It's Been One Week Since You Looked At Me

After Amu has a realization, she goes to see if she can reconsile her best friend's true identity.

Date: 2016-01-27
Pose Count: 25
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 20:11:09 25227
The first couple days were...rough. Well, they're still rough, but at least Nagihiko got out of the house during the weekend.

Only because Mother threatened to drug his tea so he'd sleep.

While he's feeling better, he's also just feeling worse. Part of him suspects the long silence just means Amu's (rightfully) deciding to just...ignore him forever.

And, though he'd thought that was the worst of it.

On the roof of his family estate, laying down and watching the sky change from afternoon to evening, he holds up a pink egg. Nothing. Silence.

So, pretty much, if an attack were to happen, he'd be on the sidelines.

They're far enough away from busy roads that he can hear certain things. Maybe its a sigh, or a crunch of a twig, but curiosity has him scaling across the roof to walk the top of the stone wall.

He looks around, trying to source the noise (and trying not to get his hopes up) but when he does, he can't stop the broad grin from spreading across his face. She probably came to yell at him, but that's okay. It's just good to see her again.

And oh, she's hugging herself as she walks, her uncertain face the antithesis of her Cool and Spicy facade.

Maybe he should change into something (someone) more familiar.

And he realizes right away that would be a bad idea.

Besides, if she does decide to kick his butt, slacks are much easier to run in.

He hooks his hand around the head of a statue, leaning over to look at her better. "Come to kick my butt?" He really shouldn't sound so happy about it. "I'll let you get a few kicks in before I start running."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 20:26:37 25228
The past week has been miserable for Amu. She's avoided the Guardians altogether, and given one of them is her boyfriend this likely has the negative impact of looking like she's avoiding him. Hopefully Tadase will understand.

She's gone through all of the stages of grief at least once--all except the last and most important one. That one is still pending, but at least she's putting her feet in the right direction.

Less than an hour ago, Amulet Heart scolded Prism Keeper Orange for not being forgiving and loving. But it wasn't really Orange she was scolding; it was her own heart that needed the reminder.

But it's so very hard to admit you've been wrong, and harder still when you're not entirely wrong.

Amu hugs herself tight as she wavers on her path towards Nadesh--Nagihiko's home. Every step is like a chore; her feet feel like lead and she's on the verge of shaking in terror. Will she meet her best friend again, or will she be unable to say the words she needs to?

The option of turning back, however, is taken away by the sound of a voice overhead. Amu startles in surprise and hops a step backwards. She stares up at Nagihiko on the roof without recognition for several moments.

"Amu-chan, I don't sense ..." Ran starts to say, but Amu reaches up to grab the chara out of the air, silencing her with a squeak of protest.

Because it's dawned on her who that is. "Nagihiko," she says. She doesn't even know what honorrific to use, so she just sticks with the entirely rude 'no honorrific.' Not promising.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 20:32:27 25229
He winces. It's clear and visible on his face as he scales down the wall. "So I...should have changed?"

And once he's down on the ground, he leans a bit against the wall, hands shoved in his jacket pockets. And it's really awkward for him, because for once he doesn't know how to act around her. Arms folded? Hair up? Serving tea?

But he realizes, also, he'd probably fail as Nadeshiko at the moment.

He also doesn't really know what to say, so he just clears his throat and follows her lead. "Amu-chan."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 20:39:53 25230
For a brief instant, Amu's stubbornness crosses her face. She glares at him. At the casual way he stands against the wall. How 'cool' he looks, taking her best friend's place as if it weren't a complete betrayal of her confidence.

How could he?

"Amu-chan," Miki warns her.

Amu grimaces at the blue-haired chara, then lets Ran go. Ran floats away dizzily to join Su and Miki over Amu's shoulders.

"Are you going to invite me in?" Amu asks, breaking the ice. "Or am I not welcome here, anymore?"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 20:50:06 25231
He blinks in complete surprise. "You want to come in?"

