Bridging the Gap

by beaple leone michaelmas

Epilogue: The Other Side of the Bridge

Penultimate A/N:

[28 November 2010] For the support, the insight, and the unconventional friendship, I would like to thank everyone whose reviews have contributed to the completion of this fic:

aika ~ thank you for the praise; i hope you're still out there, reading this

animearchitect ~ i doubt this clears up things, but I hope it suffices ::)

ariadne-chan ~ i love you! haha! your writing, i mean ::D

ariesgerl ~ i'm so sorry! i still don't know what (Y)! means!

catstop ~ i can't believe i'm actually proud that this story's done ;;X

chamae ~ in the end, i went for ryou playing second fiddle; hihara's too cute for the plot

chibi ~ thanks so much for liking this; it must be difficult without an account?

ct ~ to be honest, my grammar proficiency seems my only advantage ;;D

daintyran ~ i'm glad you like the twists! although personally, i think i went overboard ;;D

edogawa ai-chan ~ yes, i'm coxai; though i'm seriously beginning to sway in favor of ran…

fanfatic08 ~ waaah, thanks so much for still reading this! ahlabshu!

fiasco-freak ~ thanks! glad you like it!

francine-anne ~ it's done! yeay! thank you for liking my writing!

frozenroselady ~ can you believe erisu actually got recognized for being twisted?

fspsarcastic ~ i think this got too confusing after a while; still, thanks for appreciating it!

girl wonder 2005 ~ i hope i've advanced somehow, haha; thanks for the comments!

gizelle-chan ~ thanks for being such an astute reader; you've saved me loads of times!

hihara abby-chan ~ thanks for the tireless support; go go go, PILIPINAS!

ichigo kyara ~ thanks for the suggestions! i used one!

jasmyr ~ thanks again about the Sawajiri Erika thing! ::D

jiyu22 ~ about the happy ending of this story… hmmmm, i wonder

kayrabelle ~ i hope all your questions were answered, hehe ::D

kriz-chan ~ doesn't erisu JUST drive everyone NUTS? i really like her though!

kurankira ~ thank you for reading this despite the monstrous length! POWER HUG!

lemon-limen ~ thanks so much for reading! HUG!

pathetic painbow ~ the OCs say hello; they love you, too! [BTG is ultimate drama overload.]

phanphymanaphy ~ BTG's neatness: result of hour or two of writing + a week of editing, haha ::D

popular wannabe ~ thank you for liking the descriptions; i tend to agonize over them ;;X

prayersenshi ~ your comments keep me happy! you're so cute!

puresepe ~ even if you say BTG's not cheesy… i still think it's on total cheese overload…

purpleskye ~ i appreciate the long review! thank you!

rin_4869 ~ i'm sorry for not replying to your comment ::( thanks for caring about my friend!

season's call ~ i'm glad you like the OCs! they're my fave part of this fic, too!

serendipityxoxo ~ thanks for liking the story and my writing ::D

shiro ~ you have the same name as sato and oribe's band!

silentglimmer ~ WAHAHAHA! you all hate erisu! ::D

skepsis66 ~ yes, there are tons of complications ::D i can't seem to keep myself grounded ::(

stellar24 ~ thanks for finding the story interesting ::D

tatam ~ the fic's done! yehey! ::D

veronique ruthven ~ nice vampire name ::) since you're erisuxyunoki, please enjoy the epilogue

who are we? ~ seriously, your name scares me 0.0

updateamigo ~ ahahaha! I like your pseudonym!

XD ~ i'm not really sure if erisu's hidden side is dark or light, hehe

Many thanks to anime architect, chibi, fanfatic08, gizelle-chan, hihara abby-chan, jasmyr, jiyu22, kurankira, lemon-limen, pathetic rainbow, prayersenshi,; pichieriuzen, who served as my chief soundboard for the writing of this fic; moonlight,forbearing with my intermittent urges to talk about my 'writing',and ravensnicketty, who was one of the first to read this story, and probably the first who heard of it.

And you, dear reader, even if you haven't reviewed, I value your having read Bridging the Gap. That you could spend a portion of your time checking out the manic ideas my imagination managed to burp out means a lot to me. Thank you for making it this far into the story. ::D

Disclaimer:

I do not own La Corda d'Oro; the whole concept belongs to Kure Yuki-sensei.

This fanfic is based on Primo Passo.

Epilogue: The Other Side of the Bridge

April

From behind the thick trunk of an aged sakura tree, Sawasaki Erisu impassively surveyed the scene before her, green eyes blank and almost unmoving. Tsukimori Len and Hino Kahoko were wrapped in a tight embrace on top of an idyllic wooden bridge, forever etched in her memory as the epitome of sugarcoated romance, the pink petals flying everywhere doing nothing to improve Erisu's impression of the sight.

Sure, she had come to accept them as a given, but to see them like this was… eye roll-worthy.

Smirking at herself, shaking her head like the proverbial wise geezer who had seen too much, Erisu silently thanked the gods for not putting her in Kahoko's position. To be caught in a moment as cheesy as that-

"Going undercover, I see."

She jumped slightly upon hearing the deep, unexpected, and painfully familiar drawl. On the other side of the trunk, pale and slender hands placed firmly on the tree to steady himself, stood Yunoki Azuma, dressed to take over the world in an immaculate black suit, a hint of blue fabric peeking from beneath his jacket. Grinning at her smugly, the action almost lazy, Yunoki said, "It's funny to see you trying to be so unobtrusive, when usually you do your best to stand out."

Mood completely ruined, Erisu straightened up, brushing petals off herself.

