Himawari by Anna Clair
Summary:

She lives with the echoes of a decision that was made so long ago that it's hardly relevant to her life anymore. At least, that's how it should be in her mind but- it isn't. It's always going to be there and she's always going to regret it.

He lives his life furious, upset and downright depressed about the way the woman he once loved with all his heart handled his flaws. This woman ignored every right that he had as her boyfriend, she broke his heart to heal her own, and she made decisions for him that they could never take back.

One mismatched date, two meddlesome best friends and a whole lot of havoc later Christine and Yamapi are about to realize what it means to let go of the past and live in the gift that is their today.
Categories: Japanese Entertainment Characters: Aragaki Yui, Ikuta Toma, Kitagawa Keiko, NEWS: Nishikido Ryo, NEWS: Yamashita Tomohisa
Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Story Type: Multi-Chaptered
Warnings: Fictional Character(s), Fluff, Sexual References, Violence, Vulgar Language
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: No Word count: 15753 Read: 1101 Published: Feb 19, 2014 Updated: Jul 05, 2016
Story Notes:
I own nothing and no one lalalala but I do own Himawari the plot, the character and the general relationships and characterizations of all celebrities used here to represent fictional characters.

1. And Nothing Was The Same by Anna Clair

2. Back to Where It Began by Anna Clair

3. The Pair Of Two Fools by Anna Clair

4. Epic Voices and Scary Choices by Anna Clair

And Nothing Was The Same by Anna Clair
Author's Notes:
Enjoy my lovelies. Himawari debuts.
“Tomo how are you doing today?” Tomohisa looked up to the woman in front of him, legs crossed. Looking at him as kindly as she could muster but he knew that she was struggling to hold back a lashing for him.

Every week she asked him this question and he responded with the usual. “I’m still struggling.”

He saw her face fall but she tried to pull it back up together. “Have you been keeping the diary I’ve asked you to? To be writing down your emotions?” He cringed at the word and saw her face fall even more.

“Dr.Irving, I just haven’t-“ He sighed disheartedly. “I can’t. I can’t just write my feelings and expect to get over it. I can’t. It haunts me.” He bit down on his tongue, happy to feel the pain in his mouth as he shut his eyes tightly. “She haunts me.”

This caught the attention of his doctor as he saw her lean forward, her perfectly painted lips parting in shock. “She? Tomohisa this is the first time-“

“I know. I don’t even- I’m-“ He felt the tears flood his eyes again and his psychiatrist he saw was conflicted. As she always was every time he broke down in her office. She was young, and inexperienced and sometimes she was weak. So Dr.Cheryl (or Cherry as she'd asked him to call her) Irving touched his shoulder and he looked up at her, tears tainting his vision so all he could see was the worried face of a very beautiful 28 year old woman.

“Tomohisa…you can’t help it. She died. You didn’t have an option.”

“I didn’t even want kids.” Pi muttered out as he rubbed at his nose lightly. “I mean I love kids. I love my little nephew and-“

“What happened to you was wrong. I’m sorry but you need to move on. If you didn’t want kids…why are you so fixated on this?”

“I don’t know.” Pi struggled as he bit out looking at her and shook his head. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have come. I’m sick of wasting your time Dr.Irving.”

“Tomohisa I’m here-“ But before his psychiatrist could finish talking he had already bolted out of the door. He knew now, no matter what weird strategy she had come up with for him to get over this he would never. He had never realized how powerless he was until that day-

“Yo fucktard you ready yet?”

“You know one day you’re going to stop swearing.”

“Fuck that.” Yamapi grinned out at his best friend who was looking at him totally unhumored. “You fucking ready yet dickwad?”

“That was just unnecessary." Toma frowned as Pi snickered mischeviously.

"I know I just wanted to piss you off."

"All I need is the glow in the dark paint. Did you bring it?” Toma looked at his best friend who look positively villainous as he lifted the canister. “Okay so you did bring it…but did you have to get pink? You couldn’t have gotten something gender neutral? Like yellow or green?”

“Fuck yellow and green. Chicks dig pink.” Pi put the canister down and grabbed the bottle of Jacks the two of them were pre-drinking from pouring a shot down his throat. “Shirt off fucktard, let’s get painted.” With that Yamapi ripped his shirt off his very muscular body, and his slightly less muscular friend followed suit as they painted themselves with the canister and slipped their wife beaters back on. “Game on brother. Tonight’s going to rock.”

And tonight did, because like the excellent wingman he was Yamapi found his friend a beautiful Disney princess Mulan looking girl to spend the rest of the night with and he was on his way to making a move on her equally pretty Cinderella blond friend when it happened. He spotted the bane of his existence making her way over to the bar, in the exact spot he was standing with her equally annoying friend in tow.

“Oh my god! Yamapi!” Keiko hugged him immediately, without his consent, and Yamapi was nothing if not the worst gentleman ever so he threw her off him and gave her a dirty look. When girls cheated on you that was generally the reaction you gave them when they tried to be friends again.

“Come on Pi, don’t be like that.” Yui pouted. Yui was a little better he’d give her that. She was going to be doctor after all, you had to be a half-way decent human being to be a doctor right? Otherwise wasn’t there some rule you couldn’t pass the test? “You look good Pi.” Her eyes ran down his body and she winked at him. Okay that was the other thing he didn’t get. Even when he was dating Keiko, Yui would keep making passes at him. You think he'd be grateful for this because well- Yui was fucking hot but he wasn't. It was fucking weird to be making out with your girlfriend and open your eyes to see her best friend making crude gestures at you. Not to mention it was distracting. “Hey Toma.”

Toma just nodded back quickly at Yui. He wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. “This is Mao and Jennifer. Mao, Jennifer these are our friends from college Keiko and Yui. We were all international students together.” He quickly introduced the girls to avoid seeming confrontational but Pi shot him a look that meant he had to keep Mao and Jennifer as far away as possible from Keiko and Yui while Pi would focus on getting rid of them. He didn’t want to spend the night ridden with the two girls that made his life miserable. No sir, tonight was a good night both Toma and Pi had managed to get exactly their types and god damn it they were going to take advantage of their 8s women who looked like 10s in the dark!

“You do look good.” Keiko trailed a joking finger down his arm and he grumbled and slapped her hand off him. For a second they stood there, until Keiko scoffed rolling her eyes so her gaze was directed away from him. “So you’re still pissed about Sho?”

What a laughable thought. Pi did just that, laugh in her face just a little too hard to prove exactly how wrong she was. “Please. I don’t even care.”

“Then why aren’t we friends Pi?” Keiko grumbled and Yui placed an arm complacently over her shoulder. Pi tried to hold himself back from slapping her and walking away from them because from experience he knew Keiko would only make a bigger fuss if he left first. He’d have to get her to leave.

“Look…I’m glad I ran into you but we should enjoy this party in our own separate areas all right? I mean we can hang out later…but I kinda have something going on there so if you could leave Keiko I’d really appreciate that.” Pi watched Keiko carefully and her eyebrows furrowed.

“We used to be best friends once upon a time. Before we got together. Do you remember that?”

Yeah…and as my old friend you should understand you’re cockblocking me right now as my ex girlfriend, he thought gritting his teeth but held back his words. “I remember.”

“You know we were still pretty good when we were together…why can’t we be together again Pi?” God. Was she trying to die here? Because he definitely wasn’t mature enough to have this conversation without ripping her to shreds here in public. He glanced at Yui who blushed despite herself as he looked at her and barely held back a growl. He saw Yui look down almost shamefully that he had caught her admiring him in his fury. Bitch was crazy. Both bitches were crazy. No wonder they were friends.

“Look Keiko, I appreciate all of this I do but we hadn’t been good for each other since you cheated-“

“No.” Keiko interrupted him, keeping the frown on her face directed towards her feet as she looked at him and Yui’s eyes darted to hers almost fearfully. “No we stopped being good for each other before that.”

“Keiko-“ Yui tried to get her to stop talking. “Keiko stop you don’t want to tell him this.” She tried to keep her voice quiet but Pi had already heard her. “Keiko-“

He knew he shouldn’t care because this was a chapter of his life he was done with, he had been done with it for the past six months. So why, despite his better judgment was he pulling Keiko’s face towards his. Why did he feel the blood in his veins run cold as he saw the tears touch her eyes? What on earth could he have done to make her cry at the mere memory of this? “Keiko…what are you talking about?”

She was always like this when she was drunk. She was always so moody. On the top of the world one moment, crying in the despairs made by her own mind minutes later but today there was a depth to her sadness that strung a chord in him. “Keiko…” He said almost affectionately as she sobbed openly hearing his voice and he saw her rub at her eyes weakly as if to hide her gaze from him but he just grabbed her hand and held her hand back.

“Keiko- what-?”

“The abortion. I just hated you so much after the abortion.” Keiko crumbled as the words slipped out of her mouth as if all the energy it had taken her to say it had made her so weak. She fell weakly back into Yui’s arms which was just as well because- Pi felt his own strength leave him as he looked at the girl in front of him in shock.


As the memory flittered away in his mind he got on the bus sighing. He hadn’t been normal since. He hadn’t sworn, he hadn’t partied, he had become a sullen shell of his self once he realized it was useless pretending he enjoyed behaving the same way he had been for years now.

