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Cherry Blossom Evening

Chapter Text

Cherry Blossom Evening - A Delightful King of Fighters Fluff

Title: King of Fighters
Pairing: Kyo Kusanagi & Yuri Sakazaki

Chapter 1: "Icebreaker"

Kusanagi Residence, Osaka, Japan. March 31, 1995. 7:45 P.M.

It was a lukewarm, slightly breezy Friday evening. The moon was half lit, half shaded, its rays shining down on the world, leaving certain areas visible while others remained dark. Leaves from the Sakura trees have turned into carnation pink with streaks of white lines that hold that leaflets in the center of their beings. One could only marvel at the beauty that such type of natural wonder can evoke. The pond at the back of the Kusanagi residence stayed silent with the Koi fishes that lay residence in it swimming freely, though not bothering to do occasional flips of excitement.

Back at the house itself, the only thing that was lit was a single Bonbori lamp that stood on a corner by the sliding backdoor, which was fully open. Within the room, the only occupants were a young couple that were just barely reaching the early stage of adulthood yet brimming with enthusiasm as they had in their teens.

Flashback: Kyo Kusanagi - The Scion of Flames

Kyo Kusanagi, a young, 19-year-old man who had dark chocolate brown hair that parted halfway on his scalp, was recently crowned the "King of Fighters" from the tournament in the previous year upon defeating a corrupt German naval special forces officer and Black Market weapons smuggler named Rugal Bernstein. Beforehand, Kyo had been a high school dropout with no ambition. The son of two heirs to the majestic fighting style of Kusanagi Ninjutsu - Saisyu and Shizuka, he only had a few passions in life (all of which had no relation to useful job fields in the real world): Music, poetry, fine arts, and machinery. Craving fascination for the latter, he worked at a motorcycle shop called Yonemura's Motor Sports Shop, which was a couple of blocks down the road. In his spare time, he practiced his family's art - a style of Ninjutsu mixed with pyrotechnics, of which he personally incorporated with Muay Thai Kickboxing and Shorinji Kempo (Japanese version of Shaolin Kung Fu, for which he has a Shodan - 1st-degree black belt) on the sidelines. On some Saturday evenings, he would recite poetry, sing, and play guitar at a noodle house not too far from the shop. All of this happened while working towards passing the Daigaku Nyushi Kentei, the Japanese equivalent of a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.) in the United States. Quite a victory, though, as that would prove to be quite a tiny one compared to something that was covered by an unexpected turn of events during the months that laid ahead.

On March 8, 1994, Kyo received a letter from an unknown proctor informing him of a grand tournament that had 18 martial artists gathering and vying for the title of the "King of Fighters." Upon reading the letter, he summoned his two best friends: Benimaru "Benny" Nikaido - a 20-year-old Eurasian fashion model/actor who was born from a Japanese businessman father named Takeru and an American computer programmer mother named Rochelle Carlisle from Muncie, Indiana - and Goro Daimon - a 28-year-old owner of a warehouse delivery business, family man with a wife and two twin sons, and holder of a Go-Dan (5th-grade) black belt in Judo. Like the Chinese, Korean, and American teams, the Osaka-based "Three Tomodachi's" (as they were called by fellow villagers) then became representatives for their motherland while the other fighters were scattered during the tournament. With a conviction that was as measurable as a tight chokehold on a neck, they fought the other teams until there was not anyone left standing but Captain Bernstein.

Upon being defeated by the finest pugilists to ever grace the all-star tournament, Bernstein eventually killed himself by blowing up the aircraft carrier he stole from the United States Navy (the USS Ulysses Grant, which Bernstein eventually renamed "The Black Noah"). Miraculously, Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon survived the ordeal in the end by swimming to the shore off the coast of Sasebo, which was home to a naval base. Thus, ended the King of Fighters tournament on August 20, 1994. Following the tournament, the trio's lives had never been the same as fighters that were on other teams that participated.

Back in present day…

"Feh! What a disgrace for him to even rise up to that prestigious rank in the Kriegsmarine! Even I knew what true honor means despite not being some gung-ho 'Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma'am' kind of officer myself!" thought Kyo as he sported a smug smile on his face, closed his eyes in mild disgust, and took a long sip of Habu Sake (rice wine with snake venom) from a pearl white cup.

"Kyo, stop downing that wine for too long. You'll burn your throat and kill yourself faster than you shoot out flames from your hand, especially since we just had some pork Sanma Ramenfor tonight!" A petite girl yelled with bewilderment at her newfound boyfriend.

Flashback: Yuri Sakazaki - The Princess of Kyokugen Karate

Yuri Sakazaki, a short, athletic girl twith majestic almond brown eyes and a fairly white skin to complement her beauty along with her golden brown hair, was Kyo's childhood sweetheart in Osaka. Intriguingly, she was born in the same hospital as Kyo was…only 5 days earlier, though (she would later share with him about how proud she was for being 5 days older, a recurring feat that would end in somewhat angry yet hilarious banter between the two). Her parents were Takuma Sakazaki, a grandmaster of a style of Karate known as Kyokugen as well as the owner of the same noodle shop where Kyo used to perform some of his greatest music at, and Ronnette Hutton, an Irish-Ukrainian-American journalist from California. At the age of 8, Yuri moved to South Town, California, with her brother Ryo and her parents. This left Kyo extremely saddened, and he wallowed in tears for a good 3 days after realizing Yuri had left him to be in another land.