He pushes himself off the wall and goes to open the door. "Yeah, I mean, of course, come in, you're always wel--"

The door's not budging.

He tries again.

And groans as he thunks his head against the large door. "Aunty..."

There's a solution to this! "Don't worry, I'll get us in!" He starts to climb the wall again, obviously having done this before. "Aunty's been watching the news again. She's half convinced half the neighborhood is gonna try to rob us or something."

Once over, it's easy to scale back down. A few twists and turns, and the gate door is open! "As I was saying! Please! Come in!"

Say something else!

"Do you want something? Tea? Soda? ...water? Something sweet or something salty, Aunty just went to the store yesterday so its not all gone if--"

Not that much.

"Er, yeah."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 21:06:58 25232
Amu grimaces when Nagihiko starts to climb around. So inelegant. It's such an obvious contrast from the Nadeshiko she's known all this time that she is almost finding it difficult to remember it's the same person at all.

When the door opens, Amu stares at the portal uncertainly for several moments. "Amu," Ran chimes in again, which prompts her to take a step through the door. The trio of charas float in with her, and immediately fan out in a search pattern. They can all tell something's missing. And they're worried.

"No, nothing," Amu says, letting her Charas go off on their own. "I ..." she starts to say. She's planted her feet just inside the door, and isn't taking her shoes off. Does she mean to stay? She certainly seems to have lost her voice.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 21:17:54 25233
His shoes aren't off, either. Not yet. And it doesn't look like she actually wants to be here. "So. You want to go for a walk instead? I've been kind of cooped up, and I know a nice place." Okay, so maybe its his favorite place. And maybe he wants to share it with her. Now's a good time as any?

And he of course notices the charas flying around, searching for Temari. He turns toward them, conveniently away from Amu so she couldn't see his face when he calls out to them. "You're not going to find her. She's...sleeping."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 21:20:46 25234
Ran, Miki, and Su all come to a dead stop as if caught red-handed. Amu's eyes widen at the implications. All three charas rush towards Nagihiko worriedly and flitter around the purple-haired boy.

But Amu merely hugs herself again. "Is that my fault?" she asks, worriedly. Exactly the opposite of the Joker's duties in the Guardians. Good job, Amu.

"Look, Na..." Nagihiko? Nadeshiko? "Just ... I still don't know what to say right now. But I don't ..." hate you. Say the words, Amu.

But she's never been particularly good at saying those kinds of things. So instead she merely sighs and nods. "Yeah, maybe going for a walk would be better."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 21:26:47 25235
The charas' actions pulls a slight grin from his face. "Hey, now, don't fret." He pulls out the pink egg to show them. "See? She's just sleeping."

He looks back at Amu. Is it her fault? Whether or not it is in reality, Nagihiko doesn't think so. "It would have happened sooner or later."

And then, without thinking, he grabs her hand to pull her along. "I answer by either, you know. Tadase calls me Na-chan, if you think that'd help. And hey, the trees probably have icicles on them! Think they'll still be twinkling, or is it too dark now?"
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 21:46:35 25236
"Erp!" Amu replies, as Nagihiko grabs her hand and starts dragging her out of the house again. She could resist, maybe, but quick thinking has never been Amu's strongest suit. So instead she winds up practically carried right out of the house by Nagihiko's very sudden burst of excitement. "I ... I guess they will," she agrees confusedly. There's still a little bit of light left. "Where are we going?" Amu asks uncertainly, not pulling her hand away.

And the trio of Charas, still desperately worried, give ch ase.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 22:14:19 25238
It's not far to his secret short cut. When their feet hit the dirt path, he breathes in a breath of air. "Ahh, so peaceful!"

And he realizes he's still holding her hand, and also surprised its attached still, so he slides his fingers free of hers.

He stretches his arms out wide before placing his hands behind his head. "Don't worry. It's not ghost season, so there shouldn't be any out at this time."

