Strike the match and let the flame settle onto the string of wick and lift it off rapidly. Blow out the disintegrating match. There you go. The candle is now lit.
"Be careful with that. I don't want to set my table on fire. My parents would have a fit if they saw scorch marks," she warned him. He shot her a glance that spoke volumes. I know, it said. You don't have to tell me. I've done this before.
She knew that he probably had. If anything, he seemed to like a solemn setting, and candles were perfect for that. However Inoue Miyako liked to worry about mundane things because she never worried about the big things.
"Well, I guess that ruins our plans for the night," he said carefully, settling the candle on the table. She sat back in the couch just as he lifted his head, and for an instant, their eyes met over the golden flame, surpassing all that they had ever known about one another. She felt as if she knew every inch of his being within that singular moment, and knew that he felt the same about her. The shots of blue in his eyes were more vivid than ever. She shivered.
The light flickered and the spell passed. Shaken and embarrassed, the pair turned their heads away in accord.
The problem was that this was a common occurrence between them. They were both always acutely aware of one another in a manner that she was sure only Takeru and Hikari could understand. She thought about this again, and discarded the notion. Comparison, she had decided long ago, was the surest way to failure.
"I'm thirsty. I'm going to get a drink. Do you want one?" she asked, breaking the terrible silence between them.
"I'll go with you. We only have one candle. I don't want you bumping all around the place," he said teasingly.
It took a moment for the words to sink in. He laughed and avoided a playful smack from her. She could not help joining in his laughter.
Laughter is the language of the soul. Shared laughter means that the souls are communing with one another, speaking across a spiritual plane and connecting with such force that one is forced to make sound. It was all too natural for them.
The slight wind of your movements makes the candle flicker for just a moment before steadying once more. For that brief moment, your shadows are distorted on the walls, stretching and pulling at each other before settling down again. Then, when you stop at the doorway, they intertwine together and then separate once you move again.
It was very good, Ken mused, that Miyako-san's family had a function tonight. Normally, she would have been forced to attend had she not pleaded an excessive amount of schoolwork. Ken knew for a fact that she would have procrastinated to insane extremes tonight if he had not offered to help her study for Calculus in advance.
Without even thinking about it, she poured him a ginger ale and cut a slice of lemon to go with it. She handed the glass to him with a straw and he took it with half of his attention. He didn't even seem to notice the gesture. They were so comfortable around one another that even little actions of domesticity seemed to go unobserved by them. She popped open a can of Coca-cola, and he smiled slightly.
"You know, each can takes off five seconds off your life," he informed her.
Miyako whirled around so quickly that he was taken off guard. Her eyes were wide with panic. "Are you serious?" she demanded. Ken shrugged.
"I read it in the paper a few weeks ago," he noted, knowing that he would regret saying so.
"Oh noooooo, I'm going to die soon!" she wailed unbecomingly. Ken winced. He knew he shouldn't have mentioned it.
"I'm sure it's only a rumour of some sort. It's probably not true," he said soothingly. Miyako shook her head stubbornly.
"It was in the paper, so it has to be true," she maintained.
He sighed exasperatingly. Miyako-san was incredibly difficult to convince at times. "It probably isn't. Besides, if it were, the most that you could have possibly taken off your life is six hours."
"How did you reason that out?" she asked suspiciously. He shrugged, picking up the candle as he did so.
"Each minute is twelve cans of pop. Each hour is seven hundred and twenty cans. You could not have drunk more than four thousand cans of pop, and six hours of your life is four thousand three hundred and twenty cans. So I think I can safely say that you're safe."
Miyako gave him a glance full of admiration and disgust. "I don't even want to know how you calculated that so quickly."
"Practice," he said easily, sipping at his ginger ale. He leaned against the counter, basking in her attention. "Lots and lots of practice."
Miyako laughed. "And I thought you were a genius."
"That too," he protested. She smirked.
"Sure you are. Come on, let's play cards."
"Don't you have homework to do, Miyako-san?" he queried, raising an eyebrow at her. She glanced at him seriously for a moment, and he was struck by the way the candlelight danced around her features. She seemed so much older, so lovely that he nearly felt his heart break and remend itself in a moment.
"Screw homework," she said amiably.
You pick up the candle and watch it flicker. Then, with hurried steps, you walk into the living room, not taking care to shield the precious flame. It flutters dangerously in the artificial wind. You immediately slow down your steps, and the light steadies. Yet, when you set it back down onto the table, the light goes out. You are left in darkness.
Miyako said something uncomplimentary.
"Watch your language," Ken said mildly. She swore again and he laughed.
"How the hell did that happen?" she demanded.
"I'm not sure. I just set the candle down and the flame went out. Maybe the wick was too low," he replied.
She set her drink down on the table blindly, and with her other hand, began to cautiously feel around the table for the box of matches they had left out. Her fingers barely touched the edges of the box when Ken's cool fingers brushed against hers.
Startled, she jerked her hand back and nearly knocked her drink over. She cursed mentally at her stupidity. She knew that she was blushing, and perversely, that only made her blush harder.
She heard him fumble with the matches for a moment, and then he managed to light one. His face was reflected in its golden glow, and she was nearly struck dumb by the sheer beauty. If she had to carve the face of a Greek god, she would have used him as a model. He looked so ethereal and important, that for a moment, she felt small and humble. She disliked this new emotion since humility was not a part of her character, but when he transferred the flame back to the candle, his face resumed its normal, earthly proportions. She breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
"Shall we continue with our homework?" he asked pleasantly and she scowled at him.
"No, we're playing cards," she said, reaching under the sofa's cushions and fishing around for the deck of cards that resided there. The Inoue household kept all sorts of objects in odd places, and her brother swore that he once found a live goldfish jumping underneath his bed once. With a triumphant grin, she brought out the said deck, and asked, "What do you want to play?"
