|The Delicate Balance Of Life
Author: ZaXo Ken'Ichi PM
This is a 'death-fic' that I was once VERY proud of. I encourage anyone who likes 'heartwrenching' stories to read this, but realize, at this point the language... and basically everything is fairly poor in quality, lol. Still has some regular "Azu-comedy" thrown in too. Check out my other fic, Higher Education for a much better, more complete story, and higher writing quality.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 2 - Words: 14,687 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Updated: 08-13-09 - Published: 08-11-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5292681
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I started to write this one a while ago, but as I've said in other fics, my computer died. So I couldn't finish it until tonight. It also just so happens that I read a fanfic called "Chiyobreak" by Adrian Tymes on another site in the same night. It was simply amazing, and I urge you to search for it and read it. What does that have to do with this? Well, it has a writing style where it goes back and forth in time. I thought that might work well with what I was writing, so I attempted to do this in the same manner. By the time I finished, I was near tears it was such an amazing experience to write. Personally, as I am uploading it (I JUST finished writing it and re-reading/ correcting it like five minutes ago) I think it is the best thing I've ever written. I thank Adrian for giving me the idea to write it in that way, and encourage you to read "Chiyobreak". If you have to review ANY one of my works, PLEASE do this one. I really want to know what others think of this because I'm REALLY proud of it. All things Azumanga Daioh belong to the respective owners. Without any further 'time wasting', here is "The Delicate Balance Of Life". Happy Reading :)
The Delicate Balance Of Life
The morning was cool, and the sky was overcast. There was a thick mist all around, preventing anyone from seeing further than twenty or so yards. Just the same, the Azu-girls were going to Chiyo's summer home one last time. Though it wasn't summer, after this week some of them, like Chiyo herself, would be gone for a long while. College was approaching fast, so they wanted to spend as much time together as possible. "Geez, can't we leave yet? What's taking so long?" Tomo asked the group.
"Tomo, relax. Sakaki's only ten minutes late." Yomi replied monotonously, though she knew it was kind of strange for her to be late. It was especially weird because Yukari had actually been on time.
"No, wait, there she is." Chiyo pointed out to the group. Everyone looked towards the entrance to see Sakaki walking through the gate into Chiyo's large yard.
"I'm sorry I'm late. I was unpacking my new apartment last night, and it wore me out. I accidentally overslept." Sakaki told her friends when she got close enough for them to hear her soft voice.
"No worries. You aren't too late, and besides, you're here now." Kagura smiled. While she was standing there, Sakaki noticed something brush the back of her legs. She turned to see Mr. Tadakichi looking up at her.
Mr. Tadakichi grabbed onto the collar of Sakaki's shirt, careful not to accidentally pull her hair. Kagura quickly helped get her out of the water, then got out herself. Chiyo was sobbing deeply, and openly, shivering from being soaked to the bone. Had it been anyone else that was just pulled out, Chiyo would have been in Sakaki's arms, as she was Chiyo's closest friend. She was unable to get herself to look at what was happening. Tomo was wrapped around Yomi's arm, staring at the sight in horror, while Yomi had tears running down her cheeks. However, the rain that had begun to fall masked everything besides the redness in her eyes, and the pale complexion her face now held.
Nyamo rushed over urgently, searching for a pulse or any sign that the tall, long haired girl might still be alive… nothing. She tried hard not to break down, but was unsuccessful. "This wasn't supposed to happen." she sobbed, looking down at the ground in front of her. Tadakichi nudged his nose under her hand, looking for praise for helping Sakaki, though he didn't seem to notice that the one he saved was no longer alive.
"Oh, hello Mr. Tadakichi." Sakaki blushed, and then she realized what he wanted. In her arms was Maya, sleeping soundly. Tadakichi barked playfully and Maya woke up. The cat, which had grown to the size of a large house cat stretched, and jumped from her arms. He then noticed his old friend, Tadakichi, and mewed happily. The dog tackled him softly to the ground, and they began to wrestle.
"Aww, cute little Pika Meow-meow." Osaka chimed.
"He's not so little anymore." Yomi exclaimed. "Soon you may not be able to pass him off as a house cat Sakaki."
"I know, but for now I want to spend as much time with him as I can, in case I have to release him later." Sakaki told them all, a strong hint of sadness in her voice.
"So, can we go now?" Tomo pleaded, not interested in the animals.
