This is my entry for otomeoutreach's Valentine's Day contest, hosted by Excellent People Tomey and Noel.
summary: Some things, like Fate or Cupid’s arrow, are a hit or miss. He is going to miss several times. She just thinks he needs to be hit. MC/Koichi.
warnings: Spoilers for the whole route and no time continuity what-so-ever.
a/n: Whelp, he’s certainly not a fan-favorite, but I saw the prompt and the idea just sort of… naturally spewed out. I guess assholes inspire me ヽ（´ー｀）┌. Whoops. Also… this is the first time I’ve written fic, and wow I have so much more respect for fandom writers now because this stuff is not easy. It was so hard not to just “and then they made out, yay” :|
One morning when he is four years old, his father and mother take him to visit an old family friend. He is told that they are going to celebrate the birth of a baby girl. The cold winter breeze bites at his cheeks as he walks up to the house and he does not want to be there. The little boy would much rather be in his own home, practicing his arithmetic under the secure warmth of the kotatsu.
Upon entering the house, he politely greets the aunty and uncle and waits for direction from his mother and father. The uncle proudly leads them to a pink cradle and the boy peeks inside to see a sleeping baby. It is nothing too interesting, he decides.
An hour passes by while the adults chat. Out of sheer boredom, the boy sneaks back over to the crib and peeks inside. The baby is now awake and cooing quietly. On a whim, the boy pokes a finger inside the cradle.
Unexpectedly, the girl reaches out and encloses her tiny hand around his. He is startled by the sudden onset of a warm sensation he has never experienced before (it is different from the kotatsu). The feeling unfurls itself in his stomach and spreads to his hands, his cheeks, and into his heart.
For the rest of the visit, he refuses to leave her side, and when the baby falls back asleep, her hand still tightly holds onto his.
Even though he may not remember it years later, that is how Koichi Natsukawa spends his first Valentine’s Day with her.
Their first Valentine’s Day together (as adults) happens when they’re still not really together. She meets Koichi Natsukawa for the second time in her life on January 27th. He is handsome, if a bit quiet. She figures that it is just out of politeness. Honestly though, she’s not sure if this meeting will turn into something more. But by the end, he asks her out to lunch, and she accepts because he seems like a good man.
By the time February 14th rolls around, he has already bought her shoes and pantyhose (just the other day in fact, much to her embarrassment) and she has seen the brief smile he gave the little boy on the street.
She briefly entertains the idea of giving him chocolates but decides against it. It would seem far too forward of her (it’s only been one date after all). Instead, she goes out drinking with Akiko and Shohei.
She does however, feel her heart jump every time the ‘mail’ tone of her cellphone rings. When one comes from him (lunch again tomorrow?), she smiles so brightly that Akiko jokes that Koichi must have it mixed up – doesn’t he know that White Day is for boys to confess?
Whatever she had expected her marriage to be like, it was certainly not this. She had planned to leave him. She was going to return to her family home and start her life anew. But months after the camping trip disaster, she is still in their apartment, and she’s still not sure why.
She knows that she owes Koichi nothing. She has more than enough pride and sense to know at least that much. But no matter how much she would like to, she just can’t seem to let him alone at the lowest point in his life (Yukako would scoff, “there goes your bleeding heart again”).
She justifies to herself that it’s just to make sure he doesn’t end up at the police station again and that as soon as he’s on his feet again, her plans to leave will be back in motion.
And yet, Koichi is readjusting to his new position and she finds herself readjusting to Koichi. Now she’s the one fighting the divorce and she wonders if she’s gone mad. She doesn’t even know if this is forgiveness, pity, or (she laughs at the sheer ridiculousness of the possibility) love, or heaven knows what else.
But with the new year comes a precarious balance between her and Koichi.
Her mother is still worried about the state of their marriage, but she tells her that it is just their first big fight as a couple. They’re working through it, she assures.
For the most part, it’s true. She no longer finds herself on edge around him.
And he - he has started to finally (and really) see her.
They have come to a point of understanding that maybe (just maybe) might lead to something more.
But every once in awhile when he’s doing overtime, her mind drifts towards “is he really…?”
The moments are few and far in-between, but it feels like her heart is being doused with icy water. She wants to believe, more than anything, but it’s hard (forgiven or not, but never forgot).
