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    Christmas had come and gone and it had been much harder on Kiko than on him. He had long been used to spending holidays alone. But she had had these grandeur ideas of what Christmas was supposed to be like. She had called him the day before and asked if he wanted to do something. To which he replied no. Instead, he had spent his holiday in his apartment working. He hadn’t allowed himself a break during this time and because of that was currently exhausted. He sighed and looked out of his window upon the snowy city. It was nearing January, how quickly the time was moving. It seemed he had blinked and just got here.


     His phone buzzed as he put his computer down on the living room table. Going to look at it, he sighed. Let’s go to lunch. His stomach growled and he quickly typed an answer. No, I’m not hungry. But that was a lie. He was starving actually and his stomach served to remind him of that. He had been showing her the cold shoulder the whole time they had resided here. For that he wasn’t regretful. But the emotion did tire him sometimes. Today, he would allow it. He erased his answer and typed a new one. Be ready in 30 minutes. She replied back quickly. Okay. 


    He got in the shower and brushed his teeth. Putting on a warm sweater and jeans, he slid into his boots. Grabbing his coat, wallet and key, he put his phone in his pocket as he left. On the ride, he pressed his forehead against the cold glass. New York was truly a beautiful city when it snowed. But even so, there was something even more beautiful about Japan covered in snow. He was starting to grow homesick. 


    “Sir?” His driver called from the front of the car. 




    “I was wondering if I could ask you something.”




    “Could I be permitted to take a leave for the Holiday?” New Years Eve was approaching.


    “You have family here Daiko?” 


    “Yes. I have a brother who resides in this city. Though it is not my wife and children, I am happy I have someone to be around for this holiday.” He was quiet for a while until he spoke again. 


    “Would you like to see your wife?” 


    “Very much sir.” He stared out of the window at the large white piles of snow that was covering cars, sidewalks and roadways. 


    “I’ll purchase a ticket for you to visit them.” Daiko smiled, he could feel it. 


    “Sir… That is quite a bit of money. Please reconsider.”  


    “It’s no problem. It is not good for a man to be away from his family.” 


    “How long will I have to be away from you sir?” 


    “You can spend a month or so at home. I’ll pay you for that time.” 


    “You’re so gracious Mr. Iwase.” He smiled. 


    “You deserve it Daiko. I will arrange for your trip later on.”


    “T-thank you Mr. Iwase.”


    “It is I that should thank you.” 








    As he stepped up to the door, he sighed. When he looked at Kiko, he wanted to see her. Not the face of the woman who had for so long tortured him. If he was going to try, he needed to be a little bit nicer. Licking his lips, he knocked on the door and waited until she came to, a soft smile on her face. 






    “Would you like to come in?”


    “Yes.” She opened her door and stood aside as he came into the house. The house had been paid for by his mother and all of her expenses had been taken care of. When was she going to decide to live for herself? At some point, she had to desire to live in her own shadow, not any one else’s. 


    “Are you ready?” He asked. 


    “Yes. Let me get my purse.” He stood, watching her as she grabbed the small handbag. He sighed and did something that shocked her so much she stood still. He’d placed his hand gently on top of her head, in an affectionate manner. She looked up at him, eyes wide. 


    “I am trying Kiko. I am trying to be nice.” She smiled and a blush came to her cheeks. 


    “Thank you for trying.” 


    “Do you want to know why I’ve brought you with me?” She blinked. 


    “I never thought to ask you.” 


    “The reason has changed tremendously. At first, it was a cruel reason.” She gripped her purse. 


    “A cruel reason?” He might as well be honest with her. 


    “I came here to find someone. Someone dear to me. I brought you because I wanted to make you watch as I became happy with that person.” She swallowed tightly. 




    “No one has told you the real reason you were matched with me. It’s unfair to you to keep you in such darkness.” She looked up at him. 


    “What are you talking about Hiro?” 


    “We’ll talk on the way.”  






    “Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in the world, a boy who full of misery and hate. One day, his life changed and the flutter of a butterfly touched his heart. A girl came into his life and with this girl came freedom.” She was quiet as she listened. His eyes caught the greens, blues and white of snow from outside his window. 


    “It’s a freedom I sacrificed…in order to please those who didn’t deserve it.” 




    “I chose to let her go. The greatest love I’ve ever experienced. For bondage. In hopes I would finally be what they needed…wanted me to be.” She swallowed thickly. 


    “That girl you speak of…it’s that woman isn’t it? That black woman.”


    “Yes.” She sat across from him, her fingers tightly clutched together. 


    “Why did it have to be her?”


    “I can’t answer that.”


    “What does she have to do with me?”


    “My family came into agreement with yours. Or rather… your half sister.” She grew still. 


    “My half…sister?”


    “She couldn’t have me. So she decided to use you to come between that girl and I.” Kiko shook her head. 


