"I think when Rin-chan confesses she should be like: I-I've always had feelings for you... for the longest time... I've secretly been in love with you!"
"Exactly, that's it! That's genius! And she has to be all flustered and fidgeting adorably!"
Rin glared from the first nutcase to the other, raising one of her eyebrows sceptically.
"What on Earth are you two doing?" she wondered and frowned, unimpressed with the rather offensive performance Miku just had displayed for her, as well as Luka’s overly enthusiastic reaction to it. The two older Vocaloids were over the moon, blushing and grinning widely with something that to Rin was an unexplainable excitement.
"Can't you see? We're impersonating you!" Miku told her as she jumped happily on the spot, apparently very satisfied with her acting. Rin wrinkled her nose and glanced over at Luka who looked equally convinced that their little act was supposed to be exactly the right image for her, Kagamine Rin, to take on. It was a poor imitation. In fact, it wasn’t and imitation at all. It was more like a dream vision those two idiots had and they were without any doubt too proud of it. They were even dancing around in a joyful circle, making complete fools out of themselves.
"Can you please stop?" Rin asked bitterly. It was more of a statement than a question really, but if they had done the same in public she could be begging on her bare knees by now. She couldn’t hold back the flush that covered her cheeks because of the embarrassment when both Miku and Luka decided on doing one of their random group hugs with her, the kind that strangled all the air out of you, before they looked down at their “little sister” with smug faces.
“Now, now Rin-chan, you know that Christmas is the time for love. It’s the best opportunity you can get to confess you feelings for someone you like!” Luka preached with her finger in the air. Rin could feel how her face heated up even more and she tried to hide it by turning away, but of course Luka and Miku started leaning that direction too, still with those stupid grins on their lips.
“I-it’s not like I have anyone I like!” Rin exclaimed, quietly damning herself for stuttering. Miku tipped her head to the side, reaching out to teasingly poke Rin’s shoulder.
“Is there really nobody you have a little crush on?” she wondered softly. Rin shook her head immediately and refused to look at her friends, since she knew, unfortunately, that her expression would give away some of the hidden truth. Meiko had already pointed out to her that she wouldn’t be very good at poker and Rin took her word for it. But, she didn’t want anyone to find out her true emotions for… for him. She wasn’t even sure how she felt herself yet and she didn’t want anyone else to affect her in that matter. Besides, she was definitely not going to let all those thoughts trouble her today. Fortunately, she seemed to have escaped the subject as Luka and Miku exchanged looks with each other and shrugged towards her stubbornness. Rin decided to ignore them. After standing up, she ran with light steps over to the door and picked down one of the red and snowy white, velvet dresses that hung there. The smallest one belonged to her. It was the dress she was supposed to wear at the Christmas party which was going to be held in the house within a couple of hours. It included the eight Vocaloids living in there, plus a few more from the outside. Rin truly hoped it was going to be a magical night as she stroked the lean fabric of her dress with a tiny smile.
“So are we going to get ready now? You two have to do my hair!” Miku said excitedly and clapped her hands together. Rin turned over her shoulder and nodded eagerly. She wasn’t going to hold back on showing how excited she was too about the evening. Getting ready was almost going to be just as fun. It was nice dressing up and feeling pretty for something else than a concert. For once they wouldn’t have to be left in the hands of the stylists but could entrust their good looks to each other. Luka was certainly not one to disappoint when it came to hair. Whatever miracle shampoo and conditioner she took use of could turn even Rin’s short, slightly cloven locks of hair into a shiny curtain that felt softer than a kitten’s fur. She and Luka split up Miku’s teal hairdo in half and actively worked on one side each to create the most perfect braids of their ability. Miku, who was more than satisfied with the result, then helped the other two with the makeup. A thin cover of powder over their faces and mascara to make long, raven lashes, which they entertained themselves with by pretend-flirting with each other for all too long. At last, a bit of glittery eyeliner was applied on their eyelids; forest green for Miku, a dark pink for Luka and gleaming gold for Rin. They all stepped into the dresses at the same time, checking each other to make sure their outfits were sitting just right. When that was done, all Rin had left to do was to place a metallic, golden diadem on top of her head and they were ready to go.
The three of them made their way down the stairs, feeling a little like royals in their new, startling looks and finding that most of the residents of the house were standing in the hallway, awaiting the guests that were still to come. Gakupo, who was dressed in a simple black suit with a violet tie, had placed himself by the door and his face lit up as soon as he saw the girls.
