AN: To all my readers, my deepest apologies that it took me such a long time to start updating my stories. I know many people have been asking for updates, but unfortunately, there really was no time, space, or energy that I could find to write it up till now. The last few months have been really, as Rick Ross would say: Every day, I'm hustling; every day, I'm hustling, e-e-everyday, I'm hustling…hustling, hustling, hustling.


Chapter 5: And So, They Come of Age.


It has been weeks now—weeks!—since Chizuru first realized this: she is in love with that baseball idiot. She is the first to admit that she has never been the sharpest knife in the kitchen. She is easily moved, emotional to the point of ridiculous, sometimes. But she has this to say for herself: she has always been straightforward.

If there is a problem, she'll deal with it. If something needs to be said, she'll say it. If she's confused, she'll ask. If she loves, she loves. It is simple.

When he first said he liked her and she had to think about it, she still came to him to resolve it. When she realized that she wanted him, she said it. This freaking challenge of getting Ryu to give up his virginity to her, it is Chizuru being straightforward. It is Chizuru being simpleminded. It is Chizuru's strength.

Her anger is propelling her feet onward, and hearing Ryu behind her –for that is surely his steps, his light running tread—makes her walk faster. She is walking fast enough that Ryu has to put some serious effort into catching up with her.

It is only when she gets to her front door that Ryu is finally able to pull on her arm.

She swings around, throwing a punch, straight, which Ryu deftly avoids.

"Okay! You've gotten your record, Chizu! I'm your 100th beaten guy, yes," he says, holding up his hands.

"You think this is funny?!" she fumes. "You think this is freaking hilarious?"

Ryu catches her in his arms, and Chizu struggles, attempting to get out of his embrace. But Ryu holds fast. Ryu holds her fast, holding her steadily, even against her fists, against her curses, and eventually, against her tears. Just as Chizu held him fast throughout the darkest time in his life, he holds her now.

All his mirth has been drained. Drained by Chizuru's soft sobbing against his chest, and her fists pounding against his back. "I'm sorry," he murmurs. "I'm sorry, Chizuru."

Chizu pushes against him, "So, why? Why avoid me? Why not talk to me, anymore? If you don't want me, say it! Don't leave me dangling in the air."

Ryu catches her again, because he can't stand it. He can't stand the sight of her tear-stained face, knowing that he is the reason why she is crying. He's watched her cry before when she had her heart broken, but it is unbelievable how much it hurts him, how his chest is so tight that he can't breathe, to see her cry because of him. He begins kissing her face, wanting to take back the hurt that he's unknowingly inflicted. And he whispers sorry to her again and again till Chizu stills against him.

When she has stopped trying to push him away, Ryu begins to speak, his lips against her wet cheeks, " I…it was the first time I was afraid, Chizu. You're right. I've had a long time to get used to the feeling of loving you. I've had a long time to get used to loving you, and watching you love Tori-nii. I've had a long time to get used to thinking you would never look at me the way you look at Tori-nii," he felt Chizu shifting, trying to get a look at his face, but he tightens his arms around her, preventing her from moving.

"So when you did," he continued softly, "I didn't count on being afraid. Now that something was at stake, I became afraid. I became afraid that you would wake up one day, and realize that you don't want me after all. That I was nothing but a substitute for Tori-nii. I became afraid that you would fall in love with me because Tori-nii wasn't there, anymore."

This time, Chizuru managed to wrench away. Now, there were no more tears. Chizuru was just spitting mad again. "You—you, you idiot You're afraid that I'll only fall in love with you because I can't have Toru, anymore? How dare you? I already love you!," she yelled. "Why would I want to give myself to you if that weren't the case? You're afraid you're a substitute? Well, get this," she poked a finger to his chest for her every next word, "Even. If. Toru. Begged. Me. Now…" she took a breath, "I would have said NO! Why?! Because I'm the bigger idiot who's in love with a baseball idiot! Did it only start after Tori-nii got married? Sure, sure it did. I had never seen you that way before. I was going to take care of you, stay by your side, I was going to be the sister who would take care of you because Obaa-chan and Toru was gone. But you brought out all these feelings. You brought it all out, then you run? What's the matter with you? If you're afraid of being the substitute, then make yourself the original. Act on your feelings. Act—"

Chizu never managed to finish her sentence, as Ryu claimed her mouth now, kissing her with all the passion he could pour into it.

