A CLAMP Campus Detectives story
Written by Ning aka Sakayume
[ Nokoru POV ]
The sky is crying.
Just like my heart.
The rain pours down in driving torrents around me, pooling at my feet and wetting my shoes. I am just standing there. Maybe the rain will drown me and release my heart. But the rain is not strong enough, even though the dirt path has turned to brown mud dotted with growing puddles. Some part of my mind tells me softly that I should be inside, or at least use an umbrella or rain coat. I do not hear it.
I want to stand outside in the rain. I want to get wet. Even if it is bad for me. Just once, I want to do something without considering and weighing the consequences. I know later that I will regret this foolish act and fall sick with a cold, and then Suoh will nag and Akira will worry. But for the moment all I want to do is stand outside gazing at the sky, at the muddy path, at everything around me… and reflect. On a life that is not really mine, that I never learnt to live. And a love I can never have.
Such is the way of life. Especially when one belongs to the Imonoyama family.
I snap open my fan, and watch half-interestedly as the rain drops soak through the thin white paper. The black ink bleeds and runs. I drop the fan before the ink can stain my hands. It falls into the dirt, becoming a nondescript brown. The paper blends in with the ground, only the wood frame is visible. I step away from it and turn my gaze to the rain falling so heavily it is visible.
The wind blows and I shiver. I am wet through, and the wind chills me to the bone. The rational part of my brain nags at me to go inside. I ignore it. There is a sense of freedom and exhilaration to stand outside in the rain alone. All the other sensible people are inside. But I am tired of being sensible. Just once I want to be reckless.
If Suoh were with me I would have been forced inside the moment the sky became overcast and threatened to rain. I smile wryly at the thought. Chances are I would be doing the mountains of paperwork gathered in the council room. Just standing out here now for these few minutes is enough for another pile to collect.
But he is not.
He is on some date with Nagisa-jyou. I forget where they went. He did tell me, with a concerned look, before he left, but I did not want to listen. He spends so much time with her nowadays, on dates and such. But it is only natural, I suppose. One day he will marry her and they will have a happy family with many children. And I know when that time comes he will ask me to be best man at his wedding. The day is not that far off for all his blushing and shyness.
It used to be me he spent most of his time with, back in elementary school.
I smile fondly at the memory of the "CLAMP Campus Detectives" and our escapades under that name. It is a sad smile. I seem to be smiling only sad smiles now. But the CCD dissolved in middle school. The three of us were still together in the council but gone was the bond we shared as members of the CCD. It was such a gradual thing, I did not realise it until it was too late. Until one morning I woke up and realised there would be no more cases to solve. It just happened. As Suoh and Akira spent more time with Nagisa-jyou and Utako-kaichou respectively, there was less time for me. It is just like having three young birds. As they grow the birds spread their wings and learn to fly. Only I was the bird who stayed. The bird who could not fly. It is a stupid analogy, but I am wet and shivering.
He promised to be my Takamura and to protect me forever. To be with me forever.
It is a promise that was broken the moment he saw her playing her Japanese flute in the wisteria tree.
I laugh softly and bitterly.
I am selfish. No matter what others choose to say. I know many will protest if I ever voice this fact, but it is true. How else do I explain what I feel now?
I tried to be selfless. I was the one who conspired to get Suoh and Nagisa together. But when he saved her from the Rijichou's missile and you could see the feelings they had for each other and how perfect they looked together, an empty feeling consumed me. At that time I only smiled and pretended happiness. That is selfishness. I should have been happy for him. That he had found his "wisteria fairy".
But I felt something altogether different.
I wonder what he would say…
If I ever told him.
Not that I plan to, of course, I add hastily. I treasure our friendship too much to want to risk ruining it in any way. And I do not want to add onto his worries and burdens. He has more than enough to worry over with the recent threats to my safety. Yet another in a long line of reasons why I should be inside today.
Suoh is clueless about my true feelings, not that I expect him to be anything otherwise. While extremely intelligent and perceptive as all ninjas need to be, when it comes to emotional matters he is rather dense. It has to smack him right in the face before he will catch onto it. Surprisingly it is naïve Akira who is perceptive in matters of the heart. I think he knows, although his naïveté has prevented him from piecing all the pieces in the puzzle together. Lately he has been giving knowing looks.