Keiko had met him sober, but only once after that night. To apologize for telling him.

He hated her more than he had ever thought possible. Which was quite a statement because he had already hated her quite a bit when he remembered this was the woman who had cheated on him…but now he knew it wasn’t her fault. Or at least not really. She wanted to mess up so bad that he’d leave her, that he’d hate her like she hated him because she hadn’t told him- she’d never given him a chance-

He would have been a good dad.

She told him that she’d conceived the very first time they’d had sex. He’d been so intent on doing it that he forced her to forget about the condoms, and he remembered the way she had reluctantly agreed. He gulped down the ball forming in his throat. She had found out she was pregnant once she missed her period two months in a row…Yui had helped her get to a doctor. In a few days, they had taken care of the ‘problem’ and Pi had never noticed…save to tell her she looked like she was gaining weight. He remembered this day clearly because he’d thought his girlfriend was psychotic for crying her eyes out and locking herself in her room. He’d simply yelled at her and walked out of the house and gone out partying with Toma.

He’d even kissed another girl that night. Not that he’d told Keiko about that because kissing didn’t count as cheating in his books, at least not until he saw Keiko kiss another guy.

Now that he thought more about it, he realized that he had hurt his best friend more than he had let her know.

That still didn’t change the fact she took a decision she did not need to without telling him.

He shut his eyes tightly, as the way they'd ended their conversation flew back to his mind.

“You know I always thought it would be a girl. I don’t know why I had a feeling. For a moment I entertained the thought that you’d find out, that you’d be ready, that I’d be ready.” She muttered softly.

“I would have become ready for you.” He spat out rudely.

Keiko looked at him like he was a child, with pity in her eyes. “You, me and Himawari.” She whispered quietly smiling at her coffee and Pi felt his heart stop. It was just for a second but he realized why- before this moment this non-existent child of theirs had been nameless. “I couldn’t be with you once I asked her not to be with us.” Keiko had always been a little insane, and Pi had gone insane being in a relationship with her but- he’d loved her insanity just as much because it was a part of her. So even as she said things that made no sense because the child couldn’t have had a conclusive gender, and in no way would he have ever let her name his child Himawari…there it was.

Himawari. “So you tried to break up with me on purpose?” He furrowed his eyebrows as she looked up at him, eyes tinged with a peculiar sadness.

“I was spoiled, angry, moody, I even kicked the crap out of you that one night…you had bruises but you didn’t break up with me. So I cheated on you. It was the only thing left to do.”

“If you’d told me what you’d done trust me we would have been finished before you beat me up.” Pi shut his eyes painfully. His heart was hammering in his chest, mending the wounds that Keiko had inflicted upon him by cheating on him.

“I was angry. I was so angry at you Pi.”

“WHY WERE YOU ANGRY AT ME WHEN YOU DIDN’T EVEN LET ME HAVE A CHANCE?” He shot back and saw her look at him surprised.

She was silent for a moment, he was heaving breaths. His chest was rising up and down quickly...and then she looked away from him out into the openness of the wilderness cafe they were in. “I didn’t think you were ready.”

“And you were ready to make that choice for me?”

His insistence must have annoyed her because she looked at him blankly now. “Pi, please, you treated me like crap and before I was your girlfriend I was your best friend. I thought things would be different because of that but they weren't- because you're an asshole through and through. Whose to say you wouldn’t treat your own daughter like shit?” He felt his hands fist together as he tried to hold himself back from doing something he’d regret. He didn’t hit girls. “Pi…you didn’t even have a father.” His eyes shot up. This was not something he’d expected even Keiko to say. Her expression, which he’d hoped would have been vengeful and evil, really just looked like she was stating a fact. “How could you learn to be a father when you never even knew what it felt like to have one?”

He’d thought each girl only had the right to break a man’s heart once.

Keiko Kitagawa had managed to break his heart twice.

Despite himself he leaned over and slapped her because this was Keiko and if she could physically take out her anger on him when they were together because of a decision she made without telling him then -

He could hurt her right now for using the one thing he never liked discussing against him, to say that her decision made sense.

“I never want to see you again.” He muttered out and walked away ignoring the looks of the people around him. Sure he looked like an asshole to them. Who the hell hit a woman in public? But they didn’t know what this woman did to him.

If they did they'd have slapped her too.


On the bus now Pi leaned over his body so he could hide his face in his lap. The passengers avoided sitting around him, he looked crazy after all…he was happy about that at least.

If they were away from him, they wouldn’t hear him sobbing.
----------------
End Notes:
As sad as the beginning is- this story is not angst. It's more slice of life than anything :D so dwdw you'll never be this sad again (I think)

Or well - okay maybe in Christine's intro chapter you might be.

LOL Well Enjoy :D it's coming up next.
Back to Where It Began by Anna Clair
Author's Notes:
Christine's beginning :)


----------------

“Christine, where are you off to now?”

“No where you should be worried about Ayu,” Christine sing-songed as she winked at her roommate who only sighed deeply and looked back at her computer, pencil in hair in a haphazard bun, glasses on her face. “Are you going to stay at home and code all day my little turtle?” It was Christine's nickname for her because like a turtle, Ayu spent days upon days in this shell that was their apartment.

“Yup, gotta solve cancer with this program after all!” Ayu grinned back at her widely throwing her an extremely fake smile with a peace sign to boot.

“Just because you’re an awesome computer programmer it doesn't mean you need to fulfill the stereotype so perfectly to a T.” Christine said as she came over and ruffled the hair of her barely older roommate. Though it was obvious by appearances that Ayu was far more immature. “Don’t be so sarcastic, someone naïve may take you seriously one day.”

“Well you know the site's been driving me mad anyways.” Christine pitied her she really did, but sometimes she pitied herself more when she heard Ayumu’s heavy typing echoing in her ears all throughout the night. “I’m just glad I’m interviewing that guy today. I’m going to need all the help I can get and I’m sick of doing everything. It’s getting way too big to handle.”

“Just hire me.” Christine pressed a quick affectionate kiss to her temple as Ayu grumbled and scratched away at her, while scowling at her face much like an angry kitty would. “Sometimes I think you were a cat in a past life.”

Ayu scoffed. “If I hired you you'd be useless. The only thing you could do for me was take better profile pictures for people, I swear I saw one guy who thought his nipple was going to get him popular on the site, it had a hair on it too.” Ayu shuddered silently. “Sometimes I think you’re hiding things from your past life.”

“I was the wife of Louis XVII its true.” She sighed dramatically. “I was Marie-Antoinette. It was a great love we had you know despite the fact I cheated and his head was chopped-“

“Shut up Christine and go wherever the hell you've been going dressed in all black except for your boots on May 9th of every year I've ever known you.” Christine gulped a little when she heard the words seep out of Ayumu’s mouth. She’d never realized she’d been that obvious, but then again would it be that obvious or was Ayu just that damned observant?

“See you for dinner?”

“Yeah. I’m going to use your profile to test some things. Hope that’s okay.” Ayu muttered though Christine huffed at the door, idly twisting her foot inwards.

“You know I never gave you permission to set up a profile on your site for me.” It was a little creepy when she thought about the fact that complete strangers on the internet had personal information about her that was supposed to be reserved for Ayu only, but then again Ayu had never been a very conventional roommate.

“You’ll be happy about it one day when I set you up with the dreamiest guy on the site!”

“Then why don’t you set one up for yourself too?” Christine stuck her tongue out and saw Ayu get flustered. Christine actually wondered why she didn’t. Didn’t it make sense for the owner of the website to have a profile on her own website? Kind of like that guy on Myspace? Tom or whatever his name was?

“I’m not going to date someone from my own site. Geez Christine.” She rolled her eyes and Christine shook her head.

“Good luck with the new kid!”

“I’m going to have to hire him because he’s the only one who applied but he doesn’t know it yet.” Ayu sang back as Christine shook her head smiling as she left their apartment locked the door, because god knew Ayu would never get up from her spot on the couch, and stepped towards the elevator.

She still couldn’t believe Ayu had noticed through all these years. She tucked a hair behind her ear and looked at her phone, her boss had messaged back.

Good luck with all your family matters, we don’t need the car today so you can take it no need to drop it off. We’ll talk about the One Direction outdoor shoot tomorrow too, come prepared with notes.

She quickly replied back so he wouldn’t be worried and that was that. She was all done with her work. Now she could focus the rest of her day on the task before her…and she had the company car too, that was like its own godsend.

She always kind of dreaded this day every year, because it didn’t make much sense to go around making such a big deal of something that she should put behind her. Yet as the time for May 9th rolled around, there she was sitting in front of her window staring outside at the life around her and finding herself guilty all of the sudden for no reason.

She went to the flower stall first. The owner was the same year after year, an old Japanese lady who smiled brightly at her and nodded understandingly. Christine just thanked that she never asked any questions and just gave her the dozen sunflowers stuffed in the cracks with Baby’s Breath. The bouquet was about $30 overpriced but it was the one time in the year where Christine didn’t scrape on anything. After that she went to the cake shop and picked up a large, overly huge chocolate cake, and a bunch of eclairs. No one was even going to eat them she was sure but it still felt kind of nice to grab the extra pastries so she went along with it.