And Chizu, she was caught off-balance enough, by all the desire flooding into her, that she lets Ryu kiss her. "Upstairs," she murmurs. "Nobody's home."

Ryu sweeps her off her feet, and brings her through her door, and up the stairs to her room. He leans back on the door to close it, as Chizu lazily trails a hand to push the lock to click.


Ryu lays her down on the bed and touches her. As if he was worshipping her.

Piece by piece, he pulled off her clothing, and touched her or used his mouth on her. The back of her knees, the inside of thigh, the flat of her stomach, her hands, her fingertips, her neck, the side of her torso. It got so, that Chizu was breathing hard, restlessly moving against him, but Ryu kept his hand flat on her stomach.

He whispers to her that he loves her, and Chizu stops her restless movement for a moment, caressing the side of his face. She leans up, sliding his shirt up and throwing it away, and she touches him, as well. But Ryu pulls her hand, firmly and steadily holding her hand. Chizu looks at their hands clasped, and remembers…


…Ryu holding her hand once like this. Chizu had been explaining to Ryu the absolute genius of buying two types of buns, one that was savory, and another that was sweet, and then halving both for everyone so that you could have both a meat bun and a red bean bun. It was like getting to eat two buns at once, when you only had money for one bun.

She was explaining the absolute genius of this to Ryu, and how it was Toru who had taught her this, when she saw Toru get off the train. She was about to hail him excitedly, when a girl followed him and Toru had split a bun, handed it to her and then, held her hand. It was like squashing Chizu. She lost all of her energy and her enthusiasm.

And Ryu, unable to say anything, not even knowing what to say to comfort her or even verbalize why she was upset, could only take her hand, and pull her along as he ran away from his brother.

She tried to say that what Toru was doing, that was what she meant with the bun, but Ryu only shushed her, and kept pulling her hand along. His firm grip, and steady hand, never once let go as Chizu cried.

They stayed out that night and were given a tongue-lashing when they returned. But even through the tongue-lashing, Ryu had held her hand…


…like the way that he is holding her hand now as he feels her and runs his index finger up and down her clitoris. Chizu shudders, her other hand clinging to Ryu's shoulder. They are kissing now, hungrily.

Ryu's finger inserts itself, sucked by Chizu's fluids, and he times it, the way he would swinging his bat at a pitch. The way he kisses her, and pleasures her, and the way his other hand molds her breast, run in rhythm.

Chizu soon comes, and Ryu leans over and opens her drawer, pulling out a condom (one of the many that Chizu had started to carry around with her when the challenge started), tearing the packaging. Before he pulls it out, Chizu takes it from his hands, and then starts to put it on him, her fingers delicately touching and smoothing him out.

Instead of lying back down, Chizu pushes Ryu down, and hovers over him; and she looks into his beautiful eyes. The world stops for a minute.

It eerily reminds her of when…


…Oba-chan had died. And everyone said it was a relief that Ryu had become himself again.

It had made Chizu crazy.

Anybody could see that Ryu was not himself again. He never cried. Never.

But he had also never smiled again after Oba-chan's death.

So, Chizu started bringing the onigiri. Day after day after day.

Then one day, as Chizu was leaving it again on their stoop, Ryu just suddenly slid the door open and he was looking into her eyes. The world stops for a minute…


Ryu pulls her down, and Chizu bleeds a little.

He holds her as she gasps.

It hurt.

Ryu kisses her, and it is his hands, trembling as they run and down her back that moves Chizu, and she starts to slide out and in.

Ryu moans, and he lifts her and lays her down again, following and bending over her.

He inserts himself once more, and he starts to move his hips slowly as Chizu's leg hooks around them, and they remain kissing as their tempo becomes faster, and faster.

When Ryu and Chi come together, they look into each other's eyes again.

And it is like looking into a person they had never known, and also had intimately known all their lives.

They fall asleep in Chizu's bed, exhausted.


End of Chapter 5: And So, They Come of Age