|a jury of cacti
Author: awintea PM
thrillpair / A cactus. He finds it on the windowsill the morning after. The night is a blur - he knows there was somebody in the bed with him, but he's gone, leaving no trace but for a cactus / oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - E. Ryoma & Fuji S. - Words: 1,743 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 2 - Published: 11-10-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5502936
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a jury of cacti
This was written for the hanakotoba challenge at the Pointless but Original Thinking forum (check my profile for a link? =P) - the flower used was cactus and the flower meaning was lust. n_n So, anyway, enjoy please?
i. astrophytum myriostigma
A cactus. He finds it on his windowsill the day after. The night is a blur - he knows that there was somebody in the bed with him but he is gone now, and there's no trace of him, not even the scent of sex that usually lingers. If not for the cactus, he might not have remembered that somebody was ever there at all.
He knows that isn't really true, but it's easier to think that way. To forget. To pretend it never happened.
It's only six in the morning though. (It's a wonder that his companion could leave, return with the cactus, and leave again without waking him up, though then again, he has never been a light sleeper.) Work doesn't start until nine, but he has a feeling he won't be able to get back to sleep. He decides to get ready for work, and then, since he has time left over anyway, he will look up how to properly take care of a cactus.
ii. consolea rubescens
The next morning, there are two cacti. The first one - a short, plump cactus - is accompanied by the taller, thinner second. They make quite the odd couple, sort of like himself and -
- no. They are not a couple. These are only one-night-stands, albeit with the same person, and this time he will make sure it won't happen again. It'll only dredge up memories of happier days long gone that he has taken such care to bury.
This time the scent of sex lingers, though it disappears after he leaves the windows open for a few minutes.
Five o'clock. He's waking up earlier and earlier (and still there is a sense of wonder at how he is getting these cacti here and why). He doesn't even have anything to do for the cacti - apparently in the winter the best thing to do is not water them at all and make sure there is not too much sunlight.
He decides to go walk to the library and wait for it to open so he can take out books on cacti. There's nothing else for him to do anyway.
iii. disocactus ackermanii
Three cacti now. He has to stop this. The cacti on his windowsill are like a jury - wait, not a jury, but lay judges. They didn't have juries in Japan. Guilty, decides the astrophytum myriostigma. Guilty, shouts the consolea rubescens. Definitely guilty, adds the disocactus ackermanii.
He does not think that for a lay judge trial to run six lay judges are necessary. He does not.
You'd think that with all the sex he's having he would be more tired and sleeping in, but today he's up at four ante meridiem - he might as well continue with the Latin use now that he has started.
Still no sight of anyone in the bed beside him. He doesn't understand why he always leaves.
And suddenly he feels like there is a wave of reminiscence that will attack him if he stays in this room with the cacti any longer, and he hurriedly puts on clothes - a pair of shorts and a cap to hide his eyes - and runs out.
He only realises after his neighbour ogles him that he has forgotten to put on a shirt. Why is she even up at four in the morning? He greets her with a rushed 'Good morning, Katsumi-san' before turning back into his apartment, putting on a shirt, and dashing back out again.
iv. opuntia engelmanii
He sets the clock for three, but there was no need - he wakes up then anyway. However, there is no other man in the apartment, and he curses aloud, hands in fists. Instead, there is yet another cactus on the windowsill which is quickly being filled up. An opuntia engelmanii, he recalls.
If he had put this much effort into learning more about him would it have made any difference? Would their lives have changed?
And here he is, living in the past again. He knew it would happen if he let this continue, and now it is happening.
He is in half a mind to throw the four cacti out the window.
Tonight he will not seek him out. The first night he had been drunk, so it could be forgiven (no it could not, but let him think so) but the other nights... He will stay at home. He won't go back to the bar he spotted him at, the familiar brunet with his knowing smile who, even after so many years, has not changed very much at all.
He shifts the opuntia a bit to the left so that it can get more sun - he remembers reading that it needs more light than the other varieties.