Then she found an ice cream truck managing to run with the cake and flowers in her hand. She asked for an extra-large blue-berry slushie. It was her favourite, so she picked up two and thankfully the guy had a cup holder tray, so she could actually carry all of this and not drop any of it.

After grabbing everything she got back into her car and sighed deeply, turning the radio on as she checked her phone briefly. There was only a message from Talia asking whether she was doing okay and they hadn’t spoken for some time still.

Christine gulped.

Of course she was doing okay. What a peculiar question to ask.

But was it?

Even though she didn’t want to reply right away she did. Which probably meant the message came off catty but Christine couldn’t help it.

She knew she shouldn’t have checked her phone till she finished everything, she checked the time, 2PM. Plenty of time still, but it would be better to get there early and get it over with.

Turning on the engine she started on the long and windy road back to where she’d studied in University. A lake in particular that was beside it, it was about thirty minutes away when she pushed 140 on the highway, and the music she was listening to was helping her get through the ride but she still felt it.

Just as she did every year.

The beat of her heart getting faster, the flashbacks in her mind to the way everything had happened. It had all been over in a little more than two months. Sometimes it felt like that part of her life was like a dream, or something out of a novel. It couldn’t have really happened.

But every time she found herself back here at this lake, she knew it had happened. She'd never be able to ignore the event, no matter how much she wished she could. She slowly made her way out of the car. She was starting to get scared about putting stuff into the lake now because well- to be honest it was kind of like littering but she’d heard of people in various religions doing this so maybe- maybe it’d be okay? She managed to struggle with everything in her hands and made her way towards the lake. She sat down in the same spot she’d sat in close to 5 years ago now. Then she sighed and looked up at the sky.

It was a simple process this honor she paid to something she wasn’t supposed to miss. At least not really, she didn’t miss this thing, she really didn’t, but she did wonder a lot about it. The light from the sun hurt her eyes so she chose now to look back at the sunflowers beside her. They smiled back at her happy about the attention.

“I never really know what to say.” She muttered to herself. She folded her hands together and took a deep breath as she stared out into the horizon. “I guess I want to say as little as possible. I never really know why I come back every year.” This was another strange May 9th tradition.

She picked up one of the slushies she’d bought for herself and sipped it a little. “I bought these today, they’re a new addition…and the eclairs.” Sometimes when she spoke out loud like this, and really this was the only time she spoke out loud ever, she thought she must be crazy.

But it helped to talk out loud and sure it looked like she was talking to herself and she probably was.

But other times it felt like she was talking to- well-

“You know you would have been like five. So I figured I’d have let you start drinking stuff like this. I mean if I kept you. Jesus I hope I'm not doing this when you're 21...I might bring wine then and get sloshed by myself.” She pulled her hair back behind her ear and gulped back the knot that was very quickly growing in her throat. “There was nothing wrong with you, or me but it just wasn’t the right time for you and you weren’t-“ She paused for a second and placed a hand over her eyes. The heels of her brown leather boots digging into the darker brown mud, “I mean it just wasn’t right the way it happened. So I had to do what I did.” For a second her mind flashed back to her ex-boyfriend. She hated thinking about him more than anything.

She was silent for a few seconds, simply hearing the sounds of nature around her, water gushing, the sound of crickets, and it felt like even the glare of the sun had its own noise today. “I hope you understand, I know it’s a bit crazy to come here every year. It’s really stupid. I should stop doing it. I mean for gods’ sake you didn’t even really happen and this is not even where I ended it. I ended it in the clinic two highways past this place…but this is where I mourned you for the first time. So I thought I’d come here.”

She wondered if her child would have even cared about things like this. “I always kind of thought you’d like sunflowers. I like sunflowers…I mean I’m sure it’s might selfish of me to just shove my favourite things on you but I don’t know what you like…so I’m hoping you like what I do. It would have been cute to name you Sunflower, I would have called you Sunny for fun. That’s not a proper name though. It would have been better to call you Lily, or Rose or something more normal floral. Maybe even Peony, but doesn’t Sunflower sound cuter?” She giggled a bit to herself. “Look at me, you could have been a boy and here I am naming a boy Peony.”

“I just want to say I hope you’re okay. I hope you forgive me. I hope that one day if we see each other again and heaven really exists I can see you. I- I wonder sometimes what if. I know life is probably better the way it is now but I still wonder. You would have been a good child. I'm sure of it.” She grinned happily as she stood up and brushed her hands off. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you the chance to be one so all I can do is this.” She picked up the flowers and the cake and the other slushie in her hand leaving hers by the spot she’d dented with her bottom. She walked closer to the water feeling the wind pick up in her hair, the curls flying all over probably mussing up the products she’d put in them to keep it from getting frizzy. She felt the tips of the water wash over her covered feet and smiled lightly. She liked to think when that happened it was kind of like she was touching her.

Or he. She always forgot to remain gender neutral. In her mind, it was always a girl she supposed. “I love you, in a very strange way. Which is why to this day you still haunt me a little.” She smiled back down. “No one in my new life really knows about you, and I know one day I may have to tell some of them…but until then I’ll keep coming here alone okay? Every year, no matter what.” She took a deep breath and picked up the flowers un-wrapping the cord around them so she could place the bouquet into the water and she watched the stems disperse and follow their own path in the water, sunflowers glimmering under the light of their own mother, the sun itself.

Then she picked up the chocolate cake stuffed on the sides with eclairs and placed the box whole into the water shocked to see it float initially which was just as well. Though sometimes she felt a bit bad about wasting the food, it was really the only time of year she did it. She felt like she had to give up some food as well, and cake well all children liked cake right?

She picked up the blue drink from the tray and looked at it sideways it was such an unnatural colour, it probably wasn’t good for children to drink but since she’d loved it as a child how could she hold it back from anyone else? She’d turned out fine. She looked out into the horizon one last time as she poured the slush into the ocean and then took one last breath. She felt free now, like she did every time she finished her silent tribute to the baby who had once lived inside of her. It always sounded so dramatic to put it like that but really it had been quite the opposite when she had been there.

It had been an easy decision for her, she had said no he had insisted and somehow it had happened anyways. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that her boyfriend wasn’t the greatest lover and so it all ended rather quickly. She had been in the wrong technically but she’d been high on her new found freedom away from home so at the shot to move in with her completely new boyfriend who she knew nothing about she took it.

She picked up her slushie from the spot she’d sat at and raised her glass up as if she was silently giving her a toast and could swear she heard a laugh through the wind, but that was probably just her mind personifying nature for her. “See you next year.”

She walked back into the car and started the car, taking one last look at the horizon that looked like it was smiling back at her and she smiled back at it making her peace with her past as she turned the car around and drove back to her present.

Once upon a time Christine Pierce had loved a boy, he had misused her, she had ended up pregnant, she had cried a lot, until she told her friend Talia who caressed her back and told her it was nothing to worry about. It was a mistake a lot of people made, but that was just it. It hadn’t been a mistake she’d made, it had been a mistake forced upon her.

Was it fair to expect her to bear the burden of it all?

So she’d decided to hell with telling him anything, she broke up with him. If she was no longer with him he had no choice and then she went to the clinic filled out all the right forms and then bid good riddance rather happily to something she had thought was going to pose a huge problem for her.

So then why had life started feeling empty soon after the relief dissipated?

She’d heard some people experienced depression but it was more than that, or maybe less than that. It was more that she was happy she had kept her life the way it was, but she was sorry that she had lost what it could have been. So six weeks later after she’d done what she needed to do to get her life back, she came here to this lake off the road, a spot no one really frequented ever and cried her heart out with only the ocean to hear her rather complicated pain.

She still didn’t understand why she kept coming back but she did it anyways. Sometimes it wasn't important to understand these things.

And she would probably continue to come here as long as she lived.

The rituals of buying things had begun after that first year. Always a bouquet of sunflowers and a cake but slowly as her own standard of life was improving so were the things she offered to her.

She sighed and sped up turning the radio back on as she saw the sign telling her she was now entering Los Angeles again. She checked the message she’d sent to Tali at a stop light.

Of course I’m fine. Don’t worry. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

As she took another deep breath and put a smile on her face.

She couldn’t think about this again until next year.
End Notes:
So now you guys know why their love story is going to be more than healthily complicated. I thought internal conflicts might be fun to play around with. I haven't written a story with an internal conflict in a very long time...so we'll see how it turns out :D?
I hope you guys have enjoyed your taste of Himawari :D a lot more is coming up don't worry. So here's the previews :D
PREVIEWS
“Yeah we broke up…her boyfriend came over from Japan. He found out I existed, I didn’t know he existed. It was a bit of a mess.”
“Ah shit I was right? No wonder he’s a business major. I was wondering why a programmer would have a business major.”
“Toma- are you coming out to me-“
“Sleeve dating- what is this dating for clothes?”
“I must have been mentally incapacitated when I agreed to live with you.”
The Pair Of Two Fools by Anna Clair
Author's Notes:
Happy Birthday to me! I haven't written in 3!