“You all look beautiful”, he said with a warm smile. But both Miku and Rin were aware of to whom the compliment really was directed to. Luka’s cheeks had turned as pink as her hair and she giggled lightly. Nobody missed the flirty smiles she and Gakupo secretly exchanged when she passed him by. Of course Rin immediately thought that Luka looked a lot more stunning than she did. She desperately wanted to be told she was beautiful too, not by Gakupo, but by the person that was standing next to him. Since she had been distracted, she hadn’t noticed the longing glance those navy blue eyes had cast at her, before the one they belonged to had discreetly turned his head away. All Rin knew was that Kaito, in his white suit with blue details, didn’t say anything or even look at her when she walked past him and it made her heart sink in her chest. She tried not to care, to just shrug her shoulders at it, but her head still tipped forwards and she gripped the hem of her dress regretfully. She wondered why she had gotten her hopes up when she’d already known he wouldn’t notice her. She wouldn’t have felt pretty at all if she hadn’t felt Miku’s hand, kindly patting her right shoulder. Seeing her smiling to support and comfort her lightened up Rin’s mood again, so she directed her attention to Len who was leaned up against the wall together with Gumi. Gumi was gorgeous in her short dress, which was made of silk and coloured in one of the darkest shades of green, and the smudgy eyeliner around her emerald eyes completed her look. She was currently trying to convince the boy by her side that she simply had to have his first dance, with exceedingly good arguments too, which made Miku shoot murdering glares their way. Len laughed nervously and searched for his sister’s eyes in a cry for help, but Rin gave him a cruel smirk instead that told him he was going to have to handle that love triangle of his himself.
Meiko stood at the end of the hall. She seemed to be exhausted, which was understandable since she had been cooking all day, and she had already helped herself to a small amount of alcohol, making clear she wouldn’t be spending the remaining of the night sober. Her outfit was a crimson, sexy cocktail dress that exposed more than a little of her famous cleavage. Rin’s chest, flat like a board as it was, wasn’t much to compare with, but Meiko’s motherly caress on her blonde head made up for the jealousy.
Teto, Neru and Haku were in the kitchen, screwing around goofily and picking food from the table before the party had even begun. They came early since Teto had taken on the task to plan the activities and used the other two as her companions. Neru was as usual on her phone, trying not to get bothered by Teto who was continuously elbowing her on in the side, rambling something about the baguettes being too dry. In the meanwhile, Haku was just trying to avoid a case of accidently pushing anything down from the overflowing table. The doorbell rang multiple times and Mayu, IA, Kiyoteru, Akaito, Kikaito, Mokaito and Nigaito stumbled inside the house on a lead. The final guests had arrived, the food was put out in the living room and the party could start at last.
To Rin the party turned out to be okay in the beginning. The decorations that Gumi had made were incredibly pretty and really gave that feeling of Christmas being on its way. However, despite getting set with the holiday spirit, there was no denying that sitting on the couch, watching the others dance and mingle wasn’t so much fun. And unfortunately, that was the case for Rin. She smiled at Gumi who gave her a victorious V-sign with her fingers since she had managed to drag up Len for her first dance after all. Len’s embarrassment was fairly amusing as well, but Rin wasn’t able to hold onto that half-hearted smile for long. Although she was happy to see that everyone else seemed to be having a good time, her only wish was that she could share it with them. But nobody had turned their head to look at her, to see her curled up all alone, too shy to join them, and therefore there was nobody that did anything about it. Everyone was busy with their own thing. Like Gumi and Len, Gakupo and Luka were also dancing around the living room together. Rin couldn’t help but to stare because they were getting very intimate and they weren’t even boyfriend and girlfriend! Gakupo had placed his hand a little below Luka’s waist and they were moving slowly, closely, hip to hip with their eyes tenderly set on each other. They were acting like what was going on in the rest room couldn’t affect them at all. Rin was probably the only one who saw how close they were at the moment. Not that it mattered to her… but yes, she did feel a slight sting of envy. She was envious of the relationship they had, even if the obvious affection between them was unspoken of. She wanted to have a romance like that of her own. She wanted to know what it was like to have someone to be deeply in love with, who also felt the same for you.
Her eyes fell on Kaito again, the big let-down of her night. Surprisingly, he was, too, sitting alone on a wobbly chair at the other side of the room, staring down on his hands which he played with awkwardly. Most of his brothers, minus Kikaito who was preforming some kind of odd robot dance, had taken great interest in the food that Meiko had dished up. Meiko herself had deepened her own interest in the booze, but thankfully she hadn’t completely given in to it yet and kept looking respectable and attractive. She sat with her back straight and her long legs crossed in an armchair next to Mayu whom she was talking casually to. Kiyoteru had been brave enough to ask IA for a dance and they looked like they were enjoying themselves too. Miku and Teto were apparently having some kind of silly dance competition out in the kitchen which Haku and Neru were the judges of. Rin thought that she might actually try to have some fun and was just about to rise from her seat to head over to them, when she suddenly felt a small tap on her shoulder.
“What is such a pretty girl doing all by herself?” A familiar voice said softly. For a brief moment, Rin’s heart started pounding quicker as she hopefully gazed up to the person before her. Her shoulders sank with a disappointed sigh when she realised it wasn’t the person she first had thought it was. Their voices were very similar, but this guy was the wrong colour. Instead of the calm blue Rin had been expecting, she saw an angry red clinging onto the young man’s eyes and hair. Akaito’s lips formed into a naughty grin and Rin gave him a dull glare. She didn’t try to hide her disappointment although she guessed he had most likely been aiming at tricking her and he had succeeded.
