Disclaimer: I own nothing related to HYD...all characters belong to their proper owner...I am simply playing with them for non-profit purposes.
Her eyes watched his every move over the rim of her water goblet. Slowly, sipping, half of the time just letting the water sit against her closed lips as if no one would know it was all an act, as if no one would know it was nothing more than a guise to watch him with.
He leaned closer to the young woman at the bar, whispering into her ear as his fingers danced up her arm inciting giggles of anticipation from the girl. Yuki pulled the goblet from her lips, gently sitting it back on the table without a sound. Her eyes shifted across the table as the loud thump of a glass hitting the table was followed by an unlady like coughing and cry of outrage from Makino. Domyouji hadn't been home 24 hours and they were already bickering, Makino simply beside herself in frustration.
She couldn't help the small smile that graced her lips as Rui's soft mumbled words seemed to diffuse the situation. You could see it in his eyes as he looked away from the happily engaged couple and lifted his own goblet of water to his lips—he still loved her, on some level. Makino was still tattooed on his heart and Yuki wondered if she often carried that look…scarred and worn.
She picked her goblet back up, holding it to her lips, her eyes instinctively shifting over the room, settling on the playboy that held her heart in his hands. She knew where he stood. He was very clear.
It would never be her.
And she was fine with that. She didn't want to be one of the many he carried on his arm like decoration…as if they were nothing more than an accessory to whatever designer clothes he currently wore. No. She wanted to be different. She wanted to be the one that when he looked up one day, he saw nothing but his future. She wanted to be his everything…his forever.
"How are your tea ceremony classes going, Yuki-chan?" Akira's voice cut through her thoughts.
Her eyes shifted immediately, meeting Akira's gaze with a smile as she lowered her goblet gently once more.
"They are going wonderfully! Sensei Tanaka says I am her best student!"
Akira smiled at the light in her eyes. It was better than seeing the dark shadows of the scars Soujiroh had been inflicting on her since they met.
"Really?" He exclaimed only slightly shocked at that revelation. "I'm sure Soujiroh would be happy to hear that."
Akira watched the light in her eyes dim slightly as she turned toward the smooth voice of the man that broke her heart daily. She glanced up, a slight blush creeping across her cheeks.
"Yuki-chan is top in her Tea Ceremony class," Akira said with a smile as Soujiroh took his seat next to the hopeful girl.
Her eyes shifted down into her lap in embarrassment. Her eyes scanning the room beneath the veil of her eyelashes, her eyes settling for a moment on the girl he left at the bar. And it dawned on her as she watched the girl watching Soujiroh from across the room. Her head shot up and she turned to look at Soujiroh.
"Nishikado-san! Are you not going to invite your friend to dinner with us?"
All conversation at the table stopped. The oddly soft bickering of the only couple there stopped, Makino looking at her friend as if to ask what she was up to. Domyouji looked like he was getting ready to see a fight that he, thankfully, was not a part of. Akira looked as if he wanted to say something, shifting uncomfortably in his seat, preparing to intervene if need be and Rui did nothing more than glance momentarily between the two, having little interest in their lives it would seem.
She ignored the silence and the fact that all eyes were on her, as she slowly took a sip of water, placing the goblet back on the table without a sound. Yuki's eyes only shifted momentarily toward Soujiroh, just long enough to take in a sweeping glance of the silenced table before raising her hand to get their waiter's attention. She pointed at the table and raised one finger to indicate they needed another place setting.
"Yuki-chan!" Soujiroh said almost in shock. It had been a while since he'd seen this side of Yuki and it always seemed to take him by surprise when she reared her head.
Yuki stood up with an irritated sigh as she looked down at Soujiroh sitting there.
"Nishikado-san, you may have more...worldly experience in comparison to me, but you still truly know very little about women." As Yuki walked away the waiter arrived with a chair and place setting that he quickly placed between Akira and Rui.
The waiter held the chair out for Yuki. All eyes remained on her as she took another sip from her goblet. She sat the glass down and glanced over at Soujiroh.