3 Months of total weirdness and now apparently I'm free!

Once again, I didn't really have anything else ready so I put this up...I'm hoping I'll start writing more again in the future though :)
When Pi opened the door to his small one bedroom apartment he was happy to see his friend smiling back at him with a six-pack case of beers. “I figured if Mohammed wouldn’t come to the mountain-“

“Yeah yeah, come in Toma.” Pi parted from the door and let his best friend into his house. Since his life had changed, Toma always managed to come and say the same thing. He never gave up on him, but then why would Toma? He was a good guy. He liked having Pi around and in some ways Pi cruelly wondered if it was because Toma didn’t have any other friends. He knew Toma was friendly sure but the guy always seemed to have trouble making friends with people.

Pi didn’t mind that at all, because now he felt like he couldn’t be bothered to make friends or keep them. To be honest, he was a bit of a mess. Seriously one conversation and he’d let his whole life come into question. What a weak and fragile existence he’d really had. “So how’s work going?”

“It’s going. I don’t really have to do much except put trailers together right now which is always a good thing. Pretty lazy work. Most of the time I’m just home anyways.” Pi yawned as he stretched out on the couch. “How’s your life going? Still dating Mao?”

“Yeah we broke up…her boyfriend came over from Japan. He found out I existed, I didn’t know he existed. It was a bit of a mess.” He rubbed his shoulder awkwardly. “I kind of have shit luck with girls. She could have just told me I would have backed off.”

“She didn’t want you to back off…and he wasn’t here there was nothing to lose.” Pi shrugged. “Still sucks you got shafted.”

“Yeah I guess.” Toma grabbed the bottle opener from the kitchen, popping the two beers open. “Want to play a bunch of games?” He indicated towards Pi’s idle PS4.

Pi shrugged. Why not? It seemed like already they’d run out of things to talk about because Toma was obviously depressed about Mao and forced himself here and Pi wasn’t enough of the nice guy to make Toma talk about his problems because he understood he didn’t even want to talk about his own.

A nice violent game like GTA5 would solve the problems perfectly well.

---------------

“He’s a total dolt. I’m thinking of not hiring him. I mean god when I asked him do you know what CSS is he looked at me for like three minutes stumped. How can a good programmer not know CSS?”

“I thought you were hiring him to help you take care of the more managerial functions.” Christine pointed out and Ayu stopped for a second as if only now she was thinking back to the original posting she’d placed on the website she’d posted the job on.

“Ah shit I was right? No wonder he’s a business major. I was wondering why a programmer would have a business major.” Christine simply smirked and shook her head. Sometimes Ayu was so out of it. The poor guy had probably been scared out of his wits. “How’d your day go?” She heard the slight tone of concern in her voice but chose to ignore it.

“It went well, bought everything I needed to, went everywhere I needed to.” Christine gave the potato salad she was making a last twirl with the spoon and then shoved it into Ayu’s hands. “Take that to the dinner table while I start up the grill, then go grab the meat from the defrost area.” Immediately Ayu looked extremely excited.

Though Ayu hated cooking herself, because Christine loved it she’d basically made her memorize all her mother’s recipes and while Christine was no mother of hers she certainly cooked like it. And today was Yakiniku night. “Hey Christine, why don’t you ever go out on dates?”

Christine rolled her eyes turning to her friend with a look that said Seriously? “Why don’t you Ayu?”

“I don’t have time.”

“Well then, neither do I.” Christine parroted back at her. It wasn’t quite that simple but then she didn’t like talking about a lot of things and when she was forced to, Christine was awfully short about them.

“But you’re life isn’t the same. You get time off. Like today. Look, you’re off.” Ayu pushed insistently and Christine turned to look at her again with an expression that read Please drop this.

So they continued to eat and talk about everything else under the sun but Ayu couldn’t understand it. Christine was one of the sweetest, most beautiful girls she knew. Why wouldn’t she want to be active on the dating scene anyways? As the owner of a, now, very popular dating site having been through oodles and oodles of profiles that made her question someone’s mental ability to be in a partnership she had to question Christine’s logic. By all measures and appearances this girl should have been kicking them away at the door and married to a Colin Firth-esque Darcy in Pride and Prejudice but here she was; locked up inside this house with Ayu who cared more about her site than anyone or anything else in the world.

Sure, Ayu was happy for the company because sometimes she got lonely too and since Christine had moved in, life had become easier for her. She now got to hang out with her best friend on a permanent basis.

But she was starting to wonder what had happened to Christine.

---------------

“I mean what kind of bitch just does that anyways?” Toma grumbled rolling his eyes. “Are you fucking kidding me? Pretending to stay faithful to the long-distance guy while she’s jumping up and down on me in bed?” He took the last swig of his beer and then picked up another bottle from the sixer he’d brought over. Pi nodded agreeing with his best friend, a little tipsy because he no longer drank at all, but not quite as inebriated as Toma because Toma had brought this over just as an excuse to not consume the pack alone. Plus the kid had always been more of a lightweight compared to him. “I mean I treated her like a princess. Once it was raining, and it was fucking cold really cold man. And you know what I did? I got sick when I gave her my suit jacket, because she forgot hers in the car.”

“You did. You did.” He replied because that was what was expected of him but really it was Toma’s own fault for trying to pursue it after one night. At least that was what Pi felt. Toma had always been that sort of guy, why couldn’t he just sense what Mao needed and back off himself? That was what Pi would have done but Toma, the guy that he was fell in love far too easily.

Love.

What a joke the mere sound of the word was in his mind. “Meeting girls the normal way is stupid.” Pi laughed at that. What the hell did he mean by that? Meeting girls the normal way?

“Toma you’re acting a little ridiculous.”

“No man think about it, you met Keiko the normal way and she was a-“ Toma paused and coughed but it wasn’t so much because he was sick more than he couldn’t think of what to call her. Was Keiko really in the wrong? Now that he knew the whole story, though the girl had done some despicable things, Toma couldn’t condemn her for it. Even if she had broken his best friend’s heart in the process “Wouldn’t have it just been better knowing shit going into that relationship? If you knew how psychotic she was- wouldn’t that have been better? You’d have been prepared for it?”

“I did know remember Toma? We were friends.” Pi shrugged. “I’m not even into relationships right now man.”
Toma frowned, paused, huffed and overall seemed to struggle with his thought process as he rubbed the back of his head. “I mean like-“ Realizing he couldn’t explain himself properly he lifted his phone up and tapped on the S4 lightly before directing the screen towards Pi’s face.

Closet Dating, wear your heart on your sleeve for once

Pi was silent for a moment as he looked between the phone and his best friend’s eagerly smiling face. “Toma- are you coming out to me-“

“Pi, that’s not it at all!”

-------------------

After dinner, they washed up everything they’d prepared and Christine poured them both a glass of cold coffee that she’d blended up herself. Ayu was pouring over her laptop when she smiled seeing Christine offer her the glass. “Thanks,” She quickly said and grabbed it from her hand sipping it from the purple straw that was in there. Purple had always been her favourite colour.

Christine’s straw was pink, but Ayu didn’t actually know if that was her favourite colour…regardless she scrolled over to Christine’s profile as the girl sat down beside her and pressed the edit button entering in the favourite colour. “Hey- you know pink’s not really my favourite color.” She pouted looking at Ayu shaking her head. “What a bad friend you are after I remembered yours is purple.” Her eyes gazed pointedly at the purple straw and Ayu giggled nervously.

“Sorry, man. I’m a ditz okay? Anything other than this website stuff and I kind of forget. I figured yours is pink cause your straw is pink.”

“Well it’s yellow. So edit that.” Christine sucked up the cold icy coffee into her straw and let out a loud sigh when she felt the tell-tale signs of refreshment coursing through her body. God she loved iced coffee.

This time it was Ayu’s turn to give her a skeptical look. “I’m sorry, I thought you didn’t even want a profile on my site-“

“Yeah but I can’t very well have inaccurate rumours about me floating around “ god what will people think if I like pink.”

At her expression of mock indignation, Ayu snickered lightly and agreed. “Okay fine, yellow it is you loser.”

Christine ruffled Ayu’s head knowing very well that the particular action irritated her because as it was her hair got oily and knotted very easily. “Thank you turtle. I appreciate it.”

---------------------------

“So what the hell is this- Closet Dating, wear your heart on your sleeve shit if it’s not a gay dating website for people who haven’t come out?” Pi was about to laugh he really was but then he remembered that might hurt Toma’s feelings if the kid was actually gay. (Though Pi doubted it but seriously did he have to look so happy showing him a closet dating site?)

Toma opened his mouth to groan loudly as he shook his shoulders, looking quite like a child ready to throw a tantrum. “Okay well she recently branded it closet okay? Not my fault bro. It was just called sleeve dating before.”

“Sleeve dating- what is this dating for clothes?”

Pi grinned obviously content with his remark but Toma made a depressed face at him and placed his head in his hands. “That was a really bad joke Yamashita Tomohisa. I understand you no longer have a social life-“

“Shut up Toma.”

