He turns to me. 'It does matter.'
He suddenly whispers the next part to me and it made my heart thump so hard against my chest I was afraid it would burst through. 'I wanted to be the one to protect you.'
I hear the first flare of the explosion go up and we both turn to the color that lights the sky. I take in a deep breath. The show had started. Firework after firework went up and I stood there with Zero. We were both silent but that's how we were. We didn't have to say anything to know what the other was feeling. It was a rare connection we had and I felt he was the only one in the world standing here in this field of crickets. I turn to him to find his eyes on me, staring at me. My heart jumps and I smile at him. I never wanted him to leave. I tighten my hold on him and look back just in time to see a giant yellow one explode with green spirals cascading down. Suddenly Zero's face is in front of me, his eyes locked with mine. He hasn't moved from his position beside me but his face is in front of me and before I realize it he pushes his soft lips to mine. I gasp slightly at the contact. It was a small kiss and before I knew it, he pulls away. I stare at him as he stares at me, his eyes uncertain and vulnerable. Zero had kissed me. He kissed me. My lips tingled and my heart fills with such happiness that I feel it overflow inside me. At that moment I knew that all I ever wanted to do was to kiss this boy standing beside me under a star-filled sky. I tug his hand and smile at him. He looks physically relieved as he slumps his shoulder and gives out a sigh. The firework lights up the slight blush rising up his cheek and the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen on his face. He brings his face towards mine again, this time placing his other hand on my cheek. I kiss him back as his lips come in contact with mine. At this moment, I don't think I've ever been happier.