Chapter 16: FireFlower
I was thrown into complete shock. I stood on the stage confused as hell with Rin's eyes boring into me. Suddenly, my blood ran cold and my heartbeat thrummed furiously in rib cage.
Rin...was dating Nero now...
Slowly processing this, I stepped back from the bright face of who I once believed was my friend, and my little sister's hateful gaze.
" Len? You okay?" Akaito spoke softly with his hand over the mic.
My stomach writhed and clenched with embarrassment, and anger, and sadness, and worst of all loss. I felt like I could vomit. Slowly, my head began to spin. Mercilessly going in circles, faster and faster like Annie and Jack would describe from The Magic Tree House. I tasted blood and realized with a start I'd been biting my lip to hold back the stinging behind my eyes. My vision began to blur, but I couldn't tell whether or not it was my contacts drying out or if they were tears.
In a flurry, I bounded down the stairs, not caring who I ran into or hit as I left. My throbbing heart made all the tears I'd tried holding back stream out as I ran. Praying no one saw them, I tried rubbing at my face. God I probably looked like a such a wimp.
"Len! LEN!" I kept hearing my name, but my mind was such a blurred mess that I wasn't able to bother listening even if I wanted to. The school gates were getting closer and closer, like they were gates to heaven. So close...
But then I was suddenly jerked back, the tears streaming behind me finally rolling down my cheeks as I struggled against my captor. Couldn't they see I wanted to be left alone?!
The owner of a small, slender hand said my name once more, firmer, with more demand, and I couldn't help but turn around. Miku stared at me with wide eyes that conveyed all sorts of emotions: shock, confusion, concern, pity, everything I didn't want to see from someone else. Anger rising inside, I jerked my arm out of her hand.
" What?!" I hissed.
She took my hand and stroked it, her calloused fingers rough against the back of my hand.
" Are...are you okay...?"
At that moment, I was torn in between collapsing into a shaking heap of tears on the ground or screaming at her to go away.
Clenching my teeth in anger, I replied, " What's it to you."
She jumped at how suddenly I ripped my hand away from hers. As I turned my back on her, she grabbed my shoulder and whipped me around.
" Len! Everyone's concerned! Even Rin and Nero! Please, just come back!" she loosened her grip and let her fingers trail down my arm, her eyes locked with mine and refusing to let my gaze go. " Please, talk to me..."
I took her hand and gave her the best smile I could muster, although it made tears prick at my eyes again. My head started to resound with a throbbing pound that was making me naseous. I kissed her hand and gently released it. Without another word, I shoved my hands in my pockets and began to make my way to the school gates. As I got closer, I felt as if I were getting slower, dragging almost. And at the same time, I felt as if I were leaving something behind. As if...I would no longer be Len...
" I understand, we'll talk later okay Len?"
Slowing to a stop, I nodded and went on my way through the gates. With every step, I felt as if my body was turning to lead.
I was almost okay alone in my room. Curtains closed, silence, buried under my covers. I had drifted in and out between sleep so many times I'd lost count. But every time I woke, I felt warm wet tears beginning to flow again until my eyes dried out and closed again. My aching heart felt as though it were barely beating and just as I was about to drift back into a place much simpler than here, I heard the front door close and laughter floating up the stairs.
As if it were mocking me, I heard her footsteps coming closer, her voice getting louder.
" Nero, really!"
One blade shoved through my chest.
" Okay bye!" I could almost hear every smile in her voice. My stomach flipped and churned with stronger nausea. I heard my door open with a slow click, light from the hallway pouring into the room.
I made no response. Slowly, I heard her bare feet padding against the carpet. The soft sound stopped and I felt something brush against my shoulder before I jerked up and stared at her with stony eyes.
Her mouth gaped open as she motioned to her own eyes.
" Yeah. Well that's what happens when your fucking heart gets broken. You should know that best of all."
Her eyes narrowed in anger. " Nero was right, you're such a selfish as-"
" NERO AGAIN! Seriously?! If you love him so damn much why don't you marry him!"
" Maybe I will!" Rin screamed.
" Oh and while I you're at it, send me a postcard from the Bahamas when you go on your honeymoon, " I sneered. " I'll send one back from here that has a nice, big FUCK YOU ON IT!"
" Why're you being such a jerk!"
" 'I love you Len!' If you really loved me you wouldn't be with that...that Neru clone!"
" Oh, NOW you wanna talk love! Well you know what Len, maybe I don't love you anymore!"
I chuckled darkly and snatched her down from beside my bed straight into it, placing myself dominantly above her.
" I think we both know that's a lie, " I whispered into her ear.
I saw her face and ears redden. Smirking, I brushed my lips against her neck and bit down gently right below her ear.
" L-len! Quit!"
" Aww, little Rinny's blushing, " I chuckled. " Why blush and put up so little resistance if you hate me so much hm?"
