By: Shin Sankai
Author's Notes: I love Ryu…and hope it turns out that Chizu does as well…
He found something he loved more then onigiri…and her name was Chizuru.
How many times had he imagined her response to his confession? A couple, several, hundreds or even a thousand times maybe? Even in his imagination she rejected his love, but even so that one real response, the one within reality hurt far more then what he would ever let on. In that split second where he had finally told her of his feelings, feelings which he'd been bottling up within him for most of his life, it had completely changed everything between them.
Should he have risked it all for that split second straight laced confession?
Even now, as he took an evening jog, trying to release the tension within his body, there was no way he could take it back. That just wasn't within his character at all. He could never lie to her, but that didn't stop just how frustrating it was that yet again he lost out to his own brother whom was now married.
He had once been the centre of her world, but as they grew up, so did his brother and just because he didn't know how to show his feelings like his aniki, her attention had been stolen from him. At first he was angry, which as he grew up he later discovered it was out of jealousy towards his brother that she fell in love with Tooru and not him. Though he was smarter then both of them to realise that what she felt was different to what his aniki felt, but he didn't know how to tell her. Much like when Tooru was returning home and this time he would be bringing his fiancé too, he didn't know how to tell her then. She had tried ever so hard to be strong, but in front of him, because he knew her so well, she had cracked. The usual tomboy was gone and what was bare for him to see was a heartbroken teenage girl. He'd hugged her close for the first time in a long time only this time it was different to all the other times in the past. Was it because he'd grown up? Was it because she'd filled out? Or because he finally accepted that she was the one for him.
I've always loved you…
Those words had instantly changed everything between them. There was no way she could just walk into his bedroom like she used to, sliding the shoji across as he stood half undressed near his wardrobe. She could no longer barge in and relax on his bed like the old days nor there ever be a moment of her staying over again. He would assume she wouldn't even be able to set foot in the ramen shop without him being out of the building. He knew how much she loved ramen and so he didn't think she'd stay away for too long, but somehow she'd find out if he was there or not and if he was…he would definitely be avoided.
What did she expect him to do? Always remain as they were, seemingly more then friends yet not. She never hung out with any other guys except him (and Shouta – though that technically didn't count because they were in the same group of friends). She never bought any birthday presents for any other guy except him, he knew what she was thinking without it being voiced and she had confided in him on more then one occasion as well. What was he supposed to think they were? He was the strongest guy she could never beat and she was the tomboy with the shy girl hidden within that only he could see.
Chizuru was living in her own little fantasy land, where his brother was her prince and that she would one day inevitably marry into the family and gain a younger brother. That was not how he saw it at all. He had seen it that his brother would disappear and he would be the prince for her.
How time had changed them, her fantasy land crumbling as Tooru dated multiple girls and now that he was away from home and married as well. She had tried her best to wish him happiness and send him off with a smile, which she had succeeded in, but her scars were still fresh, she was still in love with him. The thought tasted bitter to him as he reached his family's ramen shop and slid the shoji across.
Ryu had at least thought he had the slightest chance with her now that his brother was out of the picture, not that he was ever in it since to him Chizuru was like a younger sister. She instead, ran away from him and his confession and to this day things had not gotten any better.
There had been a seat change in class, which he was certain was like a blessing to her, to be far from his presence so she didn't have to try and think about what had happened in Okinawa.
He'd been lucky that he miraculously picked the same number while the others were shifted across to the other side of the room. Though he knew Shouta was happy to still be sitting next to Sawako, he was certain his friend was worried about him.
Its not that he felt uncomfortable being on his own, since he knew everyone who was sitting in front of him, but he generally was the strong and silent type who would speak when he felt like it and wasn't the popular type at all. Shouta's girlfriend, Sawako, had been the first person he'd ever told about whom he was in love with. It was even sweet the way she thought the both of them suited each other.
"Ryu," Raising his gaze, he looked upon his father behind the counter. "Take this ramen to Chizu's; I haven't seen her in awhile."
"No…" That was probably one of the only times Ryu's father had heard such a response leave his youngest son's lips, especially when it had something to do with Chizu. His father didn't call after him as he headed upstairs and into his bedroom, removing his hooded jacket and baseball cap, ruffling his hand through his short black hair.
Ryu kicked off his shoes and crawled onto his bed, prying the window open to look up at the stars. No matter how many times he thought about what had transpired in Okinawa he would have to leave everything as it was. He would have to remain as a childhood memory within Chizuru's fantasy land.
Lying down on his bed, watching his curtains swaying back and forth in the cool breeze, he had felt an almighty weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Even though it was disheartening not having Chizu at his side, Ryu felt it was right to confess to her and he was certain it was now time to move forward.
He would love her always and that would never change, but what they once had was now gone and their future together was shrouded in a blanket of uncertainty.
Ryu could only hope that maybe, just maybe, someday she would acknowledge his existence again.