Disclaimer: I do NOT own I, My, Me, Strawberry Eggs. If you like the FujioxFukae pairing then hopefully you will enjoy my completed fanfic!
Summary: I, My, Me, Strawberry Eggs centers a man named Hibiki Amawa who just moves in to town looking for a job. If he doesn't pay the rent, he loses his dog. He attempts to get a job at the private school nearby but is heavily let down at the fact that the principal of the school is only hiring female teachers. Faced with the challenge of a highly prejudiced against male school, Hibiki has an idea to crossdress as a female and take on the role of a teacher. Fujio and Fukae are supporting characters in a love triangle. Kuzuha, the female leading character, develops a crush over her teacher while Fukae develops a crush over Kuzuha, and Fujio over Fukae. This fanfic takes place after the ending of the series.
Analyzing the Moment
Chapter 1 - Analyzing the moment
"Of all the girls...why her?" Thought Fujio Himejima. She was usually a tough girl who could handle any given situation...but when it came to Akira Fukae, Fujio felt helpless. She was in love with him. She felt herself out of breathe when she discovered he wasn't able to return Fujio's love. He was indeed in love with Fuuko.
Fujio felt her entire body collapse. "Why?" She could only ask herself. "Why Fuuko..."
He was in love...but not with her. He had no impression of what he did to Fujio when he left the balcony where she waited for him...to confess her love to him. He could not see it. Her eyes became frail like glass. That...he did see. Had he hurt her? He could only think of his beloved Fuuko at that very moment, trying to confess his love to the small girl the way Fujio confessed to him.
"I'm an idiot..." He thought. "She doesn't even love me. I must have broken Himejima-san's heart...but what could I have said to her? I don't love her." He paced back and forth quietly thinking to himself. He was a man...he couldn't sit there and cry over Fuuko. She was in love with someone else. "Why Hibiki-sensei?" He thought. "She's a woman. How can a girl love another woman? It isn't possible is it?" He grew angrier. "I'll wait...for as long as I can." He sighed deeply to himself and stared up at the sky. His heart felt broken. He hated every minute of it.
"Huh?" He blinked and gazed behind him. "Oh...it's only you, Hibiki-sensei." He said with little interest. "What is it?"
"Funny. I was just about to ask you the same, Akira. You seem so worried lately."
"It's none of your business." He snapped angrily at her. "What do you know?"
"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have intruded on you like that." She walked a little passed him. Just an inch passed, she paused and looked into Akira's deep blue eyes. He pulled back in confusion. "I was wondering if it is alright that you walk Fujio-san home? She hasn't been feeling too well lately...and I'm beginning to worry." Akira turned away at the sound of her name. "You will do it, right?"
"Good." A smile returned to her face. "I'll be off now!" She marched away quickly, never removing that smile from her face. This made Akira a little uncomfortable.
"Why doesn't she take Fujio home? All of a sudden I'm her keeper?" He told himself coldly. "Fine...I guess." He resisted little, heading the way he came...the place where he last left Fujio. "She must be crying..." Thought Akira. He shook the thought off. "Why do I care anyway? I don't love her but..."
He walked the stairs to the roof top, feeling nervous. He couldn't quite open the door when he reached it. He leaned against the door with his fists, anger and sadness appearing in his expression. "Why me..." He thought. He slightly nudged open the door, then finally all the way. "Fujio?" He called out in a low voice. There was no answer. He searched around the roof. Fujio was no longer there. "Where did she run off to?" He wondered. If his eyes had not deceived him, he managed to catch a glimpse of something green lying before him. He bent down to pick it up for closer examination. He froze. "Fujio's...ribbon."
"You know...Fukae. She really did put a lot of her heart into seeing you."
Akira turned around recognizing that familiar voice. He was about to call out her name when he realized she was no longer there. Had she run quickly down those stairs to avoid his eyes? He felt so confused. His emotions were mixing into a different feeling for Fujio and Fuuko. He hated to admit it. "Fuuko..." He thought back to her once more. "These stupid emotions."
"I have to move on." Fujio cried in her mind. "I have to be strong. I can't...be like this forever. My very first love...heartbroken! It happens..." She softened, hugging a pillow close to her chest. Tears became evident now. "Doesn't it?" She cried softly to herself. "Why does he make me hurt this much? Enough to die!"
She stared for a very long time at the floor while lying sadly on her bed curled into a ball. She had had enough. She just couldn't be that strong girl when she needed to be the most. Fujio threw herself out of bed and ran to the kitchen. Fujio was the kind of girl to enjoy life. She had no control of her emotions when she latched onto the nearest knife, pricking into her arm. She let out a gasp. Realizing what she had just did, she threw the knife across the room, sank to her knees, and cried. "All over a stupid boy who doesn't care a thing for me! Get real, Fujio. Life just isn't the way you want it to be." She grabbed tightly onto her arm. She bled fast. Fujio quickly paced around the kitchen looking for band aids. "What's wrong...with me? Damn…"
"What's wrong with her? She hasn't been her normal self lately. It isn't like her to cry over some jerk." Said Miho aloud. Miho was the one friend to encourage Fujio on proclaiming her love by indicating on a small note to meet her at the roof top. She never realized it would go this far. Miho brushed her maroon-colored strands of hair away from her face. Her face fell in disappointment. "It's all my fault..." She slowly realized. "If I hadn't been so clueless. If I hadn't wrote that stupid note for her...her heart wouldn't be broken like that. I thought I was encouraging her...but I only made her do something she didn't want to do. I insisted despite her refusal." Miho slumped against the brick walls of her own home. She had just come home from school on comforting the heart-broken Fujio. She felt a burden of guilt gloss on her lips. She wanted to apologize, but how could she? What if tomorrow wasn't going to change? Miho bit her lip and buried her face in her hands. "Why me? I have to do something. I just hope Fujio-san is alright." She snapped up. "Wait...I'm acting as if I don't believe in her. Fujio is better than that. She is a tough cookie after all." She tried to smile. "It isn't her fault. Fukai-kun is an idiot. He is cute in a way, but when it comes to a girl's feelings, he scores zero points."
She managed to laugh a little to herself, not aware of Fuuko's presence. Fuuko lightly tapped Miho's shoulder from behind. This caused Miho to shriek and pull back. She calmed down realizing who it was.