    “Hiroto stop. Aiko…Aiko isn’t like that. She would never…”  


    “You don’t know her or what lies within her heart.”


    “Impossible! She’s married… with a child on the way. How could she plot something so evil so young?” He closed his eyes and leaned back against the seat. 


    “Your family sold you to mine. And in return, they sold me to yours. It was an agreement made out of selfish manipulative gain. By now, we should have gotten married and had the heirs they wanted.” Kiko blinked and bit her lip. 


    “I can’t believe… it can’t be true.” He finally turned his gaze on her. 


    “The reason I have brought you now has changed as I’ve said before. I want to use this as a chance for you to seek your freedom.” 


    “My freedom?”


    “Perhaps you will get to a point where like me, you wish to no longer be a slave to anyone, even family. If and when you get to this point, I will help you.” 


    “What will you do with that woman?” He looked her straight into her eyes. 


    “I will make her my wife.” Kiko bit her lip harder. 


    “Do you realize what you are saying? You’d marry her… her of all-”


    “You feel you are superior to her?”


    “No… I…it’s not…”


    “It was time I tell you the truth Noa. Here and now. Do with the information as you please.” The rest of the ride was silent and he sighed. He had Daiko take them to a Japanese restaurant, one that was not too far. He was glad that they were still open, considering that New Years was approaching. He glanced over at Kiko and she had laid down, her face covered by her hair. 


    “Do you still wish to eat?” She slowly looked towards him. 




    “Come on.” He helped her out of the vehicle and together they entered the establishment. 








    Their meal had been silent and a bit awkward but nothing out of the ordinary. He had dropped her back off at her apartment. He hoped that she would desire to seek the truth on her own. Kiko’s emotions were something that would ruin her if she was not careful. He had decided to take a walk around his area to work off the food that he had eaten. As he started on his way, he took in lungfuls of crisp cold air. The burn in his lungs made him smile. Call him crazy but this was actually good weather to run in. By the end, the chill he felt would be long gone. He passed shops, the warm light emanating from them making him feel bright. 


    “I don’t know why you don brought me out here. What is it?” He continued on his way, looking and observing. 


    “I told you no! What more do you want from me?” 


    “I told you I would never let you go. Now you’re coming with me damn it.” 


    “Get the hell off me!” The voices in the background soon rose enough to draw his attention. He stopped and turned to see a man grabbing a woman. He proceeded to drag her. 


    “Let me go Kwasame!” The woman pushed against the man but he lifted her much smaller body into his arms. 


    “Put me down!” He watched as everyone who stood by only watched, no one did anything. The man quickly started to walk away and he tightened his fists. Why was it that society seemed to watch and do nothing in the face of danger? Were its citizens so frightened of what would happen to them if they decided to help another? He turned around and began to follow the man. 


    “I saw him on television. The pompous wanker. I won’t lose you to him. He’s not worthy of you anymore. Let me show you I can change. I can do better.” The woman balled up her fists and began to hit him in the head and shoulder. 


    “You gon have to do better than that if you want me bitch.” She hissed, grabbing his head in between her fingers. She leaned down and bit into the man’s ear. He cursed and reached up to pry her hands off of him but she held on, tightening her teeth. 


    “Rae, let go of me!” 


    “You shoulda thought about this shit before you tried me.” She replied, grabbing onto his ear lobe. He stiffened. Rae? That was Rae? For a moment, he was in awe at how ferocious she was, the fight that was in her. He couldn’t help but be proud. The moment ended as soon as the man yanked her away from him and threw her against the thick powdery snow. 


    “Oh hell nawl…”


    “Rae, listen to me…I don’t wanna hurt you. Just hear me baby.”


    “Get the ever loving fuck off of me. I swear on my life Kwasame.” He used his body weight as an advantage over her and pinned her arms into the snow.     


    “It’s not fair that he gets your attention. I’ve spent two years of my life with you and you drop me all because I didn’t fuck you right. What kind of shit is that?” 


    “Kwasame!” She yelled, growling. He’d seen just about enough. She certainly hadn’t lost the knack to get herself into situations. He came up slowly. 


    “Hey.” The pair froze. He eyed the man, cracking his knuckles. 


    “What the hell-”


    “It’s rude to force a woman when she doesn’t want you.” The man scoffed. 


    “You’re the asshole who made her like this. Before you came, everything was good.” 


    “Who are you talking to?” She asked, her breath heavy. 


    “Your boyfriend…” 


    “Why don’t you get off of her? There are other ways to handle this situation than to use force.” The man eyed him with hatred. 


    “Piss off.” He sighed. 


    “I didn’t want to do this but…” He grabbed the man by the back of his coat and yanked him back until he fell backwards into a pile of snow. The man groaned and got up slowly. 


    “She was mine. I’ll never let her go.” 


    “Shut the hell up Kwasame.” He turned to find she had sat up. 


    “Need a hand?” He asked, reaching down for her. 


