Fandom | Pairing: Breakout! | KojiroAmber
Summary: Because during her stay in the orphanage, Amber learns what 'there's something more than meets the eye' means.
Rating: T, for Kojiro's natural perverted tendencies.
Notes: Written for 40th iu_fanfiction challenge, #7 Redefinition. Amber belongs to her respective owner, syuusuke007. Foolish attempt on returning to write oneshots. All throughout the story, Kojiro's hair is tied up.
If there is one thing that Amber looks forward to during her long stay in Japan, then it will be summer. That is why by the time she woke up at the first day of summer, she went to her cabinet with an excited grin on her face. She opened it, took out a light-yellow sleeveless dress, and threw it on the bed.
She sighed and thought that at last, she will be able to wear the clothes that she bought from a known clothing line in Tokyo called Kimiko. She tied her hair in a single bun then held the hem of her top, and started to undress, the cloth rolling upwards on her waist... and half-way through it, the sound of the doorknob being turned made her stop...
“Breakfast is served, baka neko--”
She sharply turned her head to the door and saw that auburn-haired Mr. Bipolar. “W-Wha-?!”
There was a short moment of silence--Kojiro stared at her with his mouth quite agape, his eyebrows knitted together—until when he smirked and said, “Those curves are out of this world.”
Anger boiled in her veins; she gritted her teeth together as her face flushed, and in a second she sent a flying hanger towards him. “P-PERVERT!”
“Anou... Nii-san, what happened to your forehead?” Nanao asked Kojiro shyly before putting a spoonful of cereal in her half-opened mouth.
Kojiro rubbed the scrape on his forehead, his eyes raking the seated children before the round table until it zeroed to Amber's reddening face. “I battled against a monster this morning.”
Amber, who is seated opposite him, dropped her spoon on her bowl with her teeth gritting against each other. She stared at Kojiro with the best killing intent that she could muster. Kojiro flashed a grin, then looked at the children angelically. “And, you know? It's a snake-headed monster! Although of course, it didn't beat me even if it tried to send flying objects toward me.”
The round table is filled with sounds of “wows” and “aaahs”, but if the children can only hear what's inside Amber's head, then it will be... a disaster. Attempting for a good comeback, Amber told them in the best gentle tone that she can come up with, “Go on, kids, and finish your breakfast so you can get an early bath.”
“Yes, Nee-san!” they said in chorus.
Kojiro stopped rubbing his forehead and continued on his own breakfast, his eyes occasionally flickering at Amber in order to 'jest more fun' from her reactions; Amber can only ignore them, at least, for the meantime.
“Kojiro-san,” Risa, the assistant of the head of the orphanage, came from the door with a steno on her forearm. She approached the table and said, “I know that it is not yet your duty to do the laundry but Shito-san and Kita-san can't do it today, and we're short on people. Will it be okay if you and Amber-san...?”
“Sure.” He quickly said as he drove a spoonful of cereal in his mouth. He took the pen and signed the paper on the steno. “No problem.”
From the other seat, Amber is fuming in anger. Did he forget that her name is on the paper?! And she's on a day-off, too! She's even planning to buy more clothes in Kimiko!
After breakfast, Amber immediately did the dishes so she can start with the laundry as early as possible. The very fact that she will be together with Kojiro at the first half of the day on her first day of summer in Japan is enough to make her patience system go on haywire—only toward him, at least. She cannot afford to vent her anger at the children. She will have her revenge on him during the laundry time. That's why as soon as all the dishes are washed, she went to the wards of female orphans at the second floor to collect their used clothes. Ward after ward, her clothes-rack got heavier and heavier, and she refused to pass by the laundry room to deposit them. She told herself that she will collect all clothes before going there so that she can save more time.
“Whew,” she let out a sigh after collecting the clothes from the last ward. She put her clothes-rack in front of the door of the last ward and stretched her numbing limbs, creating 'cracking' sounds.
Nanao, who stood near her, cringed. Amber noticed this and gave her a sheepish smile. “What's wrong, Nanao-chan?” Nanao shook her head then flushed. Amber sighed and said, “Go on, tell me.”
The child clasped her hands together in front of her chest, then looked at the clothes-rack. “A-anou, Nee-san... isn't that clothes-rack... heavy?”
Amber smiled and said, “Yep, but I can carry it...” then she made a show of lifting the heavy clothes-rack, her lips forming a thin line; she let out a strained “oomf” (and it made her think that its weight might be already out of her capacity) “...as you see. No need to worry~”
Nanao looked at Amber innocently, her eyebrows scrunched up. “U-Umm, why don't you ask for Kojiro Nii-san's help...?”
“E-eh?” she blacked out for a moment at the mention of his name. “N-no need, Nanao-chan. I can do it! Trust me.” and she ruffled the hair of the child. She turned her back and lifted the clothes-rack, and struggled as she made her way toward the staircase.