"Oh...Fuuko...it's only you." She saw the agitation in Fuuko's expression and lightened her own a little. "Hey...what's wrong?"
"Oh...Miho..." She said rather sadly. "I don't know what to do."
"Is it serious?"
She only shook her head. "I..." She looked away. "It's nothing. I'm sorry for coming up to you like that, Miho. I was just...no." She shook her head again and forced a smile. "It's nothing. See you at school tomorrow..." She quickly took off, leaving Miho speechless until Fuuko was completely out of sight.
"Did something happen? I mean...her worries aren't so troubling, right? Fuuko is just... she acts a lot younger than she is so could her worries be that great?" The phone rings. Miho immediately stopped wondering about today's worries and rushed to unlock her door.
"Just as...I thought." Fujio hung up the phone. "Miho isn't home yet. She probably...went out with her boyfriend." Her expression fell at the last word. She thought back to when she officially declared her love...when she asked if Fukae-kun could be her boyfriend.
"There's someone else..." She repeated those words that have been said. "I can't stay in here. I need to go out for a walk." She quickly got up. Fujio was now out of her school uniform and into her more outing clothing. She wore a tight turquoise top and jeans. Quickly, she picked up a light sweater and walked out the door, closing it roughly behind her.
Two months later
The days grew shorter for some reason. The sun set earlier and the nights grew longer. The nights grew cold and lonely. There was just one thing that etched her a bit. She had to walk this path alone. So she did and accepted this path alone. The more she thought about him, the angrier she became. So much time has passed since Hibiki-sensei's dilemma. The whole school discovered his secret identity as a man long ago…it seems. Then discovering that the one girl Akira loved so much, Fuuko, was in love with Hibiki-sensei all along. How could that have been possible? A girl in love with someone of the same sex was not common to her. Fujio almost laughed.
"Wow…I haven't laughed like this for as long as I can remember." She opened her bedroom window, staring out into the open. It was rather late, so now one was out. Fujio nodded and climbed out her window to get to the roof. There she sat watching the stars. "This weather gives off an odd feeling, doesn't it? In just a few days… we will be in third year. How time flies." ***
"When is there a day you do not feel like you are drifting away?"
"Miho?" Thought Fujio as she recounted a memory of her close friend telling her. It was just yesterday.
"So what do you want to do with your life, Fujio-san?"
"Hmm?" Fujio turned to her with a curious look in her eyes. "Me?"
"Yeah you, silly." She giggled. "Only two more years of high school. Haven't you thought about it?"
Fujio shook her head. "No. I guess not."
"So tell me? I think I might consider being maybe a singer or a model."
"Yeah." Fujio smiled. "You have the body for it. I never heard you sing though. That surprises me."
"Really? Well…" She looked up at the stars. "I'm going to be famous one day. I hope you find something you love to do. You are good at martial arts, yeah?
"You can be an instructor? Ever thought of that?"
"I could but it doesn't interest me too much."
"You know…Fukae-kun was actually thinking of becoming a pilot."
"Pilot?" This sparked an interest in Fujio who now looked at Miho with curious eyes of disbelief. "You are joking."
"Look at my face. Does it look like I'm joking?"
Fujio shook her head. "But a pilot? I thought he considered-"
"Well…things change." Miho gazed at the moon. "So do people."
"That isn't like him." Fujio stood up too quickly. Miho turned to her friend. Fujio always knew in her heart that Fukae Akira was one too tough to give up on his goals. He wanted to be an instructor. He wanted to perfect his martial arts. On the side, he spent much of his free time surfing. Fujio simply sat against her friends back, sighing. "Tell me, Miho-san. Am I losing it?"
Her friend looked back at her oddly before answering. "Well…" She paused. "Are you still in love with him?"
Fujio caught a glimpse of the moon. "I don't really know." There was a tone of sadness in her voice. Miho noticed.
"I notice that Fukae-kun…hasn't been acting his normal self lately. Ever since Hibiki-sensei left. His heart must be crushed because Fuuko-chan is still waiting for Hibiki's return. She longs to see him again.
"You have no idea how it feels to have your heart broken!!"
Fujio was shocked. She too had had her heart broken. Akira stood up for Fuuko that day because two boys were mocking and picking on her for loving Hibiki-sensei, after the shock of finding out he was only a cross-dressing teacher. How hard Fujio tried to stop him from fighting back in bitter hatred.
"Do I still love him?" She gently placed a hand over her warm heart, feeling it beating fast beneath her grasp. "How can this be? It's been months…hasn't it? I thought I got over him. I hate him…I do." Her heart still felt warm for him somewhere. She respected his decision. After Hibiki's departure, Akira had pronounced that he wanted to remain alone. No matter how much she had hoped, he could never turn to her. A month later, his life of being single ends. Fujio witnesses another heart break as she watches Akira and an unfamiliar upperclassman flirting together in the halls. She was a real beauty, unlike her, she could only think. This girl had gorgeous green eyes and long blonde hair. She had a perfect body, like a model. Fujio however, wore it all off. That is until she spotted them alone together, intimately locking lips for what seemed like centuries.
"It's me then…" She thought. "He just doesn't find favor in me. How can someone like him… fall in love with a small girl…of little beauty…and all of a sudden go completely for Barbie's." She suddenly felt a rising anger replace all that love she kept hidden for Akira those two months earlier. Wherever she went, she avoided eye contact with him. If he tried to speak to her, she immediately ran to Fuuko or Miho.
I want to erase him of my thoughts forever…
She walked late into class that day, not planning for the excuse expected from her. She lazily walked into class and slumped on her chair, avoiding all eyes. "Damn." She thought. "I forgot to set the alarm." She slowly grabbed her text books and placed them on her desk.
"Are you sure?" Fuuko patted her on the back gently. "Did you wake up late again?"
"Gomen…" She simply said.
"Oh…no it's ok." Fuuko said cheerfully. "You had perfect attendance for a while. I hope everything is ok? You aren't normally late."
"Yep…nothing to worry." And with that, Fujio drifted into a peaceful sleep, almost forgetting she was in class. Her sensei became angry. The replacement of Hibiki-sensei walked over to Fujio's desk with little hesitance, grabbing her pigtail roughly. Fujio woke up startled, almost screaming in her unexpected pain.
Akira looked at her curiously.
"Please let go. Ouch!!" She cried out.
