This was based on a story my sister kept wanting to tell with me. It never reaches the end, but we keep starting over. Yeah, I like crossover love stories. Just a me thing. Notes are at the end, for stuff that may not be understood. This one took a lot of looking up :P Not too bad for being written over the course of one night.
I walked through Greys, not too far from my capital. I loved it here. The weather sucked and it was currently overrun with tourists from the Olympics, but hey, it was home. I'd been in Japan so long, I had forgotten what this little chunk of island smelled like: where I currently stood, vinegar, alcohol and sea salt. The English coast was nothing spectacular, I guess. Not when there are 356,000 kilometers of coastline and many are far more tropical and warm and nice.
I'd just been at the stadium with my little brother Oliver. He'd wanted to go see the Games so badly since he learned they'd be held in the homeland. He practically begged the producers for time off. He got approval based on his ability to find someone to go with him. Being a Briton myself, I got stuck with the job. Not as though I minded: I just didn't want to beg like Oliver had.
I leaned against the railing next to the boardwalk, looking out after him. I remember vaguely running around out there when I was his age. I took in the salty air, letting it completely fill my lungs. I wanted to run, but felt like I was past a suitable age for it. Oliver soon found some kids to play with. The one reminded me of him, funnily enough.
"Nice weather for watching the waves," said a voice right next to me.
I nodded. "Sansei desu. Nami to kodamo tachi wo mi te hontouni modoru omoide wo matarashi masu." I stopped. "I-I mean," I said, feeling two eyes I never even looked at watching me. "I said…"
"Something about children, right?" I looked over at him. His green eyes were still looking after the foursome who ran away to play in the sand. They flicked back, then to the ocean again, then back to me upon processing my astounded expression. "I have a friend from Japan. My knowledge of the language isn't extensive by any means, but like anything, you pick it up as you go along. You don't look Japanese, though."
I smirked. "I work there. Back in town for the Olympics. My brother wanted to go, so we got time off." I went back to watching the waves crash against the grey horizon. "I've been using Japanese so long, I've forgotten my mother tongue. How embarrassing," I finished, more to myself than to him.
"Not very," he said. My focus went back to my conversation partner. He bent his blond head over the rail and sighed. "The last few weeks have been busy and awful. I can't wait for these bloody games to be over."
"I rather like them."
"Then next time, host them in your country and have to plan everything, accommodate everyone, and have little to look forward to than clean-up afterward."
"They are in my country. Did my nihongo throw you that badly, my friend?"
He was becoming irate, I could tell. I was getting on his nerves incredibly somehow. Unless I was just adding to some other kind of stress.
"So, you work for the Olympics. What do you do?"
"I'm the host."
"Not sure what all that entails."
"I'm the host country. That's what I do, I let all these bastard countries onto my land, have to accommodate them, put up with them, no matter what our history or if I just don't like them or – " He seemed to come to some sort of weird realization. I watched color rise slightly in his face as he said, "Never mind; that was inappropriate."
"Understood, mate, you're stressed. I get it."
"Don't you think you're being a little too casual with your language?" He drew himself up indignantly. I tried so hard not to laugh (right away).
"Oh, come off it, mate, you're too young to be acting so old," I said, laughing, hanging myself back off the railing by my hands. He let his face slacken for a second – enough time for me to realize he was doing it all for show. "Besides: you can't command respect with a haircut like that." He reached up automatically and tugged at a lock, the color deepening. I had him now.
"What about yours?"
"Who's commanding respect with hair like mine?" I asked, straightening my posture. My hair was short and green; I'd just had it cut before the trip. "I'd like to meet them and have a good laugh!"
"Anyway." He returned to the waves. "Don't get the wrong idea. I have no problem with the games…except…" He went into a short flashback, after which he shuddered slightly. "Forget about it." Never mind I had no idea what he was talking about. "So, you came all the way back here to watch us fail at sports? I'll give you points for loyalty and dedication to the sport. Why do you work in Japan, anyway?"
"I sing. I've been learning Japanese through my songs and my colleagues, but I'm mostly English still."
"And you can't recall it when someone speaks to you?" I felt red rise in my face and looked back around for Oliver. He was building a sandcastle with the little girl he'd run off with earlier.
