a/n: For Neon Genesis, who wanted something to read.

Warnings: Lots of cliches and bitchiness/cursing. :D I was reading "This Lullaby" and a story just happened to grow.


Natural Chemistry

"I just can't see us being in the future. I'm sorry."

"It's okay," she said, with a sad and appropriate smile, no grudges attached. "I understand."

Those sort of phrases are appropriate for a break-up, even if the intention is empty and hollow. She stood up, reached for her wallet, and paid for the bill before she left, even though she knows it really should be him paying. She likes the idea of being in control, even if it's something petty like this.

She calls a taxi, and it's five minutes into the ride that she mutters to herself, "Damn it."

-x-

She gets out of the car, fumbles with the keys to her apartment complex before she decides, "Fuck it, I'm getting a beer" from the convenience store. So, walking with her sore feet in a pair of uncomfortable heels, she crosses the street. It's eight o'clock in Tokyo, and everything is too loud and noisy and she can't stand it, and then it happens. A switch has been turned on.

She gets pissed. From getting dumped on her birthday, to getting yelled by her boss, she reaches for a six pack and slams it on the counter. And throws in a package of donuts for the hell of it, because dammit if she wasn't allowed to take a break from that diet her roommate practically forced her into.

The cashier raises an eyebrow. "ID please?"

She glares at him, gives him the "Are you fucking kidding me?" look, and then he hastily rectifies the mistake by typing a few buttons on the machine. She throws down a few bills, and carries her purchases without asking for a bag.

She's barely out of the door when the next important thing happens in her life.

-x-

This what happened - a guy just shoved into her. He knocked her bag of donuts to the ground, making them land into the grimy asphalt.

If she's pissed before, she's absolutely fucking furious by now.

"What the hell are you doing, you asshole!" she yells at the guy. He's dressed in a green polo shirt, with vivid orange-ginger hair on his head. "Watch where you're going!"

"Hey there," he says, cheerfully. "How's it going?"

She just stares at him, before her mouth finally decides on the right words. "What the hell is your problem?"

"Problem? What problem?"

"You just knocked my donuts to the ground, jackass! And shoved into me!"

He blinked. "Goodness. Such language."

Wrong day, buddy, she thinks to herself. You caught me on the wrong day.

"The thing is," he said airily, as if she had not shown her previous hostility, "I saw you coming from that street. And I," he points to another vague spot opposite to the street they were standing on, "was over there."

She counts to ten. Her consolation is that she'll be home soon, happily drunk and maybe there'll be a carton of ice cream in the fridge.

"I just thought to myself, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together."

She rubs her temples with her left hand, right hand holding the six pack. She's getting a headache already. "And you got this from me walking down the street."

"You didn't feel it?" he asks, genuinely shocked.

"No," she said, glaring daggers at this happy-go-lucky asshole. "I did feel you shoving me into the wall, however."

"That," he said, lowering his voice and leaning closer to her, "was an accident. An oversight. Just an unfortunate result of the enthusiasm I felt knowing I was about to talk to you."

"I have to go," she automatically says while she's thinking, God my life sucks.

"Take this!" the guy said enthusiastically, whipping out a pen while his other hand grabs her hand.

She's so stunned by his audacity that she doesn't notice what's going on - he's writing a string of numbers on her palm of her hand - and then she realizes what he's doing and slaps his hand away from hers.

"You are insane," she says incredulously, and then by the grace of Kami-sama, the light turns green and she can finally cross the goddamn street to her apartment. She picks up the bag of donuts, throws them into the trash can, and intends to forget that this incident ever happened until he calls out to her, "I'll see you soon!"

"Like hell you will!" she yells back. She finally sees what's on her palm. Eight two three one one zero something. At the end, there's a sloppy signature. It says Sengoku Kiyosumi.

God, what a stupid name, she thinks to herself. She washes it off as soon as she gets home.

-x-

Her name is Murasaki Asahi. Twenty-two years old. Works at an office, and likes her job fine, until her boss walks into her office and tells her to keep an eye out on his newest employee.

