[A/N: In honour of Matsuura Kanan’s birthday, I have written a little story for her. Not the typical birthday fare I’ve done, since it’s not really tied to the celebration. The title is an homage to the Silly Lilies series. This isn’t the same “universe”, but I was never able to put a proper cap on that series, so why not revisit the KanaRuby ship here, I thought. Ruby tries her best.]
“Here, Kanan-chan!” Ruby bowed her head, and thrust forward a small bag tied shut with a cute, red ribbon.
Kanan accepted the bag. It was very light, and she could feel something shuffling about inside when she moved it. “What’s this?” she asked, though the way it felt gave her some ideas already.
“It’s… they’re chocolates…” Ruby said, seemingly very interested in looking at her shoes.
Kanan loosened the ribbon, and peeked inside. Sure enough, there were a bunch of heart-shaped chocolates in here. “Ruby, it’s another four days till Valentine’s,” she said.
“I-I know, but…” Ruby shuffled her feet. “I… I wanted to make sure I was the first…” Her tone was shy and quiet.
“So you made chocolates for my birthday?” Kanan couldn’t help smiling. Sure, the dates were pretty close, but this was the first time she’d gotten Valentine’s chocolates on her birthday. And the first time she’d gotten any from Ruby, come to think of it. “Ruby?” Kanan decided to prompt her when she stayed quiet.
“Ka-Kanan-chan?” Ruby glanced up nervously. “I have something… I want to say… c-could you hear me out, please?” Her voice was shaky, but there was a hint of determination in there, too.
Is that why you invited me back here, Kanan wanted to ask, but maybe any more questions would make Ruby lose her nerve entirely, so instead she just said: “Sure, I’ll listen.”
“Kanan-chan…” Ruby poked her index fingers together. “I… y-you have always been there… along with my sister… and helped protect me… a-and take care of me… even last week…” Ruby had tagged along with Dia, Kanan, and Mari, and had had a pretty bad fall. Kanan had been the one to carry her home on her back, because the other two were weaklings. “Th-that’s when I decided to tell you… I-I have looked up to you… admired you… and I want to say…” Ruby finally looked up to meet Kanan’s eyes, though she was looking far more nervous than confident. “I love you!”
Kanan blinked, taken aback. For a while she wasn’t sure what to say. Ruby, to her credit, managed to keep meeting Kanan’s eyes. “Ruby, what are you saying?” Kanan finally asked.
“I love you,” Ruby repeated. “I have for a while…”
Kanan didn’t think it sounded like Ruby was joking. “Ruby… I’m leaving in a few months, you know,” she reminded her. In order to get her license as soon as possible, she couldn’t miss the summer classes. So she was planning to leave about a month after graduation.
“I know! I know…” Ruby’s shout had startled Kanan a little. “Th-that’s why… I had to tell you before you left…” She looked down again, maybe embarrassed by her own outburst.
Kanan smiled. It must have taken a lot of courage to do this. Ruby had grown so much from the little girl who used to hide behind hers or Dia’s back. There were only two years between them, well two and a half technically, but Ruby had always seemed so small. Kanan couldn’t resist reaching out, and patting her on the head. A good girl, to be sure.
There was a pleased hum from Ruby. She had always liked headpats. But after a few moments of silence she spoke up again. “So… um… a-are you turning me down?” she asked nervously.
“Hm? You haven’t asked me anything,” Kanan said, doing her best to not smirk in case Ruby looked up again.
Which she did. “Kanan-chan, y-you shouldn’t toy with a maiden’s heart,” Ruby said, doing a pretty reasonable impression of Dia, down to the stern look her older sister tended to display.
She’s really not the same Ruby she was a year ago, Kanan thought. “Hahaha, sorry, sorry,” she said out loud, unable to suppress her laughter. It had been a little mean of her, but both of the Kurosawa sisters were fun to tease. Kanan didn’t always have the best impulse control. Yet she couldn’t help but think that the sight of Ruby’s pouting was worth it.
But what should she say? Ruby was possibly the cutest person Kanan knew, but she had never thought of her in this light. And Dia might be so shocked that she would faint if Kanan started dating her little sister. Still, she wasn’t exactly opposed to the idea. It might be worth a try, and if they tried and it didn’t work out, it would likely help Ruby move on quicker. But if it actually worked out, they would run into the big problem here.
It was probably best to address this seriously. Maybe the responsible thing would be just say no outright, but… “Ruby… would you really be okay with just a few months together? Won’t that just make it worse?” Kanan asked.
“I…” Ruby was trembling slightly. She had probably thought of that herself. But the glint of determination in her eyes remained. “I want to spend that time with you, K-Kanan-chan,” she answered. “Maybe it’s silly, but… I-I don’t want to… miss this chance…” Her voice was barely more than a mumble towards the end there, but Kanan still managed to hear what she said.
How was she supposed to argue with that? Well, as Mari was fond of saying in one form or another: youth was all about making silly choices that might turn into mistakes in order to live your life to the fullest. She was certainly the living embodiment of that, and Kanan didn’t exactly have a flawless record herself either.
Kanan gently hugged Ruby. There was still the desire to protect this soft, precious creature, though it was uncertain whether her decision accomplished that or not. “Alright, we’ll give it a shot,” she said anyway. Even if she couldn’t really see it from this position, she could feel Ruby’s reaction, as if she was lifting off.
“Really?” Ruby asked, her voice full of joy and hope.
“Yeah,” Kanan confirmed. “But let’s hold off on telling Dia until after the party,” she added. Which really meant they couldn’t tell anyone, but Dia was the important part. They could tell her tomorrow, but Kanan didn’t want to risk ruining her birthday with a grumpy Dia. Maybe that was a selfish request.
“Okay,” Ruby agreed, and returned Kanan’s hug. They both knew Dia well enough to be able to anticipate her reaction. Maybe she would take it well, but neither of them were willing to put money on that. But if they gave her a few days to get used to it, and she’d probably lighten up again.
Kanan would probably need a little while to get used to it herself. She hadn’t exactly expected to get a girlfriend for her birthday, and dating Ruby was a somewhat strange thought on its own. But maybe it would turn out well.