"Disrespectful young lady." She hissed unpleasantly. "Get out of my class since you are unwilling to learn this fine morning. You never change. Always so rude." She scolded harshly at her in front of the entire class. Some of the guys in the back placed their hands over their mouths to hold back their laughter.
Fujio flushed. She had never felt so embarrassed. She turned away to avoid eye contact.
"Miss Himejima!! Are you listening?!?!?"
"Hai hai…" She replied desperately wanting sensei to release her tight grip on her pigtail.
"What's wrong with her?" She heard one of the guys say.
"Fujio seems a bit different." Thought Akira. "She usually doesn't let people push her around. Not even sensei." He watched her carefully as sensei was dragging her out of class, mocking her in front of the entire room. He was a little aggravated by all this. "She's doing this on purpose." He immediately pushed passed his seat and headed for the door.
"Fukae-kun?" It was Fuuko-chan. "Please don't. You will get in trouble by sensei." Seeing her made him soft. He still had a 'thing' for the young girl. He blushed lightly and drew back to his seat. There, he kept a fist against his chin while gazing out the window in disappointment.
"There now. No more disturbances. Let's get back to our lesson, shall we?" Declared the sensei as she immediately latched onto her piece of chalk, scribbling today's lesson on the board. "Now…" She gazed around the room looking intently for her next victim. "Can someone please give me the answer to number one on last nights homework?" She played around the room with her finger, spying for a victim. Fuuko sulked back in her seat, afraid to be chosen. Her finger immediately landed on Akira. "AKIRA."
"Eh?" He paused for a very long moment.
"Well? What is the answer?"
He continued to pause. Finally, he rose from his seat and walked to the door. "Sorry, didn't do it." He quickly closed the door behind him. The class was a bit shocked by his sudden reaction. Sensei was speechless.
Chapter 2 - Cold Heart
Fujio walked eagerly out of her homeroom. "I don't mind it. Not at all." A huge smile appeared on her face as she paced down the halls. She was happy to get out of that horrible classroom. More so... she just wanted to get away from it all. She watched the halls to make sure no human was in sight. Quickly, she fled opposite from the head office, avoiding to confront the principal.
"If I take this way, no one will catch me." She thought gleefully to herself. Fujio thought for a moment of ditching school. She wasn't the kind of girl to go that far, but she felt she had to. She was good at not getting caught. These couple of months had changed her. She hadn't really known why...
"You changed, Miss Himejima."
Fujio turned to her friend in confusion.
Seiko quickly glanced into her eyes, pleeding. "Please tell me. Did someone say or do something to you? Was it Fukae-kun?!?"
"Enough!!" Fujio turned away angrily. "He has nothing to do with it now. I am who I am. I will never change."
"Is that so?" She slowly walked away from Fujio's desk, heading towards her own. That was all. Even quiet Seiko noticed the 'new' Fujio Himejima.
"Have I really changed?"
"You have, Miss Himejima..." She quickly felt a hand touch her arm, pulling her around to face whoever was behind her. Fujio gasped, almost pressing against the wall in surprise.
"Fukae-kun?!?" She was turned around so forcefully. Their eyes met unexpectedly. She tried not to blush. Quickly, she snatched her arm away and folded her arms. "What is it?"
"I got in trouble."
"You? What did you do this time? Start another riot against the school? Taking notes on breast sizes of all the girls in our class?"
"Don't be so stupid." He hadn't realized he raised his voice. Quickly, he turned away, blushing. "I stood up for you."
She looked up at him rather suspiciously. What was he talking about? He would never do such a thing for anyone, not even her. Well, maybe for Fuuko-chan. He had a charming nature to him somehow when he wasn't so ruthless and arrogant. But Fujio could never forget how betrayed her heart felt. "You fool." She said simply. "You wouldn't go so low for anyone."
"See? Then why get in trouble for me? I'm not even worth it."
"But I'm curious, Himejima." He turned towards the windows facing the courtyard, trying to think up something to say to her. "You havn't been yourself lately."
Fujio tilted her head a little. She was surprised at first, feeling herself wanting to fall for him all over again for just one moment. The next was another surprise to her. She quickly shook her head, turning away. "That's none of your business."
He forcefully grabbed her arm again, glaring into her now frightened expression. "You made it my business. If none of your friends notice, then who will? You can't just go moping around in depression forever. You try too hard to hide it."
Fujio felt her cheeks flush a bright red. She sadly nodded and stared out the same window he had just been looking through. "Of all people...why now?" She thought to herself. "You're one to talk, Fukae-kun. You changed..."
"It's true, isn't it? Ever since Fuuko-"
"Shut up!!" He said immediately cutting her off. Without thinking, he pushed her away. She almost lost balance. He snapped awake in the moment of realizing what he had done, wanting nothing more in his heart but to apologize. He couldn't find the right words to tell the girl. Fujio felt a little hurt by his sudden actions. Without another word, she quickly fled from him, finding the door leading to her one freedom. He tried to grab her arm, but didn't reach her on time. In his mind, he battled on whether or not to follow the girl. "Follow." He quickly did so.
"Why am I doing this?" He thought to himself. "I remember the way she looked at me that day Hibiki left. She still had her hope for me. It troubles me so much that she would hang on that long for...a jerk like me. I can't even tell whether or not...my feelings for her are even true." He continued in thought as he ran after her. "Maybe...there was a time I really did love her..." He smacked his forehead. "Why now?"
The words 'festival' were written in big bold letters on the black board. The sensei watched all the students carefully. She was a very sneaky snake-like woman, never taking her eyes off the class. She suspicioned every one of her students, from quietest to class clown. One of her victims was always Fujio-chan. She always tried to crumble the girls pride in front of her class, getting a good laugh once in a while. Fujio often laughed to play along. Either that or just nodd, and blush in embarassment.
"Students, hear me out. Pay attention. This summer, our classroom representatives have decided for us a drama for the upcoming festival."
"Festival?" The class of students looked at each other, and pondered at the thought of this years theme.
She stared at the now dull-eyed and uninterested students. She quickly slammed her yard stick against the black board, scaring the half asleep students to death.
"This year's play is going to be about a princess and a curse. It is most appropriate for this year's festival theme."
"Eh?" Were the reactions of some of the students.
"Sensei, what is it about?" Asked Fuuko after raising her hand.
