Caroline is and Caroline was. But this Caroline is not that Caroline. [George x Yukari]
Author: Grasshopper (A.K.A. The Undertaker's Muse)
Warnings: Het, angst, original character.
Fandom: Paradise Kiss
Spoilers: End of series, but vague (very, very vague) things throughout.
Pairings: George Koizumi x Yukari Hayasaka
Summary: Caroline is and Caroline was. But this Caroline is not that Caroline.
Author's Notes: My muses seem to like torturing me with the end of ParaKiss, making me use it as a plot not to get George and Yukari back together, but just for me to make everyone angst. Stupid muses. I like angst, but I got enough of it with these two just by finishing the series! kicks Arashi-muse for being an instigator and takes away his Miwako-muse Expect a similar fic to this featuring Hiro and Yukari's son. And no, he won't be getting together with George's daughter; I seriously doubt he'll ever meet her and if by some chance the plot does go that way, the situation definitely won't allow for it. Besides, once you've read this through to the end, I'm sure the thought of them together would be kind of weird. is a hypocrite
Disclaimer: All things Paradise Kiss belong to Yazawa Ai-sensei. Grassy only lays claim to the plot.
Growing up, Caroline Koizumi's world was filled with wondrous things, most notably constant travel, beautiful clothing, and her father. She never wanted for anything, really; her father's tendency to give her anything she wanted, tempered by Aunt Isabella's form of "restraint" saw to that. The only thing he could never give her was a mother. Her own had taken off not long after giving birth, leaving the as-yet-unnamed baby girl in her father's care.
Aunt Isabella, the closest thing Caroline ever had to a maternal figure, always gave her a sad smile when asked.
"Carrie," she'd say - those were the only times Aunt would call her that - eyes focused on Caroline's own intently, "in this life, there are the people you love, the people you want to have, and the people you're with. Sometimes those categories cross, but generally people only fall into one. But... No matter who you want with you, always remember to cherish those you're with, whether you love them or not."
Then she would play with the long, dark strands of Caroline's hair before going off to find George.
In her younger years, Caroline hadn't been able to understand what those words meant in relation to her desire for a mother, but as the years passed, she started to understand, bit by bit.
Satisfied with the family she had, she continued to follow Isabella's advice and spent more time learning about them as people, rather than as just her father and aunt. The older she got, the more her Aunt spoke of her and George's past; of places they'd been and people they'd met long before Caroline was ever born.
She heard of Aunt Miwako and Uncle Arashi - Isabella loved showing off pictures of their children at every opportunity - and of Paradise Kiss. It was a highly edited version of events, Caroline knew, but mostly chalked it up to her aunt's desire not to speak of George's many, many indiscretions.
Sometimes, her father joined them in their "girl talk," but after a while he'd leave, with an odd smile on his face.
He never laughed, though.
Caroline rather hated that trait in him, which he'd passed on to her. When she finally understood what it meant, a part of her was crushed at the knowledge.
Never, not in the whole, entire time that she could remember, had he ever laughed. He'd never been happy, not in all of the years she'd been alive.
It took her until the age of seventeen to get up the nerve to ask Aunt Isabella about why her father had never been happy. A part of her heart was guarded, hoping against hope that it wasn't her entrance into his life that had made him unhappy. Just like always, Isabella saw right through her into what Caroline really felt and what she really wanted to know.
Eyes darkening with sorrow, Aunt Isabella sat next to Caroline on a large floor pillow that somehow managed to complement their elaborate clothing, despite the clashing colors. After several long minutes of running her nails soothingly through Caroline's hair, Aunt Isabella finally began to speak, her voice soft and filled with a pain left unvoiced for much too long.
"Carrie," Isabella began, and the girl in question knew this was a more serious discussion than even she had believed, as her aunt never used that nickname unless it was extremely important. "Some people are born happy. Some people are born sad. And some people are just born. Whether or not they are happy or sad depends on outside factors. Are their needs met adequately? Are there things they desire greatly? Is there someone they want by their side? Can they really accomplish all that they wish to?