" Sh-shut- ah!"
My stomach flipped and sent shivers running up and down my spine at the small squeak my sister had let out.
" Oh, does my little sister like, when I bite her? May-" I felt Rin's hands press firmly against my chest and I was sent flying back, almost winded from the shock.
" YOU'RE THE WORST! MAKE UP YOUR MIND YOU STUPID JACKASS! I HATE YOU! FIRST YOU'RE DISGUSTED AND NOW YOU ACT LIKE I'M BETRAYING YOU! IF YOU ACTED THE LEAST BIT LIKE NERO, MAYBE YOU- ...you..."
Tears flooded her eyes and Rin bolted from here, leaving me to suffocate in silence. I wanted to go on a rampage, to tear my room apart just so I could feel like my heart wasn't the only thing that was broken. I clutched at my chest, desperate for the aching to go away, squeezing my eyes shut in hopes that if I tried hard enough, it would disappear. But nothing except the faint beating of my torn heart. Slowly opening my eyes, I could almost feel the missing light.
I could hear the subtle ticking of a non-existent clock. Maybe it was the faint beating of my heart. But as the sound continued, I stuffed clothes in a bag. Where could I go? Gumo wouldn't understand. Definitely not Nero. Mikuo? I just don't know...
Making my way down the stairs, still in my uniform, I walked out the door and began to walk. Cars zoomed past, blaring their engines and deafening my ears. Cold October air beat me in the face relentlessly as I trudged along the sidewalk. At the speed I was going, I wouldn't reach anywhere soon.
And I didn't have a single problem with that.
A shrill squeak burst from my lips and my mug full of the hot chocolate crashed to the ground.
" God damn a motherfuc-" I stopped at the sound of my doorbell and my phone ringing, which is pretty weird.
And cool. I swear if it were Nero and Len, that'd be so funny~.
Carefully stepping over my mess, I stood on my toes and peered through the peephole. My jaw dropped open and I slowly reached into my pocket and answered my phone.
" Miku? Hey, I need to have someone to talk to."
Two blondes that absolutely hated each other were seeking my help! Good God, what do I do...um...okay, I'll open the door! As I did so, I noticed the duffel bag in Len's hands.
" Len...I dont think my-"
" I'm going to Mikuo's later..." he muttered. " I just need to be with someone who..who wont remind me of...everything."
" Miku? Did you say LEN."
" H-huh? No! No Nero!" Len's eyes widened at the mention of that name. " I said Rin! Rin's here, but she said," I quickly mouthed I'm sorry to Len before continuing, " -it's girls only and she needs some quality time with me, but she still loves you."
My heart lurched at Len burying his head in his hands in clear, absolute despair. Nero chuckled and bought my lie, hanging up and allowing me to be with Len.
" Len? Are you okay?"
" Do I look okay?" he said lifting his head. His eyes were shadowed and he looked so...pale. After only an hour or two and he was this bad off? I shuddered at what weeks, months would do to him. " Do I sound okay? Because if I do, I should be an actor. I am obviously NOT okay!"
I bit my lip and I watched my childhood friend bury his head in his arms and remain completely still. I couldn't cry! Not when Len was at his weakest moment! I had to stay strong! Man up girl!
A small sniff brought me from my thought and I focused on Len's curled up form. I kneeled down in front of him and placed my hands on his knees.
" Len? Please stop crying, or I'll start crying, and when I start crying I-"
" Miku..? Has your heart ever been broken..?"
I scrunched up my nose slightly at the mmory. It had been a small crush, nothing major! But it hurt all the same at the point, so I murmured a yes.
"...I think mine has been..." he whispered. He looked up once more, beautiful blue eyes reduced to a puffy, red, teary mess. " Is that how all those girls I reject feel..?"
" I hate to say... possibly.." I said taking his hand.
" My sister...broke my heart.. but I don't-"
" Len, cut the crap!" I snapped throwing down his hand. " Look at yourself! You're a mess! There have been thousands of twins in the world who've been uncomfortable with their siblings dating but really look at yourself! If you compare yourself to other twins, you feel more than a sibling love! And it's obvious now!"
" But that's-!"
" I understand it's immoral, and disgusting and wrong," I said. " But I didn't feel that way when Rin told me how she felt and I won't do that to YOU! Are you afraid of feeling so different Len? As if you're some disgusting freak that doesn't deserve to live because of it?! You're digging your own grave refusing to accept your own feelings not because of how you or Rin feels but because of how SOCIETY FEELS! So what if you can't get married! So what if you have sex! So what if you have a special needs child, or a disfigured one, or even a normal one! I don't and I'm almost certain that if everyone is really your friend, they wouldn't either! I just can't wrap my mind around why Rin could go everyday smiling, happy and just so full of life and you're sitting here denying your feeling because society - not you!- thinks it's wrong! LOOK AT ME LEN!"
