A/N: Fangirling over Starry Sky now, can't help it, they're all so kawaii~
There aren't any suns in the winter.
It's a belief she's been trying to understand ever since it's been told to her.
"There aren't any suns in the winter," She thinks it's about hope and the lost, but she ponders on the symbolisms she's been taught.
Winter; cold, merciless, calm, lonesome, death, end, suffering.
Sun; bright, start, life, energy, happiness, hope, warmth, life.
It's all too complicated for her, so why does she even try to understand?
It's because she was born to, raised to.
She has to.
Because it's all she can ever do.
It's what she wants—what she was raised to want.
Sometimes she wonders what would happen if she lost, but her thoughts are recovered by a mantra ringing in her head.
"Winning, it's all there is."
She doesn't remember who told that to her, or she refuses to, but it continues to act as her motivation to run through another day.
Another day with the mask she's sincerely mastered.
"Oy!" She shouts into the megaphone, an accessory she's brought with her since her transfer to the academy. With that and a hellish personality, she's bound to win in the so-called "unfair society" of the newly co-ed school.
"This is the third time you've been late, Ishio.." She calls after a nervous freshman who's running to catch the second bell.
"W-wait!" He pleads. "I have a minute left!" He runs faster, the entrance gate is pretty far from his classroom.
"Faster! Else it's community service for a month!" She shouts after his fast-retreating form.
She sighs; if she's to win over this society she's going to need supporters.
He watches her, the megaphone close to her mouth and a proud hand on her hip. She keeps track of things that she shouldn't be; records of late-comings, absences, uniform-related offenses, crude language offenses—she acts as if she's part of the student council.
Which she is, he vaguely sees it hours before they first meet.
He allows himself to elect her, in accordance to what his best friend tells him; "She looks like she's eligible.." Ooshirou says after a click of his camera.
"Who does?" He says, tearing his eyes away from the noisy crowd of first-years.
"The one with the megaphone.." In that sing-song tone, he knows that Ooshirou knows what he's saying.
Her hair was blue, a bright turquoise blue, messed-up and cut shaggily. Her eyes are a bright blue-green, angry for an unknown reason. And of course, the white megaphone slinging from her shoulder make her look offending and demanding for respect.
"Relational officer? Are you kidding me, Ooshirou?" He turns to his friend in disbelief.
"Well, it could work, and she's a girl, a pretty girl for a fact.. Hehe, your work's cut out for you!" He chuckles.
She annoys him. She practically irritates the living out of him.
"What do you think you're doing?" He intimidates her, leaning over the desk as she sits in a chair behind it.
The haughty look on her face never leaves, "My job as the relational officer of the student council."
Even the monotone annoys him, "That's not what you're supposed to do."
"As part of the student council, all officers are obliged to exercise authority over the student body," She states in a smart tone, leaning forward to prove her point, "Like to reinforce school rules and regulations," She smirks and leans back in her seat, "Isn't that right, 'sir President?"
He hates the way she thinks.
"And if you are to continue this—" She slides from her seat, "Reign of yours," The word she uses insults him, "Then the school wouldn't need a council anymore." She exits and he lets her, "We'd be a charade just because we want to make a name for ourselves." She is half-past the door when she stops.
"Like what we are now." Is a whisper, but it is a shout in the lonesome room.
She hates him. She absolutely loathes him to the core.
For one, he's too sure of everything. He's t sure for his own good; he doesn't take note of the risks and the complications that may come on the way. All he does is do, because he's sure that his plans don't fail.
And they don't.
That's what she hates about him the most.
"Why, pray tell, are we doing this?" She rolls her eyes as he hands her a stack of freshly-printed flyers of their new project, 'DATE'. As awkward as it sounds, it stands for Diagnostic Applied Trial Examination, an exam wherein the students are given course suggestions for college, strengths and weaknesses in academics, and possible job specializations.
"Well, if you'd just follow me, I'll explain on the way." He smiles confidently, an armful of flyers occupying his left arm, "Let's go,"
She shrugs and follows him out the room and into the hall, posting flyers on each of the classrooms on the floor in comforting silence.
"So why the DATE project?" She asks him as they are climbing up the stairs to the third floor, "Isn't the school having an annual test like this already?" She rolls her eyes.
He chuckles lightly, "It isn't just a test." He stops and turns towards her, a conniving smirk on his features (and she swears the afternoon sun is too bright, it's like a spotlight on him. It annoys her.), "It's a compatibility test."