She almost spits out her coffee once she finds out it's the same guy who wrote those digits on her hand. Instantly, her blood pressure goes up a notch.

She pretends that she doesn't know what her boss is talking about until the guy pops his head into her cubicle, and says, in the style reminiscent of the trashy romance novels that her co-workers like to read during breaktime, "Ah. So we meet again."

"Oh, God," she groans to herself, not as subtle as her mother would have liked.

"No, it's Sengoku," he corrects her, offering his hand.

She ignored him and went back to the report she needed to finish.

"Will you be impressed if I tell you that I was a Nationals-level tennis player once?"

"No."

"Not at all?" His eyebrows raise up a few centimeters. "I thought chicks dug athletes."

Asahi finally turns her chair around, and fixes him with her best Don't Fuck With Me glare.

"First off, I'm not a chick. And secondly, I don't date weird, persistant, and pushy guys. Got it?"

He digests this in silence, and she thinks to herself, Maybe he's finally getting the message. Thank God.

That is, until he says with no hesitation whatsoever, "I think you like me."

Fuck my life, Asahi mourns. This guy will be begging me for a date until the day I die.

Thankfully one of her co-workers interrupt the scene. "Murasaki, can you make copies of these charts? Our business meeting is tomorrow."

"Yes, of course," she says, leaping up at the opportunity to escape. Or, at least she thought so, until she finds out that he's trailing her. "What?" he asks her innocently. "You're supposed to show me the ropes!"

She sighs heavily. She thinks they're not paying her enough to be here.

The secretary looks up at Asahi with interest when they pass by. "Who's this?"

"Newest recruit," Asahi says through gritted teeth. Sengoku takes the opportunity to wink at the secretary, which makes her blush.

And as such, before the end of the day, everybody knows that his name is Sengoku Kiyosumi, and that he considered himself "Lucky!" to be working with Asahi.

Her female co-workers are surprisingly envious of her.

"He's cute."

"Totally my type."

"So friendly!"

He gets on well with women. He tells Asahi it's because he used to be a bit of a playboy in college.

She folds her arms together, tired. "So why don't you have a girlfriend?"

"She transferred to Sapporo because of a job offer. It wouldn't have worked out," he says, and for a second, there's a flicker of sadness in his eyes. Asahi blinks, and then - it's gone. She's a little unnerved by this.

"But anyways, will you go on a date with me?"

"Like hell I will," she says, snorting. "I'm going home and finishing the rest of the beer."

-x-

Her roommate is busy rubbing some green tea mask on her face, looking into the mirror near their beds. "So? How was your first day of work after being dumped by the love of your life?"

"Awful," Asahi groans. "I think it's an irony that the day I get dumped, some other guy tries to write his number on my hand."

"Oi, you should count yourself lucky! When I got dumped, I thought I was the ugliest girl to ever exist on earth."

"Yuuka, that is the biggest load of bullshit I've heard, and we both know it." Asahi pulls out a beer from the fridge, pops the cap off, and takes a long swig. "I don't think I'll ever date again."

"No, you will. I heard from Asahina that you have a cute co-worker - "

"I'm not interested," Asahi says flatly. "He's persistent as hell."

Yuuka pulls out her phone and shows Asahi a picture of Sengoku. Asahi scowls and wonders why people have been interfering with her love life lately.

"You're saying you'd turn down this guy just because you're sad?"

"Well, yes," Asahi says. Big mistake.

"YOU IDIOT! WHEN FATE GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY, YOU SEIZE THEM!" Yuuka grabbed Asahi, and shakes her like a rag doll. "UNDERSTAND?"

"Y-y-y-yes," Asahi says. Yuuka then releases her head like a toy and resumes massaging the green tea mask into her skin like nothing happened.

-x-

"Go on a date with me."

"No."

"Pleaaase?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because I haven't finished composing this email," she says.

"So will you go out with me after you finish that email?"

"No."

In all honesty, she doesn't know why she keeps checking her reflection and making sure her makeup isn't smudged. She should be heartbroken over Ryousuke, her university boyfriend of four years. But she's not. She's more angry than sad about it.