"I remember doing that all the time when I was little." I pointed at her. He looked at my hand, then followed it to the pair, joined by the other two boys. "What she's doing with my brother."
"That's your brother? Funny, the one in the blue is my brother."
I looked at him. "Accident?"
"You're hilarious. And, actually, yes." he said, clearly not amused. "What about yours?"
"He's not actually my brother. Sort of adopted him through work. Yours?"
"No: unfortunately he is really my little brother." He sighed. "He was so upset his citizens couldn't compete in the Games." That statement threw me a bit. "I just laughed and said, 'What citizens?' He wasn't amused. I finally relented and let him bring his friends to watch."
"I just had to get out of the capital. I love London, don't get me wrong," he said, looking at me. "but it's become far too much of a tourist trap lately. Plus, it's the only city most of them know about. Except one little genius who told me she knew about Little Whinging. The place is fictional. Really."
"Taking this a little personally, don't you think, er…" I was going to put his name at the end. "Do you realize we've had an entire conversation here and I still don't know your name?"
"Hm?" He had gone back to the waves. "You what?"
Okay. He'd stopped listening. Typical of men. "Okay, I'm Sonika. You are?"
"Oh! My, I never asked your name! How rude of me." He looked away as though embarrassed, then back at me, standing up straight and holding out his hand. "Sonika, you said? Unusual, but a perfectly lovely name all the same. Mine is Arthur."
"That name isn't bad," I said, cracking a smile without laughing at him for the first time. He put the abashed look back on, but looked happy about it instead. We both looked back out over the railing.
"So, Sonika – I may use your first name, correct?"
"Did I give you my last name?"
"Er, well, no. As I was saying: which is your favorite event?"
"For someone so sick of the Olympics, you sure talk about them a lot."
"I've forgotten how to think about anything else." He turned around and tilted back over the rail, looking into the darkening grey sky. "I believe it's going to rain."
"Do you?" I looked up. "I'm so used to it raining in June – "
"That getting used to the rain here shouldn't be difficult."
"Yeah, but in Britain, it drizzles constantly. Japan knows how to rain right."
"I'll have to reference him on that."
"There you go again!"
"What?" he said, just as the sky let loose. Within seconds, the few drops to fall became a downpour. Like I said: good to be home.
"Well, we can't be standing out here to talk," Arthur shouted over the rain. He took my wrist and guided me somewhere. Now who's being casual?
"Right," he said in the entryway of a bar. "This is…well, dry." He looked at the counter. "Do you drink?"
"Not interested?" he said, leading the way to the counter where he obviously wanted to be.
"Ha. Haven't been allowed until very recently," I said, smiling.
"Hm. Old enough now?"
I had just had a birthday, but wasn't quite sure if I was old enough. I had very strange circumstances on me. I was made to be seventeen, and I think I've been stuck as such since. He looked at me like he understood.
"Well, we'll say you are. Let me pick you up one."
"Wait, what about the kids?"
"Hm? Oh, Peter and Hayley are with Michele, they'll be fine, and knowing my brother, he won't abandon yours." Neither of us brought up the children again.
Something I learned about Arthur that night: he was much more fun drunk. Soon we were talking about topics I wouldn't discuss with the coworkers I'd known for years. And the strangest part:
"Hey," he mumbled out after his third. "Remember what you were saying right before the rain hit?" Okay, there was a lot more slurring of words, but for your convenience, I translated Intoxicated to English.
I'd had three also: not bad for my first time, I'm surprised it didn't kill me. Refusing to bring my head from the counter, I said plainly, "No."
"Yeah you do, about going again."
"Oh, yeah…something about Japan and rain…you said he. You referring to your Japanese friend, right?"
"Sorta…I was referring to the man himself."
"Lost me, mate."
"Let you in on a little secret…" He brought his face to my ear. "I know Japan."
"Mate, how many have you downed?" I asked, still not looking up.
"No, really. And I'm," he said, cutting off momentarily to force his vomit back down so he could continue talking. "I'm Britain. The real deal. Oh Lord, don't tell me I just used that daft phrase."
"Well, since we're talking batty, I'm still seventeen. Have been for about 4 years. Stuck at it."
"Oh, really? I've been twenty-three for centuries. I win." He was still talking in my ear. The volume made me wince with my progressing migraine.
"Fine, you win, now get out of my face. Your voice hurts."