She wants to vomit at that moment, "Compatibility test? Have you gone mad? Are you resigning as President? That's insane!" She showers him with confusion and disbelief, running up the stairs talk sense into him.
"Of course not," He' as confident as ever, walking up to the floor, stopping a few steps ahead of her.
"A compatibility test? Have you ever thought that about ninety-eight percent of the school's population is male?" She shrieks.
"Calm down," He sighs, "I've been coordinating with the student representative of an all-girls school nearby, so it's fine."
"You've never told us about that,"
"Well, it was a secret…" He drawls out with a whistle, which causes her to raise a brow, "For the Winter Festival! The school's collaborating with another, you know."
She nods after a moment, "Yes, but I don't recommend having a survey—"
"Compatibility test," He coughs, and she rolls her eyes in annoyance.
"—For having partners in the Winter Festival, I mean, can't they just bring whoever they like?"
They started walking down the hall, posting flyers on the rooms, "If that's the case, it'll be a disaster."
She widens her eyes in shock of the statement, "How so? Wouldn't that be easier, since they already know whom they'll be going with, maybe they're already in an… Intimate relationship with their partner?"
"Well, I planned for this year's to be a form of soirée."
"Oh, then the two girls in this campus are included in the list as well." She sighs, pinning a flyer to a corkboard hanging from the door.
"Of course! Unless you'd like to be a sponsor instead.." He said in a sing-song voice (and it annoys her completely).
"I've no money to waste over a trivial event," She walks further down the hall, away from him, "Let's get things done quickly, 'sir President. It's almost four-thirty.."
"Whatever," He rolls his eyes as he pins a flyer on a board.
They're on a mutual fighting spree. She says no, he says yes. He says no, she says yes. And et cetera…
"The color's too bland."
"No, it's just right. Well, the chairs are too stiff."
"No, they're perfectly cushioned, see?"
"They're stiff! We're having international scientists for the Exploration Week! What if they can't sit comfortably?"
"We're here to learn from them, not treat them to extreme hospitality.."
"Well, one can never be too welcoming, and it gives recognition to the academy!"
"How does it?"
Their voices mix into a furious, childish argument.
"Aren't they adorable, Aozora-kun?" Tsukiko, the bubbly secretary said to the one beside her.
"They act like children all the time.." Aozora, the cool vice-president, replied in a sigh.
"Well, maybe it's an innate thing, you know? Overpowering the other.." She ponders on the idea.
"Maybe it is, Tsukiko-chan, maybe it is.." He agrees with her as they start to fix up the files on the table.
"No, your set-up's too messy, we need it to be organized."
"Well it is, you just need to take a look at it with a different perspective!"
"What perspective? Yours? It's as messed up as it is!"
"How dare you insult your president? If you weren't an officer, you'd be scrubbing the halls by now!"
"Insult you? I just said that it's better if we move the tables farther from the entrance, it'll get jam-packed in ten seconds!"
"Why do I even bother, it's useless talking to you!"
"You're just stubborn, why not test out my plan? Oh yeah, because you think you're always right!"
She storms out the room in an angry huff.
"I'll go talk to her, President Kazuki." Tsukiko excuses herself and runs after the mad officer.
It's now unusually quiet, he sighs deeply.
"You should have just told her that we don't have time.." Aozora stares at his slumped form from his seat.
"She wouldn't believe me." Kazuki walks toward the sofa and plops down tiredly, "She's stubborn, she'll fight until she gets her way."
"Woman's instinct perhaps?" He suggests.
"Yeah, instinct to just ruin everything.." He closes his eyes and rests his head for a while.
It's her birthday and he gives her the worst gift ever.
"What do you think this is?" She nearly shouts in fury at the note he hands to her, for community service.
"A notice, you'll do some community service after classes today," He shrugs.
"What?" She shouts, face burning in rage. She cannot have this today.
"You're a scholar, aren't you? Other than keeping a grade average, you're supposed to do at least fifty hours of community service." He says matter-of-factly, a knowing smirk on his face.
He's using her know-it-all attitude against her, "Well, alright then." She grabs the note from his hand and nearly tears it, "Better finish early than start late." Somehow the motivating line turns into a whistle of anger.
It's three-forty two in the afternoon and she's wiping tables in the cafeteria, hair in a loose bun and sleeves folded to her elbows. She finds the silence comforting and continues to clean in peace until something decides to tear her peace.