"It's a natural gift," she told him with a frown, glaring from beneath thick lashes. "Not one I have to work on."

Watching him smirk, her irritation rising, she hastily added, "What are you doing here, anyway? Shouldn't you be grounded for disobeying your grandmother?"

"My family took it well, actually," he replied nonchalantly, not falling for her ruse. "Obaasama didn't even seem as angry as she was exasperated, and my parents know me too well to be surprised." He sighed, lost in thought. "It's Rumi's family that's not dealing with it very well. They've actually banned me from entering FBC – although mercifully, they're still open to dealing with my family… as long as I'm not involved."

When she failed to comment he looked back at her, the reflex of worry familiar to him by now. There was an odd expression on her face, and she was too preoccupied with something that she failed to keep herself in check. The sight made him grin.

"You're alone, too," he stated, underlining the obvious. "Why don't we date?"

Erisu jerked awake, blinking rapidly for a few moments. Recovering from being disoriented, she snorted, her usual sour expression returning. "I'd rather eat pins than date a fanboy like you."

"Fanboy?" Yunoki's grin faltered slightly. "What on Earth is that supposed to be?"

She merely huffed in reply as she grudgingly swiped pink petals off her shoulders. Watching her pensively, unsure of broaching the topic but finding it impossible not to, Yunoki sighed.

"It's still him, huh?"

Freezing, Erisu opened her mouth to retort, but upon being unable to come up with the appropriate words, she clammed up again. She looked away, back to the low wooden bridge, and as he watched her, Yunoki could practically see the questions swimming in her emerald eyes…

Amused, he opted to change the topic. Again.

"That was impressive," he said in his version of a compliment, "how you gave up on him halfway through and played matchmaker-"

"I didn't play matchmaker," she replied almost lazily. "I didn't even do anything."

"But you chose not to complicate things further," Yunoki pointed out. "You chose not to fight a futile battle."

She shrugged, and he sighed, raising his head toward the pink canopy of trees, burying his hands in his back pockets, contemplating the events of recent months.

"I wonder…" he began, speaking to the wind, hoping it would bring the message, his intention, to her. "Were you trying to salvage what was left of your heart, or deep down… did you wish they would get together, even from the very beginning-?"

"You know, you presume to know me," Erisu countered, visibly irritated. Her brows were set in a firm line – a sure sign that she was beyond sheer annoyance. "You don't know anything about me at all-"

"Of course I don't," Yunoki admitted calmly, expression neutral, pose unaffected. "I don't know anything about you because you won't give me a chance." He looked away as he saw her stiffen; even he disliked having to resort to petty arguments. "And even if you did… I don't think it's possible for anyone to know another person fully. We can only grasp at whatever people choose to show to us…"

"Gee, thanks for the Hallmark quote-"

But his words seemed to affect her, forcing her into contemplation. Eyes thoughtful, a soft sigh escaping from her lips, she slowly turned to walk away instead, without saying anything to explain her departure.

Yunoki felt it would be unwise to make her stop. But-

"If you knew you didn't have a chance with him," he asked anyway, "why did you do it? Why force your presence upon him even when you knew things were going to end up like this anyway?"

The sound of light footsteps ceased. Turning around slowly, she met his gaze head-on, and thought about the question. She felt he didn't need to know why, yet she also felt he had the right to know…

That he had to know…

She frowned.

"Because everyone deserves a shot at happiness," she told him.

Momentarily, mildly surprised – his jaw slackening slightly – Yunoki immediately regained his composure. To Erisu's amazement, a few moments of silence paused, and he laughed.

"My point, exactly," he said, grinning at her with genuine happiness, eyes dancing.

Choking on her words, Erisu couldn't believe she was being contaminated by his mirth as well. Shaking her head in disbelief, she let out a repressed half-chuckle, causing Yunoki to grin wider. This impossible man… he would be the death of her…

Still overwhelmed, she met his topaz gaze. There was something odd in his expression, something different.

He had never looked at her that way before.

Feeling something warm creeping up her neck, she decided to save herself. Smiling freely this time, Erisu raised a hand to salute the man who had saved her, despite her ingratitude and all. Seeing this, Yunoki merely dipped his head in acknowledgement, ever elegant, ever patient.

Ever patient…

Her hand falling, Erisu sighed, and wondered if she would ever recover. Turning around, she felt her mind wander back to Yunoki… Would he always be like this? Would he always be waiting for her…?

Shaking her head one last time, chasing away befuddling thoughts, Erisu walked on.

Final A/N:

Initially, this project was given the title Bridging the Gap because I was hoping Erisu would the main reason Tsukimori and Kahoko got back together - she was intended to serve as the bridge. During the writing process though, the plot changed, and it became irrational for Erisu's character to serve the purpose she was originally created for. I couldn't stand focusing the story entirely on TsukiHino though, not when it was supposed to revolve around Erisu. Whether it was a good decision to keep her as one of the focal points of the story is up to you, dear reader; for my sanity, however, it was necessary.

If I placed too much emphasis on the romance of the lead characters, I apologize. Although Bridging the Gap is essentially about TsukiHino, it is also meant to be a not-so-angsty peek into the life of the other woman; for some reason, most people seem to think the sentiments of characters like Erisu can be disregarded, when in fact they have the same capacity to feel as others do. I personally think I botched up this whole fic, but generally, I just feel very blessed to be able to share this to people other than my inner child.

Thanks so much for reading BTG! ::D [The ending sucks, I know. I hope 'I'm-writing-my-undergrad-thesis' is a good enough excuse for it. ::X]