“What do you want?” she muttered coldly, crawling backwards in an attempt to take distance from him. But that only caused him to lean closer as he placed a hand against the wall behind her.
“I don’t believe I’ve said anything to insult you”, he murmured teasingly and narrowed his eyes. “How about you stop acting hostile so I could ask you up for a dance?”
Rin raised an eyebrow, not sure what this guy’s deal was but presuming he was up to no good. She didn’t usually hang around any of the Shion brothers (except Kaito of course) and she knew neither of them very well. Let’s just say she wasn’t all too interested in finding out more about them either, especially not the one that was rudely hanging over her, way too close for her comfort. Sensing her suspicion and unwillingness, Akaito reached for the blood red rose in the breast pocket of his ash-grey suit, pulling it out to place it behind her ear and attach it to her diadem.
“C’mon, you’re looking so lovely in red”, he coaxed sweetly, lowering his head to whisper in her ear. “You don’t have anything to lose, do you? Believe it or not but I’m a very passionate dancer. You might actually enjoy it. If nothing else, I can make you look desirable for the one you want.”
Akaito glanced back over his shoulder and nodded towards the exact spot where Kaito was sitting. Unbelievably enough, it seemed like Kaito for some reason had caught attention to what was going on between Rin and his brother and he looked alarmed, on edge and maybe even a little bit… jealous? It wasn’t like Rin actually believed or trusted the words Akaito tried to tempt her with, but now that Kaito finally was looking her way she simply didn’t want him to stop.
“Fine”, she told Akaito, who gave her yet another of his wry smiles before grabbing her hand and dragged her up on her feet, pulling her close with such force their bodies bumped together directly. His arm was instantly wrapped around her waist, holding her firmly. It was a tad too tight for Rin, there was practically no space between her and her dance partner, but there was no point of turning him down now. In fact she thought Akaito’s smirk might have gotten a little less mean, for all that it was worth. They were dancing at slow pace at first and Rin noticed it wasn’t quite as unpleasant as she had expected it to be. In the corner of her eye she could still see Kaito following her with his brusque gaze and she admitted that she childishly loved getting his attention and making him sulk. But it didn’t feel right somehow, most of the time she was just staring at Akaito’s chest to avoid meeting those fiery eyes that reminded her of who she was actually dancing with. Akaito felt a lot like Kaito, looked a lot like Kaito, but he wasn’t. Nothing would ever change that and Rin knew as well as anyone that one person couldn’t replace another. If Kaito really was bothered by her dancing with his brother, how come he didn’t do anything? Rin wished he’d do something instead of just sitting there so she could get out of this situation. Couldn’t he see how desperate she’d become because she’d wanted him to notice her?
Suddenly, there was a shift in the mood as the music got wilder, louder and as the beat got faster, so did the pace of the dance. Rin completely lost control as she was put under Akaito’s lead. He was moving so fast she could barely keep up.
“You know”, Akaito purred with a grin, leaning in by her ear again, “I like spicy things and from what I’ve heard I understand you can be pretty tangy. Why don’t you give me a taste of it?”
Rin blushed furiously when he, without warning, gave her ear a playful bite. She made an attempt to pull away, relieved that no one else in the room seemed to have noticed his efforts to humiliate her, but her fingers were intertwined with his and she was still locked in his embrace. The only sensible choice that was left, according to Rin, was to play along with his little game. But she was sure as hell not going to let him win. She gave Akaito a dark, daring look, hoping that she wouldn’t appear as helpless and vulnerable as she really felt.
“Maybe I will”, she hissed and gritted her teeth. She saw in Akaito’s satisfied expression that her bite-back pleased him and let him know she had opened up for his next move. That’s when she realised: He hadn’t been trying yet. Everything before had merely been his foreplay. He literally tried to sweep her off her feet when they began their fierce, strenuous, face-to-face dance off as their duet unexpectedly turned into a duel. The people that curiously turned their heads their way wasn’t aware that though, but it didn’t cross Rin’s mind once what this scene might look like from their perspective.
She got into it, way more than she wanted to admit. As they danced away, they turned the tables over and over again, taking the lead from the other, twisting and twirling in something that became so intense that both of them lost track of what they were devoting themselves to. They became like fire and sunrise, burning passionately and exposing each other’s hidden colours. Akaito kept flashing his fangs at Rin, sadistically trying to harm her to bring himself pleasure, break her in his arms so that she would crumble for him and beg to be spared. His hands were all over her; slipping up her thigh, making her wish her dress was longer; running down her stomach, having her paralyzed, yelping pathetically, before they ventured to the back of her neck and around her waist again, supporting her as he pulled her down for a dive and tried to catch her off guard with his insolent attacks. However, Rin didn’t let him burst through her barrier that easily and kept him at his bay for a good while. She featured a couple of bold moves herself, like grabbing a handful of his ruby hair so harshly she almost ripped it out of its roots. As he dipped her towards the floor, she heard him moan against her throat, but that was the only reaction of weakness she got from him. Then he chuckled and took the chance to bite her at the crook of her neck, and it wasn’t just a nibble this time. It was as if he actually tried to penetrate her skin and she gasped in pain until he broke away from her.