"In this play...the princess can only be lifted from the curse by the man she loves. She is greeted by many men who reach out to her. The real test proves through a mirror. If a man who comes to greet her looks at her from the mirror, they see her true form, a rather ugly creature on the outside, but beautiful on the inside. The one who can see past her form is the only one who can break her curse. But it seems to be that none of the men know of it. She eventually gives up on all the courtship's and runs away from her castle. She appears to be the lovely young lady unless she greets a puddle of water or a mirror. So for a month, she tries to stay away from such things." She blurted out quickly.
"Sounds interesting." Thought Miho. "I'd like to be the princess!!" She giggled cheerfully to herself. "I'm just perfect for the part!"
"She's off in her world again." Seiko smiled pleasantly at her friend. "But if Miho is princess, who will be her one and only?"
Miho turned blank and thought a while. "Hmm..." She gazed around the room with a look of disgust soon appearing on her face. "I think...I change my mind...hehe." She giggled embarassingly to herself.
"Fukae-kun would make a wonderful prince." Thought Fuuko.
"Yeah...he certainly has the looks. Just not the real gentleman type though." Added Miho. "But hey...he likes you still right? Can't you be the princess, Fuuko-chan?"
She shook her head. "No." Her eyes became a little shaky. "It's not the same, him and me. But I know of someone." A grin came across her face.
"Really, Fuuko? Who?"
Fuuko smiled and glanced over at Fujio's empty desk. She then turned to her sensei. "Sensei, I'd like to volunteer the prince and princess."
"That would be greatly appreciated, Kuzuha. Let's see first if anyone would like to volunteer for the two leading rolls. Any hands?" She waited ten seconds. Not a single hand went up. The class was more worried about Fuuko's decision, hoping he or she wouldn't be chosen for such a large role. She then turned to Fuuko, smiling. "Since no one volunteered, I'll allow you to choose, Kuzuha."
"There you are..." He finally caught up with the girl. She found a shady little bench to get out of the sun. She had almost collapsed on arrival. Fujio was blank and worn out. Not a tear escaped from her face. The love she felt for him had almost vanished. She lightly rested on her side, letting her mind wander. "You really are hard to come by."
"Why do you continue to follow me?" She asked sadly.
"Well..." He couldn't look her in the eye. He simply found a bench next to hers and sat there.
She scooted up in a sitting position, tilting her head at him curiously. She tried not to blush. "You certainly are strange, Akira."
"Yeah, I guess." He tried to come up with something to say. "I haven't really said a word to you in two months. And don't ask why I followed you. I didn't even want to walk back to class. It's a joke anyway." Fujio looked upset. She didn't know what to say. In fact, neither of them could say anything for two minutes. Finally, Akira sighed, and forced himself to look into her eyes. "Forgive me." He blushed slightly. "I must have said cruel things to you. I must have...broken your heart."
Fujio sat there in confusion. She felt her heart wanting to beat violently out of her chest. He sat there willing to admit all those things to her. She was happy and sad all at once. She thought of words to say. Shakily, she could only make out so little. "You did break my heart."
"..." He said nothing. His heart also pounded violently in his chest, wanting this very moment to mean more than it was implying to him. He couldn't control his thoughts anymore. He slowly placed his hand over hers, clutching it tightly. Fujio almost lost her breathe. He moved in a little closer to her. She too did the same. She pushed her body forward, inching her knees closer to his body. He stared down at her soft features, lost in her eyes. "Since when...have Fujio's eyes been so beautiful?" He thought. He was lost in her glimmering honey-filled eyes, leaning ever closer to her lips. They paused. Fujio ignored his lips, instead collapsing onto his chest. Fresh tears sprang in her eyes, and she began to cry softly.
"I was the fool to think that I could win your cold heart. I wanted to do all those things for you...like Fuuko did. I came all the way to school that night when you boys took over and protested on the injustice given to all the boys at school. I brought food...but I saw that Fuuko-chan came before me with that very idea. She won your approval. I sadly went home embarassed to even show my face to you. All those times she was there...I had been there too. But I couldn't just make myself known to you while she was there. I thought of you just as much as she did, but even more. She loved you as a close friend. I..." She turned away from embarassment. She refused to show him anymore new tears. He noticed despite the fact she was avoiding eye contact. "I was in love with you, Fukae Akira!" She found herself whispering to him.
He just smiled and took her chin under his fingertips. "Why are you torturing yourself?" He didn't sound harsh at all anymore. He said it cooly with that little grin adding to it, to give her a hint that he wasn't the bad guy she made it seem to be. She blushed. "Even after all I've done, are you still in love with me?"
Fujio looked away, nodding a little. "Do you still love Fuuko?" She was almost embarassed to ask.
He shook his head. "Fuuko is in love with Hibiki. I've just recently understood that no matter what I do, she will never love me.. However...whether I will love again, I don't know. All I can really give you is my apology..." He quickly got up and left her side. She watched him leave until he was no longer in sight. She finally decided to head back in her own direction.
"Even after two months. You can imagine what It's like to be in love and be told you aren't his one and only." She sighed and walked ahead. She placed her fingertips against her lips, blushing a little. "He almost..."
And all of a sudden, it was thrown on them, Just like that.
"Fukae-kun is the prince and Fujio-san is the princess."
Both of their faces flushed a bright red. They turned away.
"Who the hell set this up anyway?" Demanded Akira. He waited for about 5 seconds before Fuuko-chan stood up. She bowed her head in an apology.
"I'm so sorry, Fukae-kun. I just thought-"
He only sighed, cutting her off. "Fine...I'll go with it."
"Really?!?" She was surprised. An immediate smile came to her face and she quickly sat back down. Akira blushed a little.
"Maybe he still likes her." Thought Fujio. "I can't let it get to me." She stood in front of Akira. "Wait!!! Why do I have to be a princess?? That's just not me-"
"Class vote." Said the sensei simply. "Majority counts."
Fujio and Fukae looked over at each other and pouted.
"The rest of our 'beloved' men will be the suitors to the princess."
"My...SUITORS?!?" She made a disgusted face, almost falling over. "Fukae-kun is my prince?" Fujio was almost in disbelief.
"Is there a problem, Himejima?"
"Eh...eh no maam!!!"
"I guess it's fine." Akira said lowly. "I mean who cares right? It's just a dumb play. Let's do it and get it over with."
Fujio stared blankly at him. She had no words to say. He did sound like the usual Akira back before all these sudden changes came about. "In a way...I wish you did care, but I really prefer you this way...just as you are now."
