Prompt: 072 ~ Hold My Hand May 2011©
Focus: Ryouga x Yui
Word Count: 2,203
Focus: Ryouga x Yui
Word Count: 2,203
He was waiting for me after school.
Completely nonchalant, he was leaning back on the fence across the street from my university. He looked so relaxed and natural there that I almost missed him.
Ryouga wasn’t dressed in any of his usual get-ups, nothing like what he wore for band activities with ViViD and not even his usual backstage fanfare of individualism. He looked normal. Nothing about his plain jeans or t-shit even hinted at his status as one of the people leading the wave of Harajuku Style. Even his hair was styled simply, brushed to look almost natural and let down just enough to cover the majority of his piercings. The jewelry pinned though his ears was only visible if you knew to look for it, and even as he waved me over with a soft smile I had trouble rationalizing it all.
Typically speaking, Ryouga wasn’t the best at blending in. He was hard to get to know because he gave off a cold aura that pushed people away most efficiently, and his style choices were often questionable at best. Neither of those two traits was being displayed as he pushed off from the fence and greeted me sweetly as I came within easy earshot, “Hey.”
“Hey, yourself,” I responded, grinning like a loon. Seeing him like this, especially now with last minute tour preparations in full swing, was a treat unexpected if it was even possible.
“How was school?” he asked, taking my brief case from me and offering me his hand.
Slipping my fingers through his, I shrugged. “It was school.”
Ryouga chuckled and looked at his watch as he began to lead me down the street. “Are you hungry at all?”
“I could go with some food.” I had actually just eaten, but I so rarely got to spend quiet time with him, away from his ViViD members, and with the tour coming up so quickly to take them all away from me for so long, I wanted to make the most of his surprise visit.
He, of course, could tell. “Don’t worry, we have some time today.”
“I could still go for some food. You’re looking awfully skinny to me.”
“It’s all lean muscle, I’ve been working out with Ivu.” Then he suggested, “Let’s skip dinner. You’re up for dessert right?”
I couldn’t help grinning. “You know me so well.”
“Of course.” He shrugged with a smirk of satisfaction. “You’re my Yui-chii.”
I leaned into him as he slung his arm around my shoulders, our hands still linked. The nearest frozen yogurt shop was barely five minutes away, and it was on the way back to my apartment. On normal days, sticking to a diet as I walked by after a long day of classes was torture, but with Ryouga here, I was allowed a treat.
We walked side by side as we ate, Ryouga with my briefcase tucked under his arm. Our shoulders brushed together out of habit and the more than occasional shove in response to something or other in our constant banter. When I’d first met Ryouga, getting him to talk at all had been a challenge, but now it was getting him to shut up that was the problem.
Just as I was scraping the last drips of my frozen yogurt from its paper cup, Ryouga was using the fuzzy key chain strapped to my briefcase to unlock my front door. The scrabbling sound of toenails and happy yips of welcome met us as we finagled inside past the monster hound that still acted like the 3 month black puppy he’d been years ago.
I leaned down and kissed his nose, letting him lick the residual taste of frozen yogurt off of my face as his tail whipped back and forth furiously. Ryouga was forced to give Sato cooing attention before the dog would let us in past the entryway. While I gave my good boy a rub down through his soft fur, Ryouga went to set my briefcase down in its spot by the couch. He then grabbed Sato’s leash and clipped it to his collar saying, “I’ll take him out for you.”
“You don’t have to,” I said, adding, “If you wait a few minutes for me to change we could go together.”
He grinned at me. “Nah, we’re going out tonight, so you should probably take a shower and rest a bit. Besides, Sato-kun and I have guy things to talk about.”
I arched an eyebrow.
“No girls allowed,” he added with a chuckle.
Giving in with a sigh, I asked, “Where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“Then how am I supposed to know what to wear?”
Thinking a moment as he held the apartment door open and Sato stood patiently looking out, Ryouga instructed, “Wear something nice and comfy.”
With that he led Sato outside. As they were trotting away, I heard Ryouga say seriously to my happy hound, “Sato-kun, I have a very important question to ask you about our girl.”
I smiled after them before turning to see to my shower. Getting clean was the easy part. Choosing what to wear once I was clean was the hard part. It was decidedly more difficult than just choosing an outfit that looked nice.
Ryouga had said ‘nice and comfy’. I didn’t know if that meant nice and comfy or if he’d intended it to be emphatic, and he’d meant nice and comfy. With those instructions I could be wearing anything from yoga pants to a cocktail dress without a zipper!
I glared at the contents of my closet for a solid five minutes before I decided on the first option and narrowed my dilemma. Exactly how nice was I supposed to be dressing? Clubbing nice? Church nice? Fancy restaurant nice? It was so frustrating!
In the end, I decided on a simple red dress. Adjusted correctly, it could be anything from a slightly sinful Sunday-dress to one that was dangerously daring. It had a low halter top and when paired with a black belt and matching ballet flats it was both comfortable and nice enough not to be horrifically out of place in just about any setting. My hair was still damp so I left it down, sliding a few hair ties over my wrist to fix it with later, and moved on to applying a simple bit of make-up that would be enough to make me feel pretty while staying well within the safe-zone preceding over-the-top.