Nagihiko does not need Temari to be a troll.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 22:18:35 25239
Amu still oesn't pull her hand out of his, even when he finally slows down. She's too busy looking around, confusedly, at the wooded paths that she never knew were so near to Tokyo.

When Nagihiko pulls his hand away, though, she almost instinctively resumes hugging herself, nervously. "It is nice," she agrees thoughtfully as she scans the area.

But then he mentions ghosts, and Amu's whole face (and hair) turn white as she panics. She literally leaps towards him and tightly enfolds Nagihiko's closest arms as she cries, "G-g-g-ghosts?!"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 22:24:04 25240
"It'll lead to the park. This is a short cut, but not many people know about it."

And then she's clinging on his arm and ohhhhh, not laughing right then is one of the hardest things in the world.

Instead, he tries to focus on the fact that his cheeks are pink, and it has little to do with the cold.

He looks down at her, a calm expression etched carefully across his face. "Oh yes. Legend has it, they're particularly fond of girls with pink hair."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 23:12:25 25247
The trio of nearby charas begin to giggle as Nagihiko's prank makes Amu cling even tighter to the boy's arm. Amu doesn't seem to notice, though; she's too busy shrieking and trying to crawl inside of him for protection.

"There's no such thing as g-g-g-ghosts," Amu tells Nagihiko, as bravely as she can.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 23:14:44 25248
It's impossible to hold back. He tries, and his body shakes with it, until finally he has to lean against his knees and laugh.

It's not the delicate giggle behind a hand, but it is the same as Nadeshiko's genuine laugh.

So there's that, at least!

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry I just oh gods I can't breathe!"
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-27 23:21:33 25250
It's about here that Amu realises she is being had. Her charas are laughing. Nagihiko is laughing. In fact the only one not laughing is the pink-haired girl who's still afraid of ghosts.

Amu Hinamori has been called many things in her life, but the one most persistent has been 'cool and spicy'. Nagihiko has seen that side of her, but never directed at himself.

Today will be a first.

Amu lets go almost immediately and raises her chin. "B...baka!" she says, then balls up her fist and punches him, straight on in the arm, hard enough to send the boy blasting backwards. At least she didn't punch his face.

Or Chara Change with Ran.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-27 23:27:26 25252
Flying he goes! "Ow, son of a--!!"

But, even as he lands, hard, on the ground, clutching at his sore arm, he's torn between wincing and laughing. "Okay, okay, I deserved that, but all I can say it was worth it."

After a moment, he stood up, dusted himself off, and winced as his arm twisted just right to move the forming bruise. "One of these days, you're gonna have to show me how to punch like that."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-28 00:08:21 25257
Amu's expression darkens further. "Tch!" she declares. Her charas are uproarious at this point; Miki nearly falls out of the sky she's laughing so hard.

"Boys can't punch like that," Amu assures Nagihiko. "It requires the grace and elegance of a proper lady."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-28 00:11:04 25259
Nagihiko looks at poor Miki. "You gonna be alright there?"

Then his eyebrows raise. "Oh, well then!"

He pulls out his egg. "Wake up, grumpy butt, I wanna punch like a lady, dammit!"

Nothing. Sigh. Shrug. "Maybe next week."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-28 00:16:40 25261
Amu looks down at Nagihiko for a long moment, then sighs and reaches down to offer her hand. "Look, Na..gihiko-kun," she calls him quietly.

"I don't hate you. I'm not going to hate you. But I'm still really mad at you. And I don't know where we stand anymore. You've seen me at my most vulnerable; seen me in ways that should be intimate between a boy and a girl. I wouldn't even let Tadase-kun see me like that, right now, and we're sorta ... dating? Maybe?"

"So yeah," Amu says, "I'm mad. I'm hurt. But I don't hate you. And I'm not going to stop being your friend. I just ... I need some time to forgive you. I'm not ready for that, yet. Okay?"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-28 00:39:48 25264
He accepts the hand and uses it as a brace to stand himself up.