Why aren't there any elevators in this orphanage... she thought after seeing the flight of steps in front of her. She looked at the clothes-rack and considered asking help from Kojiro, wherein after about three seconds she immediately shook her head and convinced herself that she can do it. That's why she lifted the handle of the rack with both of her hands (the rack on her left side), and stepped down.
“W-Whoa...” she sighed nervously after the first step. For eight more steps, she carefully went downstairs, and at the corner of the stairs, she gave out another sigh after putting the rack down for a while, a smile now gracing on her lips. “I knew I can do it!” she exclaimed, then took the handle again. She cautiously took her first step, second... third... fourth... fif--
“Oi, baka nekoooo!” Kojiro shouted from the hallway downstairs. Midway on her fifth step, Amber did her best to maintain her balance, but when he showed up at the foot of the stairs, the clothes-rack betrayed her and carried her downwards... and there was the empty feeling in her stomach as her eyes widened at the clear demise in front of her.
DANG, DANG, CRASH
And she can feel something supporting her weight from below. Her eyes, which are focused on the dirty clothes that littered the left side and the foot of the stairs, shifted to the brown strands of hair that brushed against her right cheek. There is an arm wrapped around her lower waist, its hand holding... or rather, groping the left cheek of her buttocks.
“Are you really stupid or what?!” Kojiro angrily told her, his voice booming at the right side of her head. That was when she realized that he is holding her from her critical position from the stairs, but the fact that his left hand is also in a critical position while his right is lying limply on his side...
And she regained her composure while resisting the urge to slap him after he saved her life.
For Amber, it is a good thing that it seems neither of them received any kind of injury from the staircase incident. Deep inside, she wanted to thank him for what he did, but at the same time ask him if he can do anything without being implicitly pervert. Or probably, he didn't actually intend to do it since what he only did is to help her...
Mind over matter, Amber. Mind... over matter—ARGH NO!
She glared at Kojiro, who is simply sitting on one of the seats in the laundry room. And I have been putting about five or six batches of clothes and the only thing he did is to carry the clothes-rack!
“You know that we don't have a drier, so you will have to manually hang them outside,” he gravely said, his deep brown eyes staring at her in an authoritative intensity. The next second, he stood up and ambled toward the door.
“Hey!” She irritably called to him. All the pent up anger from the morning (when she's supposed to be really happy for the first day of summer) to what she has experienced right now rose within her. She closed her eyes while she gritted her teeth, her hands clasping on a yellow shirt. “I know, I know! Thank you for saving me, but at least don't ignore your duties, you perverted Mr. Bipolar!” And she threw the shirt to him.
She expected him to act out of impulse and swiftly catch the shirt, but... what she saw is different. He indeed tried to catch it with his right hand but it's as if he was struggling with it... that he used his left hand instead, but missed it. She watched as he bent down to get the shirt with his left hand, and the next second she's already seeing the shirt being thrown at her. She caught it immediately, and as if something dawned in her, she threw it back to his face, then strode towards him.
She reached for his right hand and felt a pang of guilt in her chest, his suppressed “Urgh” mixing in the background.
“Why didn't you tell me?” she asked, her emotions of anger and guilt mixing together than she could not even dare raise her voice. “You should have least (and she sighed) told me!”
Amber looked up and saw a surprised look on Kojiro's face, as if he is a child being reproached by his mother. She knew that he is trying to take his hand off hers but because of the pain, he can't.
Any second now, he will be yelling at me to say 'back off'. And as predicted, he opened his mouth but before any word can slip out of it, she immediately tiptoed and eased the scrunch on the space between his eyebrows with her index finger. “Knock it off, I'll bring you to the clinic.”
“It's just a scrape from the handle, no big deal--”
“Scrape, scrape... Scrape your face, you can't even move your fingers.”
“How long should my arm be bandaged?” Kojiro asked to the orphanage's house doctor, Mr. Ihabara. “I have a photoshoot in about two days.”
Ihabara closed his kit and said, “I'm sorry, Kojiro-san. We need it bandaged for around four or five days.”
Kojiro sighed. “Okay.”
Ihabara turned his back to them and went to his desk to scribble on a few papers. Amber took the opportunity and leaned down to Kojiro, guilt etched on her features. “I thought you already had a photoshoot for summer season?” she asked. “I even remember that beige-colored dress which was very expensive...” she murmured under her breath while recalling how expensive the clothes were featured in the magazine where Kojiro posed for.
“Yeah, I did,” he said while he strenuously opened and closed his right hand, then looked at Amber. “Are you worried about me...” And he flashed a smile. “...Amber?”
There is a loud thump in her ribcage and her face instantly turned red, as if something poured a bucket of paint on it. “D-Don't get me wrong!” Amber quickly told him with a tensed face, which softened after another thought entered her mind. “It's... it's my fault after all.”