'Come to the Student Council room, I need you to arrange some files.'
It's written in his hand, a scrawl that drives her into a mad rage. He knows she'd be cleaning the cafeteria, so he gives a little 'thank you' note for her hard work—telling her to work some more.
"The arrogant little—" She hisses, wiping the last table. She washes the rag in a nearby sink and hangs it on a towel rack. She washes her hands and unfolds her sleeves, before turning off the lights and walking out the cafeteria door, locking it in her leave.
"Come to the Student Council room." She mimics him annoyingly as she is on her way, "I need you to arrange some files. Hah! It'd be fixed if he didn't mess them up." She mocks, crushing the note in her palm.
She sighs once she stops at the door, before sliding it open.
She barely acknowledges his presence (and loathes herself for even noticing his silver hair) and the lack of the other members' (oh right, they don't have meetings today.), and walks toward an open file cabinet, with folders and papers stacked on the table in front of it.
She sighs, shrugs, and goes to finish the task; arranging the papers chronologically at first.
She notices that he has his reading glasses on, he's reading a newspaper; and there's a mug of coffee beside hm.
She goes back to her work and was about to fix the papers alphabetically per month—
"I'm sorry." It's a murmur and she pauses, but goes immediately back to arranging.
"If you weren't able to—you know—have your way with what the council has planned." He pauses cautiously, "I'm sorry."
It's a phrase she's never wanted to hear, because it's the phrase people say to you when you can't accept that you've already lost—she never wants to have someone to say that to her.
Because he's won this round. It takes her several loses to realize that he's always won anyway, and there's nothing she can do to change that. She doesn't want him, of all people, to be sorry for her; it makes her feel small and insignificant. She's a winner. She isn't small or insignificant. It's a sick and selfish need that drives her to be the best.
"Don't say it." She says, eyes starting to water and cheeks starting to burn with a hate for pity.
"I don't need your sorry." Childish tears threaten to fall onto the paper in front of her, a monthly report of the council's budget. She turns her back on him and the papers, leaning on the table with her palms pressing onto her eyes.
"You don't have to be—"
"What? Some self-seeking, sore loser?" She cries and curses herself for breaking down with him as audience. "Someone who can't bear to lose? Someone who can't even accept what's already been done? Someone who doesn't care about what everyone else thinks? Someone who's—" She cries harder because it's the truth spilling from her mouth, "Someone who's just too dammed selfish!" She screams and falls to her knees, embracing herself with lanky arms, depressing screams turning into hopeless whimpers.
He's staring at her.
It's four-twenty and he's seated in front of her with his legs crossed and he doesn't dare touch or comfort her, but he continues to look at her; messed-up hair, red face, gripping hands, muffled screams and all.
She's been staying too strong for far too long.
Suddenly she stops.
"Why are you still here?" It's slightly muffled by her palms, but understandable all the same.
Truthfully, he doesn't know, but remembers something. "It's your birthday, and you're crying.." He says slowly and sheepishly.
"Idiot." She hisses.
"I just thought that you needed some company.."
"Well, I don't." She murmurs into her hand and motions him away with the other.
"Yeah you do." He ignores the hand and stays in place.
It takes a while for her to completely stop crying.
"You're still here." She states after wiping one last tear from her face with her sleeve.
"Yes I am." He replies casually with a small smile.
She looks at her watch, "It's almost five o'clock.."
"Hmm? Yeah.." He yawns.
(She's embarrassed because it takes her that long to break down, not because he's waiting for her.)
"I'll fix these quickly and lock up the room," She stands by herself and turns to arrange the papers in the fastest way she can. She might've been embarrassed, but she never turns away from a task given to her. "You can go now, 'sir President."
"No need, we'll do it tomorrow morning." He stands and walks to the side of the table opposite her, "I'm taking you out." His statement causes her to let the stack slide from her grasp.
"Why?" She asks suspiciously.
"It's your birthday, it's the least I could do to—you know—" He scratches the back of his head, "To, uh, exchange for your, uh, tears?" He smiles sheepishly.
(She accepts because she's hungry and it's her birthday, not because he's thoughtful for a moment.)
"Alright," She smiles (for maybe the first time) to him, and leaves the papers on the table.
She walks ahead of him on the sidewalk, "You're paying." She smirks.
"Aah, alright, it's your birthday anyways.." He shrugs and agrees with her, because he knows it's only for one day (and he's obliged to because he's just seen her cry for the first time).
