Fandom: Popcorn Romance
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Zenta, Rika
Summary: Rika visits the countryside.
Notes: for dog-daies, 'live in the sunshine'
"Zenta! Ryouta!" Rika Fumizuki was waving furiously as she got out of the taxi.
Blinking, Zenta reached for Ryouta's arm to check his watch. Next on the list would be Oomi, in case Ryouta's watch had stopped.
"My flight was changed," Rika said quickly, ignoring the taxi driver and his attempts to hand over her luggage and instead attaching herself to Zenta, squeezing almost a little too tightly. "I didn't have time to call and I didn't want you to rush anyway, so I just took care of my own ride."
Zenta caught Oomi paying the taxi driver with a little wince, and then taking Rika's luggage. It had been more than five years since he and Ryouta had seen Rika and obviously a lot had changed...
They hadn't parted on bad terms, at least. She'd been a little upset, but...
"You look so healthy!" Rika pulled back to hold Zenta at arm's length and look him over.
"I've made a full recovery," Zenta replied with a little smile. His health had been the final wedge in their divide and while Rika had been successful without himself and Ryouta as her backing band, she'd never made the same numbers.
They all knew it.
"I'm glad," Rika said softly, before looking over at Ryouta and Oomi and then to where the taxi was driving off. "Oh...!"
"It's taken care of," Ryouta said quickly. "Don't worry. And you'll have your choice of rooms in the hotel. The new school term just started, so there aren't as many guests right now."
"I'll stay with Zenta," Rika announced firmly. "It'll be easier for us to work on the song that way."
Zenta couldn't help a little chuckle. The song. Not that he thought Rika would have stayed away forever if it hadn't been arranged for the two of them to put out a single together - no, he knew better. Not that he'd ever shown the article to Ryouta, but Oomi had found him one where Rika had said she partly blamed herself for Zenta's illness...
"Actually, it's pretty much already written," he said. "I'll sing it for you."
"Here?" Rika questioned, glancing around at Ryouta and Oomi and her luggage and the road.
"No," Zenta replied before pointing off towards the fields. "Out there."
Rika opened her mouth and Zenta expected a protest. But none came until...
"But my boots," Rika said, pointing down. They were black, heeled, exquisite. Zenta instantly wanted a pair.
"Trust me," he said quickly. "They'll be fine. And besides... walking out there will get you in the mood for the song."
Rika seemed to hesitate, but Ryouta and Oomi both nodded.
"Go on," Ryouta said quickly. "We'll take your things inside. We've heard the song."
Rika nodded after a moment.
"Well, okay," she said, watching Ryouta and Oomi head off. "Zenta..."
"It'll be a big hit," Zenta promised. Rika was easy to read. This was her last chance, after all. She was even older than they were, and she didn't have a hook like a quasi-mystical countryside concert venue to pull in new fans.
"What's it called?" Rika questioned, walking alongside Zenta as he headed out into the fields.
"'Live in the Sunshine'," Zenta replied before he started humming the opening.
He sang Rika's part while they walked, saving his own for his favourite spot and for the okojo who appeared so stealthily that Rika gave a little shriek of surprise.
"They're friendly." Quickly, Zenta held out a hand to them, and a trio scrambled over to him, crawling onto his arms and lap.
Rika laughed, reaching to carefully pet one of them. "So I see."
After a moment, though, she sat back and Zenta started to sing again. While he knew the okojo were trying to burrow under his frilly shirt, he watched Rika and her reactions to the song, the countryside, the sunshine... He knew what he was seeing - fatigue, stress, tiredness. And he knew what would help her even more than a hit song.
"You should stay out here for awhile," he said a moment after letting the final note of his part die off softly. "It'll be good for you."
Rika was quiet and one of the okojo decided her dress was far more interesting than Zenta's shirt.
She laughed. And nodded.
"Live in the Sunshine," she said. "I... think I could try it out."
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