A Different Kind Of Valentine by Oroyukae
A Different Kind Of Valentine
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well, here's another one...just as I promised. Sorry for the bad poetry, I never could do that stuff. Anyway, this one is connected to 'One Valentine' and there will be two more to come, so watch for them. Ciao!
Valentines Day would soon upon him again and while he usually looked forward to it, this one actually had him very apprehensive. It was all due to the quite unexpected change that had occurred during the year since he last celebrated the holiday...with her, his long-time friend. Their friendship began on the exact same holiday that suddenly had him so on edge and it confused him to no end. Six years old they were then...okay, so he had been almost seven really, but that did not matter. In any case, the friend in question had been the very first friend he had made when he moved to this country, having left his home in Japan due to his father's decision to make a new start.
He had been so angry at his father for forcing him to leave their home to come here, and then he became angry at the everyone around him as well. And then, he met her... Kagome. Things changed for him and it all started because of that one tiny card she gave him, his very first one mind you, soon followed by a friendship that he would not trade for the world. Every year since, they exchanged cards and sometimes gifts as well; to date, there had been thirteen exchanges and he cherished each and every one. This year...well, he was kind of iffy about celebrating, due to an occurrence over the previous holidays; one that he was still trying to both understand and overcome as well.
Kagome had not said a thing about it and for that he was extremely relieved because it had been embarrassing enough without having to try to talk about it on top of it. Now, one could say that it had been a normal healthy reaction, but that was not how he saw it. In his mind, it was nothing short of outrageous and appalling and he could not for the life of him come up with a valid excuse for it that did not make him look bad in any way.
Nothing had been out of the ordinary, they had done everything that they normally did on that particular holiday. They hung out, ate, interacted with other friends and family, and they danced together too. Nothing abnormal about it at all from what he could see. Then, midnight came and his world decided to turn upside down and seven ways of sideways too. At the stroke of midnight, they shared their traditional completely platonic kiss of friendship and then danced in the new year just as they had always done before. Again, nothing strange or abnormal about any of it.
Why the hell had he become...aroused about mid way into that damned dance? They had danced together many, many times during the course of their friendship and nothing like that had ever happened before. It made absolutely no damned sense to him at all. As if that hadn't been mortifying enough, he somehow just knew that Kagome had been aware of his compromised state. There was no way she could have missed it for god's sake even though she never said a word about it. Just how long he had stayed in the bathroom he really had no idea, but people had begun to leave the party by the time he decided to come out.
In addition to that extremely humiliating moment in his relatively young life, he began to have dreams about her as well. Not the usual ones either; these were far from innocent and within the boundaries of a platonic friendship. Oh the things that happened in those dreams were appalling, simply because they included her. His friend. There had to be something wrong with him; some sort of severe malfunction in his usually keen mind that accounted for his having those kind of thoughts about Kagome. The girl was his best friend in the entire world and had been since he was six years old. Yes, there just had to be something wrong.
Now, as a direct result, he found himself uncomfortable in her presence sometimes while at others he was perfectly okay. That took his confusion to new levels for it just made no damned sense whatsoever. Occasionally he had to make excuses to not hang out with her and it usually happened immediately following one of those inappropriate dreams. Kagome would always seem shocked, as well as confused, about him being unavailable; most likely since they knew each others' schedules by heart but, again, she never said a word.
It made him feel so very awful whenever he was unable to tolerate being in her presence – like he was the worst damned friend in the world. He could not help it though. It was as if he could not control his own thoughts anymore and that caused control issues in other areas as a result. Never had the young man experienced anything remotely close to this and, therefore, had no idea how to go about fixing the problem. Thus distancing himself from the one person in the world that had been there for him whenever the need for such arose became his only recourse. To him there was no other way for Kagome was likely to find the entire thing inappropriate considering that she had never given him any reason to think otherwise. Now if there were any indications that Kagome was plagued with the same issues as he was, then maybe he could find it in him to make her aware of the situation. But, as luck would have it, he was the only one out of the two of them whose hormones had gone completely haywire.
Since Kindergarten, he and Kagome had established a tradition of sorts and through the years they had never failed to adhere to it. This year though, the confused young man actually considered calling the whole thing off in order to continue to hide the unexpected situation that threatened to destroy the one thing that he had thought would last forever. Her friendship meant so much to him and Sesshoumaru could not stand the thought of having such a wonderful and beneficial thing being brought to an end over something like this.
