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Limited by Circumstance

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March 17th, 1995
Kaoru POV

I sit at the bar, my fingers tracing over the grimy counter top, swirling around the condensation and old beer. I don't even really know why I'm here in this dingy hole-in-the-wall place, right next to the live house where I will be performing tomorrow. I watched another indies band there tonight. Ka • Za • Ri I think was their name.

Okay, so I guess I do know why I'm here. I followed the guitarist. Tall. Flowing, black hair down to his waist. Lanky, but in the good kind of way, not in the distressed and can't figure out how to use his body kind of way. No... as I watch him in the mirror behind the bar, moving on the dance floor, I can see quite well that he knows how to use his body... his hips, his hands... everything.

Blushing, I look away, staring back down at my green beer. It would figure that I'm sitting in an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day. A small smile tugs at my lips anyway. Who ever heard of drinking green beer? I suppose it's not a long shot from the normally piss-colored liquid, though.

I blow my own hair back from my face and take another sip. Tomorrow I'll be turning green at this rate. Six beers already, each of them greener than the last. A chuckle slips free from my lips as I set the glass back down on the counter.

Someone pinches me and I yelp, turning quickly to stare at whoever the offending person is. It's him... the guitarist. He's grinning at me and that smile... oh god, that smile. It takes my breath away and rams my heart up in my throat. His body is so close to my own and all I can think about is how incredibly attractive he is.

"Sorry, man. But you aren't wearing any green." He holds up his index finger and thumb, making a pinching motion. "It's required!"

I blink stupidly at him for a moment before I realize he's referring to some stupid tradition. Shaking my head, I laugh softly and point to my beer. "I'm wearing it on the inside."

His grin gets impossibly bigger and he grabs my shirt, lifting it and peering at my belly. "Huh... I don't see it!"

Normally I'd have thought he was a total dumbass. But somehow, on him... it's adorable. I feel my cheeks burn, but for some reason, I don't try to get him to put my shirt back down. I just stare up into those chocolate-colored eyes of his, completely lost.

The bartender comes by, asking him what he wants, but he just waves him off and picks up my drink instead, sniffing it and then taking a sip before putting it back down. "Good, you don't drink shit." He approves... of my beer. I want to laugh, but the sound is stuck in my chest, just as firmly as my breath is.

Finally, he drops my shirt, patting my stomach and I find it in me to gasp, oxygen rushing to my head. He props himself on the counter next to me and beams. "I'm Die. What's your name?"

"Kaoru." I can't even tell him it's nice to meet him. In truth, it's more than nice. At least the way I'm looking at him should inform him of how I'm feeling. I know I must have the most infatuated look on my face right now, there's just no way I don't.

He finally slips onto the bar stool beside me, spinning around once before facing me and grinning like the fiend I'm absolutely certain he is. "So... did you see our show tonight?"

I nod, still staring at him in awe. It's been years since I felt like this about anyone. I was in high school the last time my heart decided to take up residence in my throat. Wetting my lips, I finally find my voice. "You're amazing on guitar. I play, too, but you have a skill in rhythm that I could never master like that."

For a moment, he simply looks stunned, but then he blushes like mad, absently yanking on a strand of his hair. "I... um... thank you. You play? Any band I'd know?"

I shake my head. "Probably not. I'm the guitarist for CHARM. We're playing-"

"Tomorrow night!" He looks incredibly excited now and I feel like I've been smacked up side the head with a cast iron pot. "I already have my ticket." He actually starts digging around in his pockets, finally pulling out a little brown stub and waving it around. "See!"

My lips part and I wonder what to even say to that. We have a tiny following, nothing big. And to find that the object of my musings is a part of it... there just aren't words. Finally, I smile, picking up my beer and draining it. Placing the cup back down on the counter, I happen to glance at the time. It's morning already, the sun will be up in under an hour.

It hits me like a shockwave. Circumstance. I have to get home and get some sleep before tomorrow night. Regret. If only I didn't have to... I could get to know him better.

With a soft sigh, I push myself up from my seat. "I have to get some rest before tomorrow. I... I wish... I had more time." Maybe it's the booze speaking, maybe it isn't, but I know for sure I don't imagine the flicker of disappointment in his eyes.

He stands up as well and holds out his arm. "Let me at least walk you out... Karou."

I can't deny him. I can't even let it irritate me that I'm letting him take my arm as if I'm the woman as he leads me from the building and into the cool night air.


I shake my head, the action almost absent. "Nah... I live close enough."

He smiles a bit, letting go of my arm and then giving a grand bow to me. I can't help but laugh, the way he does it is so utterly... him. The grin on his face when he comes back up leaves the effect I'm sure it's meant to on my heart and mind. I won't forget him... I can't.

Before I can even think on it, he's closed the distance between us and placed the smallest of kisses on my lips. It's sweet, gentle... and built to make me want more. Without a moment of hesitation, I reach out, pulling him back down for a second kiss, my lips meeting his, parting; my tongue begging for entrance. He allows me in and I kiss him as though I require it in order to survive. Maybe I do. Maybe he is everything I have ever been missing.

When I finally find it in me to draw away, I slowly start to back away from him, a certain grief in my eyes. I don't want to leave. I don't want this to end. But I have a job to do tomorrow. Like a ray of sunshine through the blackest clouds, I realize he'll be there... waiting on me. I smile then, pursing my lips for a moment to try to make the grandness of it a bit less. "I'll see you tomorrow... won't I?"

His smile seems almost relieved. "I'll be there. And you had better be."

"I'll be there, Die... I promise." The words are out of my mouth and it hits me that I mean it more deeply than I thought I even would. I will be there for him, as long as he asks. Already, he holds my heart. A day ago, I'd have said there was no such thing as love at first sight. But now... now I'd argue the opposite until my death. He touched me and something connected between us in that moment, an invisible string that I don't want to cut away.

His grin gets bigger and he turns to go back inside, glancing at me one last time before the door swings shut behind him. I lift my hand, pressing it to my lips and then holding it out palm up. My breath whispers across the bare skin as I send my emotions after him on the air. Only then do I turn away and start toward my apartment, hands deep in my pockets and an unbreakable smile on my face.

Tonight may have been limited by circumstance. But perhaps that was the point of the universe. To prevent me from slipping up, from moving too fast and ruining something so... perfect.

The End