Kojiro heaved then leaned against the wall. For some reason, whenever Amber is in this kind of state, he can't bring his bad-nature of reprimanding her and the only thing he can tell her is “Don't sweat it.”
At least, outside Vigil Island. It has also been a long time since Amber decided to stay in Japan, and for some unknown reason he realized that he had stopped teasing Amber about Andrew. Is it because he got used to it? He doesn't know exactly why. He only thought that probably it will be better if he will try being a bit nicer to her than before.
“Anyway, I'll go back to the laundry room. I still have to do nine more batches,” Amber said and left.
“Ihabara-san, I'll be going now...” Kojiro stood up and went to the door. “Thanks.”
Ihabara stacked his papers together and asked, “You sure?”
Kojiro blinked several times before twisting the knob. “Uh, yeah?”
“Aah,” Ihabara nodded his head with his eyes closed, a smile stretching his lips. “I don't think if you have noticed, but before Amber-san came to this orphanage, you usually stay here in my clinic to sleep even though you're uninjured.”
His eyes fell on the floor, his shoulders slumped on his sides. Clinic, yes, clinic.
“It's as if you've grown out of something, and I think it's not only me who's happy about that.”
Kojiro had a sharp intake of breath as he looked at Ihabara. “Ihabara-san, you know... that I'll never grow out of it... You know that I don't want to forget about it,” he said vindictively as flashes of memories began flooding his mind.
The rain. The shadows of the people around them. The siren of the ambulance.
Kojiro closed his eyes as he tilted his head; he balled both his hands, but his right hand protested in profuse pain. He winced.
“I know I'm not in the place to tell you this, Kojiro-san...” Ihabara locked his suitcase and took off his white coat. “...but I honestly think that Ariya-chan will be happier if you do.”
“We are...” he turned the balls of his feet and prompted himself in front of the door, his left hand back on clasping the knob. “...never sure about that, aren't we?”
“I still have my left working hand.”
And he left the clinic with the door half-opened.
Ihabara let out a sigh and looked out at the window.
The sun sure is doing its job, huh? He thought and sat on a bed with a smile on his face.
Finally, a time without any nuisance...
Amber sat in front of a washing machine while holding a fan in her hand. She leaned against the back of her chair as she watched the clothes swirl inside the said machine.
It's... confusing... I wonder why I'm still staying here... I should find another orphanage as soon as I can so things like this can be... and she sunk her forehead between the space of her knees. ...prevented.
Her eyes shifted from the ground to the washing machine, and she murmured, “To prevent...” and she looked at her hands. “Things like this...” and she curled her fingers and placed it on top of her chest.
Amber gasped upon hearing Kojiro's voice (and she quickly took off her hands from her chest). She took a deep breath and shouted, “At least knock on the door, damn it Mr. Bipolar!”
“What things?” Kojiro asked as he approached the seat where he sat a while ago, which is apparently a seat away from Amber. “And why should they be prevented?”
Amber raised an eyebrow at Kojiro, her heart pumping mad against her ribcage. Why does he have to get inside the laundry room without even knocking at the door? Why does he have to appear at the very moment she's thinking about him? “Why are you here?” she asked back without even looking at him. “And why should you ask?”
“Nothing,” Kojiro instantly told her (as usual), which pissed her even more. He looked at the glass-sliding door which illuminated the bright sunshine from the outside and spoke not even a word.
The pumping in her heart slowed down to its normal pace as she looked at Kojiro's sudden display of rarity. Usually, he keeps on bickering on how low her sense of fashion is, or he will just scorn anything about her with his eyes glittering with delight in his act of teasing; but now, while he is watching how the bushes from the outside are dancing with the wind, Amber can't even decipher what to feel now. His eyes looked so... hollow.
“Kojiro,” she said and reached out a hand to place it on top of his left shoulder. At the time he turned his head toward her, Amber bowed her head and apologized. “I'm sorry.”
A few seconds of silence swam in the atmosphere except for the rumbling of the engine, until Kojiro threw fits of laughter.
Amber glared at him and asked, “I-I'm being serious here! L-Look!” She stood up and went in front of him. “You're the one who's always doing these kinds of things and I don't like it! The way on how you know almost anything about me while I know nothing of you, it pisses me off! It even annoys me that I am annoyed by you at the very first day of summer!”
After her outburst, she went to the glass door and slid it open, letting the smell of the sun and the breeze rush inside the room. She went back to the washing machine and started on the clothes, placed them on a pail, and carried them outside. After doing so, she placed the last batch inside the machine and went outside again to start hanging them out in the sun.
Kojiro simply stared as she went to and fro around the room with that annoyed look on her face. Surely, he has been teasing her ever since and he knew much about her, but he refused to tell her even a single thing...