"Yeah yeah, alright you hyper little girl." Yukari said slightly annoyed.
"What? I'm not a little girl. I'm a woman now!" Tomo shot back.
Maya had been watching from the cliff top, scared of the water below, but wanting to know what his 'mother' was feeling. Was she alright? Of course he knew that Sakaki wasn't his real mother, as she looked completly different when compared to him, but she had taken care of him. He couldn't really remember his real mother, only her death, so to him, that is what Sakaki had become. He waited for her to get up, wanting her to run up the slope and embrace him like she always did. He wanted her to carry him out of the weather, which was getting fiercer and fiercer by the minute. Reality started to hit Maya, as he could smell the tension, smell the fear, and smell the sadness everyone around Sakaki was feeling. He now knew that his mother was dead. The grief that overcame him when his first mother had passed filled him once again. Only this time, it was coupled with the shame of being too scared to help her.
He hated the water, because when he first went to go find Sakaki after his biological mother died, he attempted to swim to her. The waters were rough, just as they were now, and he had nearly drowned. Only by chance did a passing boat see him and pick him up. They were planning to take him home on their way back to Okinawa, but when they reached their stop Honshu, he snuck off the boat, knowing Sakaki was here on this island. If only he had gotten the courage to jump in the water now as he had before, she might still be alive. But his first experience with rough seas caused his strength to fail him… and now she was gone.
"So who is going in whose car?" Kaorin inquired.
"Well, I'm going with Sakaki and the animals." Chiyo said quickly. She ran over to a van they had rented, and got in the passengers seat. Obviously she didn't want to get stuck riding in the Yukari-mobile. In front of the van was Nyamo's car, and then the silver, dented, pile of metal scraps that nobody but Tomo actually WANTED to ride in, or so everyone thought.
"I'm going with Yukari." Yomi said, walking over and getting in the backseat. Everyone looked at her in surprise.
"B-but why?!" Kagura whispered urgently, running over to her.
"I think I may be able to calm them down, and do some damage control. In these conditions, if they drive like they normally do, I don't think Yukari and Tomo will make it."
Everyone else separated into the vehicles. Sakaki let Tadakichi and Maya into the back of the van, and got in the drivers seat. She had gotten her license the week before, so that allowed them to take the extra vehicle, and the pets. It was a van made for animals, so there were only the two front seats, much to Kaorin's dismay, as she wanted to ride with Sakaki. This left her with Kagura and Osaka in Nyamo's car. The three vehicles filed out of the gate, it closing behind them.
"NOOOO!!" Kaorin yelled, teetering on madness. More than anything she wanted Sakaki to be alive still. She would have gladly given her life in place of Sakaki's. "W-why?! This isn't right, it can't be true! Sakaki, listen to me! WAKE UP!!!" she screamed, running over, and shaking the body by it's shoulders. Nyamo stopped her, and Kaorin let Sakaki go.
She had always adored Sakaki. Kaorin looked up to Sakaki, and liked just being around her. Though she didn't get to spend too much time with her, Kaorin liked Sakaki more than any of her friends, including Chihiro, whom she spent all her time with. She knew about the rumors… the rumors that she was 'in love' with Sakaki. And she had indeed thought about it when she first heard them. But it wasn't in her nature. Really she saw Sakaki as the perfect big sister. Kaorin saw Sakaki as the kind that would help her up when she fell, who would let her cry on her shoulder, bearing all, and not judge. But Kaorin's life didn't seem to matter now. Everything was in a dreamlike haze, and she couldn't feel the cold wind, and wet rain pounding down on her.
"Is Yukari actually going to drive like a normal person?" Chiyo asked Sakaki, noticing she was still behind them. However, as soon as she had brought it up, Yukari's car flew by. She ran at least two stop signs before she was out of sight. As they passed by, Chiyo could see Tomo cheering in the front seat, and Yomi in the back, trying franticly to get Yukari to slow down, but holding on for dear life.
The trip to the summer home was very relaxing, and Sakaki seemed to be a very talented driver, even in weather like they were having. Chiyo would have been able to comfortably fall asleep in the seat, had it not been for Tadakichi and Maya in the back making a ruckus. Instead Chiyo just stared out of her window, thinking back to when Sakaki was spending the night at her house to be with Maya. It was very fun to have Sakaki to talk to at night. Sakaki listened, and listened well. She didn't talk much, but when she did, she could carry on amazingly interesting and deep conversations.