"Well? Are you going to ask your friend to join us or do I need to do it?"
"Yuki-chan!" Soujiroh was on the verge of anger, but the shock of her behavior was overwhelming. Makino's wide eyes looked at the two men her friend sat between. Rui hid his small soft smile behind his tea cup, but Akira hid nothing, giant smile beaming.
"It seems our little Yuki-chan is growing up."
"No," Yuki said. "Simply tired of little boys believing their inappropriate behavior makes them men."
Soujiroh didn't move though. He was calling her bluff. Rui's eyes darted between the two, wondering who would move first. Then his eyes settled on Yuki for a brief moment, taking in the fear that was etched in every fiber of her being. Her anxiety jumping off her, evident by the way she nervously played with the necklace around her neck. He looked over at Akira. He could see it too. Akira's eyes shifted to the necklace she wore though. The flashes of silver and amber eye-catching and the etchings on the stone were indicative of something old. Akira would have to ask her about it later or at least try to get a better look.
Soujiroh cleared his throat and stood up walking toward the woman at the bar, pausing just behind Yuki's chair. His fingers turned white as his hand gripped the back of her chair. His other hand, deceiving the truth of his feelings, gently caressed her hair off her shoulder, fingertips tickling her neck. She closed her eyes as her hand dropped from the delicate pendent of her necklace.
"Don't forget you are the one that asked for this," he whispered into her ear.
As Soujiroh walked away, Yuki slowly opened her eyes and smiled. She would not allow him to hurt her. No more. She glanced across at the bar; Soujiroh had his charm with women. That was a given. The girl smiled, nodding her acceptance. She looked as if she had just won the lottery. Yuki's eyes shifted though. A set of eyes at the bar watching her. When her eyes landed on him, he smiled slightly and Yuki looked away nervously, reaching for the necklace again.
Their group welcomed the girl with a smile, except Domyouji. When Makino said something to him, he did not hold back his thoughts on the subject, his lack of tack shining as usual.
"What? Yuki-chan should be eating with him, not this..."
"Domyouji!" Makino slapped her hand over his mouth.
Yuki paid them no attention though, staring down into her lap wondering what she was doing. The girl across from her was like all the other—gorgeous, thin, perfect. And she realized in that moment how insecure she had become since meeting Soujiroh. How did she become this? How had he taken her, someone who wasn't overly secure, but still secure enough and turned her into this? Turned her into this little girl sitting across from him, wishing she could be perfect so he would want her. When did she start feeling so un-pretty?
She ate in silence though, smiling at all the appropriate places, ignoring the cool feeling inside. Everyone at the table seemed so accommodating for their new guest, Rei, Soujiroh especially. A moment didn't pass when he wasn't caressing some part of her, whispering into her ear and giving her that million yen smile that held a promise. As the waiter cleared their plates away and promised to return for their dessert order, Yuki glanced across the room again, smiling shyly as the young man held up his glass to her and winked before taking a drink.
Soujiroh noticed her attentions were elsewhere and followed her line of sight. His brow furrowed as he watched the man wink at Yuki. The young man's hair was not long, but rather short and dark…too short for Soujiroh's liking and his whole demeanor was something that made Soujiroh wary of his intentions with flirting with Yuki. His build was a more muscular than Soujiroh and as he eyed this young man became very aware that the boy was not Japanese. Obviously a foreigner.
"Yuki-chan," Soujiroh said. "I promise you that guy has commitment issues. You don't want to go through that again. I might not be there this time."
Rui and Akira both looked up, Makino and Domyouji's bickering forgotten. Akira looked at Soujiroh.
"What are you doing?" Akira asked with a slight accusatory tone.
Rui said nothing though, only turning his attentions to the bar and the young man flirting with the girl next to him, his brow furrowing in disapproval of the man. The waiter arrived then, taking dessert orders. Everyone placed their orders and when it came to Yuki's turn she smiled sweetly placed her order and stood up as she spoke.