With every hair in place, I was able to saunter out to my living room just as Ryouga was finishing up his man-talk with my dog. “We have an agreement then,” my crazy wonderful boyfriend was saying, “No take-backs?” Ryouga held out his hand and Sato clumsily lifted his paw for him. Ryouga shook it with a triumphant smile.
When Sato heard me coming, he bounded away from Ryouga in a cutely uncoordinated gallop. He licked playfully at my bare knees and I rubbed his head in response cooing sweetly at him. When I looked up, Ryouga was staring at me with a rather glazed over expression. Instantly, the look piqued a sense of self-consciousness. “Do I look alright?” I wondered. Maybe he had meant nice and comfy after all and I was supposed to be in something like yoga pants and a tank.
His contagious smile managed to push aside my worry almost completely. He held his hand out to me and gestured towards the door. “Come on,” he said softly. “I have something to show you.”
I slid my hand into his, completely and utterly trusting. “After you.”
Ryouga took me on a long winding tour of Tokyo. I lost my bearings within ten minutes of starting out on our trek. I could guess our general location, but we skirted the remnants of the old city much more often that I would have imagined from looking at a map.
“We’re almost there,” Ryouga promised as we took a break in one such hidden spot of greenery and history. Looking out over the enchanting swath of wild that was hidden in the very center of the modern city, I began to wonder where on earth Ryouga could be taking me. The chances that I didn’t look right were going up with every staircase to the in-city wilds we took.
I was fussing with my hair anxiously when I heard Ryouga chuckle behind me. Turning to glare at him for laughing at my insecurities, I was struck by the easy smile he was wearing. It was such a rare expression for him. Sure he had his goofiness with his boys, that lopsided grin that practically declared him mental as he messed around like an idiot with the members of ViViD, but this was different. It was so soft, so sincere. I couldn’t help but be completely calmed by it.
“How did you manage to get so much time off?”
It had been bugging me since he’d met me at school. I hadn’t wanted to question a miracle when it happened, seeing him had been so wonderful. But now that I’d had a few good hours with him, I wouldn’t be too sad if my question broke the spell.
Ryouga laughed rather sheepishly. “When I told everyone why I wanted some time off, they practically pushed me out the door.”
He looked at his watch, as if my query had reminded him about a time limit he wasn’t telling me about. “But with the tour preparations . . .”
“That we’ll be going away soon is exactly why they were so eager to get me time now,” he explained vaguely. Then he held out his hand to lead me onward. “Come on, I don’t want to miss it.”
Slipping my hand into his with a sigh, I followed him even further out of my range of reference. Eventually we made it to a plateau of old Tokyo that was almost as high up as the skyscrapers of the newer city. The sun was just beginning to set behind the highest of the billboards in the distance as Ryouga led me to the center of the open and unexpectedly green space we’d emerged into.
He turned me to face directly away from what was probably the best view of the sunset in Tokyo. All I could see from where Ryouga positioned me were the dark windows of the modern building built up alongside the bit of old. It was puzzling to say the least.
I followed his command out of instinct without question; I was still too lost in wondering. The digital reproduction of a shutter click made me refocus on the situation at hand. Ryouga had taken a picture of me with his cell phone.
Coming to stand next to me, he showed me the image. The setting sun behind me was being refracted by the edges of the billboards and golden beams were spread out across the background scene in just the perfect way to make the appearance of an angel’s wings hug around someone standing in the right spot in front of it.
Someone like me.
“My Yui-tenshi,” Ryouga said softly as he slid his hand around mine. There was something odd in the way he held it, but I wasn’t given a chance to dwell on it as Ryouga whispered, “Look up a bit.”
Doing as I was told, I spotted a trick of physics that took my breath away.
By some miraculous mirage, a magnified image of our clasped hands surrounded by sunlight had appeared below the name of the building, standing out against the dark windows. The words that had been painted onto the modern building to proclaim its name, company, and purpose for all of Tokyo to see were half hidden by the same inexplicable happenstance of light. The remaining kanji could be pieced together to say something new: I want you to hold my hand forever.
Reading it over, my free hand went to my mouth in a silent, overwhelmed gasp. My eyes were beginning to tear up as instinctive leaps were made. Ryouga snapped two more quick pictures, one of the mirage, and one of my face. Then he pocketed his phone and shifted his hold on my hand.
I felt the cool circle of a ring press into my skin between our hands. That was the moment I actually began to cry.
“Nee, Yui,” Ryouga whispered, looking up at the enchanting image of our hands beneath the hallmark phrase of cut & paste lettering.
“Ah?” I responded, trying to be as coherent as possible.
Ryouga turned to me, and lifted out hands, turning them to kiss the back of mine. Then he sank down to one knee and flipped out hands over so that he could make a grand display of the ring he left in my palm as he placed his hand on the back of mine.
“Will you marry me?”
I could hardly see him through the happy overflow of emotion in my eyes. Nodding, slowly at first, and then more vigorously as I realized my struggle to articulate, I smiled.