Chiyo would always cherish one, where Sakaki had opened up to her, talking about her wish to be thought of as cute by everyone. Chiyo had always thought Sakaki enjoyed being the cool one. What made the conversation so perfect was not only that Sakaki had told her something she had never told anyone else, but also the fact that Chiyo wanted what Sakaki had. She wanted to be cool instead of cute, and Sakaki wanted to be cute instead of cool. They spent the whole night daydreaming aloud about being in each others position.
Chiyo finally snapped as they got back into the summer home, setting Sakaki on the couch, and putting the struggling Maya in a bedroom, closing the door. Kagura placed a blanket over Sakaki, but her body was too tall for it to cover her all. While she went to go grab another from upstairs, sobbing all the way, Chiyo slowly walked up to the lifeless shell that once was her dearest companion, lowering the blanket so she could see her face. "I've always wanted to be just like you Chiyo, cute and perfect. I'm far from perfect." Chiyo remembered that from the conversation she had thought about in the car, the one where Sakaki spilled her heart and soul. "That's not true Miss Sakaki. I want what you have… to be cool, brave, beautiful, and still be humble… those together are rare qualities. All I am is good at school and everyone thinks I'm adorable. They treat me like a child." Chiyo stared at the closed eyes, wishing that they would open to greet her warmly.
She was shivering from still not changing after being in the water, but she just didn't care. It was her fault that Sakaki was dead. If she hadn't led them to the cliff which was normally so beautiful… Sakaki wouldn't be gone. THAT was why Chiyo wanted to be like Sakaki. She wanted to be brave and selfless. Chiyo always felt that she was a burden, useless when it came to anything important. Sakaki always tried to tell her it wasn't true, and that trust caused her demise. Chiyo covered Sakaki's face back up after one final look, while Kagura stepped back downstairs with another blanket, still crying. Chiyo was now past crying. She simply walked away from the body, and stepped out the still open door, back into the now torrential rainfall. Everyone inside was either too distraught to notice, or was doing something important, so nobody stopped her. She struggled against the wind back up the path, towards the cliff…
The first car to arrive at the house was Nyamo's. Kagura, Kaorin, and Osaka got out of the car, stretching and yawning. It wasn't as nice outside as it had always been when they usually arrived at the beautiful, forested sight, in front of the large, homely cabin. Nonetheless, the fact that this is where they were, gave the girls plenty of energy, and filled them with happiness and excitement.
The next to arrive was Sakaki and Chiyo, Yukari and the rest barreling down the road behind them. She only missed the back of the van, sliding the car to a halt in the dirt. How she arrived last was beyond everyone, much less when they had passed her on the roads. Sakaki and her little red haired companion walked over to the backseat of the Yukari-mobile, wanting to see if Yomi was alright. Yukari and Tomo got out of the car, both cheering, and talking about the trip. Yomi opened the door to the car, and just sat with her legs out the door, head bowed down as if she was about to be sick.
"Miss Yomi, are you ok?" Chiyo asked cautiously. It took a few seconds for the pale girl to look up and respond. Her glasses were crooked, and she was shaking a bit. Finally her voice came to her, and sound escaped her lips, though she was very quiet at first.
"Y-yukari… she did the un-unthinkable…" Yomi stammered. Chiyo and Sakaki looked at each other with worry in their eyes. Chiyo remembered her ride in Yukari's car, and shuddered a bit at the thought. She pushed it from her mind just as Yomi spoke up again, now with a little more strength in her voice. "She was holding a cd, and had the window open. Tomo didn't want to listen to it, and smacked the hand that had the cd in it. Yukari dropped it… out of the window."
Sakaki and Chiyo waited, tension rising. Both of them were wondering what made this so horrible. "Then she stopped in the middle of the road, and got out of the car. SHE RAN TO GO GRAB THE CD!!!" Yomi yelled. "So many tires skidding, and yelling out of the windows of the other cars. One of them hit the cars front right wheel too. The whole time Tomo was cheering her on…" The brown haired, be-speckled girl finished.
"Yeah, it was awesome wasn't it Yomi?!" Tomo chimed in, only hearing the last half of the story… the half Tomo saw as exciting.
"Hell no it wasn't!" Yomi shot at her, fury taking the place of her fear.