"You think by setting them up as prince and princess going to make him fall in love with her?" Miho questioned to Fuuko who stood proudly smiling towards the gate. They had just been dismissed from classes and were on their way home. Seiko also nodded and tried to join in on the conversation. Fujio strangely wasn't around to hear their babbling.
"So...why is it that we are trying to get Akira and Fujio together again?"
"Because they love each other, that's why." Miho winked at her. "Our little Fujio's growing out of her tomboyish side and becoming a woman right before our eyes, my dears." She beemed. "We just have to reattach them."
"But Miho. What if Akira rejects our little Fujio all over again?"
"He won't resist her." She chuckled. "We will make Fujio so hott that every guy would beg before her." She grinned at the thought. Seiko and Fuuko laughed nervously behind her. "Say, where is Fujio anyway?"
"Fujio? Don't worry about her. She was telling me that her friend was going to pick her up after school today and take her down to the beach."
"The beach?!?" All were astonished.
"Hai. Don't you know? She is trying to go national I guess. Or at least she's in training to become one of the best female surfers and compete. I guess that's what she told me."
"Wait a minute. Since when?"
"Two months, I believe."
Fujio quickly got out of the car to unload her surf board. "Wish me luck!! I hope to get real good at this." She said to her friend who just nodded and drove off. With a wide grin on her face, Fujio marched excitedly down the tall hill of sand to get to the salty waters. She had already been dressed in her swimsuit, and ready for any challenge. All she needed was practice. The sun was beating down on her delicate skin, already burning her within the first minute of contact. Fujio had never really learned how to surf before Hibiki-sensei left. She took an interest from Fukae-kun when she immediately discovered his love of surfing. Even though she had some sort of dislike for him, surfing had become a big part of her life within these two months. She remembered her first attempts on a surf board, always falling or injuring herself. She sprained her ankle after collapsing from her surf board the second time. How she hated waiting for a while til she recooperated.
"I'll do my best this year." She grinned.
"Don't get your hopes up, little girl." Interrupted a feminine voice from behind.
Fujio immediately felt her pride fly away. Her face fell. Fujio spun around, almost slamming her head against the board from astonishment. She eyed suspiciously a tall blonde woman with green eyes grinning unpleasantly at her. She wore a small pink bikini, and carried a surf board tucked securely under her arms. She lightly poked Fujio on the forehead, making her flinch back in anger.
"What the hell was that for?!? Who are you anyway?"
"So...you are the girl that keeps troubling Fukae-kun, eh? I'd say, miss Himejima...you aren't very much of a competition when it comes to beauty. You are rather dissatisfying to look at."
She clutched her fists together. "You have no right to talk to me like that. However, you are familiar, and I won't let that pass."
"Figure it out." She said simply. Akira soon joined the womans side with a surf board in his own hands. He eyed Fujio suspiciously. "Oh, Akira." She lightly pecked him on the cheek.
"How sickening." Fujio turned to walk away.
"I didn't know you could surf, Himejima." Akira was rather surprised.
She paused and turned around. "You never asked, Fukae. Now if you will excuse me. I have to practice. I'm determined to win."
"You won't ever beat me, little girl." The woman scoffed. "By the way. My name is Mala and I'm going to win for my beloved Akira. He can judge who is better." She grinned evilly. She looked over at Akira with
Akira rolled his eyes. Ignoring Mala, he continued to question Fujio with interest. She could tell just how shakey he seemed. He wasn't the type to really talk or even look at people. She knew this from experience. She almost pulled back in surprise after seeing him smile for the first in what seemed like forever. "How long have you...been surfing?"
"Two months. Thanks to you." She winked and quickly set out.
Mala, impatiently screamed after her. "Oh no you don't!!!"
Akira watched carefully, almost amused at Mala's attempt to rid Fujio's pride.
"Damnit, this girl doesn't quit. What is she trying to prove anyway? I thought I was being stubborn." She made a disgusted face.
Mala rode alongside Fujio aggressively. She snickered and slid a little closer, cutting off space for Fujio.
"What are you doing?!?" Fujio panicked. Mala quickly grabbed hold of the string behind Fujio's swimsuit. "Oh no you don't!!" She quickly jumped off her surf board landing on Mala, knocking her off her own surf board and into the water. Minutes later, Mala washed onto the shore just in front of Akira. He simply laughed at her.
"Akira...please help me up?" She said in a somewhat gentle voice.
He simply waved his hand in front of her displaying a serious look to her. "You brought this upon yourself, you know. Stop being so ignorant."
"By the way, where's Himejima?"
"THAT girl?" She laughed aloud. "Who knows. She diserved what she got in the end, though."
He took her roughly by the arm, jerking her towards him. "What are you saying?!?" He barked at her. "Where is she?!?"
"Oh, Akira. Don't be so silly. She will come back when she feels like it." She sat up brushing the sand off her swimsuit, and twirling her hair with her fingers. "I hope you aren't planning anything."
"Nevermind." He quickly ran past her and dove straight into the water. Mala's eyes widened out of the shock that her 'boyfriend' was trying to pull off hero for another girl and not her.
"What does he think he's doing?!?"
Akira searched endlessly for Fujio, almost scared to death that perhaps Fujio might have drowned in the endless blue. He called out her name desperately hoping for an answer. He dove in once more. As he gazed around under the water, he could feel his eyes burning from the salt as the water made it's entrance into his thin goggles. Nevertheless, he kept going. Finally, he spotted Fujio sinking rather slowly but just a few feet away. Quickly, he swam to her.
"Fujio." He thought. "Don't die here..." He quickly snatched her arm, pulling her close to him in an embrace. He shot up from the water, gasping for air. Thankfully he wasn't too far out. He thought it to be difficult to track Fujio but he assumed too early.
Mala's face fell as she saw Akira approaching the shore carrying Fujio in his arms. "HOW COULD YOU?!?" She went balistic. "Holding another girl in your arms is FORBIDDEN." She screetched to the top of her lungs.
He glared at her. "Then you aren't 'my' girlfriend anymore." He said coldly.
"You heard me. It's over." He snapped angrily at her. He had been worried about Fujio's safety, knowing it was all wrong what the witch had done to her, even if Fujio supposedly meant little to him. He was tired of her. Simple as that.