He was positive that, if given the right amount of both time and distance, the matter would somehow correct itself. He reasoned that he had willingly limited his options in that area by spending all his time with his friend when he should have put himself out there so that he could find that sort of companionship from outside sources. Strangely enough, he could not recall an instance when he had managed to gain any sort of experience with the female gender beyond holding hands and even that was scarce. Sesshoumaru could actually count on one hand just how many times he had been in the company of a girl that did not include his best friend, and that was as sad as sad could get.
In his defense, he had never felt the urge to seek out that sort of relationship before even though it seemed as though everyone else around him were hell bent on the subject. Did that make him weird...abnormal? Maybe. Still, it appeared as though the urge had developed on its own and if left unaddressed, it would pose a very viable threat to that which he held most dear. He would not lose his one and true friend over this.
Throughout the rest of the month, Sesshoumaru made every attempt to find companionship that did not include Kagome – hoping that a connection could be formed that would bring the conflict to an end. Unfortunately, no such connection could be established and those damned inappropriate dreams had managed to practically morphed into low grade porn. Still though, he pressed on hoping to soon accomplish his self assigned goal so that he could try to reverse any damage to the friendship his problem might have caused.
Multiple conversations, numerous phone calls, and a handful of actual outings proved a complete waste of time for him. None of them, those other girls, could manage to hold his interest for very long and when it came to physical interaction, there was just nothing there. Either they were plain boring or he was somehow defective in that department...no, that couldn't be it because his nighttime peepshows proved there was nothing wrong with his equipment.
As a result, his friendship with Kagome had become more and more strained and that made the young man feel even worse. The poor girl had no clue as to why their once strong relationship had begun to falter – slowly dwindling down to mere phone calls and occasional lunches in the cafeteria. No longer did he sit and watch her practices, offering his constructive criticism on how to improve; their ritual of taking turns staying over at the other's house on the weekend just did not happen anymore. Again, the girl had no idea as to why but never said much about it.
Now their day was upon him, creeping slowly as a predator stalked its prey, and Sesshoumaru found himself dreading it for the first time since he first discovered what the holiday was. Despite the conflict, he could not bring himself to resist; he shopped just as he always had, looking for just the right way to express his friendship to the one person who had always been there for him in the past. For the last three years they had both leaned toward humor, selecting cards that incited many hardy laughs as well as conveyed the real sentiment behind it. Not this year, it would seem; those particular cards held no interest for him as they just seemed inappropriate. This time, Sesshoumaru browsed the more serious section, scanning the many slots for one that would adequately serve its purpose. His eyes constantly fought to drift to a section in which they had no business, and it made him extremely uncomfortable.
Romance; so simple a word yet so complex a topic. Never would he have dared to consider that he would face such a dilemma; that one simple word, the 'L' word, could instil such paralyzing fear inside him. Still, that was exactly how he felt; he loved Kagome and everything about her. It wasn't just that he found her physically attractive, that was but a perk; his affections for her went far beyond that.The thought then occurred to him that perhaps he could find one that was just ambiguous enough that he could still convey his feelings for Kagome and gauge her reaction? If she were to interpret his card as one of their usual displays of deep friendship then he would not have to suffer embarrassment – thereby preserving the wonderful thing that they had between them.
Without even realizing he had done it, Sesshoumaru drifted over to the one section he had never browsed before. His mind instantly wondered just what Kagome would do if she did realize the truth, daring to fantasize about his newly developed feelings being returned. Oh, wouldn't that be cause for joyous celebration? Of course that was just mere wishing ...a blatant fantasy, but still. He pressed on. His eyes scanned each slot carefully, searching for one that might adequately convey the extent of his feelings for his best friend, if he could bring himself to actually hand it to her that was. There were so many that touched base in one way or another, but they were just not what he was looking for and therefore would not do. Never had choosing something so simple as a freaking card seemed so very difficult...almost impossible to be honest about it. He would though; he would find one to give to her. He would not leave that cursed section until he did.