They fought rabidly with their bodies, but most of all with their eyes. There wasn’t a single second of their graceful battle when Rin couldn’t feel that powerful, bloody stare, pierce right through her like a scorching blade. The many tiring, quickening steps were driving her to exhaustion and it finally came to a point when she her small body wasn’t able to handle it any more. The room was spinning around her like a carousel she knew she would have to get off soon. Her breaths were getting too short and too painful, her muscles ached too much and she seemed to have lost the sense of time and space. She realised that except for the music that rang in her ears, all that existed was she and the person that had turned out to transform her boring evening into something this absurd and completely out of control. This entire experience had become almost nightmarish to Rin, as if she had found herself in the claws of a tremendous dragon, clenching her so hard it made her bleed. She stared right into Akaito’s face, blown away from the fact that he had absolutely conquered her, and she was facing up to the truth that she, Kagamine Rin, was losing. And so, that’s when Akaito’s expression changed into another kind of determination, because he had realised that it was time for him to claim his price. For a moment the world stopped abruptly and everything stood still as he leaned in, closer and closer to her face, licking his lips and opening his mouth to devour her. The frail girl was frightened in the grip of the beast and she couldn’t move when his lips just nearly, barely, brushed over hers…
“Just kidding”, Akaito mumbled against her mouth, loud enough for her alone to hear, before there was the sound of an object crashing to the floor. Everyone’s eyes, that had previously been fixated on the couple on the middle of the dance floor, shot to the direction of the noise. Kaito was standing up and his chair had fallen down on its back behind him. His eyes were wide, horrified, and his whole body was set to leap, probably to break in and end the show that had played out before him. When he realised everybody was looking at him, he stepped back, relaxed his shoulders and got hurriedly got the chair back on its feet. As he sat down it, he blushed heavily and clenched his fist as he let his gaze drift to the side, giving the impression he wanted to fade away on the spot. A hand was placed on Akaito’s shoulder and he gazed over it, finding another of his siblings looking down on him.
“I think that’s enough”, Mokaito said to him bluntly as Akaito’s hold on Rin loosened and she rushed off to the kitchen. It was empty now. Thank God for that. Rin tried to reach out for a glass in the cupboard and noticed her hands were shaking. She wasn’t able to tell if it was out of fatigue or something else. Akaito’s breath still hung in the hollow of her mouth and her throat, leaving a sour taste that put her off badly. She was aware of that she could have her first kiss stolen, right in front of Kaito and with his brother on top of that! She realized she was fairly upset about it when she clutched the glass in her trembling hands. This wasn’t how the Christmas party was supposed to turn out. It was supposed to be fun! The night had only begun and it already couldn’t get worse. Kaito had pretended like it was nothing in the end, as if he didn’t actually care. Rin knew it was possible that he didn’t like her that way after all. Maybe he just thought of her as a sister like everyone else in the house did? It would only be natural if he wanted to keep his little sister away from a guy like Akaito. Rin bit her lip, trying not to cry. She wouldn’t allow herself to cry over it. She didn’t want to be his little sister.
“Hey.” It was his voice, the other one. Rin hadn’t been expecting anyone else. But why couldn’t he just leave her alone?
“What do you want now?” she asked Akaito weakly. A hot puff of air came into her hair, he was standing right behind her, placing his hands on her hips and pulling her slightly away from the cabinet.
“I apologise. My joke went a little too far. I was actually trying to help you out…”
Rin snorted. She’d rather seem pissed off than hurt. She didn’t want him to see that she was defeated, so she didn’t turn to face him. She wished she hadn’t played his game to begin with.
“Oh, really?” she said sarcastically, marking with her tone how much she needed him to be leaving. He took her by total surprise when he spun her around. Just like that, she was staring into his red orbs again. Now, however, they were looking at her strangely serious.
“You know”, he said, burying one of his large hands in her hair while placing a finger under her chin to tip her head up, “if you’re tired of waiting, you could have me. I wouldn’t mind… going out with you.”
Rin’s heart stopped for a split second. It was like a wave of cold water flushing over her. What did he just say? He couldn’t possibly mean that, could he? She tried to figure out if he was kidding and laughed awkwardly as if it was a bad joke but…
“I believe interest in someone can awaken at first sight, but fondness is something that grows with the time. Don’t get me wrong little miss number two, I’m not in love with you or anything. But, I really like your edge and… I think you’re cute too. I’d love to find out more about you. If you’d like to, you could date me until that idiot realises he needs you and you can just drop me off. That might take a while though, so you’ll have plenty of time to get to know me”, Akaito explained, since Rin obviously wasn’t convinced he was talking seriously. She frowned at him in disbelief. It took about a minute before she could think of a decent response.