They walk in peaceful silence, for the first time. It's five-thirty when they reach a nearby restaurant.
It's relatively cheap and she doesn't pig-out because it's the first time someone takes her out to dinner, but is unsatisfied as they exit because it's exotic cuisine and she's always had a thing for spice-infusions. In the midst of eating, they share a slightly awkward conversation or two every few bites because it's the first time they've ever hung out with just each other and it's almost like a date (but both of them silently agree it's just him treating her to a birthday dinner). The topic range from annoying freshmen to the year's Winter Festival, it's nothing personal.
It's seven o'four when they walk out the door beside each other, dessert take-out hanging from their fingers. It's two hours before curfew because it's a Friday, but they can stay longer because of council privileges, so they do.
They lie awkwardly far from each other on a grassy hill inside the academy's massive campus, slices of chocolate raspberry cake and glasses of strawberry and kiwi smoothies in between them. It's a midnight blue blanket sprinkled with stars and a large, round moon shinning brightly.
"It's been a while since I felt like a kid again." She mindlessly whispers in awe of the sight in front of her. She inhales deeply and reminiscences when she was younger and quieter than she is now.
"Me too." He replies, remembering when he could escape his fate and just be free when he was younger.
It's only a dream, some childish dream.
It's eight-fifteen and they're sitting on the grass and leaning against a tree trunk, both of them on opposite sides. He's taking a bite of the cake and she's sipping the kiwi smoothie. They've been chatting for a while now, less awkwardly and more openly to each other. Slipping a joke here and there, a laugh or two after, some student body problems, some childhood memories, some dreams and nightmares—
And it explodes before their very eyes.
They're good enough to be called "friends".
(Just because they aren't good enough for each other.)
It's nine-ten and they're sitting beside each other, his left shoulder pressed to her right one, and they're laughing like complete idiots. He tells something about his first year in the academy that as something to do with wet sponges, tile floors, and blue hair. Unconsciously, his head slips beside hers and the side of his left hand presses onto the side of her right one. They fail to notice the little movement and continue laughing. He's sipping his strawberry smoothie and she picks up her cake slice before placing a forkful of it inside her mouth. It's sweet and gives her fuzzy warmth in her belly (it's because of the cake, because it's one of the very few time someone's treated her to dessert.).
"The weather's nice," He comments after a hefty gulp of strawberry. The night breeze is comforting and it makes them think of coming rain.
"It's going to rain, isn't it?" She says before another bite of cake.
"Soon." He says because he knows—although it's coming sooner.
"We'd better hurry up then." She comments before taking several bites of the cake.
"Let's?" He stands up first as she packs up the styrofoam packaging and the plastic fork.
He has one hand held out to her and she stares at it, "Sure." But she stands up on her own, picking up the half-empty, half-full smoothie after.
They walk in silence, sipping their drinks in peace, and the moment they throw the packages and plastic glasses, it starts to pour heavily.
They run for the closest shade, because they forgot their umbrellas and because it's a comedic experience. They laugh once they reach the comforting shade of a large tree.
After a while of laughing and shivering, she speaks up,
"Would it be insane if I run through the rain and spin like an idiot?" She inquires curiously, it's one of the childish dreams she should've long forgotten.
"Of course it would," He says calmly and she prepares for a retort, but he continues, "Because it's one of the things freedom entitles us to." He smiles and runs forward, childishness and unrequited dreams come blasting on full force.
She is shocked and blinks a few times in disbelief.
"Come over here!" He laughs through the rain, and she smiles at his enthusiasm, following right after.
They spin around like complete retards and dance like complete idiots.
They have never felt so alive.
It's precisely ten o'clock when they're in the solace of a lamppost and the merciless air of the night as they sit shivering on a bench. His laugh reverberates in the air and she feels comfortable with it.
"We'll be sick with colds tomorrow." She leans back on her place as he stretches an arm behind her.
"There's always Hoshizuki-san,"
"Right," She leans her head back, on his arm, it's an unfamiliar feeling—it's warm and it's comforting. She relaxes into it.
He's as initially shocked as she is, but he calms himself. He's experienced many threats and insults from her from the day they met and this feels alright, calming; it feels good.
She's staring into the sky and he's almost tempted to undo the bun she's had since the afternoon, he chuckles.
"What're you laughing about?" A quarter of her hellish attitude is back and she leans forward.