And, of course, his heart soars when she says she doesn't hate him. But the only sign of that is his eyes lighting up. Everything else is busy listening.

When she's finished, he's unable to stop the back of his hand from coming up to bush against his lips, or the gleeful look, or the "Amu-chan and Tadase-kun, yay!"

Then he remembers himself. "Sorry, sorry. No, you're right. You have every right to be angry still. And I don't care if it takes you thirty years to forgive me, I'll keep doing whatever I can to help, even if its to give you space."

And then, he sighs and takes her hand. "I need you to know something, though. Nadeshiko isn't the act. I was serious, Nadeshiko is me. What is the act, what is my character, is being female. Our family has done it for generations. And I just--" He looks off to the side a bit and sighs. "I never once...I didn't have those kinds of thoughts. I wasn't even thinking--" Augh. He's supposed to be an actor. He's supposed to be good at this kind of thing.

"One day, I just wish I can prove to you that I'll always be your Nadeshiko, no matter what clothes I'm wearing."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-28 01:00:50 25266
That dark, irritated expression returns to Amu's face at Nagihiko's gleeful encouragement of the relationship. But she doesn't hit him, again. Because there are much more important things at stake, right now.

"I don't think you can ever do that again," Amu says quietly, honestly. "Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm being unfair. But ... I don't want a boy to see me naked, like that. It's just not ..." appropriate? Comfortable?

"I don't know," Amu says. "I'm sorry, Nagihiko-kun. This isn't fair to you. But I never knew you were a boy. Maybe if I'd known, it would be different. Maybe I wouldn't feel so betrayed by those touches. Seriously, you've helped me with my bra. That's not ..." she's blushing at just the thought. "It's embarassing."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-01-28 01:30:16 25267
"No, I didn't mean--you're not wrong. You're not being unfair about that. I wasn't even thinking. Neither were Aunty or Mother. I help my mother get dressed in kimono. During shows, I help everyone else get dressed, if they need me to. And I don't peek at them, and I never peeked at you."

He takes a step back. "I don't want to be that jerk that comes up and goes 'Hey, Nadeshiko-chan,'" His voice...doesn't go very deep yet. But he tries. "'You and me, baby, what you say?' And all you wanna do after you've politely turn them down more than once is just beat their smug little faces into the sidewalk."

He's grumpy about that, to be sure, but not as much as if Temari were awake.

He looks down at the ground and scuffs a shoe against the ground. "I'm not saying you shouldn't feel that way. I'm just trying to...ease your mind a little."

And he looks up at her. "And if you ever did want to stay over again, thirty years from now or something, we have some nice guest rooms."
Amu Hinamori 2016-02-02 17:24:52 26479
That's right, Nadeshiko had been hit on, hadn't she? And rather frequently, at that. In truth, Amu was fairly certain Nadeshiko had been more popular with the boys than she herself was, and with that popularity comes plenty of creepers. Amu has met her fair share.

But that only means that Nadeshiko understands better than most boys what it means to have creepy stalkers trying to peek at you naked. Perhaps doubly so since Nadeshiko's secret wasn't just the embarassment of being seen naked, but also the struggle of trying to be accepted as a normal 'girl' when she really wasn't.

Amu's charas all ceases their giggling, in light of the very sincere uncertainty on their bearer's face. "Amu-chan?" Su asks, after a few moments of silence.

Amu waves her away with a little nod of her head, t hen looks back to Nagihiko. "Maybe someday," she agrees. "For now ... I think I deserve the chance to get to know who Nagihiko is. Will you introduce me?"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2016-02-02 17:32:01 26480
He remains silent as she mulls his words over, wondering just how made his future looked. Mangled? Beaten to a pulp? Worse, Amu-chanless?

And then he blinks, and his eyebrows raise. "Of course. Amu Hinamori, allow me to introduce myself. I am Nagihiko Fujisaki, I like to dance, act, and climb tall trees."