Disclaimer: I do not own Flame of Recca or any of the characters. I’m merely using them for my own pleasure. Please don’t sue me. Thanks.
A/N: Hello again to everyone.
I am so, so sorry about taking so long to post this. I had the longest
and more severe case of writer’s block. Plus, school and final exams were
such a big burden to me. Anyway, this is part 4. If you noticed, I changed
the teaser. I was never good at them...and this one only came up a few
minutes ago. The whole plot doesn’t revolve only on Tokiya helping Fuuko
get over her frustrations and nightmares...it’s also about someone *hints*
who eventually falls for another person’s charms.
BTW, it may look OOC to see Tokiya so nice and carefree...but time causes change. He’s a completely different person here. We all see the side some people wish for. The what-would-happen-if-Tokiya-was-born-a-nice-guy.
Chapter 4: Diversion
A pair of blue eyes tinged with the slightest tint of violet found themselves staring at a set of ice blue orbs. She raised her hand to rub them. A short yawn followed.
“What are you doing?” she stretched her arms, nearly hitting his jaw. “What time is it anyway?”
“It’s 10 am, princess. It’s about time you get up already.” Tokiya replied sarcastically, standing up from his position and drawing back the curtains. Immediately, the room was filled with rays of sunshine that illuminated the darker corners.
Another yawn ensued. “Only 10 am? You must be kidding.” She pulled the covers over her head and curled up to the opposite side.
He raised his eyebrow. “Only 10 am?” he repeated. “What the heck are you talking about?”
“Yeah, ONLY 10 am.” Came the muffled reply beneath the warm layers of cloth.
Shaking his head in disbelief, Tokiya strode over to his bed and with one smooth tug, had the covers off a lethargic Fuuko. “What time do you get up anyway?”
Seeing that she could not do anything about the situation, Fuuko released a small grumble and immediately pulled herself up in a sitting position, tucking her legs under each one. “On weekdays, I get up at 7, but on Saturdays and Sundays...12 is the usual habit.”
“Boy, you do get a lot of hibernating time.”
“Shut up, fridge boy.” She returned, sticking her tongue out at him. “What time do YOU wake up on weekends like this? I bet it would be something as earlier as 8, knowing you.”
“Actually Fuuko,” the corners of his mouth went up, forming a small, sassy smirk. “I wake up much earlier than that. 6 am is the average time for me.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh I forgot. Mikagami is the perfect man, with the perfect timing. I bet you love watching the sun rise too.”
“Indeed I do.” He nodded, his smile widening.
Fuuko was about to make another reply when she noticed the lean man crossing his arms and smiling at her strangely. Although his smile wasn’t weird---it was one that would make the average girl into happy heaven---she found it odd.
“You’re smiling. Why?” she asked him.
“Is there anything wrong with smiling, Fuuko?” He returned the question with another one.
“No...” she tore herself from staring into his features. “It’s just that...I’m not used to seeing you smile.”
He unfolded his arms and looked at her profusely. “Why do you say that?”
“Do I need to explain, Mikagami? I mean, don’t tell me that after years of knowing you, with your sardonic replies and cold exterior, that you would have no idea why I’d be slightly bewildered to see you smiling? I mean, how many times have you done this? Not quite often, really. Right now, I’d say that it’s almost ironic to even see you with such a light aura.”
“You’re right Fuuko. I haven’t done this often while I was with you guys.” He admitted, openly.
She swung her legs under her lap. “Yeah well, that was one thing all of us wanted to tell you. You were too cold for everyone. How would you feel, standing next to some gigantic, grouchy and miserable polar bear?”
He laughed. “Polar bear?”
“Yeah. What’s wrong with that?”
“Ice-man, Fridge boy, Mr. Freeze...” Tokiya started ticking off his fingers. “And now polar bear? Not up to your usual standards Fuuko.”
“That’s NOT my point!” She swatted him.
Tokiya let out a small chuckled, moving his head a few inches back to avoid Fuuko’s playful smack. “Okay, okay. I get your point.” And before she could argue some more, he continued. “Why don’t we discuss this during breakfast?”