After three games of Go-Fish (of which Miyako was declared the champion of), two rounds of poker (they decided it was no fun without chips) and countless rounds of Gin Rummy, Miyako suggested Old Maid, to which Ken acceded to willingly enough.
Not long after, Miyako was holding two cards in her hands and Ken was holding one. With a mischievous grin, she hid the cards behind her back and exchanged them several times before presenting them to him again.
He frowned at her, and picked the card on the left. Miyako crowed with laughter, as he had chosen the Old Maid. He glanced at her surly and in return, exchanged the cards behind his back. Confidently, she grasped the card on the right, and was delighted when it matched with the card in her hand.
"I win!" she carolled. "You're the Old Maid!"
"I resent being called that," he said indignantly. Miyako smirked.
"Old Maid, Old Maid!" she taunted him. She shrieked when he leaped to his feet and jumped over the table, making the candle flicker. She wasn't fast enough to evade him, and soon enough, he was tickling her.
"I dare you to say that again," he said while she was laughing hysterically.
"Old Maid," she gasped in between breaths. "You're the Old Maid, Ken-kun." He continued to tickle her mercilessly, his clever fingers seeming to find all of her weak spots. She tried to writhe away from him, her head thrashing wildly, but he persisted. "I give up," she finally managed to say.
He released her abruptly, and startled, her head made a sharp movement, which resulted in a loud crack. She said several very unpleasant things that made him wince. That had hurt. She twisted her neck cautiously, and grimaced. She was going to have trouble turning her neck for the next few days, she knew.
"Here, let me try," he said in a gentle voice. She obligingly turned her back to him when he tapped on her shoulder, and with his fingers, began to work out the knot in her neck. She nearly melted underneath his miraculous touch. He was a friggin' genius. Of course, he really was one, she reminded herself.
"You," she said after a moment, "are working a miracle."
His fingers worked steadily at the spot, but she could feel him laugh behind her. "Am I now?" he asked in her ear. She shivered at his closeness.
"Definitely," she said. She was pleased when her voice came out even and steady. It even held a hint of amusement.
He didn't reply, and they sat in silence, aware of their proximity to one another. It was very pleasant, she decided. He had a solid, comforting presence and his hands really were magic. She knew that if it were anyone else providing her this luxury, she would've dozed off a long time ago, but as it were, it was Ichijouji Ken and she knew she had to remain conscious to cherish this moment.
She watched the shadows on the wall flicker. His silhouette overshadowed part of hers. The shadow of his magnified hands moved constantly, and she remained mesmerized by the sight of that rhythmic movement. Their combined figures on the wall looked like a mysterious hybrid to her, still undiscovered, but beautiful in its own enigmatic way.
Ken stopped and she nearly felt physical pain when he did. "My hands are tired," he explained by way of apology. She made no vocal protest, yet cursed the humanness that had halted what should've been forever.
"Thank you," she replied. "My neck feels better." She wasn't lying. It really did feel better. She turned to face him, and was surprised to see that he had not moved away. He had an odd expression on his face, and she felt her heart thump within her. She could see the pale alabaster of his skin and gently, she brought up her hand to touch the side of his face wonderingly. He made no protest, and she continued to caress his face, awed by its smooth marble.
Quietly, slowly, she brought her face closer to his, almost frightened by what she was doing. She could his face move under her palm, closer and closer to hers. She closed her eyes…
The lights flickered on.
You extinguish the candle, cool breath wiping out its existence. You avoid one another's eyes. Your shadows are now separate and distinct. They look lonely and cold without the warm glow of candlelight, but even with the bright fluorescent light, they cannot separate your shadows forever.
"Well…I suppose I better be going now," Ken said, embarrassed. Miyako made no reply, and he gritted his teeth in embarrassment. Of all times for the light to turn on, it had to be at that crucial moment.
He gathered his belongings quickly, shuffling his notes into a neat pile. She quickly put away the cards and the matches, and in accord, they both walked to the door.
He hastily shoved his feet into the shoes and thanked her for her hospitality. She returned the thanks self-consciously.
He turned to leave, but before he could open the door, she placed a hand on his arm. He turned his head quizzically. She was regarding him with a determined look in her eyes.
"What is it, Miyako-san?" he queried. He could feel something thump inside his chest.
"Nothing," she replied. "Just this." She tiptoed and kissed him firmly on the lips.
He was surprised for a moment, but immediately missed her warmth when she drew back from him. She smiled uncertainly at him.
"Good night, Ken-kun," she said. She sounded disappointed. He knew he couldn't leave it like that.
Gently, he took her face in between his hands and kissed her softly once, twice. The second time he did, she lost her impassiveness, and her arms came up to hold his head down to hers, and his hands fell from her face to her waist naturally. For a full minute, they just stood there, kissing in the fashion that new lovers do.
She was the first to break the embrace, and she smiled sweetly at him. "Goodnight, Ken-kun," she repeated against his face before brushing her lips against his lightly. She released him then, and opened the door. With a giggle at the dumbfounded look on his face, she shoved him gently, and he found himself in the hallway.
"Goodnight, Miyako-san," he said dazedly. She blew a kiss at him, and shut the door quietly behind her. With a sigh, she leaned against it. Blackouts, she decided, were quite fun.
Happy belated birthday, Ilana~! Kenyako, just as you ordered. Hope you like it. ^_^
Gee, I've been on a spree lately. Originally, this was supposed to be Eriol/Tomoyo fic from CCS. And then Ken/Daisuke, but I found the idea of Ken and Miyako trapped together in a blackout far too cute to resist. Aren't they cute? XD
Comments greatly appreciated. 'cause I gotta feed my ego somehow. *halo*