But if I told him…
"Told who what, kaichou?"
I jump at the familiar voice behind me. When did he appear and what is he doing here?
Slowly I turn around, preparing my trademark smile.
"Hello Suoh. Aren't you with Nagisa-jyou?"
Hopefully he will forget his question. I was unaware I had thought out loud.
Unfortunately he seems not to hear what I say. Instead he frowns and looks at me, "What are doing outside in the rain, kaichou? Go inside at once. You'll get sick. Or is this another crazy scheme to shirk your paperwork?"
I smile again, "The rain is just so pretty I had to go out."
Sighing in exasperation he resorts to grabbing my arm and basically leading me inside.
I wonder what he is doing here?
[ Suoh POV ]
Something has been troubling kaichou lately. More so than previously. I think it was always there before, but recently it has been getting worse. I can see he is unhappy through that smile of his he is constantly wearing. He does not know, but he is as easy to read as a book for someone like me who has known him for years. I can see through his smiles and cheerfulness to the real sorrow and loneliness inside.
And I have a really bad feeling it has something to do with me. Although what it is I have yet to figure out. Akira would probably know but I do not think I can ask him this time.
The fact that he was standing out in the rain is the only proof I need. It is a good thing I was walking past with Nagisa and saw him. I am sure he will get sick.
I wonder what it is he has to tell?
He sounded so sad and devoid of hope.
[ Akira POV ]
Kaichou is sick. Again.
And this time it is all his fault, not some bio-terrorist's, intent on taking over the CLAMP Campus for reasons known only to himself. I shudder at that thought.
This time however, kaichou was standing in the rain and caught a chill.
Which is why I am cooking porridge for him now.
I hope he gets better soon. And I do not just mean physically. Kaichou seems to be rather depressed lately, and I think I know why. I hope he and Takamura-senpai sought out their problems soon, although I think Takamura-senpai is still rather blur. Speaking of Takamura-senpai, I have not seen him lately. He was angry with kaichou for the paperwork mountains in the council room, but he should know that kaichou is infamous for avoiding paperwork, and then he disappeared.
Kaichou only looks sad now despite his smiles.
I hope my porridge will make him feel better.
[ Nokoru POV ]
I knew I would fall sick. And I did. I am stuck in bed under orders of Suoh, the doctor and Akira until I am better. Although better is subjective to their opinions. I am pretty sure I will be stuck here for longer than necessary, which is really very dull. At least Akira is here most of the time, and Nagisa-jyou and Utako-kaichou visit regularly. Not to mention practically the entire female population of CLAMP Campus tried to visit. Suoh refused to let them in for which I am glad. I do not think I could face them at the moment.
Being sick, I have had a lot of time to think. And have decided not to tell him. Nor to let him find it out himself. I think he suspects already anyway. It is not worth the risk to tell him. What would I do if I lost even his friendship? I never want to think of that possibility. I am a coward although there are people who think me brave. Choosing the coward's path by running away and ignoring my emotions, but I have not the strength to face the consequences should I ever tell him that what I feel towards him goes deeper than friendship. And besides, he has Nagisa-jyou. I cannot do that to a lady.
It is back to masks and smiles for me.
The thing is, nobody knows the real me beneath those smiles and the fan.
Maybe someday, I will tell him…
When I am less of a coward.
But what good would it do? What good would it do to force him to choose between Nagisa-jyou and I? One of us would be hurt in the process, and it is selfish to wish Nagisa-jyou hurt.
So, I guess I shan't tell him…
Author's notes: The idea for this has been floating around in my mind for a long time. And I have tried writing it a few times but always gave up before the first few paragraphs. Anyway, it's finally written, and in a few hours straight… which leaves questions as to the quality of it. Also, it might be rather confusing and it isn¡¦t sad enough. x_x I might continue, but that depends really on inspiration. Sorry about the weird formatting. I have no idea what Microsoft word did to it.