The first time Juri Arisugawa made Miki Kaoru blush was appropriately enough the first time they met. Miki had been standing outside the door to the fencing club's room, psyching himself up to step through the door and submit his application when someone cleared their throat behind him. “Excuse me.” The voice was cold and sent shivers up and down Miki's spine. He turned around and saw a girl with intense eyes and orange ringlets of hair. “You're blocking the way.”
“Oh, you're right.” He clicked his stopwatch, bowed to her and stepped aside. “I'm sorry Miss, I was just preparing myself to submit my application to the fencing club and I didn't realize how long I'd been standing there.”
“You were going to submit an application?” The girl looked at him again. “You?”
“Y-yes.” Miki looked down. “I know I don't seem like much, but I thought that if I tried I might be able to change myself.”
The girl took a step forward. “Could I see that?” She pointed at the application in his hand.
“Sure.” Miki acquiesced. The girl looked the application over, then she looked him in the eye. She held him in her gaze, and he swore that his impeccably maintained stopwatch had slowed down.
“All right, you're in.” The girl said, and she smiled; it was like a transformation, she was a completely different person. “I'm the Fencing Club captain Juri Arisugawa. I look forward to training you Miki Kaoru.”
“You do?” Miki said.
“Of course, I don't think I've had anyone join with quite so much potential as you.” She chuckled warmly, and Miki blushed, his whole face turning bright red. “Oh my.” Juri was taken aback; she was used to having this effect on boys and girls alike, but never to this extent and so easily at that.
“Thank you Miss Juri!” Miki bowed deeply so that she couldn't see his face. “I promise I won't disappoint you!” Then he dashed away, leaving a smiling Juri behind.
The second time Juri made Miki blush was at their first Student Council meeting together. “So you were chosen too.” Juri said to Miki, each looking at the rose crest rings. “Do you really believe what it says in the letter you received?”
“The castle is there, isn't it Miss Juri?” The way Miki said it, it was like he trusted her senses more than his own.
“So it would seem.” Juri did not look at the castle floating overhead, upside down; her dedication to her cynicism would not be broken by so trivial a thing. “But that doesn't answer the quesiton Miki; do you believe this idea about the Rose Bride, that possessing her will grant you the world revolution?” What did that even mean? Nothing at all, clearly just a fable to draw them in, and yet...
“I'm not sure Miss Juri.” Miki said. “Possessing the Rose Bride, possessing a person, it can't be so literal as all that, right? The letter means it metaphorically, the way a husband has their wife, yes?” Juri frowned; Miki was a boy after all. “And besides, could the World Revolution be something incredible enough to...”
“Enough to what, Miki?” Still, the more she knew about him, the better equipped she would be to steer him the right way; he had such potential, it would be a shame for it to be lost.
“Well, I used to have a, a shining thing, the thing that inspired me, made me believe that I could do anything.”
“I see.” Juri smiled. “And tell me Miki, if you could do anything you wanted, anything at all, what would that be?” She leaned in closer.
“There's a song I've been working on, but I haven't been able to progress on it; if I could figure out where my failure is...”
“When you do Miki, when you find your Shining Thing, please let me know; I'd love to hear it.” And just as she calculated, Miki blushed. She would never tire of that adorable look on his face.
Then Touga and Saionji arrived, and so Juri's fun was over.
The third time Juri made Miki blush was when he was playing piano in the music room. “So gentle.” She said as she leaned back against a nearby pillar. “Your finger strokes are impeccable.”
“I'm glad you think so Miss Juri.” Miki said. “I've been practicing again and again to try and see where my mistake is, and yet...” Miki stopped. “No, it doesn't sound right, but why?” He frowned.
“If only you could see it.” If only she could let go of her feelings, if she could move on...
“If only I hadn't gotten sick that day, if I'd just been there for Kozue like I was supposed to be...”
Juri shook her head. “Well, if you want to make sure that doesn't happen again, then you need to keep up your health.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “Why don't we practice fencing and work up a sweat together, hmm?”
“Miss Juri.” He hadn't blushed yet, he'd built up just a touch of resistance. “Maybe we should.”
“And after, when you take your shower, make sure you scrub everywhere.” Ah, now there was the blush, just as strong as ever; if you turned out the light, you could see by it!
The fourth time Juri made Miki blush was after one of their private fencing matches. “You're incredible Miss Juri, simply incredible.” Miki breathed hard. “Your speed, strength, technique, focus, it's all on a completely different level from my own, I could never catch up.” Despite that, he still smiled.
“Don't sell yourself short Miki.” Juri smiled at the smaller, younger boy. “You were keeping up with me, and you're still improving; one day you'll catch up, you'll see.”
“It sounds so convincing when you say it Miss Juri, but I try to imagine it and...”
“And what exactly do you imagine Miki?” She flicked a lock of her hair. “When you try to imagine matching up to me, winning, just what do you imagine, hmm?”
“Just me winning, honest!” Miki blushed his fiercest blush yet; practice made perfect after all.
Juri Arisugawa had been enjoying a long walk when she smelled something simply sumptuous wafting on the wind. “Where is that coming from?” Juri followed her nose and found herself in the decrepit garden just outside Juri and Miki's home on campus. “Curiouser and curiouser.” She knocked on the door.
“Just a minute.” She heard Miki calling out from the kitchen, and not long after he opened the door; he had an apron on, and a tall chef's hat as well, and there was flower on the tip of his nose. Juri resisted the urge to clean it off with her thumb. “Miss Juri, what a coincidence, I was going to call you.”
“You were?” He motioned her in. The smell was much stronger, and even more pleasing. Heavy with sugar, exactly like Miki liked it.
“Yes, you see I'm baking this cake for you Miss Juri, and I wanted to make sure it was perfect before I shared it with you, but it'll be ready soon enough, so we'll find out in just a short time.” A few seconds, and then Miki clicked his stopwatch. “Ah, it should be ready now!” He rushed off to the kitchen, Juri sat down at the nearby table and waited. She didn't need long, he came out with a pair of oven mitts on and a small yet scrumptious looking cake topped with strawberries. “I hope it is to your satisfaction Miss Juri.” He gave her a little slice with a choice strawberry on top; though really, all the strawberries were choice.
“I'm sure I will.” Juri had high expectations, and when she took her bite, those expectations were exceeded. “My goodness Miki, is there anything you don't have a natural talent for?” So soft and delicate, yet perfectly measured and certain, this was Miki's cake without a doubt.
Miki laughed. “Many things Miss Juri, but I'm getting better about accepting that.” Juri laughed after swallowing her last bite. “I don't suppose I could invite you to eat some cake again tomorrow night? We could even watch a movie together if that sounds all right.”
Juri's fork fell onto her plate and clattered. “Miki, are you asking me on a date?”
Miki nodded. “I understand if you say no, but I feel like this is a good time to try.”
“I'd be delighted Miki.” Although only a faint dusting of pink on her cheeks, a blush was still a blush, the first that Miki had ever made Juri blush.