And then he stops himself - what is he doing? Why is he caring for these cacti? And he is about to open the window, shove them all out (and clear the air of the smell of lust that hasn't faded for the past couple of days even with the window opened) when he decides, no, hurting the cacti won't make a difference.
He needs a breath of fresh air.
v. echinocereus berlandieri
That night he doesn't need to go anywhere, because he comes to him, stepping right into his apartment like he owns it.
And at two in the morning, he is already gone, with a fifth cactus in his place.
He takes the echinocereus berlandieri and throws it at the ground after he sees it, this plant that is mocking him with its presence. The pot shatters and then he goes out to the convenience store, open twenty-four hours, seven days a week, and asks them if they sell pots that are appropriate for plants. A ceramic one. No, he needs a larger pot than that. Yes, thank you, that one will do - how much is it?
It isn't until after he has paid for the pot that he realises what he has just done, and he smashes this pot, still in the plastic bag it came in, on the ground right in front of the convenience store, barely a metre from the automatic doors. Before the store clerk can come out to see what the commotion is, he runs, flees back to his empty home where a judgemental cactus is glaring at him pitifully from the floor.
He cuts holes out of the bottom of a plastic cup for a makeshift pot and plants the echinocereus inside it - it takes a bit of work to make the soil fit - before he leaves for work.
It'll take him a couple of hours to walk there.
vi. gymnocalycium riojense
'I can't do this.'
He's finally caught him, at just one hour past midnight, coming back with a gymnocalycium riojense in his slender hands.
A smile. 'You're taking good care of my cacti, I see. They like you.'
'I don't give a damn about what your cacti think - ' It takes him a while to register what he has just said. 'Your cacti?'
'Yes.' A sigh. 'I wanted to keep them with me, but the hotel room just wasn't doing it for them. I moved Astoria first, and since she seemed to like it I brought along the others after.'
'You mean the astrophytum?' He is wary, unsure where the conversation is going.
A delighted laugh. 'You know them by their names? You did your research well.'
'I can't do this,' he repeats.
A quiet chuckle this time. 'It certainly didn't feel that way when you moaned my name earlier.'
He snaps. 'That's exactly what I mean! You don't take this seriously at all! It's all for fun for you, isn't it? Every morning I wake up and I have the cactus jury staring me down - I can't deal with that. I wasn't the one who left way back when and I - '
'You weren't?' And now the atmosphere is dangerous, risky. 'I seem to recall a certain someone running off with a certain someone else. I didn't think our dearest captain had it in him.'
'That's - '
'And then there is the question of who left for America with nary a word to anyone else.'
'I thought it'd be better - '
'Better? To leave without telling anyone?' The words that were unspoken are clear - to leave without telling me? The blue eyes flash, and he is sixteen years old again. 'Maybe after living for so long in America your Japanese was stilted, because I don't think we're talking about the same definition of better.'
A shake of the head, and the eyes are closed again. 'It's fine.' They both know it's not. 'It's in the past.' Not any more.
There is silence. The cactus is held out.
An olive branch.
He takes it.
'I don't have work tomorrow,' he says almost inaudibly.
'Do you - ' He stops - he doesn't know what he wants to say. Do you want to come in? Do you want to stay the night? Do you forgive me? Do you realise how much of this is all your fucking fault?
He doesn't know what to say, so he lets his actions speak. He steps away from the doorway, walks over to the windowsill, and sets the cactus down.
There are six cacti. The lay judges have made their decision -
- but it takes one professional judge's agreement with them for the trial to finish.
He looks over to the doorway, with a figure still standing in it, waiting.
'...do you think we could try again?' He doesn't elaborate, and waits for an answer.
'I've been waiting for you to ask.' The door is closed and the verdict is passed.
Now all he has to do is wait for the sentence.
So there it is~. Interpret it as you will. Drop off your comments in the review box please? ~awintea