“That’s quite a hideous thing to do to someone you’re going out with, even if it’s someone like you”, she pointed out. Akaito seemed to find this amusing and cracked a smile.
“So is that your way of saying I’m not so bad after all, huh? But perhaps if you go out with me and I’m lucky, you’ll start liking me instead. Wouldn’t it almost the same as being together with him?”
Rin gave him a sad look and then shook her head slowly. She had the perfect answer for this one.
“No, I’m sorry, but it’s not. Not for me. But if you really thought so, then you’ve proved you’re just about as dumb as he is, that would be the most similar thing about you two.”
Akaito’s eyes widened and he took a step back, falling silent when it hit him that he’d been rejected. Rin sort of prepared herself that he’d snap back at her, but instead she was shocked to hear him let go of a sudden laugh, clear and surprisingly warm as it was. His smile was definitely kinder now, but it still had that mischievous hint on it.
“I guess I have to wish you good luck then. But it is a shame, we’d make a nice pair”, he said and sniggered. “Anyway, if you do change your mind, you know where you can find me.”
He was about to take his leave, but before he did he stepped towards her again, quickly drawing his long tongue across Rin’s flushed cheek as he stole back the rose from the left side of her head. He twirled a lock of her blonde hair around his finger, grinning once again as he walked backwards until he disappeared into the living room. Rin cringed in disgust and wiped her cheek with the back of her hand. She had in fact considered it for the shortest time, but now she knew there was absolutely no way she was going to fall for him. He had confused her for a moment by acting like he actually cared for her, but if he ever had a true chance of making her like him, then he just blew it. Besides, he couldn’t really have been that interested in her anyway, since he basically had offered himself to be her plan B. It just didn’t make sense.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: My greatest idea ever!” Teto’s loud announcements broke through Rin’s thoughts, making her jump in surprise while attracting her attention towards the sound. ”I have designed the most hilarious game for tonight only, so gather along me and I’ll tell you the rules!”
To be honest, Rin had rather stayed in the kitchen where she felt a lot more secure, but she was too curious of what all the fuss was about. Therefore she dragged herself back to the living room where the others were standing around Teto who had placed herself upon a chair to get a good view over the room. Rin could tell from the concerned expression Miku gave her that she had been worrying about her, so she gave her friend a small wave to confirm that she was okay. Miku seemed to sigh with relief from where she stood next to Luka and turned her eyes back to the noisy party planner.
“You see, this is how it goes…” Teto began, pointing at one of the two shoeboxes Haku held up. “This is the boys’ box. As you can see it’s filled with blindfolds. All of you guys will cover your eyes and then the girls will take these bells and attach them to their wrists. The girls will stand at one end of the room, shaking their hand to make the bells sound and you guys will come from the other end and try to find a dance partner. Speaking and taking of your blindfolds is strictly forbidden! There are only the ladies that will know who they are dancing with to begin with, but the guys can always try to figure it out if they want to and if they’re smart enough, of course.”
“What’s so hilarious about it all?” Gakupo asked the question they all had on their mind.
“I’m glad you asked”, Teto said and smirked. “The fun part is that I first get to watch you guys fumbling around to find your lady and then I get to watch them struggling to lead you when you’re blindfolded!”
Everyone sighed and rolled their eyes. They all knew there was one girl too much for the game and since Teto had planned it all, she was the only one that was out of danger of possibly humiliating herself. The task ahead for both genders was indeed difficult and would with all certainty be comical to watch. But still it seemed like most of the people in the room agreed that it was an interesting activity, though some were slightly sceptical. The two separate groups went to receive their item and placed themselves in opposite parts of the room as they took them on. Teto waited until they all were ready before she gave them the signal to start.
“Let the game begin!” she shouted and the girls started to wave their hands in the air, filling the room with joyful chimes in different tones. There was one male in particular that caught Rin’s eye, obviously. She didn’t know how it was possible, but somehow Kaito managed to turn the wrong way and once he started walking forwards, he crashed right into the wall. Teto crouched and held her stomach with laughter as she reminded him that he was not allowed to take off the blindfold, which he of course had been about to. Rin couldn’t help but to giggle herself as she watched when Kaito very clumsily and very slowly got on his feet. It took a couple of minutes before he was able to spin himself around to the right direction. At that point most of the other guys had already gotten themselves a partner or were very near to find one. That’s when Rin realised she had completely forgotten to shake her own bell and she also realised… there was practically just one guy left for her. He was moving towards her. Of the few bells that still were spreading their sound, he was listening only to hers. But it took long before he got to her. Kaito tripped over his big feet many times and almost fell flat on his face which was much to everyone’s (especially Teto’s) amusement. “Just what is that idiot doing?” Rin thought, smiling when her partner finally stumbled into her arms and the music was turned on.