She blinked. “Breakfast?”
“Right. I’m giving you 30 minutes to get dressed and then we’re going out.”
“We are? Why? You can’t cook?” She teased him at the last sentence.
He mockingly glared at her. “I CAN cook, but I’m not in the mood to do it right now. Besides...I’ve got the feeling that you’re a bit too tired of this place already.”
“Yeah, but still...I don’t want to be a bother to you or anything.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Excuse me? Are you trying to be polite or something? I’m already offering you a free meal, and still you refuse?”
“Tokiya, it’s not that...what about my clothes? They’re way back in my house.” She reasoned.
“Problem solved.” He pointed to a small duffel bag, sitting by the corner of the room. “I picked them up. Yanagi selected them, so you have no worries on me going through your private stuff.”
“I see you’ve already taken the liberty of moving my things to your dwellings now.”
“No. Inside that bag is a pair of pants and a shirt. I don’t know what else Yanagi placed in there. I’m still thinking about putting you up here. So don’t get your hopes up yet.”
She clasped her hands in
fake delight. “Oh that is SO wonderful! What made you change your mind?”
“This tiny deliberation of ours has my wits on its end.”
“Brilliant.” Fuuko gleefully giggled. “Sure. I’ll get ready.” She hopped off from the soft mattress and pushed him towards the door. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
“Right.” He muttered, hoping that she wouldn’t take as long as those women he’d seen at school, hogging the showers. He had heard enough complaints from his classmates on women taking over the showers for over an hour or so after a simply 30 minute gym class.
Fuuko entered the warm tub and carefully lowered herself in. A soft sigh escaped her mouth as her muscles began to relax. The heat helped her to loosen up and she sank comfortably within the waters surrounding her.
She started to play with the tiny ripples a few inches above her lap. The drops of water reminded her of Tokiya wielding his madougu during the tournament days. Her eyes closed and she distinctly remembered everyone fighting to save Yanagi and their own weapons.
Domon’s victories against Aki and that masked corpse from the Uruha, her kick-butt battle against that pervert Fujimaru and that honorable defeat of Gashakura...Kogenei’s smart moves that sliced everything to pieces. And of course, Recca’s win against the master of the whole Uruha, Kurei. They all went home triumphant and proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
She smiled. At least those days were over.
On the other hand, their
aloof team mate Tokiya, didn’t get what he want. They all knew about his
never-ending revenge for his dead sister Mifuyu. He was forever touchy
about the subject...and Fuuko could only imagine how the ensui wielder
felt when his battle with Kai revealed the true murderer. That only happened
to be Meguri Kyoza. The man who took Tokiya right after the death of his
sister to train him with the secrets of the dark water.
Fuuko couldn’t help but feel sorry for the bitter man back then. All the anguish and pain reflected in his eyes, whenever he would face them.
Now she wondered if Tokiya was truly finished dealing with the ghosts of his past. He seemed so peaceful and calm now. What did the guy do to overcome everything? Was it that super long vacation of his in the other side of the country? Was it a classmate, a teacher or perhaps, Fuuko bit her lip. A new girl?
Impossible. He didn’t care for the opposite sex no more than he would for a pair of boots. They were nothing to him.
::Why do I care anyway?::
She shrugged. She had no relationship with Mikagami whatsoever. Last night was simply an act of brotherly comfort, at least for her. Furthermore, Raiha was the person she missed the most. No one in this world mattered more to her than him. He was her universe until he left her. She felt her eyes mist and she instantly submerged her face underwater.
::I’m not going to cry anymore.
I’m going to stop this nonsense right now. I’m going to do it for you.::
She vowed to herself to get over it. She was tough and she could do this.
“Now, I have something to ask you.” Tokiya sipped his juice, amidst small laughs. “I’m sorry that we have to jump from Domon’s latest fashion ensemble...but there’s something that’s been bugging my head.”