"Sorry you find it so offensive." I felt his head move away. For the time I was satisfied, not immediately hearing the obvious indignation. "Well," he said, "best not hang round here," before getting up, taking two steps toward the door and falling on his face.
I woke up to my face being slapped lightly but repeatedly. I opened my eyes. Oliver had found me, from the look of it, outside the bar. Joy.
"I'm up. I'm here, what?"
He sighed. Apparently I'd worried him more than he'll ever admit. "Well, what was I to do, finding you outside in the rain sleeping on some strange guy." He looked over at his little blond friend.
"Way to stick up for me, Peter," said the faintly familiar voice beside me. I looked on the ground.
"Anyway, only came over here to tell you we're staying at my place tonight."
"Good. Go home, Sealand."
"Talking batty again, I see," I said with my smirk.
"Wouldn't have said that, sis," Oliver said. "Hey, sis, can I go with them tonight? Sea – I mean, Peter invited me and I said if my sister said – "
"Go, Olly." He did as told, running to catch up with Peter and friends.
"Sounds like you're alone tonight," said a tired voice beside me. I looked back at Arthur on the pavement.
"And this makes it your business how?"
"Well, if you'd rather not stay alone, I have some room at my place. I finally kicked America out. Not as though I necessarily minded his company, but…no, wait, yes it was."
"Still not sober enough for the filter, eh, mate?"
We drunkenly staggered back to his place. I fell into many a post, and threw up once. I knew I would not be drinking like that again.
"Love, you only had three. You can do much better than that. Or perhaps worse…"
"Know from experience, mate?" And what was with "love"? Old people called me love. Perhaps he really was older than he looked. Or, maybe…
No, I scolded, don't start thinking that way. I looked back at him. Now that I looked through a drunk's filter, I could see much that was attractive about this old man. Except perhaps…
"So, what's with the caterpillars?" I felt the need to ask, before I found too much I liked.
"I'm not above hitting a woman."
"But you were acting such a gentleman before!" I said sweetly, taking hold of his shoulders and refusing to let go. "Can I pet them?"
"You'll have to get me drunker than that before I allow it."
"Challenge accepted." I giggled stupidly.
"That really was your first drink, wasn't it?"
"Had a taste of sake once. It sucked. Meiko got mad at me for that comment."
"I can't imagine anyone being upset with you." I think he was laughing. I'm not sure.
As soon as we got to his house, I fell into a soft thing. "I like your chair."
"That's an area rug."
"I don't recall falling that far."
"You really are an idiot, aren't you?"
"Honki de tsuraretaa." Or, "No, I was trolled." Fully conscious of what I was saying, I recited the next line of the song in Japanese, figuring he wouldn't be too pleased with it.
"Right." Unphased, he went back to making his tea. I watched him come back in. I didn't know if I'd think the same about him once sober, but I really did like what I saw. Of course, my eyes couldn't go unnoticed by him.
"Did you want a cup, Sonika?" I buried my face back in his rug. I chanced a look upward a second later. He was looking at me still, confusedly. He put the teacup on the floor, got to his feet and picked me up under my shoulders, then swung my knees over his forearm. He carried me almost effortlessly across the room and set me upright. I tried to lay down, but he, unbeknownst to me, had sat back in his spot and was now blocking my head's path. He didn't try to move me, but went back to his tea. I didn't want to be moved, actually. I was rather enjoying this.
Eventually, I raised up my head. The headache was dissipating, and the nausea had subsided substantially. It was now dark; perhaps it was dark before. I looked around the room. A lamp was left on. I reached over and turned it off.
"Ah, now, love, what did you do that for?" Arthur's voice said from the other room. Again with the love. I put my head against the wall, trying to will down the heat rising in my face.
"Thought you left," I mumbled, wishing he hadn't come back.
"You fell asleep, but I wasn't sure if you would be out long." He sat again next to me. "There's a storm; called my brother, see if he'd be alright, which I didn't doubt: at least not that he'd say it was alright. I was more worried for the friends he had over."
There was silence. "May I ask you a question?"
"Anything: I'm not easily offended."
"At least not sober," he said with a chuckle. "I was going to ask, do you actually like me?"
"What?" The heat was back with a vengeance.