She thought she had been prepared for it, but she found that it was extremely hard for her to resist him. To tell the truth, Kaito was probably the biggest moron Rin had ever met. But after the years of spending time with him, working with him, having fun with him, bonding with him; she had come to the conclusion that he couldn’t be more flawless in her eyes. No matter how many times he screwed up. Even now, when his hands were awkwardly searching for her waist, she felt warmth to the core of her chest because that’s what she always felt like when he was with her. The problem was just that lately, that warmth had grown to a much stronger, deeper, unbearable source of heat that had her understand things weren’t the same as the used to be. Her feelings had changed so dramatically she didn’t even know how she was supposed to hide their presence or, on the other hand, how in the world Kaito was able to miss it. But then again, he was the biggest moron she had ever met. She bet he hadn’t even considered that she, Kagamine Rin, despite how stupid or unbelievable it sounded, had fallen in love with him. The fact that she told herself she wasn’t sure about it, hah, that was a big, fat lie! She had desperately thought there was a way to turn back, to undo whatever maddening spell that had been cast upon her. But it was useless, totally and utterly useless. Rin knew this as she entered Kaito’s embrace, only hesitating a brief moment as she made sure nobody was watching her. Trying to lead her partner normally would be no good. He had already stepped on her feet twice and… she might as well admit that she wanted to revel in him properly, shamelessly pressing him against her. Recently, he hadn’t been touching her at all. No hugging, no patting her head and he wouldn’t even sit close to her for some reason. It made Rin feel horribly lonely when she thought of it. She didn’t want them to drift apart.
She heard Kaito gasp as she hugged him tighter, wondering if he knew it was her, but the risk seemed fairly small. He was unsure where to put his hands and he seemed very confused about her actions. Rin was allowed to stay anonymous when she reached up to run her slender fingers through his soft, sapphire hair. She could touch him as much as he wanted at he wouldn’t even suspect that it was her. If he actually wanted to reveal her identity, he could have easily done it by trying to make out her figure. But since he didn’t, he remained clueless. Rin pulled away ever so slightly and stroked his cheek gently. He was breathing so slowly now, perhaps he was a little shocked to discover that he had a secret admirer. It was a bit sad though, Rin thought. If it really didn’t cross Kaito’s mind that she was the one to hold him lovingly like this, then what chance did she have on him? She couldn’t keep her shoulders from sagging as she looked up at him. He was the only boy she so innermost wanted for herself. She buried her face in his chest, drawing in the strong scent of vanilla (his favourite ice cream flavour) which always clung to his clothes and his perfect, pale skin. She filled her nose with his wonderful smell as she once again fought back the tears. The damage Akaito had done to her pride earlier was nothing compared to this. This wound was rooted so much deeper. It was like a cut in her heart. Maybe she would be better off with that sadistic redhead after all? Wasn’t it better than sticking to someone who hurt you with kindness and without realising it? In her despair, Rin let out the smallest whimper that was, to her, a meaningless fragment of her voice. However, Kaito heard it and he reacted immediately.
“R-Rin?” he called out as he grasped onto her suddenly, determined to not let go. Rin’s eyes grew wide at once, she couldn’t understand what had given her away, and she panicked. Without thinking, she gave Kaito a hard push in the chest which made him stumble backwards until he fell right on his ass. There was no time to linger and reconsider her actions, so Rin fled the scene before Kaito or anyone else was able to make out what had happened. But she regretted her decision. She regretted it ever so deeply as fast as she was safe in her room, the door locked behind her. She shouldn’t have freaked out like that, she really shouldn’t have. Now she wouldn’t be able to go back down there and her “magical” evening was completely destroyed, wrecked and ruined by nobody but herself. She let her dress drop to the floor and threw the diadem into the wall. She couldn’t describe how upset she was, she was so angry with herself she just wanted to erase everything and restart this chapter of her life from scratch. She had done everything wrong, from the very beginning. And because of that, she had to bear with this big, black blot in her mind; the memory of the night she had messed up so badly she would never get over it.
Someone knocked at the door, pulled the handle and called her name. It was probably Miku. Rin guessed Len was there too and when she came to think about it, she remembered that the two of them had ended up as partners after the game. Miku had worn a blissful smile on her face when she danced with Len. She must have been too shy to ask him up before and felt just as lucky as Rin had when her ideal partner walked right into her open arms. The least Rin could do was to take comfort in that her best friends had been having a better evening than she had, before she drowned herself in self-pity and dove into her bed, curling up in her cosy blankets. She didn’t really want to know, but she still wondered intensively what Kaito would think about her now. She was creepy, wasn’t she? What had she been thinking, doing something like that to him? Was he mad at her? He hadn’t sounded mad back then, but maybe he had just been too shocked to be disgusted at the time? Or maybe it didn’t even mean anything to him? Maybe he hadn’t been bothered by it and she was just overreacting about it? Had it been nothing more than a hug to Kaito, or had he figured out that there was something else to add? The massive worries were driving Rin insane and she tossed from side to side in her bed, trying to shut out the voices outside her door that uselessly tried to talk her into letting them in to her.