They had already discussed
small subjects of varying aspects. They had started from Rome to food,
the line of clothing women would wear, what Fuuko would detest and what
disgusted Tokiya. Now, he decided to ask
something that had mystified him a little since the start of the morning.
“Shoot.” She speared another slice of pancake on her fork and popped it in her mouth. She placed her arms on the table and looked at him expectantly.
He set his glass down and did the same with his arms. “Why the sudden change?”
She was about to put another forkful into her mouth when she heard him ask. She stared at him for a moment and put her fork down on her plate. “What do you mean?”
“When I went into your room this morning, I was expecting to see you in your depressed state again. I thought that it would actually take me a few more debates to get you to have breakfast with me. But then, I see you wide awake and with enough guts to actually challenge me with your sharp tongue...it sent me wondering on what happened to you.”
She was quiet for a few moments, and he was near to guessing that she was only masking everything. If that was the case, then he was right. She was just pretending to be happy. Tokiya after all, considered this, thinking that she might just be doing it to push his attempts away. Still, he needed to hear it from her.
“You know, I should be asking you the same question.” She responded softly.
“Hmm?” He cut his musings short.
“Well...” she hesitated for a minute, looked down at her plate and then stared at him intently. “I um, was thinking about what happened last night.”
“You mean, your dream?”
She nodded. “I gave a lot of thought to what Raiha said to me. I’m taking it not as a dream...but probably as his real message. And I’m also...well, considering that maybe I DO need help from people. I dunno. Maybe I should just give it a try. After all...it wouldn’t hurt, would it?” she looked at him hopefully.
“No. It wouldn’t.” he nodded slowly.
“Also, um...” she fiddled with the napkin of her lap. “I want to thank you for your help last night. I hate to admit it...but without your help, I would still be the same old depressed me today. For some reason, Raiha woke me up with his words. And you...you were there for me. I don’t know how to thank you.”
He held her hand for a split second. “Don’t mention it. I saw that you needed help...so I came to your aid. You looked like you needed it badly.”
“No really,” she persisted. “I don’t think I deserved it. After I was so bitchy to you and everything...”
“It’s alright Fuuko. Stop blaming yourself too much. Remember, I was worse.” He reminded her of the days when he was the coldest man on the planet and would not let any warmth enter his heart.
“Yeah...well, you could say that. Still, I’m really sorry Tokiya. I was such a bitch to you, Yanagi, Recca and everyone I knew. It was totally unfair to everyone of you.” She said, shaking her head sadly. “I don’t know how you’ll ever forgive me.”
“It’s alright Fuuko. It’s not your fault that he died. Everyone has to undergo pain some time or another. I understand how you feel. Believe me.”
She laughed nervously. “I guess it’s my turn to be grouchy now, isn’t it?”
“Probably. Ice Queen.”
“What?” she broke off from the somber discussion and looked at him surprised.
He shrugged. “It’s better than polar bear, mind you.”
“You are such a smart ass!” she rolled her eyes. “...are we friends now?” she timidly held her hand up. “I promise not to snap at you anymore and I’ll agree to be your patient from now on, Dr. Mikagami.”
He smiled inwardly and shook her hand.
Progress. It was working. Albeit slow, but enough for him. It would be easier than he thought. Still, he knew that change doesn’t take that fast. He wouldn’t be hasty. Instead, he had to wait for her to open up and slowly get over everything. Things took time. Unfortunately, he was one of the few around Fuuko who knew that. He didn’t expect Yanagi or Recca to understand. They were too happy. They never experienced anything such as this. Kogenei was a kid. Not much there either. As for Domon...well, Tokiya had already erased the option before any other mental image of Domon pleading Fuuko to marry him would enter his mind.
So it was all up to him now?
Not that he was complaining about the heavy load...but like Fuuko said a couple of hours earlier, getting used to a new personality was not simple.
“Tokiya? Tokiya? Earth to Mikagami.” Fuuko waved her fork in front of him.
“Huh? Yeah, what?” he shook his head slightly and blinked, quickly erasing his dazed look.