This was it...Valentine's Day and Sesshoumaru felt as though he would have a complete and total breakdown, though he hid it rather well. As per tradition, they met up around five to exchange their cards and gifts at the steakhouse Kagome herself had chosen their freshmen year. This year though Sesshoumaru could not help but take note of just how lovely his best friend was; there was no denying that red was a very flattering color on the girl.
As she came toward him the young man briefly became distracted as dared to wonder whether she had always dressed so nice for their yearly celebration, not that he was one to talk due to his donning a suit for this little get together. When she was but a few steps from the table, Sesshoumaru stood up to give her a hug just as he had always done and it was a true fight to let go of her in a proper amount of time. Holding Kagome in his arms just felt so right, like that was where the lovely young woman was meant to be.
How was it possible for one's heart to soar and ache, at the same time, from nothing more than a smile? He found it hard to say much of anything to her out of fear that he would wind up telling her things he had swore he would never ever tell. And so, Sesshoumaru simply smiled at his friend, allowing himself the small indulgence of running his hand up and down her arm in what could, thankfully, be considered a platonic gesture. It wasn't much but it was all that he could allow.
“I'm so glad that you didn't have to cancel on me, Sesshoumaru,” she beamed at him, her expressive eyes tinted with just a hint of concern. “You've been so busy lately that I was afraid we'd wouldn't get together. It just wouldn't be Valentines Day without exchanging cards and gifts with you.”
He once more offered her only a smile as a response since he honestly did not know just what to say. What was he to say; that he honestly had considered canceling because he had been uncertain as to whether or not he could keep his wayward thoughts to himself any longer? Yeah, right.
His eyes were drawn to her hand that held a surprisingly large envelope, presumably his traditional Valentine's Day card that his friend never failed to give him. Suddenly, the eagerness that he usually felt on this day returned full force and his previous silent state came to an end, “I see your card has increased in size this year; I kind of expected the favored letter size.”
“Oh...yeah,” she muttered as her eyes lowered to briefly glance at the cream colored envelope in her hand. A strange blush colored her cheeks then and Kagome cleared her throat nervously, “I, uh, I hope you like it; it took forever to find just the right one this year.”
“I am sure that it will be just as wonderful as all the others have been.” Kagome would never know just how high a regard he held the token of her friendship that she gave him yearly. To him, those small but so significant expressions held more merit than anything else; not even birthdays or Christmas could measure up.
As was their custom, he waited for her to seat herself before taking his own seat. Almost instantly, their waiter appeared at the table to take their order but before Sesshoumaru could say a word, Kagome asked the guy to give them a few minutes. When they were alone once more, the young woman set his card down upon the table in front of her, folded her hands, and placed said hands right on top of it. Hie eyes remained upon the small but important thing imprisoned beneath her slender arms, but his head cocked to one side in seeming confusion.
“Sesshoumaru...why have you been avoiding me?” she asked, looking him dead in the eyes. Mild panic began to set in his heart and mind as he realized just how short he had sold his best friend in thinking she would be fooled by his excuses. “Don't say that you haven't, that you have just been busy, because we both know that that isn't true.”
Try as he might, Sesshoumaru just could not bring himself to offer her an answer. He was not one to outright lie, so inventing a story in order to pacify the girl was completely out of the question. However, integrity aside, there was no way that he was going to tell her a single thing about the reasoning behind distancing himself from her.
“Is there something that you're not telling me? Something that you think is so terrible that you just stop wanting to be around me?”
No one but her knew him so well and it furthered his shame that he had tried to deceive the one person who he had at one time told his deepest secrets to without fear or reservation. How in the hell was he supposed to answer her? “Kagome...I...”
“Just...tell me that we're still friends,” she replied, her words sounding more than a little shaky. Those vivid eyes leveled upon him and Sesshoumaru felt a shudder run along his spine.
As casually as he could managed, the young man reached out to touch her hand, encasing that tiny appendage with his much larger one. So soft her skin was and he marveled at how he had never really noticed that fact before. “We will always be friends, Kagome; nothing will ever change that. I will not allow it.”
She seemed to breathe easier then, nodding her head to let him know that she had believed every word he had said. Kagome asked him to order for her when the waiter arrived once more and that too surprised him for she had always claimed to hate it when guys did that. There was something about the way her eyes seemed to light up when the waiter described their holiday special that prompted Sesshoumaru into ordering it...most likely due to her deep love for fine steak and cheesecake. Just how the tiny thing could put away so much food and managed to keep her svelte figure was beyond him.