His eyes widened and met mine, welling with tears as I held his gaze.
" Len..." I said gently, almost in a whisper. " You love Rin don't you."
He remained silent as if the answer we both knew was too horrendous to be spoken. We stood there for who knew how long, it felt like days but it couldn't have been any longer than half an hour.
" I don't know anymore Miku... I...don't know.." And at that point, he didn't speak another word. Until maybe seven that night we watched TV, no words traveling between us. During an anime, if a character said something funny, only I laughed. During a drama, if a character died, I couldn't convey my sadness. Because it was as if Len weren't even there. And when he got up and left, it was if he hadn't been here at all.
Miku's words resounded painfully in my head. Aside from the streetlights and the distant festival, it was pitch black. My legs felt as if they'd collapse under me on the sidewalk and moments later they did. I buried my head in my knees, groaning with irritation and stress. I didn't know how I felt! And even if I did, it was too late! Rin...
Rin was with Nero now...
All the pent up emotions that had been so forceful and difficult to contain burst forth from my lips in a pained cry. Tears streaked down my face as I did so, ignoring the few onlookers making their way down to the lake to enjoy the festival. Families, groups of friends, and worst of all couples looked at me as if they pitied me. Some whispered, some even managed to laugh and point at my weak, pathetic display. I didn't care though. I didn't care if they recognized me, or cracked jokes, or anything. All this pain was greater than any embarrassment I could feel.
" Hey Meiko, look at this..!...Blondie...? What're you doing out here!"
Before I could look up I was jerked to my feet and was face to face with a certain blue-haired man.
" Come on kid, I thought you were mildly crazy, but not so crazy as to wander the streets at almost eight at night! Are you trying to get to the festival or what!"
Even though he barking at me, I could see genuine concern in his eyes and it sent a small warmth to my heart to know that this guy cared about me to an extent..
" I was-"
" Nope, dont care, come on kid, we're going to the festival and you're gonna like it," he said starting to drag me across the road. " Now walk boy, before we miss the fireworks!"
" Kaito!" The Meiko girl cried from the sidewalk. " Wh-!"
" Just give me a minute with this one Meiko!" he exclaimed before taking off full blast. My legs could barely keep up as I was so much shorter than the guy, and him dragging me around the festival grounds made me almost forget my problems.
" Hey! Slow down you stupid-AH!" Like a sack of flour I was tossed over his shoulder and he continued running like the yakuza were chasing him. God this guy was strong! I covered my mouth as I felt my stomach stir with nausea; I swear I was going to puke if he didn't put me down! Suddenly we stopped and my blurred vision focused on the grass beneath. The world spun for a few horrifying seconds as he set me down on a blanket.
" O-oh god.." I said swaying slightly. " Never..do that agin.." I said slowly.
" Sorry kid," he chuckled. " I love the fireworks too much to miss."
Taking a deep breath I looked at him and noticed the bright smile that stretched across his face and suddenly, he wasn't the bitter retired pop star when I first met but almost like a little kid.
" Yeah...they're pretty cool," I agreed managing a small smile. I noticed too a picnic basket among other things. The grin disappeared slowly as I began to feel like a burden.
" Sorry.." I said standing. " You're expec-"
" Hey kid, sit down. If I didn't want you here I wouldn't have brought you," he said sharply. " Park it."
Obediently, I did so and looked up with him at the darkening sky.
" Um.." I started. " If you're expecting friends...why-"
" I was, but they're broke off in little groups, and Meiko's probably not coming since I ditched her, " he said laying back. He gave me a toothy grin as he looked at me and back to the sky. " So I'm a loner like you now kid!"
" Don't let me drag you down," I muttered drawing my knees to my chest.
" Wonder how many people you've told that today, " Kaito sighed. " You don't drag down the people that wanna help shota. "
I remained silent and that seemed to be Kaito's cue to continue.
" You know, I don't think I've ever seen someone shoot off just one sole firework..it's kinda like a person. It's just not right for one to be alone, the sky's too big for just one. It's needs a whole bunch to create a real show! Small ones, big ones, dull ones that fizzle out fast and bright ones that stay in your mind forever. And like those fireworks, I've never seen a person watch them alone before either.. until you."
" Well, I need to be alone...nothing anyone does helps.." I muttered.
" Are you letting them help?" Kaito sighed. " There's only so much friends can do when you're upset. You can't just shut them out shota."
"...I'm not a shota..."
A few minutes passed in silence and suddenly one firework, a beautiful turqouise that reminded me of Miku went up. And not even thirty seconds went by before it was joined by a multitude of colors: reds, yellows, oranges, greens, all the colors of the spectrum!
" See!" Kaito laughed sitting up. " What did I tell you! There can never just be one firework in the sky. It always has to be with others."