"Chill out. I had the situation under my control the WHOLE time." Yukari assured her walking up as well. "I knew what I was doing. Sakaki told me once that I should always try to stay confident in my abilities, and take chances that I deemed worth it, so I did. That 'Trigger The Bloodshed' cd was important to me. I spent a whole 1500 yen on that album, and it's my favorite, so I think that's enough to go save it. Besides, it's Tomo's fault that it even had to happen. If she hadn't wanted to listen to her lame-o pop music instead…" Yukari stopped, waiting for Tomo to respond.
"WHAT?! Killswitch Engage is NOT pop. It's metal too, but at least they use SOME actual music, instead of just beating on the instruments! Plus, Howard Jones is HOT, and a great singer. Your stupid cd wasn't worth ten yen!"
Yukari slumped down in her desk. Finally, now that all of her students were gone, she could be alone. For the last week she had been feeling really down. Slowly her eyes began to well up, and she let the tears free. Why couldn't any guy accept her for who she was? They all tried their hardest to keep her away once they got to know her a little. Was she that much of a loser? "Am I THAT much of a loser?!" Yukari exclaimed. She hadn't even noticed that Sakaki was standing in the doorway. She was shocked that her teacher, who was normally so strong when it came to sorrowful things that she almost seemed unfeeling, was ACTUALLY crying. But what Yukari had just said blew her away. Sakaki didn't know what to do, but she knew she needed to help.
"Miss Yukari? M-miss Yukari?" she quietly stuttered. Her teacher finally saw the tall, shapely girl in her doorway, and quickly dried her tears, going from broken, to angry.
"What the hell are you still doing here?! You need to leave, NOW!" Yukari shouted furiously. It wasn't her normal, shallow anger. This felt much deeper, more personal, and more menacing. Still Sakaki stood her ground.
"Miss Yukari, what's wrong? I want to help you. I care about you." she explained. Yukari just looked at Sakaki for a second, her eyes filled with fire. But just as fast as the fire had appeared in her eyes, it was doused with the reappearance of watery tears. Sakaki stepped into the room, and walked up to her teacher, who had her head in her hands. She put her arm around the distressed woman, and asked once again, "What's wrong?"
It took a while but Yukari finally looked up. "I'M ALL ALONE!!!" Yukari wailed, crying more heavily now that she had made a small confession.
"I'm right here. And you always have Miss Kurosawa." Sakaki started, but Yukari cut in.
"No! I mean that I can't get a boyfriend. I can't even get a second date. I'm in my mid twenties, and I've only had three relationships that lasted any longer than a week." This surprised Sakaki, who thought Yukari had been a 'player' of sorts when she was younger. Yet come to think of it, she always heard of Nyamo having boyfriends, or getting love letters and things, not Yukari.
"Well… why haven't you talked to Nyamo about it?" Sakaki offered.
"She's fragile inside. I need to be strong for her." Yukari confessed. Sakaki wondered if this was true, but didn't want to press the matter.
"Have you tried for many guys?" Sakaki asked politely, and Yukari shook her head, which also surprised her black haired student. "Well the best advice I can give you is this: Always be confident in your abilities or they will get you nowhere. Just the same, if you want something that is worth it to you, go for it. A chance not taken is a possibility lost. My father told me that before he died, and I live by it everyday, in everything I do. You should do the same with relationships."
Yukari stopped her sobbing, hanging on these words. The room was silent for a while, until Yukari finally spoke up. "Thank you… Sakaki-sensei…" Sakaki blushed, and gave Yukari a hug.
"You're welcome, and thank you for being such an amazing teacher, both in English, and in life." Sakaki told the woman beside her. They broke the hug, and Sakaki turned around to face her desk. She went and grabbed her homework. "I came back to get this. I'll be going now. I hope you have a good day." Sakaki smiled. She started to walk for the door, when Yukari spoke up one last time.
"Oh, and Sakaki? Can we please keep this little 'episode' between us?" she asked. She sounded like she had stopped crying completely now, but also had a calm, humble tone in her voice. Sakaki turned, nodded to her teacher, and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Sakaki and Chiyo walked up to the house, opening the door. Yukari and Yomi, who had gotten her strength back, both went about 'getting back' at Tomo for her idiocy, by chasing her deep into the tall grass and trees, yelling at her the whole way. Everyone else unpacked their things from the cars, and brought them inside. They then waited inside for the other three, talking about what they were going to do during the trip. Sakaki just sat in the corner, petting Maya and Mr. Tadakichi, obviously in bliss. She was still listening in, but inside, she was content just being around those that she loved. 'I could die happily just like this.' Sakaki thought to herself. It was a strange thought for her, and seemed to come out of the blue.