Part of her knows it's probably because Sengoku is good-looking and charming and funny and good with people, and she's starting to tolerate his presence. Both of them find out things about each other. She tells him about the breakup.

" - And he actually does it on my birthday! I wasted four years committing into a relationship for nothing."

He nods. "What an asshole."

In return, he talks about the middle school tennis team and how he loved playing with all of them. She especially likes the story of when he incorporates boxing into tennis.

"Four minute rallies?" Asahi asks, curiosity piqued. "Interesting."

He slyly interjects, "I could teach you how to play tennis, if you want."

"No thank you," she replies primly, and gets back to work. It's like a trap - he convinces her there are altruistic motivations, and then he tries to ensnare her. She's not falling for it.

And then one night, she's had a few drinks after work when she's realized it's dark out and the train she's taking has lecherous men on it.

She sighs. She doesn't get paid enough to deal with this.

She's getting off the train, when some old geezer grabs her ass. She's about to give him a right hook, but unfortunately for her, someone else does it for her.

"OW! You punk, what are you - "

"Keep your hands off my woman!" Sengoku barks, and the guy shuffles off. Asahi scowls.

"I'm not your woman!"

He pouts. "What, no thank you?"

She blushes in response; she can't help it. "Thank you."

Why are you blushing, Asahi? she inwardly wails in her mind. This isn't right!

And then suddenly, he places his hands (they're so broad and masculine she blushes even more) on her shoulders.

"I'll ask you one more time," he says softly, and she notices that his eyes are so green. "Will you go out with me?"

It's a trap.

She swallows, wipes her palms on her skirt, but still he stares at her, and she really wishes he would stop doing that.

Damn those persistent boys, with their shit-eating grins and green eyes and handsome faces.

"I can't," Asahi says.

Sengoku frowns. "What do you have to lose? For all you know we could end up lucky."

"I - I can't," Asahi says again. "I'm sorry."

"Okay," he says, very softly. And he walks away, and for the first time she notices how his backside is strong and his shoulders are well-defined.

She's starting to think she made a mistake.

-x-

At work, he stops hanging out in her cubicle, stops making coffee for her, and stops interrupting her to ask her for a date. She tries to convince herself this is what she wants.

But it's not.

Her female co-workers have realized something's wrong.

"Lover's spat?" the secretary asks Asahi. Asahi ignores the jibe. She tries to go along with work, and remembers that there's a beer and a pint of strawberry ice cream in the fridge. It slightly cheers her up.

And then she gets up make copies for a brand new project design, and sees him on the computer. He doesn't even notice her walking, even though she's got on some of the noisiest high heels that she owns.

The click clack noise of her shoes gets louder, and she looks back to see if his head will pop up, but it doesn't.

Depressing.

When work finally is over, she calls out, "Bye, Sengoku."

He turns his head over to her, and he just nods. A second later, he exits the building.

That was it? She's disappointed.

She sighs, and goes home. The apartment is empty when she arrives, and Yuuka has written a note saying she might be out for the entire night, maybe at her boyfriend's, or maybe it's a one night stand. She doesn't know.

The beer doesn't taste as good as it did yesterday.

She flips through the TV, but all there seems to be on are sappy shows about couples. Disgusted, she tosses the remote away, and stares at the ceiling.

She wonders if she's the type of woman destined to be alone.

-x-

"You look tired," the secretary remarks as Asahi walks into the office, with baggy and bloodshot eyes.

She sits down at her cubicle, turning her computer on. And then she remembers she should probably make coffee.

In the lounge she pours herself a cup, when another person is coming in.

Of all the people who work here, it has to be Sengoku.

She tries to not care, as if they are simply co-workers and that is all. But this proves to be difficult. He meets her eyes and she meets his, and suddenly it's like they have nothing to say.

Quickly, she thinks of safe phrases. "Good morning," she says.

"Morning."

Well, that wasn't too difficult. Asahi was hopeful. Maybe this was just a phase - she'll get over him, just like she got over Ryousuke.