    “Not from you.” She got up on her own and pursed her lips. 


    “What are you doing here Hiroto?” 


    “I believe I’m saving your ass.” She sucked her teeth. 


    “Ain’t nobody ask you to do that though so…” 


    “I was supposed to let him have his way with you then?” She shut her mouth, not making eye contact with him. He sighed and felt a rush of air as the man came towards him. He dodged a punch and sighed again. He wasn’t worth his time. He lifted his fist and punched the man square in the jaw, making him stumble. 


    “I don’t have the patience to fight you. Just leave her alone.” He said in a bored tone, eying him as he got up. 


    “You think you’re better than me? You think you’re such hot shit eh?” 


    “Get a damn grip on yourself Kwasame. Don’t try him.” She spoke up, her voice tired but angry.


    “Now you’re defending him?” 


    “Listen to me. Go home.” He spoke up, silencing them both. This whole thing was starting to give him a headache. And his once calm demeanor now was starting to become irritated. 


    “Gon withcha punk ass! Best believe Tre gon hear all the way about this shit.” The man would have paled if he could. 


    “You still have your brother fight your battles for you? You’re a grown ass woman.” 


    “The wrong woman to mess with. As you’ll find out. Now, go home before bruh man here stomps your face into the ground.” He inhaled and cracked his knuckles again and the man took a step back before running away like some frightened kitten. The sight was enough to make him laugh. He gripped his stomach and laughed until he felt tears well up in his eyes. 


    “Oh God…That was funny.” He stood up and wiped at the tears. She stood there, lips pursed looking beautiful and irritated. 


    “Glad you found this all entertaining.” He grinned, a laugh bubbling up in his stomach. 


    “How could I not? He ran away like a scared little girl. That was your boyfriend? Come on Rae, the least you could have done was find someone worthy to replace me.” She sucked her teeth. 


    “You’re an asshole, just like him.” The grin slowly slid off of his face. She shuddered and  bent down to grab the hat that had been on her head out of the snow. 


    “Great. I should have stayed home.”


    ‘You do seem to find yourself in such trouble when you’re not.”


    “Shut up Hiroto. Who the hell are you lecturing?” He put his hands up in defense. 


    “No one.” 


    “This night couldn’t get any better. First him. Now you.” 


    “Perhaps I should not have followed you.” She looked up at him, those big gorgeous brown eyes of hers shimmery. 


    “I’m sure that would have been better. I think we both know what he was going to do to you. Yet you would want that than for me to help you.” She swallowed thickly. 




    “I’m going to go now. Forget we even saw each other hm?” He turned away and started to walk away. 


    “Wait!” He stopped. 


    “T-Thank you.” He turned to look at her. 


    “You’re welcome.” She sighed deeply and bit at her lips as she came towards him. 




    “What is it Rae?”


    “We’re not that close yet….Ebere to you son.” He felt his lips twitch in a smile. 


    “Yes ma’am.”


    “I don’t know why I’m even considering this…”


    “Considering what?” She nearly gnawed at her lips before she balled them up. 


    “A-Are you… hungry?” He blinked. She was asking him to eat? 


    “I could go for something yes.”






    “Let’s grab something…quick I mean. Nothing where we have to sit down or nothin.” He smiled to himself. 


    “I see.” She rolled her eyes. 


    “Look, I’m only doing this because you did kinda save me just now.” He lifted his eyebrow. 




    “Take it or leave it buddy. If not, I’m going home.” 


    “No… I’ll take it.”




    “Where to?”


    “I don’t know…let’s walk till we find somethin.”


    “If that’s what you want.” She walked past him grumbling and he felt his heart flutter. He was slowly starting to work his way back in there. He had a long way to go. But this was a great start.

































Chapter End Notes:


A/N: Slow but surelyyyyy they're getting closer. If even it's a rough start. So, pause. All the way pause. Kwasame has lost his mind. Dude gon get all them hands. Roto was just a warm up and he barely hurt him when he really could have. Now, I know y'all may be like dag all these years later and Rae still can't do nothin for herself? To that, I answer you with this... wait and see. <3 The woman ain't as weak as y'all might think. :D <3 I love their interaction (any really) but the awkwardness and tension is just so real like *sigh* Roto got hims a way to go but the trust will be mended. I can't get over Kwasame.... in the words of one of you guys, "He has to go." I'm feelin a WWE smackdown between Hiroto and him if he keep this up. Roto ain't about to let nobody put hands on his woman. OOH he get on the nerves lol. Just dancin on them lol. We get the answer as to why Roto has Kiko with him. A lot of y'all been askin why lol. So, bam there it is. lol. I think it's a noble reason, despite the situation. He's really trying not to let hatred enter back into his heart. Even trying to forgive her for what she did to him that night. Hiroto for the win! <3 :D  Okay, I'm off to continue writing! Enjoy! <3 

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.