Finally Yukari, Yomi, and Tomo reappeared at the front door, all of them panting, and Tomo sporting a fresh black eye. "You guys hit her THAT hard?!" Chiyo cried, shocked by what she saw.
"Yeah, they hit me hard." Tomo announced before being punched in the arms by both women next to her.
"Whatever! You fell and kneed yourself in the eye. That's not our fault that you can't run correctly." Yomi scolded her. Tomo just smiled and blushed, putting her hands behind her head.
"Well, anyway. Now that we're all here and unpacked, I want to show you something before the weather gets worse. This may be the last time we come here together, and I want to show you my favorite place in the world." Chiyo explained, bursting with excitement. The group looked from her to each other, wondering what it could be she wanted to show them that they hadn't already seen. "C'mon." she announced, walking out of the front door. When they were all outside, she closed the door behind them, and walked around to the side of the house. "Look. Do you see that cliff way up there?" Chiyo asked, pointing behind the house to a peak about two to three hundred yards away. "That's where we're going." she smiled, and began to lead the way up the path.
Everyone was still crying in the house. The paramedics had been called to pick up the body but couldn't arrive for at least forty-five minutes, because they were so far out. The only person that wasn't mourning was Yukari. She just stood in numb shock, as she had been the whole time. Nothing seemed to be real to her. She just couldn't comprehend what was going on. It was too much. Though Sakaki didn't know it, the conversation they had, meant the world to her. She was always so 'tough', that nobody had given any meaningful advice to her before… not even her parents. But Sakaki had. She told her essentially how to live life, and so far it had worked. Oh, what irony the world held for them, that on the first day she had brought up the advice to anyone, the one who had given it was taken from the world by heeding her own words. "A chance not taken is a possibility lost." Sakaki's sentence just replayed over and over in her head.
Slowly Yukari walked towards the door which had been closed a minute or so ago. She opened it, the words repeating in her head, like a broken record. "A chance not taken is a possibility lost." She walked out the door, leaving it ajar, if only a little. The fog had dissipated, and but the rain was stronger than she had ever seen it. The clouds were so dark that, though it was only noon, it looked like it was late evening "A chance not taken is a possibility lost." Blindly Yukari traipsed through the mud, and puddles towards her car. She got in, and put the key in the ignition. "A chance not taken is a possibility lost." This is what she wanted. She wanted to feel something again. Sakaki's death had made her numb, and she wanted to feel, whether it be fear, anger, sadness, anything. Since she had arrived sliding the car in the dirt, she didn't need to attract unnecessary attention by backing up and turning around, as she was almost completely turned around anyway. Yukari simply floored it, and started trying to drive the car down the path they arrived from, now repeating Sakaki's words under her breath. "A chance not taken is a possibility lost. A chance not taken is a possibility lost." The car didn't want to go, getting trapped in the mud, but she didn't seem to notice.
Inside, the girls heard the rumble of the cars engine revving up, and saw mud splatter on the front window. They looked at each other, and noticed someone missing. "Where's Yukari? And Chiyo?!" Nyamo said through a stuffed nose from crying so much. They heard the car rev up again, more mud hitting the window. The girls ran to the door, and Nyamo threw it open. Outside, the Yukari-mobile was trying desperately to get unstuck. The second Nyamo stepped towards it, as if by magic, it got traction, and started flying down the path. The girls chased after it, mud spraying the front of there clothes, and Tadakichi at their heels. "Yukari! Chiyo! WAIT!!!" Nyamo yelled, thinking they were both in the car.
In the vehicle, Yukari was still repeating the words, though now she was screaming them."A CHANCE NOT TAKEN IS A POSSIBILITY LOST!!!"Her car windows were open, and everyone could hear her, shouting the phrase over and over again. The car started to go faster, the slight hill helping it along. Twenty five… thirty… thirty five… forty… forty five. In less than a hundred yards, the cars power, and the angle of the road helped the car reach fifty miles an hour. Suddenly, Yukari stopped saying the phrase. 'Wait, I don't want to die. That won't help me. I don't want this!' she thought to herself, her mind finally coming back to her. She slammed on the brakes, but the road was all mud, and they did nothing to slow the car.