“Go away! I don’t want to talk about it, ever!” she screamed as she tried to hold back the pain that vibrated through her voice. She covered her ears, tears streaming down her cheeks and she thought she heard the others agreeing that they should leave her to calm down. She let the darkness embrace her and she got weirdly appeased.
“I never want to leave this room again”, she murmured to herself, and despite all the thoughts that spun like crazy in her head, she somehow managed to drift into sleep.
It was early in the morning and still dark outside when she woke up. A few lonely snowflakes were soaring past her window. The isolation she felt cramping around her wasn’t helped by the fact that the room had turned freezing cold, making her skin cover with goose bumps as she shivered heavily. She was only dressed in her underwear, since she hadn’t been in the mood to put anything on the other night, and now she felt the chilling benefits of it. She made an urgent search across the floor and localised one of her oversized pyjama shirts which she pulled over her head. She found that she was feeling weak, almost faint and when her stomach started rumbling she recalled that she hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday’s lunch. Rin would much have loved to crawl back into her warmed up fortress of blankets and pillows, but the hunger won over the cold and she decided that it couldn’t hurt to go down for quick run to the fridge, if she got back as soon as possible. Before she left the room though, she took a look at herself in the mirror. There were long streaks from the tears down her face all the way from her red, puffy eyes, with smudged make-up around them, to the bottom of her cheeks. The face she stared at seemed to belong to someone broken.
She took a detour to the bathroom because she didn’t want anyone to see her in her current state. As she washed off the leftovers of what used to be her gorgeous make-up, she exposed the frail-looking girl underneath. Rin didn’t do anything about the knots in her messy hair, but she took a couple of black hairclips to hold in back from her face. Then she snuck out to the kitchen, silent as a mouse and very careful to not turn on any of the lights by accident. The house was ghostly quiet, all the guests were long gone and everyone seemed to be sound asleep. Rin made it to her goal without being discovered and she opened the fridge. She pulled out the plastic drawer for fruit and vegetables, picking out a bright coloured orange which she held firmly in her hand as she closed the white door soundlessly. She had just turned back, her eyes still unused to the darkness, and she was about to get out of the kitchen when she suddenly met an obstacle. She jumped back, startled as she slowly glanced up. She thought she was going to have a heart attack when a pair of navy blue eyes met hers.
“Kaito!” she exclaimed, trying to keep her shaky voice down while her hands trembled so bad from the shock she dropped her orange and it bounced away on the wooden floor. Kaito was doubtlessly just as shocked as she was where he stood, frozen in the doorway, staring down at her with surprise and confusion flashing on his face. There was something in the back of Rin’s brain telling her to run, but her legs wouldn’t obey her. Too many emotions fought wildly inside her, fogging her mind and making her unable to think. For the longest time she was bound to stare into the depths of Kaito’s bottomless eyes. He opened his mouth in an attempt to say something to her, but no words came out, so he shut it. Rin couldn’t help to feel disappointed as she guessed Kaito once again had decided to pretend like nothing had happened. They silently tried to make their way around each other but ended up colliding again, as if it wasn’t already awkward enough. Kaito moved himself to the side, about to get past her at last, but something nudged at his head and made him stop. Rin tipped her head back as he did too and discovered that there was a certain object hanging above them. It was a mistletoe. They looked back at each other, a realisation dawning on their faces. Rin didn’t know who could have put that there. It seemed like a prank fit for Gumi, but she could have sworn it hadn’t been there after the decorating. Never mind that though, whoever hung it up had placed Rin in the most difficult position she had ever found herself in. Even Kaito knew the meaning of the mistletoe. You had to kiss, those were the rules. So… what were they going to do? At the moment they were just gaping at each other and if things had been awkward before, well, then they had gone off the scale. Rin swallowed as she continued to stare right at Kaito, waiting for him to… to… to do what? She knew it was hopeless expecting anything at all, so why did she keep clinging onto that small, small chance that something, whatever it could be, would happen?
And then, it happened. Rin felt two rough hands on each side of her arms and she shuddered by the tender touch. Kaito’s eyes had softened, filling with an emotion she couldn’t quite make out as he looked at her, titling his head a bit to the side.
“Kai-?” she started but was cut off when he pulled her towards him with a gentle tug. It was enough to squeeze the air out of her though and she found herself incapable of breathing properly.