In no time, the bottle of mid-grade champagne that was included in the price of the meal arrived and Sesshoumaru immediately downed half of the contents of his fluted glass out of increasing nervousness. It was getting oh so difficult to sit there with her and not blurt out his innermost thoughts and feelings. Then it seemed as though he was to be granted a reprieve, for Kagome slid the card that she had been guarding across the table to him. Finally, a pleasant distraction.
“Open it,” she said to him, her voice as soft as a summer breeze. He did not hesitate.
Carefully he opened the envelope to slide the contents out and then set it aside. It seemed as though her tastes this year had changed as well, for the image on the front was neither cute nor was it humorous either. Oddly, there were but two simple words printed on the cover, which was definitely new as well. Tailored to the gender in which it was being presented, the token of the holiday sported a simple black backdrop outlined in deep crimson any scrawled across the center it read 'For You'.
This year she had written her own words rather than settling for some that were pre-printed inside the card. She had never done that before but it was a special touch that made this one so very special to him. It meant so very much to him, the effort that had gone into the sentimental token for all that they shared. And so, he settled back into his chair, getting comfortable as he began to read the words she had written just for him.
'Being your best friend
Was as easy as could be
Valued beyond measure
That is what you are to me.
Time itself can tell
Just how much we've grown
Always there when needed
A better friend I've never known.'
The first two passages brought a smile to his face; he had always been aware of Kagome's views on their friendship, for the girl had no qualms about letting them be known. It was yet another reason that he loved her like he did. She would undoubtedly tell him each and every day just how much she loved him...if she were to ever love him in the way that he wished she would. Instantly, he pushed those thoughts from his head as they had begun to depress him a bit; which would only tarnish this tradition of theirs that he had always held so dear. He read on.
'I must confess there is a secret
Deep within this heart of mine
Though they have gone unnoticed
Changes have occurred with time.'
His heart sped up with each and every word he read, unable to believe that he was not hallucinating. Several not so discreet glances at her face revealed that his interpretation was without a doubt accurate and true.
'Now that we've grown older
My feelings have matured
I know that it is love I feel
Of that you can be assured.
And so it is with anxious heart
I ask this hope of mine
To go beyond that of friend...
Can I Forever be your only Valentine?'
Okay, from what he gathered, he was not the only one who had felt the change, but he was the only one who had been bothered by it. It was as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders all at once, and his heart felt lighter than it had in some time. Kagome began to speak then and he did his best to hear all that she said. His friend claimed that she had been trying to find some way to tell him, but lost her nerve each and every time she tried. Of course, he had to agree that his distancing himself from her didn't help either. According to her, she had allowed the distance without pushing him because she felt that he needed the time and space to sort out his feelings and come to a decision without her influence. Such indicated that Kagome had accurately interpreted the reason behind his actions; which come to think of it, came as no real surprise.
Instantly, his mind filled with a plethora of questions; the first of which was just when had her feelings changed, closely followed by how she managed to hide it from him. For over a month he had anguished over the matter, berating himself because of it, only to discover that his best friend in the entire world felt the exact same as he, himself, did. The only conclusion that he could reach was that he had been so caught up in his own personal dilemma that he had been completely blinded to hers. How shamefully self-centered of him. Kagome cleared her throat again, demanding his attention and Sesshoumaru complied with that demand without hesitation. Closing the cover on the card, he raised his amber eyes to hers and was touched by the eagerness to hear his answer gleaming back at him. God, how he loved this woman.
“So...can I, Sesshoumaru?” she asked him in a timid voice, hope shining in those big bright eyes.
“You always have been, Kagome,” he replied hoarsely, his hand lowering to place yet another annual treasure that she had just gifted him with upon the table where it would remain for him to glance at as they continued with their traditional dinner. “It has always been you.”
Tears slid down her cheek then as the waiter delivered their “Lover's Special” and Sesshoumaru could not help but note just how accurate that was. Though it would not be immediate, he and the raven haired goddess sitting across from him would most assuredly become just that...lovers. At some point.
For now, they would simply continue as they had been, close friends and allow nature to take its course because as of that very moment, had all the time in the world.