“Gee, you nearly scared me.” Fuuko put the silver utensil down on her empty plate. “You went off to dreamland while I gobbled up the rest of my food.”
He looked at his own plate. There were still remnants of the blueberry waffles he ordered.
“If you’re not hungry anymore, I can finish them for you.” Fuuko joked, her arm reaching over for his plate. “I’d be more than happy to.”
He smacked her fork away with his knife. “No thank you. I can finish them myself.”
Fuuko grinned. “Can I then take the permission to order some more food? I’m still hungry.”
He glimpsed at her while chewing the fodder. “You eat a lot for someone of that build.” He remarked after a few seconds. “Go ahead. It’s on me, remember?”
Tokiya continued finishing the remainder of his breakfast as he watched Fuuko call for a waiter and order another serving chocolate chip pancakes. He was no doubt, amused at her bubbly trait. A complete irony compared to the Fuuko he met a day ago. It amazed him to no end, seeing how fast she could switch moods. The only puzzle to him now was if she really and truly meant what she was acting right now. She could fool any guy with those capturing eyes and the innocent façade.
However, Tokiya was not an ordinary guy. He just wanted to make sure. He knew that under that effervescent facet, hid a shattered spirit and lonely emotions. For some reason, he just knew. But she was a great actress. Did she act this way before she decided to let him help her?
Maybe. The incident at the park was probably an outburst of emotion. He was sure that she hid everything from the world. The reason? He couldn’t determine. There were many to choose from. Pride, grief, her personal motives...he had no clue.
He also did not understand why he was staring at her.
“Tokiya, if you don’t quit
that, you might be the one to end up in a mental hospital.” Her voice shook
his focused vision on her locks of deep violet. “You look like one of those
ordinary guys in school who come to ogle at me...”
“Wh..what?” he asked indignantly. “For your information, I have no intention of becoming one of _them_” he reassured her while scolding himself on the inside.
Staring won’t help any of you, he chided himself.
“Well, while you were dreaming again, I managed to finish everything. Tell me, Tokiya...you’re thinking of someone, aren’t you?”
“Thinking of someone, yes. Who, I wouldn’t say.” He answered, slyly covering the fact that he WAS indeed staring at her for the past 5 minutes.
Fuuko smirked. “Oh really now...tell me, is it someone you like?”
“Come on Mikagami...” she prodded.
“I told you, it’s no one, so stop asking me.”
Fuuko grinned. “It wasn’t such a big deal, then why are you blushing?”
“I’m not blushing.” He stated plainly, trying to cover his flustered state.
“Yes you are! I can see hints of red around your face. Ohmigod, I never thought I’d see the day when the abominable snowman would turn red.”
He nearly choked on those waffles he was trying to digest in the midst of her repartee. “Snowman? You are really losing it Fuuko. I can think of better names.”
“Whatever. You’re trying to change the subject!”
“I’m not. I’m stating the truth.”
“Ohoho, excuse me...Mikagami,” she raised her finger at him. “I’m not the one denying the facts here. Who’s the one trying to escape the common knowledge that he was blushing because I accused him of thinking of some, ahem, girl?”
“I’m telling you,” he swallowed the last piece of waffle, “there is no one. Get off my case!”
There really wasn’t anyone.
He couldn’t understand what she was talking about. Women, he muttered to
They make all sorts of gossip. Fuuko, for example, was no exception. For the last time, there wasn’t anyone!
Why the heck was he getting all disturbed by her teasing? The sea monkey and gorilla had both troubled him before with the same subject and he was able to dismiss them with a few glares and short words. Fuuko shouldn’t be a problem. Yet obviously, she was. Fuuko was such a conundrum. First, she was moody, sharp and silent...next thing he knew, she was back to her old self to the point of actually mocking him. It was apparent that she was making an effort to surmount this impediment.
So why am I still thinking
about you like this? He asked himself. Almost immediately, the answer was
provided for him. The fact that maybe it was because he was thinking about
her dawned upon Tokiya.
He was at the most, guilty for letting himself fall into her spell.
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