While attending school in South Town, Yuri took up gymnastics and participated in Pan-American championship tournaments, having earned 2 gold medals in the process. Her joy as being a gymnast took a turn for the worst. During the summer before she started her junior year in William McKinley High School, her mother died of leukemia, and she was kidnapped by a strange man named Mr. Big. She was set to be killed if Takuma did not submit to the will of Howard Enterprises and work for its boss, Geese Howard. Sensing no other choice, Ryo rushed to her rescue alongside his best friend, Roberto Garcia, a tall half-Spaniard, half-Italian race car driver that sported a ponytail and a grin that ladies loved. One by one, Ryo and Roberto's foes fell before the might and awesomeness of Kyokugen-Ryu, and the pair eventually faced their final opponent who was none other than Takuma, disguised as a masked fighter codenamed "Mr. Karate."

After the tragic ordeal, Yuri began training under the tutelage of her father, eventually earning her Brown Belt at a remarkably faster pace than anybody anticipated. She dated her rescuer Roberto (whom she lovingly called "Robbie Boy") for 2 and a half years before receiving a letter from an unknown proctor about the King of Fighters tournament. Realizing that she could not be with Rob as they would have to face each other in the tournament, she called quits on their relationship. She then gathered her homegirls Mai Shiranui - a 21-year-old buxom babe that practices the Shiranui style of Ninjutsu - and Lorraine King, a gorgeous 24-year-old blonde bartender from Paris, France, who practices Muay Thai. After defeating the Chinese Team and Mexico Team (the latter group which consisted of the people that have been the closest to her), she eventually faced the Japanese Team in the Thorpe Amusement Park at London, England.

During the awe-inspiring match in London, she witnessed electric fighter Benimaru Nikaido defeat King with his barrage of lightning-based attacks. Benny was then defeated by Mai Shiranui using her flame Ninjutsu with the finishing blow being her Shiranui-Ryuu Ougi Kunoichi (Shiranui-style leaping assassin slash barrage) attack. Despite the sexy ninja's triumph, she was overpowered by the brute strength of the giant Judo practitioner Goro Daimon. With her team outnumbered 2 to 1, Yuri rushed to Mai and King's aid and eventually beat Daimon with her personalized Chou Appa (Super Uppercut) attack. Her victory was short-lived as she was about to go toe-to-toe lastly with a handsome kickboxer who practices a flame-based Ninjutsu style like Mai's. Wasting no more time, she gave that fight her all, taking note of the familiarity on the young man's face as well as the eclectic blend of agility and brute strength behind the heated power of his flames and boxing prowess. In a sizzling penultimate blow that could end the fight and tip fortune towards her favor, she executed a brilliant fireball attack called Haouh Shokou Ken (Raging Tiger's Fist).

Just as she thought she had won, she saw the lad with his arms crossed like an "X" in front of him, signifying that she failed to deliver the coup de grace that could help the Girls Team move to the Semifinals of the tournament. With an almost literal fiery determination in his eyes, the young man began to summon a great wave of fire from the heavens. He then screamed "KURAAHEEEEEE-YAAAA" and let out a fast, upward crescent swipe and caught Yuri off guard, defeating her in the process. This caused her Karate gi to rip into thousands of charred pieces, only leaving her pink bra, red headband, and what was left of her sleeveless dark blue catsuit unitard on. Within seconds, Yuri found herself screaming in mild agony as she hit the pavement. She struggled to get up and soon found herself in tears as she realized her team had been defeated by the men from a small, lesser known town in the Osaka Prefecture.

The young man who cost Yuri her victory let out a prideful, triumphant scream, "I am the victor!" as a burst of flame was released from his raised hand. Hearing Yuri bawl in deep sadness, he turned and slowly walked towards her. He knelt and touched her cheek with the palm of one hand, wiping her tears away with the other. "I'm greatly sorry, Dear Miss. I understand that you are angry with me and my teammates now. But, one day, you will have to learn that you cannot always win some fights in your life. Please accept my apologies," he softly told her with the slightest of sympathy as he put his arms around her to wrap her in a tight embrace and gave her a light kiss on the forehead. Within seconds, Yuri could not help but feel butterflies in her stomach. She wanted to let out any ounce of anger that was left in her, to get even with the lad who just defeated her, and vindicate herself; she wanted to be free of great guilt and shame that she felt for not making it all the way in the tournament and, most of all, letting her team down. But, she just could not. And, then it hit her: She had fallen in love with this somewhat familiar stranger, and she did not even know it.

"Farewell, Dear Miss. We will cross paths again," the young man, clad in black outfit with the sun emblem on the back of his schoolboy jacket, said as he stood up, bowed, and walked away without another word. Yuri froze as time seemingly came to a standstill. She did not care if she was bruised and bleeding all over. Nor did she care if she were to feel embarrassed just from being half-naked in front of a shocked crowd. King and Mai knelt beside her.

Mai was quick to console her by saying, "Don't worry, Little Sister. At least we're still breathing."

King added, "Yuri, there will be other tournaments like starting next year. I'm sure that by then, we can snatch the championship title from whoever wins this one. Until then, we must be stronger, smarter, and train harder than we did for this year."

The girls huddled up and hugged each other as they departed from Thorpe Park with King in front of Yuri, covering her up as to regulate further sense of embarrassment from having lost a good half of her clothes from that last bout.

End of Flashback