"George is one of those who were just born. He didn't really care if he was happy, nor if he was sad; all he really cared about was doing what he wanted to do and having what he wanted to have. More than anything, I'd say he was content with blazing onward toward the future, wreaking havoc along the way. But then..." Her words trailed off into a sigh, mouth curving into a tiny smile.
"Then what," Caroline couldn't keep herself from inquiring.
"In our senior year, we needed a model for one of George's designs. Your Uncle Arashi and I captured a beautiful and bitchy waif that was perfect for our image."
Almost certain she didn't want to know, Caroline still braved to ask, "Captured?"
"Yes." Isabella's smile was blinding in its intensity as she nodded enthusiastically. "We couldn't just let her get away from us and since she wound up fainting, we took her to back to our studio."
Just like the days of her early childhood, in which Aunt Isabella would tell her unique and thoroughly eccentric fairy tales, Caroline listened with a concentration that was unparalleled as a new story was told. An irregular love story featuring a hedonistic fashion designer and a "studious" girl out of her depth in the strange new world that she'd been pulled into.
And, for the first time, Aunt Isabella's tale didn't have a happy ending. It didn't even really have an ending at all, since the story was still being written.
Caroline wasn't certain if she wanted to cry or get angry. Several moments passed in silence as she reflected upon this new knowledge of her father and his past.
"Aunt Isabella... Does that mean Father 'just is'? Because I know he's not happy."
Long fingers toyed with the ends of Caroline's hair as Isabella gently replied, "No."
Dark eyes glossy with unshed tears, Caroline focused upon the pillow beneath them. "So he's sad, then."
"He told me once that he was always sad unless she was with him. And I know she felt the same."
"So why? Why-"
"Didn't they stay together?" Isabella wiped the tears trailing down Caroline's face with a delicate handkerchief tenderly, just as she always had. "Sometimes, my sweet, the people who want to be together most, just don't suit each other. Like a puzzle piece that you're certain fits, only to find that the rest of the attaching pieces don't match up."
A weary sigh escaped Isabella as she stood for the first time in over an hour. Wincing at the tingling in her formerly numb limbs, she glanced back down at her niece. "I've got to meet George soon, but is there anything else you want to know right now or do you want to wait and think on it?"
"No..." Caroline wearily flopped inelegantly across the now unoccupied space of the floor pillow. "I need to think over all of this."
Shaking her head in amusement, Isabella strode toward the doorway, aiming for the nearest mirror in which to correct her likely horrible appearance.
"Oh, wait!" Shooting upright once more, Caroline shoved her long, dark hair away from her face. "What was her name, Aunt Isabella?"
Isabella blinked several times in astonishment. "I didn't tell you?"
At Caroline's negative shake of her head, Isabella tittered a bit in amusement before staring down at her niece keenly.
"Her name was Yukari... But we all called her Caroline." With a discreet nod in the direction of the George's desk, Isabella was once more on her way.
Her mind blank from shock - her name came from someone that important to her father?! - Caroline made her way to the large desk covered in pages of random designs her father had momentarily abandoned. The bottom drawer - which she had never opened before due to her father's warnings, despite it having no lock - slid open silently. Save for a few folders of random legal papers that probably should have been in the filing cabinet, there was only a lone picture frame resting face down. Gathering up her courage, she lifted the frame from its resting place and turned it over.
Caroline's heart skipped a beat. The girl in the image - the real Caroline - knelt on a plush couch, dark hair spilling down her shoulders onto the trimming of her beautiful clothing. Combined with her long, slim extremities and mysterious smile, the model could have been Caroline's twin.
At this revelation, another small piece of the puzzle that was George Koizumi fell into position, only to shove several other pieces out of place. Replacing the photograph to its proper location in the desk drawer, Caroline collapsed once more upon the elaborate floor pillow.
Now she really needed to think things over...