At times like these, she finds herself waiting up for him. When Koichi comes home, he gives her a tired smile and tells her that she should have gone to bed first. Instead, she asks him if he has eaten, and he replies that he has not. So she warms him some soup and curls up in the chair opposite him with a mug of tea. He tells her that she should get more sleep (it’s not good for your health) but after a while, quietly murmurs “…Thank you for keeping me company.” His gaze is fixed to the bowl and the color on his cheeks is not from the warmth of the soup.
Her heart settles and the heat that spreads throughout her body is not from the tea.
Their first Valentine’s Day (as a married couple) actually sneaks up on her. She is so preoccupied with projects at work that it completely slips her mind. She is sitting at her desk on February 13th, when a glance at the calendar suddenly reminds her. She weighs her options for a while, and hesitantly decides that this year, she will not give Koichi chocolates. She thinks that whatever it is that they have right now is still too delicate for a day that is meant for lovers.
No words are mentioned and no plans are made, yet on the 14th, they both come home early from work. They spend the night comfortably eating take-away on the sofa while watching a movie together. She ends up falling asleep halfway through. He lets her head rest on his shoulder until the film finishes, before putting her to bed (if you ask him later how the movie ended, he wouldn’t be able to tell you if his life depended on it).
Last spring, he brought her to the old cottage and promised to love her. Even though she said that they should make each other happy, he still makes a stubborn promise to himself to give her a dozen times the amount of happiness that he owes her (that she deserves).
During the week leading up to their first (and it truly is their first) Valentine’s Day, Koichi Natsukawa finds himself a bundle of nerves. Every day he comes home and surreptitiously tries to catch a whiff of chocolates in the kitchen. Every day he finds none. It drives him insane. He knows that he shouldn’t be surprised if he gets none (he doesn’t deserve), but a tiny spark of hope and desire within refuses to burn out.
One day she catches him in the kitchen and curiously asks what he is doing.
Caught off guard, he spins around and replies with a brusk “Nothing!” before rushing back into his study.
She has a knowing smile on her face as she watches him retreat.
The next morning when he wakes up, he finds her spot next to him on the bed empty. When he ventures into the kitchen, he sees breakfast waiting for him and a note that explains “I have to get to the office early today to finish a project! I’ll see you later tonight - have a good day! ^^”
There is no chocolate next to his breakfast (he checks twice just to make sure).
When he arrives home that evening, she takes one look at his face and knows that he’s spent the day sulking. He goes to change out of his suit and she hides a giggle behind her hand.
After changing, she saunters up to him. “Do you know what today is?” She kisses his cheek. He is grumpily silent and this time she does not bother to hide the light laughter that floats from her lips. She pulls out a neatly wrapped package that she has been hiding behind her back. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Koichi. You were looking for these, right?”
“You… knew?” he looks at her with wide eyes. The look of surprise on his face is too cute, and she gives him another kiss.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting,” she teases. “I wanted to give them out to my coworkers first.” At his alarmed expression, she giggles again. “Joke,” she confesses (Yukako may chide her for her bleeding heart, but Aoi knows she always had a bit of a mischievous, if not slightly vindictive, streak in her).
He lightly scowls but then sets the prettily wrapped package aside. Frowning at the blush on his face, he pulls her closer to him by her waist. He buries his face in the crook of her neck before whispering a small “thank you (for everything)” in her ear.
She hums in response and wraps her arms around his broad shoulders while leaning her head against his.
This year is finally a hit for Koichi Natsukawa.
[bonus white day]
A month later, he takes her out to the wine bar. When the host leads them to their table, she is surprised to find a large bouquet of lilies (her favorite; never was a fan of roses) and a bottle of expensive wine waiting for them. A quick glance around at the other guests reveals that their table is the only one with such an extravagant setting.
She’s still a bit shocked when Koichi clears his throat and pulls out the seat out her. “Ah, right!” She exclaims before sitting down. A playful smile blooms on her lips and she tells him, “You didn’t have to go through the trouble. I wasn’t expecting something this much.”
This time he does not blush and avert his eyes. He looks straight at her and sincerely tells her, “No. I wanted to do this. It is something you deserve.”
She’s not quite sure what to say; Koichi isn’t usually very public with his affections. She blinks at him.
But he takes her hand from across the table and continues, “Because you are my wife, and… I love you (you are more than I deserve).” The last words are so quiet that she almost misses them. She is sure that those words do not escape their corner of the wine bar. They are for her ears alone.
The tips of his ears are bright red and she squeezes his hand back before replying with a simple “Yeah,” and a gentle look on her face.
This year is a hit for her too.
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