"And I'd like to take my dessert at the bar."
Domyouji's and Makino's bickering stopped instantly and looked at Yuki, eyes shifting to watch Soujiroh's anger rising. Akira almost choked on his coffee and Rui's eyes shot over to Yuki from behind his tea-cup. She grabbed her wine glass, still full and reached across the table, snatching Soujiroh's untouched wine.
"You don't need this do you?" She asked, her look making it clear that it really didn't matter if he did. "From what I've been told drinking too much can leave a man with...unsavory results anyway."
"Yuki-chan!" Makino was shocked at her friend's boldness. Domyouji didn't hide his laughter.
Rui and Akira both just watched her, slowly lowering their cups as if they just watched her kick Soujiroh in a most sensitive area.
There was no hesitation. Yuki turned wine glasses in hand and promptly walked across the room, smiling shyly as she offered the wine to the young man. The young man smiled, eyes dancing across her blushing cheeks as he took the wine glass from her and asked her to sit next to him. His eyes lingered on her lips as she nibbled them nervously not sure what to say. How did Soujiroh do this kind of thing all the time?
She wasn't sure what to say or how to even start a conversation with him. She stared down in her lap, trying to will herself enough courage to speak. The boy bent down slightly trying to look at her face with a small smile on his lips.
"It's Yuki-chan, right?"
Her head shot up as she nodded.
"We have English together?"
"Yes!" She closed her eyes and looked away. Was that all she could do? Repeat yes over and over like a broken record? He smiled at her though and took a sip of his wine and made a slight face that he hid from her. He was less a wine drinker and given a choice would prefer a beer or perhaps some Jack and Coke on the rocks.
"I'm Tucker James," he said as the waiter placed her dessert in front of her. "And I promise I don't bite…at least not on the first date."
Her eyes shot up in shock at his statement and noticing him watching her from the corner of his eyes with an amused smile on his face, realized how silly she was being, how playful he was being simply teasing her and found herself laughing.
"Gomen," she said. "Out of all my friends," she said motioning the table. "I am not the one to approach someone at a bar."
He smiled as she took a bite. He picked up the napkin that sat between them and dabbed the corner of her mouth where whip cream remained.
"It's okay," he said. "I find you stepping outside your little safe zone very endearing."
Makino smiled as they all ate their dessert, watching the three single men at their table checking on Yuki continually. They each had their ways, but Makino knew them all well enough now to know what they were doing. Akira's eyes would shift while talking to either her or Domyouji, just a slight shift, over their shoulder. Someone who didn't know or pay close enough attention would assume he was looking at either one of them, but no...His eyes were on Yuki. Rui showed no outside sign of irritation and no real concern, until he would sip his tea. It was automatic, his eyes shifting over the rim of his cup for a quick glance at her friend.
Soujiroh was a different story. He didn't really hide it. He openly looked over at the bar, eyes narrowed at the young man; sighing in irritation as no one else seemed concerned enough to bring Yuki back to their table. Makino wondered if Akira possibly had feelings for her friend, but shrugged that thought off. After all, Akira preferred the taken women. He wouldn't have any interest in Yuki unless she had a boyfriend...or was married and older. He did prefer the married ones above all else.
And then there was Rui. It was very possible he could have feelings for her. He hadn't had anything more than platonic feelings for Makino for a long time now. But as she watched his passing glance of her friend she realized it was more curiosity and less interest in her.
The whole table seemed to shift in curiosity as Yuki said goodbye to the young man and settled back at their table. She smiled at everyone, shrugging off their curious glances.
"Tucker is one of my classmates," Yuki said as she took her seat.
"He's American?" Soujiroh asked as he glared back over at the boy.
"An exchange student," she explained. "He's still trying to fit in."
"Seems he's fitting in just fine without your help."
Akira handed the waiter their bill and payment as he spoke.
"Yuki-chan, would you like me and Rui to take you home? It's on our way."
Yuki smiled and bowed her head slightly.
"Yes, thank you. That is very kind of you."
