The others had warned him that Tomoko's house was unnervingly normal, that her mother was perfectly average and absolutely nothing could explain why Tomoko was…Tomoko. Still, Ryusei wasn't prepared for the sight of the clean, bright home in front of him.
This can't be it, he thought as he looked at the house. Even with what he'd heard, he expected something to be off. Dark curtains, maybe? Spiders? An unusual pet?
"You must be Sakuta-kun," her mother said warmly when she greeted him. "Come inside. She's just putting on her makeup."
She too was normal. Ryusei had half-expected her to be unbearably straight-laced, something to explain why Tomoko was so withdrawn and dark.
Maybe not everybody needs to have a dark past to explain why they are who they are, he reasoned. Maybe it was just that he was used to it. He wouldn't have become Meteor if Prof. Emoto hadn't been trying to outwit Gamou and gave the equipment to a teenager whose best friend had ended up in a coma thanks to a Switch. Kengo had gotten as far as he had because of the death of Prof. Utahoshi, then went beyond that when he discovered he was the Core Child. Even the revelation that Gentaro had lost his parents when he was a child seemed to explain why he was so determined to make friends. But maybe it was more about what was within them than it was about what was behind them.
Tomoko's mother knocked on her door. "Sakuta-kun is here."
"Just one minute," answered her soft voice. "I'm almost done."
It occurred to Ryusei for a moment that he'd never seen her without her makeup on. It also occurred to him that he didn't really wonder what she looked like without it.
The door opened and Tomoko peered out. She took one look at Ryusei and pulled him into her room before closing her door.
"Tomoko-chan?" he gasped out in surprise. It was only the conditioning from maintaining his false persona during those early days as Meteor that kept him from completely losing his cool. Flustered thoughts were flying in his brain at the speed of light: What was she doing? Why did she close the door? What was her mom going to think? What was going to happen?
"I was afraid of this," she said, giving him a critical look. "You're underdressed."
Even his experiences as Meteor couldn't keep Ryusei from gaping at her before looking down at his clothes, his mouth hanging open. They were going to a movie—jeans and a T-shirt should have been fine, even against Tomoko's preferred Gothic Lolita style. He'd at least tried to wear something black.
Now, Tomoko was circling him, murmuring, "Not much else can be done here. At least it's the right color. Maybe something else..." The next thing Ryusei knew, she pushed him down into a chair and went to her vanity.
It gave him the chance to notice the decorations around her room—plenty of bugs in various stages of metamorphosis, disturbing drawings, and some photos of the Kamen Rider Club. The couples ticket to space that Yuuki had given them was pinned to a board right next to a photo of Meteor. Now, he really wondered what she was going to do.
She turned around and lifted his chin. "Hold still."
"Tomoko-chan, what…" he started, but she was holding a mascara brush and going uncomfortably close to his eye. Out of instinct, he squeezed his eyes shut.
"Don't do that," she warned. "I can't get this on you if your eyes are closed like that."
It was an unspoken plea for him to trust her, and after all they'd been through, there was no way he didn't. Ryusei opened his eyes, doing his best not to flinch as she brushed the mascara on his eyelashes.
"I won't use eyeliner, since you keep flinching," she promised once she'd finished. He wasn't quite sure what to say. He'd tried his best. "But next is eyeshadow."
That he had to close his eyes for, and it was a little more comfortable. Tomoko was gentle as she applied it around his eyes, and while his eyes were closed, she put jewelry on him—studded bracelets on his wrists and a matching choker around his neck.
"Open your eyes," she said, holding up a mirror to him.
Ryusei could hardly believe the transformation—just a little bit of makeup made him look like a completely different person. Tomoko was watching his reaction carefully, holding her breath.
"You don't like it?" she asked.
Ryusei scrambled for something to say, but his mind was a blank. Disappointment showed on Tomoko's face, and she reached for a bottle of makeup remover, but he took her hand.
"Don't," he said. "It's a surprise. But not a bad one."
There was a shy smile on her face as she set down the bottle. "One last thing, then."
"What is it?" he asked, trying not to sound like he dreaded it.
Tomoko held up a tube of black lipstick. With the same gentle, deliberate movements, she applied it to his lips, then showed him to press his lips together for a moment to even it out.
"All done," she said, putting the lipstick away.
Ryusei gave her a smile, but then he noticed her makeup. "Aren't you going to put on lipstick?"
It was then that Tomoko moved closer and kissed him. With their lips pressed together, Ryusei couldn't help but think, I think I like putting it on this way better too.
Kamen Rider Fourze is the property of Toei and Ishimori Productions. I have to admit, I wrote this fic just for that last bit at the end. I purposely wrote this to subvert the usual "makeover" movie tropes, where the girl gets a change in appearance and suddenly the guy finds her beautiful and wants to be with her. Here, we get the boy getting a makeover but they still like each other just the way they are.