By the time she went back to get her last batch from the machine and carry it outside, Kojiro stood up and loomed over her, his left hand instantly snatching the handle of the pail from her.
He stepped outside to the garden, the smell of both detergent and the heat of the sun mixing together; Amber is left inside, uncomprehending what just happened until she saw his back. She followed him outside, hoping that he might tell her even a single information about him.
She remembered why she stayed in the orphanage after all. Yes, it's because she wanted to get away from Andrew and show everyone that she can live without him; that it's also because she likes kids... and whining about Kojiro's annoying bipolarity doesn't have anything to do with her goals. She shouldn't be swayed by his irritating antics and she should keep her cool. But in some way... he affects her in a way that she couldn't fully understand.
“Are you okay roaming out like this?” Amber asked while hanging a shirt on a clothesline. She bent down and took a shirt draped in water.
“Amber,” Kojiro said as he stuffed his hands inside his pockets, his eyes squinted toward the blue sky. “I don't think you should know anything about me.”
The sudden change of his tone surprised her that she paused midway from standing up after squeezing the shirt. Her eyebrows narrowed, forming creases on the plane of her sweating forehead. “That's just...” she inserted a hanger in the shirt. “...unfair.”
“Sometimes, it's better to be unfair.”
Amber faced him and glared. She seldom pushed him to tell her about himself, but this time she thought that she might as well give it a shot. “And this is not a 'time' for that 'sometime', Kojiro!”
Kojiro sighed and bowed his head. “I apologize, then.” and he started walking back to the laundry room.
Amber stayed rooted on the grassy floor, her eyes transfixed on his retreating image. What an idiot... she thought. “You've got the face and the body to model for anyone, but you can't even face yourself!”
He halted from walking.
And the breeze blew.
“You practically bitch out at anyone you want to bitch out to. That month in Vigil Island, you did nothing but lecture me about my problems. That's one of the many things I don't like about you.” Amber unrooted herself from her spot and approached Kojiro. She sat on the elevated wooden floor of the laundry room and tugged Kojiro's left wrist, prompting him to sit down with her. “I'm not a good listener like you and I don't know how to bitch out like how you do, but let me tell you that anyone of us is scared of facing something and you are not alone.”
Kojiro looked at her, a tint of surprise evident on his face. He snorted, then sat down beside her. “You sure are quite persistent, aren't you?”
“Do you know how much you are persistent and annoying at the same time?” Amber stretched her limbs, then propped her inclined upper body with her arms and hands on her back. “I wonder if you've been like this since you were born.”
“Hn,” he smirked, then looked at the sky. “I'm way better than this when I was younger.”
Amber blinked several times. Did she hear it right? He's starting to open up!
“Way better? Then.... wait, are you saying your bipolarity today is more controlled than before?!”
“No. Uh, can we get the hook off from that bipolarity?” Kojiro raised an eyebrow at her. “I'm not bipolar, actually.”
Amber smiled. The way on how he is casually speaking without the slurs in his tone and without the authoritative or teasing hints in his eyes... it's actually... better.
“I'm a good kid that I may even pass to become a saint...” he murmured under his breath, the hesitation to open up even more now evident in his way of speaking. “You should continue with the clothes.”
“O-Oh!” Amber stood up—she almost forgot. However, she felt a bit bad that the topic was easily cut off. “Okay... haha—hey, what are you looking at?” She asked when she noticed that Kojiro's eyes were scanning her dress.
Kojiro sighed and looked at her gloomily. “Your preference of clothing line sucks.”
Amber curled her fingers. “D-damn it, Mr. Bipolar!” And she turned around to get back to the clothes. “Damn it, I should have just gone to the department store during my day off!” she said before taking a step away from him.
And before she could, Kojiro held her right wrist and pulled her towards him, his face now inches away from hers.
And kissed her cheek.
And left the room.
And Amber stayed rooted on where she stood once more.
By evening, after playing with a few children, Amber wearily yet satisfyingly went back to her room. However, whenever she remembered the time when he planted a kiss on her cheek, the smile on her face immediately faded away.
She opened the door to her room and went inside.
And found the beige-colored summer dress on top of her bed.
She slowly approached her bed, her eyes uncomprehending the very sight of the dress on her bed. She saw a note on top of it and read, “Those curves are out of this world, that's why I got it in free size.”
She didn't know how to react—she was too tired to even get angry, yet admittedly, too touched to even knock on his door to thank him.
“What a pervert,” she said, then lied on the bed, looking on the stars from the outside of her glass window.
A/N: First legit oneshot fic for ages! Miya, I'm not sure if I got Amber right in this oneshot but I hope I did! I think I got Kojiro OOC haha, the very fact that he's opening himself to others... it's just new to me. ;o; I'm really happy I got to do this done! I realized how I miss writing and how much I must practice. I think I forgot a lot of things. ;u;