"That bun's been on your head since this afternoon." He states with a soft laugh.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier? So I've been walking around with this messed-up 'do?" A hand flies to undo it.
"Well, it looks good on you." He says truthfully, for once she doesn't seem as menacing as she usually is.
"Uhh, thanks—" Her hand undoes the knot and sends wet hair tumbling into a curl.
It's one of the few time that he can actually see her up close, and he's surprised that Ooshirou was right, she's pretty, but an ordinary kind of pretty. She isn't something worth gazing at.
(So why is he?)
Maybe it's because, deep down, he found his reflection in her—
But that's a lie.
He's always been straightforward to a fault.
"Hey, can I kiss you?" He's been wondering that for a while now, her hellish "looks-can-and-will-kill" personality must come from somewhere, like a "never-been-kissed" attitude.
(And mostly because he's so curious at this point.)
She almost aims a hard slap on his neck, but stops herself. She wouldn't fight now, not after the way he's treated her tonight—almost like a friend.
Her instinct blasts out, "Why? Has anyone dared you? Bribed you? Is this entire thing a set-up?" Quick anger flies with each question.
"Well, just because?" He smiles sheepishly.
"What do you mean?" She narrows her eyes at him.
He leans in, "I'm just," He whispers, "Cu-ri-ous.." He breathes choppily and it's almost seductive.
(Plus, he's soaking wet from the rain.)
They stop in their tracks. There's two parts of her; "Hell no!" and "Maybe, just maybe" and two parts of him; "Stop" and "Go".
They're both intelligent and have rightful reasons for their actions (but this is a valid exception.). It sickens her that her mind thinks that they might be compatible (she wants to vomit on his face). It surprises him that he thinks that they might work out, be friends, and not have her throwing insult after injury to him (and it's out of curiosity, so it's nothing significant).
She's always been selfish to a fault.
She strangles his neck as her lips mesh against his. He's sure enough that she's as equally scared, shocked, and disgusted as he is.
(But he feels her move towards him.)
She grabs the collar of his shirt and pulls him towards her, one hand on his collar and another on the back of his neck, gripping his hair tightly.
(She feels want, want, want, and nothing but girlish want.)
Her eyes are shut and he thinks that she's about to vomit into his mouth, but she doesn't.
(And he feels the urge to try the impossible.)
So his arms wound around her, her back and her hair. It's wet and it's cold, but he feels warmer than ever.
They mutually pull off the other, still caught up in an embrace. They stare into each other's eyes; green on green. There's nothing in them—no lust, no love, no surprise, no anger, nothing.
(It's as worse as falling in love.)
He mutters an apology and that he shouldn't have done that.
She murmurs something that tells him that it wasn't anything significant.
(They agree that it was powered on curiosity, nothing mutual.)
But it feels warm and it disgusts them both.
One evening he approaches her in the council room, they're the only ones left and they're cleaning up.
He walks behind her and grabs her wrist, yanks her toward him and crashes his lips on hers.
(It's sick and selfish and disgusting beyond all reason, but it feels good.)
Their first kiss was by curiosity and it was supposed to be their last, but the sensation keeps coming back on one's dreams, even long after the event.
(It's terribly good and horribly wanting.)
She pushes herself onto him, gripping the sides of his face with a force she deems as girly and childish.
(It makes one keep on wanting, even needing.)
Winter has never felt hotter.
He pulls away, fearing a hard smack on is face, but she reels him in, pressing her cheek to his.
"It's sick and it's disgusting and it's you.." She breathes onto the side of his jaw, below his ear and it feels hot and cold at the same time, seething with hate and love.
"It's selfish and it's immoral and it's me." He knows her too much and he taunts her now.
She grunts and pulls him tighter, "Bittersweet." She kisses the corner of his cheek and embraces him.
"This isn't love." She comments into his shoulder.
"It isn't." He agrees with her and tangles a hand in her hair.
"It won't be." She reinforces her statement.
"We're just curious." He smirks and she stares at him knowingly.
"Curiosity never killed the cat." She says.
"Curiosity made the cat want more." He continues, a harsh kiss-whisper on the corner of her lip.
It was only a kiss.
A burning kiss in the middle of the winter.
A/N: Done is done, and this is the longest fic I have ever written. *cheers* I can't help but fangirl of Kozuki, he's just *uwaaaaaaa* Ehem, review? Is it bad? Is it good? Tell me!
I've worked an entire day on this non-stop.
Review? *puppy dog eyes*