"Well, you're talking with me, at my house. And I just met you today. It occurred to me perhaps you were just being polite. However," he smirked, "the blush on your face seems to have told me otherwise."
I stayed silent. I was not going to betray myself further.
"Yeah? Well, who invited me over in the first place? I have a room: I could've gone there for the night."
"And yet, you are here."
"Yeah, just don't act like it's all on me here."
"Did I say that? I find that you're a likable girl yourself, Sonika. You listened to all my drunken truths, let me – "
"So it was true, then? About that whole being-a-country thing?"
"Every word. And about your, er, how did you put it? Had something to do with singing androids? I'll have to have a word or two with Japan about those…"
"I believe we were still talking about liking each other."
"Oh, there were no doubts that I liked you. Wouldn't have spoken with you if I didn't."
He had gotten closer. I liked and didn't like it. I stayed still.
"I had gotten rid of my houseguests and the place was empty, so I figured, why not use it?"
The gap was ever closing.
"Sonika, what are you doing?"
"Hm?" I looked at my angle as opposed to his. Apparently I wasn't still. was the one bringing myself closer to Arthur. I let my head fall lazily into his lap. He pushed me upright.
"Three beers, there is no way you're still drunk. Get up."
"Sorry," I said, letting my shell harden.
"You don't sound it."
We went silent again. Great job, you screwed it up. As if I cared. But I did.
"I thought perhaps you'd meant it a different way," I muttered. There: was that so hard?
"Well, then answer that question."
Now I didn't want to. This wasn't in my character. Let's answer it in character. "So what if I do?" I said defiantly. Ew: I didn't like that either. So, naturally, I have to make it worse with my talking. "Of course, everything I like about you is completely superficial. I could walk out of here now and never look back."
"No, you can't."
"I don't mind rain."
"You remind me of old friend of mine, who thought the same. Hasn't left me alone for years."
"I guess you have that effect on people."
He smirked at his arms, folded against his chest. "Perhaps so. Everything is superficial, you say? Well, then: we'll just have to get to know each other personally."
"I'm leaving after the Games." Was that it? Was I afraid of getting too involved with someone I would probably never see again? The smirk wouldn't leave.
"Love, I'm rather good friends with Japan. I can find several reasons to feed to Cameron about why I'd have to visit him." He looked up: I had the strangest feeling that his green eyes could see right through me.
"Why do you keep calling me 'love'?"
"Just a nickname I have for lovely girls. You're part of a special group." I think he realized he said the wrong thing. I hadn't. Did he think I was upset he called other girls that? Rephrase: did he think I'd tell him that it upset me? "Very small. And I haven't used it recently."
"Okay…you said personally. According to you, all I'd have to do to know about you would be pick up a history text."
A vein popped in his temple and a very irritated expression appeared on his face. "Okay then," he said through gritted teeth, trying very hard not to snap. "Let's see what there is about you."
"Okay. Seventeen years old. One point six seven meters. Fifty eight kilos. That's about it."
"Well, you said you sang. What do you sing?"
"Whatever they tell me to."
"Do you not like it?"
"No, I like it."
"Okay then," he said, getting to his feet. "You're with your friends. Or by yourself. What are you listening to? I don't want to know about your job. What do you sing?"
I hadn't sung for my own pleasure in such a long time. What was it?
"Well, I'll fudge my way through a lot of the pop on their radios, since my grasp of the language is still far from ideal. Then…"
He smiled. "Let me introduce you to something."
A real record player. He had a freaking record player. And a Pink Floyd vinyl. My first thought: "This is so cool!" The first words out of my mouth? "You are older than you look, aren't you?"
I got hit over the head with the vinyl.
"Then you pick out something more modern." He, once again, was not amused. We sat together on his little couch. I started humming a song my colleague sang, called "Melt". I loved the tune.
"Hm?" I put in the middle of the song.
"What song is that?"
"Melt. It's not one of mine, it's one of my coworker's. But I like the tune. Never caught the words."
"If you had started humming an hour ago, we could've saved me the trouble of digging out all my records." He was smiling again, but had that look in his eyes and the vein in his temple was back.
"What, and miss the chance to hear this old thing scratched with a needle?"
He put the record on. I couldn't tell you what it was or who sang it, even though I was sure he told me. I was too fixated on him. I'd just met Arthur, not a day ago, barely twelve hours ago. And I was sitting here talking to him like I'd known him forever. I can do that with anybody. I got the feeling Arthur wasn't a type like me. That was what amazed me.