But as she heads for her cubicle, he calls her name. "Murasaki," he says, and for a second her heart flutters.

"What?"

Was he going to declare undying love? Or did she have lipstick stuck on her teeth? The possibilities were endless.

"... Never mind."

"Oh okay," she says, but that awful feeling of disappointment permeates her like a shroud of rain. They both go into their cubicles and keep on quietly working, like they have for the past few days.

-x-

Sunday is her day off. She hates it, because that means she has nothing to do except to be a lazy slob.

Yuuka suggests they go shopping, and Asahi agrees simply because she's got nothing better to do. Luckily for her, Tokyo has plenty of shopping districts, and the first one they go to is in the Ginza district.

"Cheer up, Asahi. Look, isn't this bag cute?"

Asahi looks at the bag, and then continues walking. Yuuka purses her lips.

"Oi, why are you being all mopey? Is this because of Ryousuke?"

Asahi sighs. "No." She wished it was, though, because then she'd have a legitimate reason to be sad.

"Is it about Sengoku?"

Cue angry glares. Bingo. Yuuka starts to get a shit-eating grin.

"So you've fallen for him."

"Shut up," Asahi says.

"But isn't that good? You can go out with him now!"

"He stopped asking me out." Asahi sighs again, and continued walking around the colorful stores. "I said no the last time he asked, and he got the message."

"Why don't you ask him out then?"

"What?"

-x-

And this was how she ended up on his aparment level, forcibly dragged by Yuuka. Here she was, dressed in a girly outfit and one hand handing a chocolate cake, to apologize for all the times she had rejected his offers of dates.

Asahi pressed the doorbell, hoping that Sengoku wouldn't be home.

But alas, the door opens. He's dressed in sweatpants and a white T-shirt that accentuates his biceps really nicely, and she tries not to stare.

Really, she doesn't.

"Murasaki-san," he says, and he's confused as to why she's here. "Um - you look... nice. What brings you here?"

Asahi hands him the cake, and then she takes out a piece of paper with notes that Yuuka wrote down for her. She's pretty sure this isn't going to work, but she does it anyway. She starts to recite her speech.

"Sengoku-san, I apologize for the seventy-two times that you have asked me out and I promptly refused you. Therefore, the cake is my apology. I also realize that no matter how I approach you, it won't take away the hurtful things I said to you."

She takes a deep breath. "But ever since I got to know you, I... I like you. And I know you might not like me anymore, but I just wanted you to know. You're really nice and handsome and funny, and I regret that I let my temper get in the way of me seeing that at first."

Sengoku just looks at her, and she's a little awestruck at the color of his eyes. For the thousandth time, she kicks herself mentally for saying no that night on the train.

"So - yeah. I'm sorry. Thank you for everything." She bows low, and then walks away, her heart already feeling lighter than it has been for days.

"Wait, Murasaki."

"Yeah?"

He walks toward her, the door still open to his apartment. Before she can point out that he should probably close it, he kisses her.

For the first three seconds, she's shocked, but then, his strong arms wrap around her waist, and then the hormones kick in, and soon she's kissing him back. It feels a lot like flying, kissing him.

When they finally seperate for air, her cheeks are bright pink and her heart is racing. She hasn't kissed anyone like that in a long time, not even her ex-boyfriend.

"I told you," he says. "I just thought to myself, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together."

Asahi laughs, and he secretly thinks it's the most beautiful sound in the world. "You remembered," she says, smiling. "The first time we met each other."

"How can anyone forget? Remember when you called me an asshole?"

She laughs again. "Well, you did shove me..."

-x-

No one is surprised when they walk into the office Monday morning hand in hand.

"Told you it was a lover's spat," someone says, but Asahi is too happy to care.

-x-


a/n: It's 5:43 am. This oneshot was written in one night. I still don't know how that even happened.

Again, I hope you enjoyed it, even if there were lots of weird verb tenses. It's unedited, because I sorta like it unpolished. It's a refreshing change from writing drafts over drafts for other stories that already have established plots.