“So your communication skills have deteriorated but that was really bad Pi-“

“Shut up Toma! Tell me about the stupid site already-“

Toma giggled in a particularly impish manner. Like a cartoon character. “For someone who doesn’t want to date you’re mighty excited about a dating site-“

“Toma-“ Pi dropped his voice to a more threatening tone but it just sounded like he was really angry about tomatoes.

“Fine fine,” Toma relented as he folded his hands in his lap, attempting (and failing) to look serious. “Basically the owner of the site thought that fuck the world. People should start being honest with each other.”

“Okay so she made a dating website after she thought fuck the world-“

Toma scoffed at Pi’s sarcastic tone of voice. “Hell yeah, have you ever been in a situation where people lie more?”

“Job interviews actually- people lie a shit tonne on their resume. I once told a lady I spoke Finnish.” He smiled thinking back to the way he got his current job. Ah that lady in HR had really believed him.

“Okay your internal sense of right and wrong is questionable, but that’s just professional dating.”

Pi shuddered. To think of him dating that lady in HR. “Your logic disturbs me Toma.”

“That’s because you need another beer Pi.” Pi didn’t really agree but he grabbed the outstretched beer from his friend’s hand and gulped it down anyways.

-----------------

“So what other lies have you told about me?” Christine continued sipping happily on her drink as Ayu gave her a look that told her quite dearly, Don’t push it.

“Nothing major, your favourite band is Green Day?”

“One of them yeah sure,” Christine licked the chocolate ice cream of the spoon in her lap. “Check? I guess.”

“Favourite ice cream flavour, chocolate.”

“Check.”

“Attributes: friendly, personable, and loyal.”

“Check.”

“In high school you were a slut…”

“Chec-“For a good measure Ayu pretended to make the motion with her hand and Christine used the side of her body barrel into her friend for mocking her. “AYU!”

“Just kidding! God I wrote you were an artsy kid. You spent most of your time in the photo lab anyways didn’t you?” Christine nodded but she was still frowning as her friend rolled her eyes. “It was a joke Chri!”

“Yeah well…when you get a profile I’m going to make you a mass murderer.”

“Who says I’ll approve the application for a profile with my name on it?” Ayu snorted, what a fatal flaw in Christine’s big plan but her friend didn’t look the least bit deterred or disappointed. In fact, if anything she looked happier.

“I’m going to make you a site on OK Cupid…and put your cellphone number in there.”

“CHRI!” Ayu was about to complain when she got a sign from the heavens- or well an email from the heavens. Whatever way you were meant to look at it. “Give me a second, I’ll just approve this-“ Ayu paused as her jaw dropped. Normally…when guys put up shirtless pictures of themselves she considered them rather douche-y because hello there were rules of online dating and you dressed for the part you wanted and who wanted to be half-naked right off the bat?

But this guy had a whole profile of checkmarks on him. Young, fit with abs that ran down his mid-section like killer, a smile that was there and wasn’t quite so eager, hair that was flying in the wind, a beach-y background as he held onto a volleyball, and-

God he even had the cutest little Chihuahua in the picture.

She opened her mouth to tell Christine to look at him when she turned and saw that her friend was happily distracted by the chocolate ice cream in front of her.

Ayu turned back to the computer, one eyebrow raised-

Christine was going to sign her up for OK Cupid?

We’d just see about that wouldn’t we?

-------------

“Toma- that picture god it was taken on our retreat-“

“Trust me that picture is gold online dating material.” Toma clapped a hand on his back and Pi crumbled his head into his hands. Seriously when had he drank enough beers to agree to this? Who in their right mind would ever let naïve, foolish, utterly too hopeful Ikuta Toma devise an online dating profile for them? “It’s been 30 seconds and I expect in another minute you’ll find yourself bombarded with proposals.”

Hell why would Pi even be remotely interested in this? As another minute passed Yamapi yawned, he was getting kind of tired. All that beer had made him sleepy. He got up from his squatted position on the floor beside his laptop and his friend and lay down on the couch.

He had to admit the whole idea of the site was interesting. Sleeve dating, as Toma had explained was quite clear- just wear your heart on your sleeve. Complete and total honesty, unabridged, hold nothing back on that first date and see if after you hear the psychotic things about each other that you’re trying to hide from others you still want to deal with the person.

It was a little- unique. He almost wasn’t sure someone would actually bother to be truthful at all but the points system, the validation and the referrals and links all seemed to help with that. The more truthful you were, the more popular your profile became. Every date came with a rating of the experience and if the leader of the site felt you were really ridiculous and psychotic enough to endanger others on the site she kicked you off.

Apparently she was not to be messed with. “Give up on it Toma, nothing’s going to happen tonight. Let’s just go to bed.” He stretched out feelings his long legs make his toes reach the ends of the sofa uncomfortably.
“Get off the sofa then, we’re not sleeping together here. We’ll go grab the bed. It’s big enough for the two of us anyways.” Pi still wasn’t sure why he had bought a bed so big, there was something liberating about sleeping in such a huge bed of course but there was also something incredibly lonely about sleeping on a King sized mattress completely alone.

Pi had just about trudged himself up and he was ready to yell at his friend when he saw an image on the screen and couldn’t help but squint lightly. The girl was smiling brightly, hair done up in a large pouf and a high ponytail, in a lacy black dress, bright red mouth parted in a way that screamed come and “ well “ do horrible things to me. It was only belatedly his eyes scanned down to her shoes and he saw that her heels that echoed that statement.

“Who is that?” He gulped as he looked at the image before him with a newfound fascination as Toma turned around to grin at his friend arrogantly. In a way he was just happy Pi had shown interest in a girl, but then again “ if he hadn’t shown interest in this particular girl Toma would have shipped him off to the Buddhist Monastery. There would have been no hope of getting Pi back onto that horse he so wanted to avoid called life with relationships.

“That my friend, is Christine Pierce and she just ‘liked’ you.”

-----------------

“Hey I never asked you what picture did you use anyways?“ Christine looked over to the laptop to see Ayu grinning back at her innocently.

“Something that got you a lot of hits of course! I needed to test lots of things-“ Ayu giggled behind her hand as she opened up the profile and watched Christine’s face fall.

“AYU! That picture was for a photoshoot that my boss seriously needed me to help with and I look like a total-“

“I know totally makes the slut statement believable doesn’t it?” Ayu cackled loudly and Christine shook her head confused.

“I must have been mentally incapacitated when I agreed to live with you.”

“Indeed you were, you were drunk off three cosmopolitans that I had deliberately bought you and then I popped the question.” Ayu typed away on her keyboard as Christine groaned more, missing all of the action that Ayu was shooting to Mr.AbsBeachHairNotCreepwithaDog.

“Let’s just hope that’s not how I accept a wedding proposal.”

“Please Christine-“ Christine looked at her friend doubtful whether Ayu was actually about to say something nice. “For that you’d need to actually date someone first.” Ayu wasn’t surprised when Christine whacked her arm but she enjoyed it anyways. Theirs had always been the type of relationship that withstood all their jokes and bickering.

And she was going to get Christine together with Mr.AbsBeachHairNotCreepwithaDog

------------

“And she messages too!” Toma gasped. “She made the first move both times Pi! She must really like you.” Pi looked at Toma confused as his friend grasping the situation explained quickly. “First you like someone, if the person likes you back you can now message- but well- usually the guy messages first I think or at least that’s the way I’ve been doing it. She messaged you first that means you’re someone she’s really interested in-“ Toma waggled his eyebrows at the golden man prize that was seated beside him. “And why wouldn’t she be with that picture I used?”

“You know the more you speak the more gay you get?”

“Fuck off homo.”

“Only if you fuck off with me.”

“Only if Christine’s not available.” At that the boys broke out into snickers together for the first time that night. If nothing else came of this, Toma was just happy he was getting his friend back- piece by piece.

Pi didn’t want to get excited by any of this, it was ridiculous and SO LAME- but okay yeah he was excited whatever. He hadn’t had much to look forward to recently and somehow this whole stupid affair of sleeve dating from the comfort of his own home actually felt like a super safe way for him to actually- well enjoy himself for the first time ever. Just like his therapist said. “Okay okay- what did she say?”

-------------

How are you? Ayu raised an eyebrow, smirking. At least they were starting safe. They must have been pretty serious about being good guys with Christine. Christine was still whining in a corner, which was just as well for Ayu because if the girl realized what she was doing she’d try and stop her.

I was good…but I’ve been a bit better than good since I saw your face ;)

------------------
“Okay…so a little cheesy…but we can work with that.” Toma typed away again. Just a bit?

Beauty is just skin deep after all…to get A LOT deeper you’ll have to do more than impress me with that picture Mr.AbsBeachHairNotCreepwithaDog. “Is it me or does that sound dirty?” Toma frowned as he looked at the screen.

“I’m not sure actually now that you said that-“ Pi frowned back…she could just be talking about skin-

But then she could be talking about something else too.

---------------

Christine’s eyes widened as she glanced over to what Ayu had written on the screen. To get a lot deeper with her?! “Ayu- what are you doing?!”