"But...why?" She stood there in question. She was almost in tears. (Reader, don't pity her. They are rather stubborn tears shed by another vicious whore.) She clutched her fists together, clobbering the sand beneathe her. "Fukae-kun!"
"It's over!" He turned away from her. "I should have said it the first day we met. I was the fool all over again." I never even loved her, Akira repeated in his mind.
Mala also turned the opposite direction and started walking away. "You will regret this, Fukae." She thought of many ways she could think of to get back at him. If anything, she wanted to be in control.
Fukae paid no attention to her. He instead gave his full attention to the young girl who needed it. As soon as he lie her down, Fujio started coughing up water on her own. She took a while to breathe on her own. Akira could only sit beside her and wait. He had almost considered CPR before lying her down, blushing at the thought of his lips curling up against hers.
"Fukae-kun?" She coughed up a bit of water, taking a while to breathe. She forced herself to sit up beside him, feeling a bit shaky all over. "Fukae-kun...why did you-"
"You know..." He stared out at the ocean and sky while speaking to her. "Enough sea water could poison your body."
She looked up at him with her shiny brown eyes, forcing him to look at her. She indeed was beautiful when she wasn't so angry or tomboyish around him. She was calm yet pleeding with him. He couldn't help but blush.
"Her eyes." He thought to himself. "I've never seen her this close. It feels like...she's reading my mind. Her eyes are beautiful."
Fukae thought he lost it. He found himself leaning closer to her, unwillingly. He couldn't help himself. She even noticed how bright red his face was. She smiled as he approached her. Her eyes slowly closed as his lips almost touched hers. Akira was beginning to wonder why Fujio had suddenly stopped. He felt warmth on his lap, almost surprised. Fujio nearly fainted on his lap. Akira almost panicked and couldn't help but notice where her hands were. He felt extremely red in the face, knowing that Fujio wasn't fully conscious before him. She let herself fall on his lap, smiling.
She was almost too comfortable to think about moving any time soon. "Fukae-kun..." She whispered. "Thank you..."
Chapter 3 - The nightmare
"Dreaming...dreaming..." Fujio was confused. She gazed around the black folds of darkness in wonder. "Where am I?" Total darkness took over her. She wasn't able to view some of her body. Scared, Fujio began running. Outside of her dream however, Fujio desperately clutched the covers in fear.
"Himejima..." A gentle voice called out to her. It sounded a bit deep and rather cold. Her eyes glimmered in a bright blue light that descended from out of no where in that small black space. She lifted a hand over her eyes to shield from the blinding light. "Himejima." The voice was louder now.
"Who is it?" She took a slight peek as the light dimmed from her face. Unable to think or know what could have happened or see who it was, a hand forcefully grabbed her arm, pulling her close. She cried out in pain, and tried pulling away. "It hurts..." She cried.
"I hope so." The voice answered. He drew her nearer. Fujio found herself lost in his eyes, staring into his cold complexion. "I love you almost enough to hate you." He reached for her neck, giving her a light squeeze.
Fujio wanted to scream and push away. "Who are you? Release me!!" She couldn't see his face. Only his cold blue eyes, and black wings that now wrapped around her body. He ignored her pleas and squeezed harder around her throat. "No..." She struggled to breathe. He immediately pushed her to the ground, clutching a sword in his free hand. The fear in her eyes caused him inevitable pleasure. She wanted to scream, but nothing came out. She wanted someone...
He quickly drove his sword into her arm, re-opening the wound she gave herself from her past. Her eyes widened, and tears now filled her desperate eyes.
She jumped out of bed, screaming. Her hair was in a mess, and her clothes were a little out of place. "Nothing happened." She tried to breathe. Fujio raised her arm close to her face. Her eyes widened in horror at what she saw. "How could this be?" She quickly ran to the bathroom to look for the first aid kit. "It was just a dream." Tears formed in her eyes. "It's painful." She let herself fall to the ground, feeling as though she had lost so much energy just by tossing around in her sleep. She started to cry.
Fuuko, Miho, and Seiko immediately burst into Fujio's bedroom.
"Fujio?" They walked over to the bathroom door. Fuuko began to panick.
"OH NO..." She paced around the bathroom. "First aid!! She's bleeding!!!"
"Fuuko?!?" Fujio immediately stood up and tried to hide her arm from her friends' view. "Oh my god, what are you doing here?!?"
"Fujio, what happened? Why are you bleeding?!?" Miho asked, also shocked. Seiko looked back, staring at the bed Fujio slept in. She too was shocked and almost screamed.
"Mi....Miho..." She pointed shakily at the covers.
"What is it, Seiko?" Miho turned to look in the direction. She almost screamed. "Oh my god. Fujio, you need a doctor!!!!" She cried out, running over to the phone.
"NO NO, guys!!! I'm fine, really!!!" Fujio laughed.
"You are fine?!? Look at your bed! There's blood everywhere!!!"
Fuuko grabbed the bandages from the first aid kit, and immediately wrapped them around Fujio's wound. Fujio almost jumped up from her touch.
"It stings..." Fujio placed a finger in her mouth.
"It will be alright, Fujio." Fuuko told her. Her voice, full of compassion, led Fujio to an easier relaxation. She sighed heavily, almost slouching. Fuuko looked into her eyes curiously. "Fujio-chan. How did you get this? Did someone do this to you?"
Fujio blinked a couple of times, not knowing how to answer her on such a subject. She turned away, shaking her head slightly. "Let's not talk about it, alright?"
"Um...okay." Fuuko looked away sadly. She wanted to help her dear friend, but didn't know what more to do. She too sighed, got up, and walked over to Miho and Seiko.
"I should get ready. We will be late for school." Fujio said dully. She got up, and walked passed her friends.
"Who will look at me for what I am on the inside? These suitors judge me by my outward appearance and cower before me. I'm ugly. Why is it that I am cursed with this hideous demon whenever I look at my reflection in mirror or in water? Even so, it is the test of true love. The one who ccan look passed my horrible reflection is promised to me as told in mother's story." Fujio took a bow, smiling with gentle satisfaction at her classmates, her audience for the past two rehearsals.
"Well done, Fujio-san!!" The sensei clapped. "I didn't think you could do it!! You fit well for the part!!"