Kaito stared up for a few more minutes before murmuring, " Len, go find the rest will you?"
" The rest of your fireworks for your show kid," he said grinning at me. " I'm sure they're here somewhere."
" What would they want to do with me.." I muttered.
With an exasperated sigh, Kaito grabbed me and pulled me so close to where our noses touched.
Oh God, please not another kiss.
" Look Len, you can feel like crap all you want. You can stay in this funk and listen to me give terrible metaphors all night, or you can go out there and FIND the one person you want most! I don't know much about you and your sister or incest, but I do know that you like her and it's so obvious! Why is that so BAD for you! Some people don't get that mutual love! Why're you so ashamed...of loving someone..? Some of the greatest lovers in history did everything they could to be together! Romeo and Juliet, Troy and Gabriella! Just go be with her! SCREW THE SYSTEM!"
He jerked me to my feet and pushed me away, nearly knocking me to the ground.
With a sigh, he grinned again.
" Go find 'em kid, I'm sure they're waiting for you. After all, you need all the fireworks for a show."
I managed another small smile and said, " You have such bad metaphors...but...pretty good advice I guess.."
And at that, I took off.
It took me not very long to find them. I couldn't miss Teto crying out about the dangers of fireworks and what they could be used for. My heart stopped at my sister. My beautiful sister. I could feel my heart pound as i watched her from a distance leave from Nero's arms and walk off. carefully maneuvering behind them to where no one would recognize me from any angle, I followed her at a brisk pace.
I kept careful eyes on where I stepped, cautious as to not break a branch, kick a stone, or anything that gets someone killed in horror movies.
Because I'm pretty sure Rin will murder me. Suddenly she stopped and started to turn; my cue to hide behind a nearby tree that definitely wasn't large enough to hide me. Squeezing my eyes shut, I prayed to god that she wasn't coming this way. The area was illuminated with green and blue as more fireworks went off.
" Gosh, what have I gotten myself into," Rin whispered.
I daringly turned slightly to move to a different tree, one slightly larger than my frame and further from Rin. perfect so she wouldn't see me. Rin threw done the little orange bag in what looked like frustration.
" How could I do this! Accept Nero's feelings because I was angry! I can't break up with him and crush him, and I can't stay with him and crush him more!" My twin fell to her knees and placed her head in her hands. " If only...I had been so sure of it...and then..."
Gosh, I felt like this was a scene from Romeo and Juliet. I moved out form the tree and moved closer and closer to her until I was only a few feet away. I dared not move any closer, I'm sure she knew I was there. But still, I wanted her to acknowledge me.
" Oh, it's you!" she whined in irritation. " You of all people!"
An ache pierced my heart at the remark, but I managed a small, mocking smirk. " Don't act like you aren't glad to see me Rinny-Bear."
She raised an eyebrow and rolled her eyes as if I were the idiot, but I could still see the childish blush forming on her cheeks, even if it was still so dark.
" Don't talk to me you hoebag," she muttered.
" Yes. I came up with it all on my own!" She smiled quite proudly of herself and slowly let it melt away, diverting her eyes as if they burned to even go near my way.
I sighed and sat next to her, poking her shoulder as she remained silent.
" My little cuddly orange~."
A small giggle came from her and she roughly pushed me away as soon as it happened.
" Oh come on! Now you want to be all Mr. Nice Guy? Are you bipolar!" she snapped.
" FYI, it's been..four hours! Officially NOT bipolar! IN. YOUR. FACE!"
She glared at me and folding her arms, cheeks puffed out in her signature Rin pout. Smiling, I poked her cheek.
" Guess what."
" You're my firework."
At that, she gave me this crazy look like I'd grown elephant tusks, and I may as well have.
Damn, I'm turning into Kaito with my crap metaphors.
" It's a metaphor," I chuckled.
" It's not a very good one, what's it a metaphor for?"
" Ah, you can ask the guy that said it later one day."
" If you wanted to be sweet, you should've said fireflower," she said ruffling my hair.
" Not the hair Rin! You know the rules!" I said mildly angry! EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT THE HAIR!
" Sorry," she smiled. " I don't listen to my twin's rules."
And those were the last words we had spoken. At some point, she had gotten up and left with no explanation, leaving me alone to watch the fireworks. I hadn't needed an explanation; we knew Nero would come looking eventually if she didn't come back. I'm sure we weren't completely on good terms, but they were better than before. Not everything seemed brighter like I thought it would be, but once Rin was mine again, everything would be swell.
There's no way I'm losing to Mr. Cell Phone Addicted, Bitch Clone of Neru, Nero.
Author's Note: Wahhh, I sorry for the wait T-T I'm not even going to assure that I'll update faster anymore because I too lazy to actually stay to that! But it is summer vacation, so I guess we'll see.
So readers, old and new, Review/Comment, Favorite, Alert, pwease!