“Dude nothing, relax. It’s just a robot test okay. It’s a fake profile too.” Ayu lied through her teeth. “I’m just running a test on a fake profile. What do you think of the guy?” If she was going to come up with a lie and try and get Christine to believe it, might as well go all the way right? So she clicked over away from the conversation back to-

“Yamashita Tomohisa…this is your test account?” Christine’s skeptical pout made Ayu giggle nervously.

“Dude of course, that’s totally not a real picture who takes pictures like that- you have to admit he’s cute as hell. Loads of likes potential.” Christine looked towards the picture and shrugged.

“Yeah he’s okay?”

“Just okay?” Ayu practically wanted to squeak. Seriously this was the most perfect man possible to grace her site so far, well barring any of his skeletons, but seriously even Chri couldn’t be this immune to good looks could she? They weren’t important sure but they were god damn well the best bonus ever!

Christine shrugged. “Beauty is only skin deep Ayu…you said it yourself.” She pointed at the conversation. “If he had to be compatible with someone we’d have to test his likability.”

Likability?

-------------

Okay random question…you’re in a fire, you can only save one person. Yourself or your dog. Who do you save?

“What on earth is up with that question?” Toma scrunched up his nose. “That sounds like something I’d hear at an interview. Is there a right answer?” He paused and bit his lip as he looked at Pi who looked excited and grabbed the laptop from his bewildered friend’s hands and pulled it into his own lap.

“Leave this one to a professional of confusing questions, Toma boy.”

-----------

I think I should tell you I don’t actually own a dog, that was a friend’s dog in the picture…and I’d save both of us. I’m a person so I’d save myself and my dog isn’t a person ergo it’s okay to save him too.

“Whoa he caught that? Good for him. So he knows how to pay attention to detail. I like testing this robot.” Christine giggled a little at the prospect of finding a question this pseudo fake man of Ayu’s programming skills wouldn’t be able to answer. “How did you figure out how to program a real person anyways?”

Ayu could only be thankful for her friend’s complete lack of awareness about the intricacies of programming. “Oh you know…a little flash, some java, throw in some CSS yada yada blah blah.” That was all garbage but Christine bought it and Ayu could only smile on as Christine grabbed the laptop and pulled it into her own nested position.

What the hell, she could have some fun fake testing a dating robot couldn’t she?

You were testing me weren’t you?

He figured that out too. She turned to look at Ayu impressed as she typed out her next response.

-----------

I was…you passed. Want to try the next test?

“Only if you get a reward!” Toma pouted. “This is such hard work!”

But despite agreeing with Toma, he didn’t mind so much. It was fun playing this twisted game with Christine where she apparently figured out if he was worthy of her attention.

------------

And what test is that?

----------

Well if I tell you it won’t be any fun. So just answer the next question…you’re going to piss your pants.

----------

Well this is interesting…I don’t think such conversations come up often when you’re online dating.

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I’m trying to throw you a curve ball robot…prove you’re fake!

--------

I’m as real as the heart beating away in your chest as you read these words.

------

Wow…who’s feeding you these lines?

------

“God Toma! Why-!"

“She likes cheesy trust me! Why else would she say that shit at the beginning!” Toma squealed as Pi quickly typed out a response.

Thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment.

------

Anyways! You’re going to piss your pants..IF you don’t get to the washroom.

-----

Well that’s a relief.

------

But your girlfriend needs you to open the door for a FedEx shipment. What are you going to do?

-------

Pissing my pants is not an option here.

------

Well that’s a relief.

---

So I’d probably just make a run for it, keep him knocking and somehow figure it out.

------

Not bad…could be better but not bad.

“You made him well Ayu.” Christine giggled as she saw her friend’s frame hunched over herself. Ayu was starting to understand why Christine wasn’t going on dates yet. Did she grill every guy she met with ridiculous scenarios that made no sense?

“You come up with the weirdest stuff Christine.”

“Thank you I’ll take that as a compliment!”

“It’s at this point “ I should go to bed.” Ayu figured sooner or later Christine was going to figure out this guy was not a robot at all and when she did Ayu did not want to be awake for it. She needed to be alive to train that guy who was coming in the morning…she couldn’t very well be alive if Christine figured out she was setting her up with the cutest guy who had ever come on her site.

“Go go, I’m going to have a bit more fun with your laptop if you don’t mind.” Ayu couldn’t help but smile a little at Christine’s expression. She looked like a 12 year old girl talking to a guy she was interested in but never figured out how to approach in person.

“Break it and die. Otherwise have fun.” Christine turned to blow Ayu a good night kiss but the girl had already disappeared off to her bedroom, so she brightened the screen of the laptop and settled herself into the couch comfortably. She was just about to put her earphones in when she heard Ayu’s voice holler from the bedroom. “And remember! No porn! Or webcam porn either for that matter!”

“Shut up Ayu!” She yelled back laughing as she turned on the latest Green Day album and got ready to talk properly to Yamashita Tomohisa.

---------------------

Yamashita Tomohisa: So how come you’re on this site?
Christine Pierce: Ah well…you know, friend forced me to sign up regular bull. You?
Yamashita Tomohisa: Is it lame if I say the same? He’s actually hear beside me.
Christine Pierce: Man she really put a lot of detail into this whole site didn’t she?
Yamashita Tomohisa: Yeah, I guess so- what do you do for a living?
Christine Pierce: Ah I’m a photography assistant. I work at Vinoodh Matadin’s LA branch.
Yamashita Tomohisa: The Dutch fashion photographer?
Christine Pierce: Wow…you know your stuff.
Yamashita Tomohisa: Must be nice being Wikipedia.
Christine Pierce: Cheater.
Yamashita Tomohisa: You’ll be happy to know that in fact that is the only place I ever cheat.
Christine Pierce: Somehow that does kind of make me happy, you sound so perfect..
Yamashita Tomohisa: That dog isn’t mine remember?
Christine Pierce: Minor flaw :)


-------------------

Despite himself, Pi felt his heart swell a little reading the words. Sure Christine didn’t really know him that well, they had really just exchanged about 50 or so lines of completely non-verbal text to each other but she still made him happy by saying that.

He looked down at his thigh, which was currently occupied by Toma’s drooling head. He was kind of happy he let Toma create the site profile for him otherwise he wasn’t sure if he’d be on the site.

------------------

Yamashita Tomohisa: Thanks
Yamashita Tomohisa: But isn’t this site all about people’s flaws?
Christine Pierce: It is.
Christine Pierce: Ayu figures there’s too much lying in the world why do people lie in relationships too.
Yamashita Tomohisa: Not a bad philosophy to live by.
Christine Pierce: So you’re hiding something too then?


-------------

Christine wasn’t sure why she’d asked it, it wasn’t like the robot would actually have something he was hiding.

---------

Yamashita Tomohisa: I am. Aren’t you?
Christine Pierce: I am.
Yamashita Tomohisa: Isn’t it recommended that we be ‘open’
Christine Pierce: Only on dates…that’s how you earn your honest quotient.
Yamashita Tomohisa: Christine Pierce, I know we’ve barely met and skyping would probably be a better option but would you like to go out with me?
Christine Pierce: Really?
Yamashita Tomohisa: If you’d like to…yes, really.


------------------

Christine’s eyes widened as she read the message and immediately turned back around as if expecting Ayu to pop up from the back and laugh at her. She’d kind of imagined that Ayu was the one writing these messages back to her but no one was there. She’d realized that he wasn’t really sounding like a robot when he’d started talking about the site itself…a bot would have known stuff about it already. Ayu was efficient.

So here she was gulping at the screen, it was just her, the silent buzzing of the laptop and this question.

Did she want to go out on a date with this guy “ Yamashita Tomohisa?

--------------

Christine Pierce: Yeah I would.
Yamashita Tomohisa: :)
Epic Voices and Scary Choices by Anna Clair


“Get up you lazy bum someone’s knocking on the door!” Ayu heard a voice screech into her ear and groaned. Oh god, who the hell was trying to wake her up? “Ayu! It’s probably that kid you hired come on! What time did you tell him you start?”

“I didn’t!” She mumbled sleepily rubbing the back of her head as she mustered up the will to face the horrific nightmare that was getting up in the morning. “Who the hell shows up at-“ Wait…what time was it? She squinted glancing at her phone. “9 AM?”

“Yeah, the regular human population has been up for about two hours already.”

Ayu glared at Christine who grinned back at her arrogantly. Christine loved teasing her about her night owl habits but thankfully never judged her despite being one of those crazy morning people who actually exercised. “Why aren’t you at work yet?”

“My boss said I could sleep in.”

“You know this boss of yours is a little too nice to you don’t you think?” Christine appeared to ponder this with her forefinger placed thoughtfully on her chin. Ayu yawned loudly and felt her heart jump up at the sound of a loud rap on the door. “Oh god, is that him? God that’s annoying...think you can tell him to stop?” She slowly got out of the bed and trudged like a zombie towards the washroom as Christine shook her head.

“Fine, but I’m letting him into the house. Come out dressed decently!” An odd sounding undead sort of groan from the washroom assured Christine that Ayu was fine with that, hopefully…so she marched over to the door and whipped it open shocking a very eager looking young man. “So you’re-“

“Nishikido Ryo- it’s very nice to-“ He mumbled out quickly his mouth and his eyes moving at ridiculous speeds as they took in everything in their surroundings. Wow this guy must have been pretty desperate for work.