Eyes watched them as they walked through the restaurant. Yuki was not stupid, however. She knew all eyes were on the men in her company. Wherever they went the women watched the boys as if they wanted nothing more than to be with them and the men watched them as if they would love to be them. She glanced over her shoulder with a quick glance at Soujiroh before settling on Tucker at the bar. Soujiroh's eyes were narrowed on her though, shifting with her look to glare at this Tucker that sat at the bar smiling and nodding a good night to Yuki. That was how he realized Yuki was not looking at him, but past him. He watched the tickling of a blush dance across her cheeks as she turned back around, smiling in acknowledgment at something Akira had whispered to her.
They weren't out the door when Tucker, walking nonchalantly out the door, stopped to speak with Yuki first. He looked a little nervous at first, as both Akira and Rui looked down at the American boy with a mixture of curiosity and slight protectiveness where Yuki was concerned. Tucker's eyes shifted from Akira and Rui and straight to Yuki, everything about him relaxing as he smiled and handed her a slip of a napkin.
"Wanted to make sure you had that." He said as she glanced down and noticed the neat flourish of his name followed by a phone number. "Just in case you want a study partner for our English class." Yuki took the napkin almost too embarrassed to look at him and nodded her thanks. She held the napkin tightly as if afraid to lose it and not sure what she should do now. Akira, smiled standing over her shoulder.
"It's Tucker?" He asked. Tucker nodded and held out his hand. "Just hand me your phone," Akira said. Curiously Tucker handed his phone over and watched Akira add Yuki and her number to his contact list. Akira handed the phone back and smiled. "Don't make our Yuki-chan wait too long." Tucker smiled, nodding his thanks to Akira before excusing himself and heading for the door, pausing to look back at Yuki, ignoring the men around her, ignoring the power these men carried. "And just in case you were curious…I won't bite on the second date either." The sound of her soft laughter brought a smile to his lips as he turned and walked out the door, casting one last glance over his shoulder at her.
Makino maneuvered her way next to Yuki on their way out the door, giggling and asking her a ton of questions about the "handsome American boy" all at once. Soujroh walked his date to a car he had waiting and held her against the door as he took his time kissing her her, caressing her exposed flesh and whispering into her ear. Akira and Rui both watched as Yuki's eyes wandered to the playboy as she spoke with Makino and promised to call her later with any details.
"Let's go woman!"
Makino's happy face turned to a frown as she turned to Domyouji.
"Don't you tell me what to do!"
Yuki couldn't help the small smile as her best friend walked up to her fiancé and began bickering more even as she followed him to the car. Yuki turned, fighting to avoid the view of Soujiroh with the girl and walked toward Akira and Rui, both leaning against the car waiting on her. She was only about a foot from the two men when her phone went off. She had a text…from Tucker. With a shy smile, nibbling on her bottom lip she opened the message.
She was still smiling and staring at the words when Soujroh spoke.
"Yuki-chan, I won't always be there to save you. Don't trust this foreign kid."
Yuki turned, eyes shifting to see his car driving his sudden date home.
"Maybe I don't want to be saved."
She turned and slid into the car, turning her attentions out the window on the other side.
Soujiroh moved to step forward, but Akira stopped him, Rui pausing before getting in the car too.
"Stop worrying, Soujiroh. We are taking her home." Akira reminded his friend. "And you are right…you won't always be there to save her, but Soujroh…you can't keep her for yourself and yet have nothing to do with her."
Akira left his friend on the sidewalk, sliding into the car and knocking on the partition to alert his driver that they were ready. The ride was silent. Yuki didn't look at them, didn't move until Soujiroh was out of sight. Then she turned, eyes falling on the two young men across from her, moonlight lighting her face, her silent tears sparkling in the light. Akira moved to sit next to her, wrapping his arms around her, letting her bury her face into his chest and cry the night out…cry the hurt and pain of the night away.
Rui sighed, looking out the window at the moon.
Note: Don't forget...reviews are crack for writers!