Before she could react, the front right wheel ran over a particularly large rock, which brought the wheel into the air, and dislodged it. Yukari turned the steering wheel out of instinct, and when that side of the car hit the ground again, it caught an edge, sending the car swerving towards the trees. Too fast for Yukari to do anything, it collided with the nearest tree, and stopped dead. The front end buckled, and the back flew up into the air. When it buckled, it changed the shape of the frame around the windshield, sending it flying. In her stupor, Yukari hadn't put on her seatbelt, and she too went flying forward. Her momentum shot her out of the front of the car, and through the air. She could still hear Sakaki's words in her head as they sounded off once more. "A chance not taken is a possibility lost."
Yukari started to smile as she flew, in slow motion. 'Hey, at least I get to be with her, the greatest advice giver that ever existed.' she joked in her head. The next moment, the side of her neck, and her shoulder hit the tree. Immediately, her neck broke, and her upper arm shattered. But she didn't feel any pain at all. It all happened before she could feel it, and the next second, her body fell to the ground, her soul somewhere better, along with Sakaki.
The girls were running up to see what happened, having heard the car hit something hard, Tadakichi still not far behind. Nyamo was in a full out sprint, far ahead of them. All she could do is repeatedly call out her best friend's name and run faster. Finally she got to the wreck, and saw the woman on the ground, no longer among the living. Nyamo broke down, and started pounding her fist into the muddy earth beneath her. The other girls caught up, and knew what had happened by their teacher's reaction. Some of them began to cry again, but Kagura, once again soaked to the core, kept her composure. She forced herself to look at who Nyamo was sobbing over. It was Yukari, but looking around her, she saw that Chiyo was nowhere to be found. She checked in the remains of the Yukari-mobile, and saw nothing. She ran back up to her friends, who looked like they had been to Hell and back multiple times. "You guys, Chiyo wasn't with her. We have to find her!"
They took a second to respond, but finally the others agreed. They went over to get their elder, but she didn't want to go. "You find her. I need to take care of…" Nyamo started, but lost the words in a haze of tears.
"Alright, but promise that you won't do anything foolish please." Kagura pleaded. Nyamo nodded, and they all turned to run back up the path to the house. "I have to save Chiyo! I failed saving Sakaki, but I WON'T fail again! Where would she be?" Kagura asked herself, under her breath. Then it hit her…
"Follow me. I have always liked how peaceful this place is. I use to spend most of my time here when I was a kid." Chiyo announced to her friends on the way up the long path. They were all wondering what could be so special about this place.
"It just looks like some dumb cliff to me." Tomo whispered to Osaka.
"I think it's beautiful." Osaka responded, staring intently at the destination.
"But we're not even there yet. How can you tell?" Tomo told her. "Really Osaka, what goes on in your head?"
"Well, I know that Chiyo likes the place a lot, so somethin' about it has to be beautiful, cuz she's really smart when it comes to this stuff."
"Wow, that's deep Osaka. You care that much?" Tomo joked, but inside she knew it made sense, and kind of agreed. When they finally arrived, they were face to face with one of the most beautiful sights they had seen. All of them oohed and ahhed at the view of the sea this place held.
"Here we are." Chiyo chirped. " I always use to dip my feet in the water at the bottom of the cliff, down that little path." Chiyo explained. She pointed at a small path that wrapped around the side of the thirty foot cliff, but didn't go underneath it. "Or I would just sit up here in the grass and think."
Something about it all was very serene, and relaxing, even with the weather the way it was. For a brief moment, the sun shined through the clouds onto them all, and the winds stopped entirely. All of their hearts beat in unison, and everyone felt the same swell of happiness engulf their entire being. Complete silence resounded. Nothing but the crash of the waves on the cliff face could be heard.
The next second, the sun was covered by clouds again, and it started to drizzle, the wind picking up again. "Aww, we didn't get to relax here at all." Chiyo frowned, sounding defeated.
"Don't worry Chiyo, we'll come back tomorrow if the weather is fine." Nyamo assured the little girl. They all started walking back to the summer house. Not even Tomo thought of making a snide comment about how they wasted so much energy to spend half a minute on top of a cliff. It was strange how powerful the experience had been. Maybe they had all realized that this was one of the last times they would all be together in silence, happily, before they all went their separate ways.