“Yeah yeah, just come in and sit.” Ayu was going to eat him alive. Christine was sure if she saw him at the end of the day today he’d look like a fellow zombie. He grinned unsure, stepping into the house and stood there. “So Ayu will be out-“

“Ah yes Ms.Hamano mentioned that she wakes up a little later but with the first day-“

“Yeah, yeah that’s fine. Listen I’m going to get going. My name’s Christine but I doubt we’ll run into each other much Nishikido. Good luck today okay?”

“Ryo.” He corrected smiling at her as he held his hand out. She shook it politely, he had a nice smile this Ryo. If only he wasn’t so nervous. Why was he so nervous anyways? “Sorry I forget I should be introducing myself as Ryo Nishikido instead of Nishikido Ryo. Bad habit from you know - back in my country. I’m not an immigrant though! I was born here but then I moved back and - I mean I don’t think I have an accent but you neve-”

“No worries, make yourself at home.” She gestured towards the couch and just as she made her way out she heard the guy call out belated.

“I hope to see you around.” She nodded back smiling to herself. Normally, she would be freaked out but since last night - well Christine had felt a change in herself. She felt a little hope. Especially since Ryo looked a little bit similar to that guy she’d been talking to- Yamashita Tomohisa, with the same foolish 2D smile and golden sun-kissed skin.

She hit her head lightly as she locked up and giggled towards the elevator. Mrs.Norris from two houses down looked at her like she was an idiot but Christine could only shrug and smile back at her brightly.

After a moment of silence, Mrs.Norris scoffed and looked at her outfit up and down. “Christine, dear.”

“Yes Mrs.Norris?” What would it be today?

“Honey, it would be nice to wear something that left something to the imagination.” Christine glanced down at her outfit. What the hell? She was wearing dark blue jeans, a shirt and a leather jacket!

And no one asked her either!

Back in the apartment, Ayu stumbled out into the living room in her shoddy work dress that she’d managed to find her closet. “Ah, Hamano-san I mean Ms.-“

“Calm down, sit your butt on the couch and let me get some coffee and we’ll chat okay?”

“Ah- okay.” The overly eager apprentice blinked quickly as he gulped down the ball of anxiety in his throat as he watched his new boss disappear into the kitchen. He immediately decided to busy himself with arranging all of the documents he had brought to the first day of work because Hamano-san hadn’t sent them over. Mostly they consisted of tax forms, reference letters, a list of questions he had for her about the website, a strategy plan, and his passport. The last one was overkill but the way this girl had drilled him at the interview only reminded him too much of his nerve-wracking customs experience when he’d come to America again and had to prove he was a citizen.

When his boss re-entered the living room she’d brought with her a cup of coffee for him which he grabbed gratefully, missing the small smile on her face as she sat down in front of him. “Okay, let’s set some ground rules up. First don’t dress up this much. We work out of my house.”

“All right-“

But there wasn’t a chance for him to speak up more. “Secondly- don’t flirt with my roommate, that's fucking weird buddy.”

Oh damn, she’d heard that? “I wasn’t-“

“Pish posh you were flirting. I run a dating site man, I know what flirting sounds like and I mean at least if the lines you were hitting it with were good I may have given you her number but your game needs an upgrade if you’re going to be on this site as its employee.” Her narrowed gaze made him blush that he’d been caught red handed. As Ayu watched the younger boy color in front of her she wanted to laugh in his face but decided to spare his manly ego this bruising. “Finally, do you have any questions?”

“Yeah- I mean yes.” He cleared his throat and folded his hands together on his lap. Underneath the table top of a desk this movement would look quite normal and professional, on a couch it just made him look a little bit like a housewife. “What would you like me to start working on today?”

Ayu stifled a giggle and clapped a hand on his shoulder. She simply hoped he was eager enough that he’d solve all her problems for her. “Let’s talk about business then shall we Nishikido-“

-----------------------

“I think we should be bringing in lots and lots of phallic objects into the studios I mean let’s be honest now half of 1D’s fans are freaking gay.” Christine wasn’t sure if she wanted to hurt Chace or laugh in his face. It all depended on how serious he was about his concept for the very lucky chance their studio had gotten to handle the creative shoot for Vanity Fair’s upcoming British Takeover issue. “You put the dicks in there trust me, the magazine will fly off the shelves like a guy-”

Which of course included the fabulously loved British Boy band. “Yeah I think that’s one dick-rection we’re not taking this in Chace.” Her boss Dylan smirked behind his hand glancing over at her. “Christine any ideas?”

She’d been thinking about this on her way over, simply because this was the whole reason Dylan had let her borrow the car when she’d needed it. “Grow them up. Take them to the past. Make them relive the British bands of the past -access nostalgia. It is Vanity Fair so we can’t just take pictures of them - they have to mean something. Bring in the icons, Mick Jagger, John Lennon- vibe them out to that artsy vibe. Change them and their image forever.”

“Yeah we have to be careful about that - we can’t just put up a sexed up Liam-“ Dylan

“Please Liam would so not be the one sexed up - if anyone is a Mick Jagger it’s freaking Harry,” Emma blew out the bubble in her mouth, nodding knowledgeably as she didn’t bother to hide her smile as she dazed off into a small air bubble fantasy. Christine could only hope to not imagine what was running through the girl’s head. “I mean it’s almost as big as Jon Hamm’s.” Christine cringed. Gross. Harry was like five years her junior.

Chace gasped loudly as he patted Emma on the back proudly. “Agree with the first one and fuck no are you kidding? No one beats Michael Fassbender.”

Oh god, once it got to Michael Fassbender this talk could almost never be stopped. “Please guys there is too much dick in this conversation. Totally unnecessary.” Christine blurted out as Dylan nodded enthusiastically.

“I agree, can we take a break from all that? Any thought of male anatomy right now just makes me want to cut something down, preferably the aforementioned male anatomy.” Their lighting lead Hime spoke up jabbing her pen roughly into the paper as the room silenced.

“That’s a little scary Hime- we’ll get back to that later I promise.” Dylan slowly inched his chair away from Hime towards Christine who snickered. Hime had just gone through a pretty bad break up with her boyfriend who she’d been seeing for about a month unofficially and then five months officially after that. “So yes, are we going with nostalgia? I’ll message Vanity Fair.”

“We can always do Candy Bubble Pop.”

“Overexposed.” Dylan sighed. “But I’ll add it to the idea list just to make nostalgia appear better.”

“It’s not like we can make 1D tackle serious political issues.”

“What if they’re themselves-“ Hime spoke up and the rest of the team turned to look at her thoughtfully. “I mean they were literally just hanging out and we took some pictures and waited for the right shot to happen.”

“Ugh, candid guerilla photography is the worst. You get shots that look like this.” Emma exaggereated her facial features during a laugh making Christine snicker at the snapshot image that she hoped was burned into her memory forever. “I mean like what is that face is it even human?”

“It’s definitely something to consider. I’m sure the boys would be more comfortable with something like that.” As Dylan noted the thought down another modification flew to Christine’s head.

“Add that to a party studio setting and we have ourselves a pretty winning set I think.” Christine butted in and saw the table ponder this. “Balloons, phallic shaped if we really need them to be Chace,” Chace immediately nodded his approval. “Loads of freaking glitter everywhere.” Emma cheered happily for this idea. “We can play around with the lights to make it sexy to playful naturally play up their expressions so it’s not totally candid style and then totally add the classy old school vibe.”

“I love you, will you marry me?” Hime burst out loudly making the rest of the studio turn to look at her confused again. “Total joke Christine. I’m sorry for being inappropriate in an office environment but honestly, love it. Dylan, make it happen.” As she stood up and left the room packing her things up, Emma and Chace glanced at each other and shrugged and got up as well.

“You know - I thought I was the boss here.” Dylan looked so forlorn, Christine felt bad for him till she saw the light of mischeviousness in his eyes and smirked. “Does she want me to make her marriage happen or the shoot?”

“You are the boss Dylan!” Then trailing off the end of her voice she snickered. “In theory.”

He rolled his eyes and ushered her out of the room. “Bye Christine. Get to work before I set you up on a real date with Hime?”

“That was mean!” Christine hit his arm playfully. “She’s emotionally fragile right now!”

“Oh right, so caring Christine,” Dylan threw his hands up in the air apologetically. “Pray tell me, how do you always look so cool? Why aren’t you ever emotionally fragile?”

“Oh trust me, Dylan.” She twirled lightly on her heels and threw her hair back over her shoulders dramatically. “You don’t ever want to see that. Just be happy you hang out with over confident, snarky Christine. Speaking of- tomorrow night is it all right if I basically just skip out at 3:30?”

Dylan was scanning through his phone, responding to her request with a healthy tone of ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit’. “Why not?”

“Yes. Okay, you said it can’t take it back. Bye!” She tapped him happily on the shoulder as he looked up at her from his nerd block glasses shaking his head and walking in the opposite direction where his office was situated.

He really did have a penchant for hiring lunatics didn’t he?