"Hey, my turn for questions."
"Remember what you asked about liking you?"
"You must like me then. I feel like you don't converse like this with just anybody, especially not a girl you met this afternoon."
"I believe I told you I'd taken to you."
"Like how? Like a drinking pal? Or perhaps a cousin or sister? I'm still a new friend of yours, but look at us. It's like we've been reunited after a long separation."
"Don't start that crap about being 'meant to be'. I don't believe in that nonsense. Wait: what are you…?"
I had bent in front of him. My face was in his. My turquoise eyes met his green pair.
"What are you doing?"
"If you don't believe it, if you're so sure it won't happen, what have you got to lose?"
"Don't you think you're going a bit fast?" His face flushed and his voice cracked slightly at "you". I made him nervous. At least, I hoped that was it. I sat next to him, keeping my face in his the entire time, moving slowly enough to force the eye contact.
"If nothing else, do it to humor me. I'll walk out of here right after if that's what you want. But come on. You've been stressed lately – "
"You're not helping it!"
" – why don't you let go for a second? Let something take over?"
"Take over. Right. I bet you didn't know the 'gentleman' before you used to be a well-known pirate and conqueror."
"Then take me over before I take you." I went for it. I kissed the man right there. This would never have been allowed in my second homeland. I felt something at my back. I broke off him for a split-second and opened my eyes. What I speculated (read: hoped) was Arthur's arm pulled me closer to him. I was on top for a second until I lost my balance and we both fell to the floor, him on the top that time.
The farthest territory either of us "conquered" was the uvula. Not for lack of trying: I had to make it clear, in the middle of a snogging session, that I "wasn't that type of girl." How contradictory that must've sounded.
I woke up still on the floor, still under Arthur, by the sound of a phone ringing. Arthur stirred, then got up sleepily and shuffled to the source of the sound. He said nothing after, "Morning, Sir." Then he went to the hallway and called back, "You might want to go and make yourself decent back at your room. Today's Games start early."
I was going to ask if I'd see him again. I wanted to. He really didn't know anything about me. I wanted him to, though. But he'd disappeared in the hallway. He'd have to be back here eventually. But I didn't know if Oliver was waiting on me for something.
I found a note on the bed back at the inn. Went with new friends. Well, that took care of things.
I went to the Games. I stayed for the football, and then left. I hopped a bus back to Greys. I wanted to just look out at the waves and think. I had so much on my mind. I should head back around when the Games end. If for no other reason than to catch up with Oliver. But I knew the real reason I wanted to be there. I wanted to make that vein pop.
It was nearing eleven before I decided it would just be best to catch a bus back to London. I headed out of the shop I'd decided to camp in from the rain (got to love that English weather). I took one last soaked look at the violent waves starting to crash along our unimpressive coast. I think we'd be leaving soon. I didn't want to. I was home. It felt more like home to be in Britain now than my first trip back after I got my job. I wanted to stay. I had something here. The greying sky mirrored my head as I walked: stormy, cloudy, and depressing.
I stood leaning against a post with a crowd to wait for a bus. I barely registered its arrival. I looked up at the crowd. Mine was going in the front while the arrivals were coming from the back. I pushed myself off the post and got at the back of the line, in no particular hurry. Something hit me on the shoulder. I mentally brushed it off. It poked me again. I looked over my shoulder at a pair of green eyes, so new yet so familiar already. His mouth split into a grin as he said to me,
"Thought I'd find you here."
356,000 kilometers = 217,490 miles
Sonika's Japanese statement (when I typed it in English) read, "I agree. Watching waves and the kids really brings back memories." Sorry for a crappy translation, but I let an online translator do it, so it's not entirely my fault. (translated back it read "I agree. Brings back memories and the children really look at the wave.)
Hayley and Michele (Mih kel ay) are the names I gave to Wy and Seborga, respectively. They are by no means official.
Cameron = David Cameron, British Prime Minister as of 2012
The song Sonika continued in Japanese after Arthur called her an idiot is from a song called "Triple Baka" sung by Hatsune Miku, Kasane Teto, and (supposedly) Akita Neru. "Melt" is also sung by Hatsune Miku.