"That is REALLY great Chiyo. We HAVE to come back tomorrow." Yomi said dreamily.
"I can't wait!" Chiyo exclaimed, smiling, and closing her eyes. Unfortunately, in that split second, she stepped in the wrong place, her foot slipping on a rock sticking up. The young one stumbled sideways, and lost her footing completely as she fell over the side of the cliff she loved so much. It was straight up and down, so she didn't hit the face, but she landed in the powerful waters nonetheless.
"CHIYO-CHAN!!!" Sakaki shouted, and jumped into the water after her friend. The other girls gasped at what they saw.
"Quickly, we need to help!" Kaorin yelped.
"How?!" Yukari shot at her, looking frantically for some way to assist. She was about to jump in as well when Osaka spoke up.
"What about the path leading down to the water?" she asked.
"That's IT!" Kagura cried, kissing Osaka on the cheek in thanks. They all rushed down the path, Nyamo and Tadakichi in front. Maya just stayed at the top of the cliff, watching from overhead. They saw that Sakaki was above the water about ten feet from them, already soaked, before she dived for what must've been at least the third time by now. Finally when she resurfaced, she had Chiyo in her arms, coughing and struggling to cling to her friend, but alive. Sakaki used all her energy against the powerful currents, swimming slowly towards the others. She finally got close enough, and Nyamo grabbed little Chiyo from her arms. But before Sakaki could get on the land too, she was swept back, by a particularly nasty wave. Then before she could react, another brought her crashing into the cliff face. The blow knocked her unconscious, and she fell underwater.
"NOOO!" Yomi yelled. They were all tempted to go in and help her, but Nyamo stopped them.
"It's too dangerous! None of you can swim well enough!" she shot at them.
"But Miss. I can! I can do it!" someone from behind said. It was Kagura. Nyamo stared at her, holding her ground, but she continued. "I'm the best swimmer at school! I'm going in to save Sakaki." Kagura finished, jumping in the water, and going under. Some of others were beginning to cry, as Kagura came up, and went back down repeatedly. Five minutes passed, and morbid, blank stares, coupled with desperate sobs met Kagura when she finally came back up with Sakaki. She had a much tougher time swimming with Sakaki, than Sakaki had with Chiyo, as she was much bigger, and was now dead weight. Kagura told herself that she was simply unconscious, and swam harder to get to her friends. Luckily the waves didn't get in her way, and instead helped her to land.
Kagura ran as fast as she could to the top of the cliff, rain and wind challenging her every step of the way. But she couldn't fail Chiyo. Everyone else closely trailed behind her.
'This is it Miss Sakaki. I'll be with you soon. I'm sorry for causing your death…' Chiyo thought to herself. Before she jumped, Chiyo remembered her friends. Yomi was so nice, and wise, even if she had a short temper. Tomo was a little crazy, but had a good heart and undying determination when it came down to it. Osaka was always there for her, and never got angry. Kagura knew no bounds, and always pushed herself and others beyond their limits. Kaorin was so polite, and cared for everyone. Nyamo was knowledgeable in all parts of life, and was the adult you could talk to. Yukari had more spirit than anyone she had ever known, and though she may not have always shown it, Chiyo knew she cared for all of her friends.
Maya protected Sakaki and Chiyo, and was still loving, despite being a wild cat. And Mr. Tadakichi she had grown up with. He was her first friend.
But none of them compared to Sakaki. She was all of these qualities combine to Chiyo, though she didn't ever shout it to the heavens. She was humble and polite, but never gave in to anything or anyone. Everything about her was like the perfect role model, and she knew Sakaki would have done anything for her. She proved that earlier, by giving everything up so that Chiyo could live. How could she have died at a spot Chiyo use to love so much only this morning? All morning before they left, Chiyo thought of the great times she use to have here, and the same thoughts flooded her head once again.
"Come here Mr. Takakishi. Come." A three year old Chiyo said to a small white puppy. He lumbered up and jumped on her, sending her into the soft, warm grass near the cliff. "It's Mr. Tadakichi, Chiyo." her mother corrected softly. The puppy licked her face, and Chiyo giggled, in total bliss.
Though it was raining, Chiyo could feel herself tearing up.