Fujio felt herself grow warmer. She watched the sensei and her audience, blinking a couple of times in astonishment. They clapped for her, delighted that her practice was almost too perfect. Usually, Fujio would nodd and agree, taking pride in what she did best. But when she glanced over at Akira, he quickly turned away pretending not to be concerned. Fujio turned away as well, finding herself blushing. She caught him staring at her that very moment her eyes met his from across the room.
"Fujio-san!! You were wonderful! You almost sounded like you really were sad when you were up there. In fact, I almost cried!" Fuuko smiled widely at her friend, taking her by the hand to congratulate her. Akira stood at the far end of the room, watching carefully, but acting the usual careless attitude type. Fujio immediately placed her hand over her aching arm, where the wound was reopened that morning. It stung a little, making her squeeze her hand over her arm.
"Fukae." The sensei looked at him sternly, handing him a stack of papers. "Here's your lines."
"Huh?" He looked confused, examining the stack of papers now placed in his hands. "What is this?"
"Oh..." He didn't look the least bit interested. He began scanning the lines eagerly. He sweatdropped. "What is this crap?!?"
"Someone tell me...why...why do I have to sit here and endure HIS rebellious behavior." She thought to herself. Shrugging it out, she turned angrily to the rest of her class. "Memorize your lines by Friday. Now go."
"Fujio-san. I'm impressed. It was as if you were speaking those beautiful lines from your heart."
Fujio blushed and began to laugh a little nervously. She almost tripped over her shoe by attempting to walk in front of her friends too suddenly. "Ahaha...not true. Really."
"But it's true. I mean...look at you? I'd love to do your make up!!" Miho grinned evilly, jabbing her friend from behind her shoulder. At this moment, Fujio turned blank, almost falling over completely attempting one of Kuzuha's usual clumsy instances.
"Fujio-san!! If it's ok...can I help you make your dress?" Fuuko jumped up almost in her face with pleeding eyes. She smiled widely, almost balancing on her heals with her fists pressed together against her chest. Everyone turned to Fuuko with interest.
"I had no idea you can sew." Fujio was impressed. She lightly patted her friend on the back. "You don't have to go through all that trouble."
"I don't mind!!"
"You are so sweet, Fuuko-chan. I don't even know how I could repay you. No..." She lowered her head in disappointment. "I couldn't let you. It's too much!!"
Fuuko shook her head in disagreement. "Not at all. I want to help. It's going to be your special day."
"Fuuko-chan? Why did you volunteer Fujio as princess and Fukae as prince?" Asked Seiko.
"Yeah. I mean it's not like they are on good terms or anything."
"Well I thought that at first. But.."
"So what gives? I mean Fujio has already confessed her love, and it didn't work out."
"What?!?" Seiko and Fuuko both jumped back, astonished at what they had just heared.
"Oh...yeah." Miho managed to laugh a little out of nervousness. "Well, it was for a while. Fujio-san was in love with that idiot Fukae-kun."
Fuuko turned away in dissappointment. She had recalled a memory of that very day she went out to look for Fujio...and instead running into Akira. What she was about to hear completely shocked her. She had no feelings for him, and realized at that point her evolving feelings for a teacher she thought would be forbidden to find such love with. He wanted to know her answer. He wanted the love he had for her to be returned to him. She disappointed him. Fuuko broke Fukae's heart. "Fujio-san." She thought of her. She remembered the day before, encountering Fujio. She was rather depressed and wanted to say something then. "It makes me happy when you are happy." It was all she could think about. She had hoped it would cheer her up, the words and the ice cream.
"Yeah. He broke her heart at the roof top, and told her he loved someone else. That was two months ago though, just before Hibiki-sensei left. I'm sure she's over him by now."
"That someone else..." Thought Fuuko sadly. "She was me all along." Her eyes became shakey from finally figuring it out clearly enough. "Fujio...tried to tell me all along. I wish I listenened. It's no wonder she was so depressed. She was afraid to tell me. She must have been. Even after Fukae-kun confessed his love to me, Fujio didn't show she was sad at all. Fujio is so strong. I wish I was like her." She smiled to herself. "Hibiki...please come soon. I know you would say everything would be alright. You would help Fujio too just like you helped me. I think that this is the best way to help her be happy by volunteering Fujio to be princess and Fukae-kun to be prince."
"The maiden of the lake hides herself from the world outside and beyond. What does she have to hide? Many in the town have come to see and ask her hand in marriage, but they've all fled from her sight. If she is as beautiful as they say, then I will see for my myself!" Akira announced. He quickly glanced at his script when forgetting lines, or to recite the next paragraph. He was good at memorizing, so catching piece by piece was no problem for him. He became frustrated one at a time for having been chosen one of the most difficult parts to recite. "In the end...the prince confesses his love to her...but when he discovers her true form, he too cowers and renounces his love." Akira sighed in disappointment. He smacked his forehead, and let himself fall back against his bed in thought. "Why does this soubnd so familiar?" He set the script on his left side of the bed. "The prince is no different than me. He is a fool of all fools. A heartbreaker and nothing more." He buried his face in his hands out of anger and frustration, while still lying down on his back. "Fujio-san. Why does it hurt to think about you?"
(( His memory...))
"Fukae...thank you so much..." She collapses on his lap. For a while, he sat there motionless. Her skin was soft, and nestled against his. He blushed, and tried to look away, but he couldn't resist. She was so fair and innocent sleeping there on his lap. The way she smiled, he couldn't dare think to wake her.
"What do I do now?" He wondered aloud. "Mala and I are over. I can't believe how stupid it was to even be with her. I wasn't even in love with her." He continued thinking. "How could it be so? She was just there as an excuse to recover from a broken heart. It's almost real to me now that the love between Mala never even existed. I just kept crumbling Himejima's heart every moment I was near that woman. I'm a fool and she knows. There's no one I'd rather be with right now. I just wish it was easy." He sighed and forced himself to admit. "Being with Fujio-san...makes me happy." He recalled another memory of their school camping trip. They took shelter from the rain that night. That very night was warm and new to him. If he hadn't been alone with her, he would have completely shut off any thoughts of Fujio out of his mind. He found himself smiling at her. It was the first real smile he'd ever given to anyone. The way she looked at him, those sad and loving eyes, made him unsure of his feelings for Fuuko. He saw a new side to Himejima. In fact...he was falling in love with her. But he wanted to love Fuuko, not Fujio. He tried to forget that new feeling coming from the poor girl who silently cried her heart out for him.