-------------

“And so the world would never-

“CUT!” Toma yelled out into the mic and shook his head as he looked at the way the voice actor in the recording studio glared at him. This was the 30th time that Toma had asked him to stop. Pi wanted to kill his best friend himself…but then again he was being let into Warner Bros studios for free he couldn’t really complain all that much even if he wanted to. “Ah…sorry Rick can you say that with a little more epic in your voice please?”

“What the hell does a little more epic sound like?” Pi muttered, snickering as he saw the guy in the studio’s jaw drop slightly. Apparently, he didn’t know what epic sounded like either. In the far distance of his gaze he saw his phone blink and grabbed it grinning at the notification. Christine had messaged to ask if they were still on for tomorrow…which they were but Pi decided he wouldn’t message back until three hours from now even though he’d read the message.

That was how the game was played right? “Epic?” Rick parroted back as Toma nodded.

“I need life or death voice, not I need to go pee in three seconds voice.” The voice actor seemed even more irritated. Toma was messing around with the rerecords on the computer while Pi kicked his feet up on the soundboard. “Yah yah Yamashita! Feet on the ground son, this isn’t your mom’s house. This is a freaking mecca of film all right?”

“Yes trailer boy, I got it.” He rolled his eyes smirking at his friend who just smiled back at him, hitting him over the head as he brought his feet down. “You just love touching my head too much.”

“Yes, I love your head so much I want to hit it every time I see it.”

“How is any of this conversation convincing me that this isn’t your secret boyfriend Toma?” Toma’s co-worker, Katy, spoke up from Toma’s other side. Pi had to laugh because it was funny…he’d thought he was the only one who made fun of Toma. Maybe there was just something innately about that guy that made you want to bully the shit out of him.

Probably because he screamed momma's good boy from all angles.

“Fuck off guys, I’m not gay.”

“You JUST said you loved his head-“ Katy wiggled her eyebrows suggestively winking at Toma who looked increasingly disgusted and appalled with Katy’s dirty thoughts.

“You did say that. I must say my head is splendid.”

“EW.” Toma shrieked. “I’d much rather get head from Katy here than you! And I don’t even like her!”

“Oh my god you sick pervert I meant my head not my head!” Pi shoved his knuckles into Toma’s head who yelped rather unattractively. He rubbed his temple looking back at his hand to see if Pi’s uber manly strength had actually drawn blood from his head. “Stop being so dramatic Toma.”

“Hey man, eitherways is good. It’s me or Pi pick.” Katy giggled as Pi followed suit snickering with only Toma looking irritated but that probably had more to do with Rick than either of them. “Also thanks for hurting my feelings Toma, I thought we were bros.”

Toma groaned, whining loudly. Seriously what the hell was he thinking when he brought Katy together with his best friend Yamashita Tomohisa? “Why the hell did I invite you to our company outing?” Pi wasn’t sure but he knew he was happy he came out. It had been a while since he’d been mischievous.

“Because we’ve been dying to meet your boyfriend-“

“KATY I swear to god one more word about his idiot being my bo-“ But Toma didn’t a chance to say much more, and neither did Rick because the head of the fantasy trailer department was transformed into a puppy. “Mommy?” Pi snickered as he saw the way Toma lovingly held the phone, pressed tightly to his cheek. He pushed his swivel chair closer to Toma to overhear the kid’s conversation but Toma immediately got up and walked out of the room.

When it came to his mom, Ikuta Toma was fiercely protective- he had to be. He was the only son in the house and his mother had worked extremely hard to send him where he was.

You know it helped that his mom was one of the coolest women in the world, a VP of the extremely artistic Yamaha group. Her story was famous amongst business women who aspired to climb the ranks quickly. Everyone knew the story behind the single mother who transformed her life from being a mere mailroom clerk to one of the driving forces behind a multinational company.

Or at least, that was what Pi heard from Toma constantly. Feeling naughty he grabbed the mic that Toma used to speak into the studio where Rick was. “So dick - I mean Rick - what does epic mean to you?” When he saw the guy’s face pale he had to snicker heavily, Katy was having trouble holding back her own laughs as she threw a pen in Pi’s direction playfully.

As Toma leaned back against the door to his studio he smiled brightly. He’d been waiting for his mom to call him. Now that he was older and no longer really needed to talk to her every day that old lady had been slacking off on caring about him. He worried about her incessantly though. “So how was the trip to Italy? Is my busy woman all relaxed?”

“Yes…and overweight. Thank you for caring so much about your old woman.” Hearing her laugh was enough for his heart to be appeased. He wasn’t going to lie, he was pretty proud that he’d saved up enough money on his own to send his mom to Italy. “It would have been nice to have you too-“ Saving up for the two of them would have taken too long, but saving just enough for her happened incredibly quickly. So he’d decided to forego the trip and just send her by herself.

Besides if he’d have gone she’d have spent the whole time worrying about him and this trip was about letting her finally relax.

“Ah mom, don’t lie. I’m sure you were just as happy by yourself.”

“Keh what’s the point yes- I was happy not worrying about preparing your clothes for the next day-“

“You do that yourself. I’ve always told you I can dress myself.”

“Yes that may be true - but you dress yourself so badly Toma. Who the hell buys an orange tie with purple dots on it?”

“Kaa-san, it was scene fashionnn and I grew out of it!”

“I thought I was going to get mad when you used to dress in all those clothes with that eyeliner-“

“Kaa-san! I grew up!” He kicked his feet out laughing. “Neh, neh how was Italy though really?”

“It was nice Toma. Kaa-san saw a lot, she ate a lot, she relaxed a lot- and Kaa-san decided something she wanted to tell you today.”

“Eh what’s that?” He was ready to hear it. He was the best son ever. He was amazing. He deserved an award.

“Kaa-san is leaving her job to enjoy her life more.” Eh?! That was great news! He knew how hard his mother worked because hell she worked harder than he did most days. She was at the office late into the night, encouraging her team members to work their hardest and she delivered the best results Yamaha had seen in a long time because of her strategic management of the company’s supply chain division.

“Mah, it’s about time! I make my own money now so you don’t need to worry about me-“

“Yah Toma sometimes you have to let Kaa-san finish talking all right?” He could hear the mild irritation in her voice and snickered to himself. “Kaa-san has something important to say.”

“Hai, hai. Dozo.” He heard his mother intake a large breath.

“Kaa-san met someone on the trip, Toma.”

Of course she did! She must have met a hundred someones! It was Italy, the country they both loved so much! “Mah I know you must have made so many friends-“

“Toma-“

“Can you tell me their names? Your fiftieth birthday is coming up soon neh? We have to plan well for that and-“

“Toma-“ He heard his mom in take an exhausted breath. She must have been so tired, that company must have been working her especially hard because she was leaving

“Neh but mama are they all Italian? Or Japanese? The tour I booked you on was held by an English company so you-“

“Toma- I’m getting married.”

Inside the room, Pi was booming into the mic with Rick by his side. “We need real emotion when we say ‘It didn’t last long even though they had embraced the darkness all night’-“ He hollered into the mic. “Like that right Katy?”

“Yeah yeah, Rick follow Pi’s lead. You remember the next line right?”

“Of course!” Rick nodded enthusiastically, excited to please Katy in any way he possibly could. “That’s what she said!” Katy cracked up, slapping her hand against the chair as Rick’s trailer voice echoed as the sound of the door opening ran through the studio.

“Ah Toma, you finished being a momma’s boy?” Katy called out but he didn’t respond to her. She frowned as she saw the way he sluggishly moved towards his chair, not at all peeved by the way his best friend was singing into the mic. “Yo, you okay?” He shook his head. “What happened?” He shrugged and put his phone down on the counter before taking a deep sigh. “Toma- why do you look like you just got divorced?”

At that he let out a sinister laugh so fake it made Katy’s spine tingle. “She’s getting married. That- THAT- UGH!” He shuddered. “She’s so- gah. Old! Why do old people get married?”

Because his father had died very young, Toma had never had to worry about sharing his mother with anyone. Not another sibling, not another one of his mom’s siblings, not even his own father. He had been the sole focus of her attention and now knowing that his mom was getting married was irritating him beyond belief. He knew he should be mature about this. He should be mature. “And the worst part is- she just thinks she loves him!”

“Maybe she does-“

“He isn’t even Japanese!”

“Ouch!” Katy pressed a hand to her heart and Toma growled.

“That’s not what I mean Katy! I mean it’d be fine-“

“You know you’re like 26. Don’t you think you’re pretty much too old to have this crisis?” The way Katy’s eyes were looking at him, it was clear she thought he was being a kid but fuck he didn’t care! His mom was getting married okay, Katy didn’t have a right to speak to him like that. Coming from basically the strictest Catholic family ever her parents had been married (and would be married) to each other forever.

Pi poked his head out of the recording studio as he saw his best friend’s face slowly change colour from a red fury, to a blue lack of air. “Yo, you all right?”

It was most decidedly clear when Toma walked over to the garbage can and kicked it very loudly, like a complete infant, that he was not all right at all.

----------------
End Notes:
Hope you all enjoyed it :)!
This story is published on Asian Fan Fiction at http://www.asianfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?sid=2353