'Hmm, I am so glad that my parents are finally able to spend time with me, even if it is just for a week.' a seven year old Chiyo thought to herself, sitting at the edge of the cliff, the sun shining down. She looked up into her mothers eyes, and then to her fathers. Both of them had their arms wrapped around her, and smiled genuinely at her.
Now Chiyo was breaking down completely.
"I can't wait! They want me to skip so many grades. I wonder what high school will be like?" a nine year old Chiyo said, halfway through her last year of grade school. She simply sat at the bottom of the cliff path, draping her feet over the edge into the water, and thinking of what adventures may lie ahead.
Chiyo shuddered in disgust at this thought. Had she known that it would end up like this, she would have stayed with her other friends in grade school.
She prepared herself to jump, closing in on the edge, and bending her knees. The second before she jumped, her friends came running up the bank, breathing heavily. "Chiyo, WAIT!" Kagura yelled, catching up. Chiyo attempted to jump, but Kagura grabbed her and held her back.
"Let me go!" Chiyo sobbed. She was too young to handle so many rushing feelings like this. All she wanted was for them to end… she wanted it ALL to end.
"No Chiyo. We've already lost Sakaki and Yukari. I can't bear to lose you." Kagura confessed. Chiyo felt like she was hit in the stomach.
"W-what? Yukari? She's dead..?" Chiyo stammered in shock.
"Yeah, she lost it, and did something stupid, just as you were about to do. Please don't do anything crazy. We all love you, and it would kill us inside to see you get hurt. Besides, if you jump in, you damn well know that we're gonna jump in after you." Kagura explained.
Chiyo stood in a daze, silent for at least a minute. She looked at all of her friends, some of them crying, some of them agreeing with Kagura's last statement under there breath, and Mr. Tadakichi whimpering, looking at her softly.
Kagura was unsure of whether Chiyo understood, so she came out with the most important note of it all. Chiyo would just have to face the facts. "Chiyo, killing yourself won't bring Sakaki back. It won't make her happy, and it won't make anyone feel better. Please… please stop this…"
Everything became clear to her at this moment as she remembered another happy memory she had, of the most important thing anyone had ever told her about themselves.
"You know Chiyo," Sakaki started, before taking a sip of her tea. "I've never told this to anyone, but I've always had one dream that I've held closer than any other."
Chiyo looked up from the book on cat's they were reading. This was sudden, but Chiyo wanted to hear it. "Yes? What's more important to you than cats and cuteness?" the young girl joked. Sakaki stayed silent for a while. Chiyo thought she might have hurt Sakaki's feelings with her joke. She was about to apologize when the dark haired girl finally spoke up.
"I've always wanted… more than anything, to save someone I love from mortal danger…" Sakaki paused before continuing. "I love helping people, but never really get the chance to do something great you know? For once, I want to prove how much I care. Just as well, I want to prove to myself that I have what it takes to give everything for someone else." she finished.
At this final memory, Chiyo broke down, and fell out of Kagura's arms straight to the ground. She sobbed uncontrollably. Between the tears, she started to speak. "I-I'm done. I'M SO-RRY SAKA-KI!!! I've ma-de a mistake, and I wo-n't make it aga-in." Chiyo stopped to calm herself down before continuing. "I will not waste my life that you gave everything to save. I know that's what you wanted, and though you didn't actually have a death wish, you were happy when you died, knowing that you did something great. You'll live on in my memories forever. I love you!" the young red haired girl shouted to the heavens.
"Thank God you're ok!" Nyamo shouted running up the hill and embracing Chiyo. Everyone else got into the hug as well, holding each other both for happiness that Chiyo was safe, and for comfort from the loss of their friends. They dreaded going back to the house, where Nyamo had placed Yukari, and where Sakaki already lay. Though the paramedics were going to arrive in a short while, they all just decided to sit under the pouring rain, crying and holding each other. They all learned that day that the balance between life and death is FAR more delicate than it seems to be.
I forgot to say Trigger The Bloodshed (eww), and Killswitch Engage (yay) both belong to the respective owners as well. While I do agree with Tomo that Trigger The Bloodshed sucks, and Killswitch is good, I don't agree with her that Howard Jones is hot, lol. That's her opinion. Anyway, I tried really hard on this, and I really hope you enjoyed it. If you did, and even if you didn't, please tell me about your experience with it in a review. And one last note, in case you didn't catch it, the wheel that failed on Yukari's car, was the same one that was hit on the way over to the Summer Home. Anyway, Hope you liked it :)