"It's getting late." He thought back to the beach. He gently picked her up, carrying her in her arms. She leaned against his chest continuing to sleep peacefully. He then glanced over to the ocean. "Fujio loves surfing. She's such a mystery, always hiding herself around me. Aggressive but shy. Why does her skin feel so soft. She isn't all that masculine like the other guys think of her. She's a girl, inside and out. She's no different than Kuzuha."
"I am the princess of new life. Have you come to see me? Despite the stories you hear of me?" Fujio paced around her room, memorizing her lines, and putting a full heart into her acting. She didn't really know why she was. She never really was a leader for anything. She was happy. This was her chance to prove to her class she was more than just an 'annoying brat' as the sensei thought of her. She wish there would be someone in particular to impress. She continued. "I have lived for many years trapped in this old dark palace beneath the waters, and have occassionally came for air. I am like the pearl of the ocean, foretold in your legend. I am the oject of your delicious desires and nothing more. Now you come to me proclaiming your love? How do I know you will not cower before me in my true form? You may as well accept that you are just like the others. You will not love me after today." She concluded.
"I will love you with all my heart. Why in the world would I fear a flower?" Akira suddenly came in. They were on a stage now, rehearsing for the last time. Fujio gave him an aggrivated look to fit in perfectly with her role of mistrust.
"We shall see then, if you really love me."
"Give me any test, and I will pass!" He proclaimed, almost perfecting the pride in him. It was odd to see Akira have a personality. He was always quiet or distant. To see him brought out like this in front of his class was an advancement, and an astonishment.
"Wow..." Thought Fuuko. "They can act wonderfully, especially when together."
"Yeah, miracle, isn't it?" Thought Miho. "Although I could have done a better job myself!" She winked, and giggled to herself.
"Miho, please. You are rather loud." Added an embarassed Seiko.
Fujio walked onto center stage, peering down into a mirror. It was a prop used in place of water, to make her reflection appear realistic to an audience. She then turned to Akira and nodded. "Your test...is to look into this puddle of water."
"Puddle of water?" He scoffed. "How easy can that be?!?"
"Can you really pass this test, I wonder? Why not look into this puddle. Can you really love what you see?"
"Of course." He chuckled. "Why wouldn't I?" He slowly walked over t where she stood, and peered into the mirror. His face fell. "What is this?!?" He turned to her in horror. "It's so disgusting. Why do you want me to love a creature that lives in this puddle?"
"It's..." Fujio turned away. "The real me. The me you are blind to see. Tell me prince, can you really love 'that' me? Despite my heart of pure gold?"
"I don't....know..." He turned away, acting disappointed.
"And just like that. All men are the same. You don't love me. Be gone..." She cried out.
He had failed in the story. He nodded, and silently walked off the stage towards the right wing. As soon as he got off that stage, he could feel an unpleasant chill rush down his spine, making him twitch. He watched Fujio carefully from behind the curtain, as she acted the look of despair.
"Is she really acting? It almost seems too real." He remarked softly to himself. He was almost too amazed that Fujio could act. What made her so different, was how he wasn't able to distinguish if she was either acting or being realistic. He would gaze into her honey brown eyes, trying to read her mind.
"Wow, Fukae-kun!!" Fuuko rushed to his side. He hadn't noticed her approach from being so lost in thought. She continued to praise him. "You did so wonderful up there! I wish I can act like you and Fujio."
Akira never took his eyes off Fujio. He only nodded. "Don't be so dumb. Everyone can do it. It's not that great though."
"I'm sorry." She bowed. This time he looked down at her, staring into her rose-colored eyes. She smiled sweetly at him. "Fukae-kun, it doesn't matter. I think you did very well. Is something bothering you?" She tilted her head a little out of curiosity and waited.
"Um...I don't really know what it is. My heart..." He places his hand over his chest. "It gets really warm around..."
"..." He looked down, almost too embarassed to reply. "She won't forgive me."
"Fukae-kun...you worry too much. You shouldn't be afraid to tell the person you love how you feel, despite the fear of rejection."
He turned to her in surprise.
She continued. "You can always learn from your past and where to start anew. If you dwell on the past, then I guess you could say things wouldn't turn out so great."
"But then what about you?"
"Me?" She giggled. "You don't need to worry about me. I love my Hibiki-sensei. I don't care if he was my sensei or man or woman. I just know my heart lies there waiting for him when he finally returns."
She smiled again at him. "Fukae-kun, don't be afraid to follow your heart. It always seems to be hard or some. If you could confess your love to me even thoough I was always so clumsy or stupid, and you weren't afraid to follow your heart then, what makes it any different now?
"Oh..." Fuuko spun around to greet her friends. "Miho! I was just congratulating Fukae-kun. I'm coming." She went after Miho, leaving Akira alone once more. He sat there for a while in thought. He often took a quick glance at Fujio, who was still acting the 'sad' scene on stage. She went on.
"There is no hope for a girl like m e. I am cursed with the other me unless someone were to love me despite what they see. Is it too much to ask? Is it?"
"No..." Thought Akira to himself. "It isn't too much. I wish there was someway...some easy way to tell you."
"Just one more night to go!" Thought Fujio to herself, feeling very grateful. "This practice is just too much for me."
Fuuko ran after Fujio who had already went ahead in her own little direction after rehearsal. Tomorrow was the big day for the entire school, especially for her class. Everyone seemed to be nervous.
"Wait, Fujio!!" Fujio stopped to meet Fuuko who almost vainly fell to the ground trying to catch her breathe. After moments of waiting, she quickly stood up. In her small hands was a package she held up towards Fujio. She smiled widely and pushed it a little towards her. "It's for you. I hope you like it. I spent last night working really hard on it!"
Fujio felt her eyes grow big. She stared into Fuuko's eyes. Fuuko-chan was always so nice and thoughtful. She never really thought about herself first. She was always going out of her way for others. Especially Fujio, who seemed to be that one friend who had been there the most for her. She thrived for a wonderful friendship. You could almost say that these two months made Fuuko and Fujio the best of friends. Fuujio carefully took the package in her frail hands. She immediately threw her arms around Fuuko, tightly embracing her. "Thank you so much!!"
Fuuko only smiled and left rather quickly, before Fujio could say anymore. Fujio watched Fuuko fade away. She clutched the package tightly in her arms. She hadn't notice Akira watching her from a distance. However, he pretended not to care.