“We can’t help it, right? There’s only one thing to do”, Kaito mumbled as his hands began to stray around her tiny body. Rin’s throat was so dry she couldn’t force out an answer, but she was able to nod at him. Kaito was right, this was supposed to happen. They had to do it. They had to kiss because there was no other choice. From this point on, there was no turning back. As soon as Rin’s lips met his, she would spill over her feelings to him and he would finally know about everything she had tried to conceal from him. Kaito’s body was very warm against hers, much warmer than she remembered it from last night. It was probably because he was holding her back now and this time, she was the one who didn’t know where to put her hands. Their faces were coming towards each other, slowly but surely they verged closer. Rin could hear her heart pound hard in her ears as she ran her fingers up Kaito’s chest. His hands clasped each other by the small of her back, pushing her up on her toes so he wouldn’t have to lean down so far. His cheeks were deeply flushed and so were hers, both had their eyes half-lidded and lips slightly parted. They were only a few inches away from their mouths to meet. Rin had to grab Kaito’s shirt to stand steadily as she stretched her neck, feeling through the touch of her palm that the beating of his heart was just as rapid as hers. She felt his hot breath on her face, his sweet fragrance aroused her and she was drowning in his beautiful, watery eyes. She didn’t care whether this meant nothing to him at this point. She craved too much to feel him, taste him and indulge in his flavours even though she felt very fragile and exposed in his arms. Just a little bit further… and she would have reached him.
But she didn’t. They broke apart sharply and suddenly when they heard someone scrambling down the stairs and the emotional moment between them was totally interrupted. Rin’s eyebrows bunched together, the corners of her mouth turning down as she became convinced she had missed her one and only opportunity to be kissed by Kaito. But in the last second, she felt a pair of dry lips press to her cheek, stunning her as more blood rushed to her face and her eyes grew big as saucers.
“Merry Christmas, Rin-chan”, Kaito whispered, cupping her face to run his thumbs across her cheeks just once. Rin only had a few seconds to stare at him and his gentle smile before he took off, leaving her with her breath still caught in her throat and her hands pressed to her small chest. Very slowly, her hand drifted up to the warm place where Kaito had placed the kiss. Somehow, she couldn’t stop her heart from fluttering; happily, hopefully and she started smiling like an idiot. That’s when Len entered the room, casting a quite strange look her way as he walked over to the fridge.
“What are you grinning at?” he asked her suspiciously. Rin chewed on her lower lip, immediately trying to wipe off that dumb smile she wore. But she still couldn’t ease herself, she was practically walking on clouds and she felt more delighted than she ever had before.
“N-nothing”, she stuttered as she rushed over to pick up her forgotten breakfast a couple of feet away. Len didn’t miss the sight her rosy cheeks though and he raised his eyebrows at her.
“You say so? So… there’s nothing going on with you and Kaito-nii then? You’ve both been acting really weird since yesterday. After you went to your room, I asked him about what happened but he wouldn’t even answer. I thought you two had a fight or something.”
“Oh, no that was nothing, really”, Rin lied hurriedly. “We sort of made up now anyway.”
“Rin”, Len started and then paused, hesitating momentarily before he continued, “you’re not… in love with him, are you?”
Rin shot her head up at once. Oh God. Had he seen them? He couldn’t have seen them. If he knew then the knowledge would spread like a fire through the entire house and everyone would be taunting her worse than ever! She had to make sure Len zipped his lips for good.
“No you idiot! Why would you think that?! That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard! Don’t you even dare saying that again!” she growled imminently as she raised her arm above her head, aiming with her weapon (the orange) at a spot between her brother’s eyes.
“Okay, okay, sure, fine. Just put, the orange, down. Please?” he begged her, desperately waving his hands in the air. Rin glanced at the orange, unsure if she had scared Len enough to make him shut his mouth. She knew she’d feel much safer if he had a bruise in his face that she could press on if he decided to flap his gums. But on the other hand she’d be wasting one of her precious oranges and maybe, since it was Christmas, she should let him off the hook just this time.
“Fine”, she muttered and placed the orange on the table, pouting because her good mood had been ruined, again. Despite the comfort prize Kaito had left her with, she was still secretly mad at Len for spoiling her perfect dream moment that she, most definitely, would never get back.
“Geez, I was just asking. You’re overreacting”, Len told her as he turned to the fridge, getting out a couple of bananas for himself. “Then what about you and Akaito?”
It was Rin’s turn to raise her eyebrows as she started peeling her orange with quick, trained fingers.
“What about him?” she asked sourly, rolling the naked fruit in her hands before separating it.
“You two seemed to enjoy yourselves quite a lot last night. From the look of your neck, I’d say at least he did anyway.”
Rin looked at Len with a puzzled expression. She wasn’t sure what he was talking about until she remembered. Her fingers instantly flew up to her neck. Yes, there was a mark. That bastard!
“I certainly did NOT enjoy myself”, she spat as she rubbed the sore mark and tried to not mind Len’s entertained expression. “That guy… he’s the most perverted, most childish, rudest, dumbest and most irritating person I have EVER met! And I..."
Rin was just about to pop a slice of orange into her mouth when her furious speech trailed off. Something had caught her eye. It was the mistletoe. There was something odd about it, something that didn’t belong. As she wandered away from Len and stepped closer to it, she saw what it was. There in the middle between the leaves and the berries… sat a red rose.
“And what…?” Len wondered with his mouth full of mashed banana. Rin pursed her lips and took a very deep breath before shaking her head.
“Maybe… he’s not so bad after all.”