They Fall in Autumn
Notes: My first PL fic, so it's pretty awful. Please judge gently, but let me know what you think!
He watches her with curiosity, not love or affection, though he has felt those things for her before in the fleeting moments when she reminds him of specters from his past. She doesn't notice his crimson eyes on her, and wouldn't be alarmed if she did. The man standing at a distance in a long, dark brown coat is usually staring at her, or out the window, or at anything else that happens to interest him. It's nothing new to Kaguya.
She walks steadily a few more steps before whirling around. "Seeu-san, was there a season like this on your world?"
Seeu stops and looks at her in silence for a moment, thinking about her question. On Asu, everything was always beautiful. Flowers were always in bloom, the sky was always blue, and the grass was always green. The only time that everything died away and turned to brown was when the world itself died. And then there was no promise that life would return after so many months, no "spring", as Kaguya called it. "No," he finally says.
"That's a shame. Autumn is my favorite season," she answers.
"Why?" Seeu asks suddenly. Why would someone love a time in the year when everything died?
"Because that's when the leaves fall. When I was little, my brother and I used to rake up big piles of leaves, then we'd run and jump into the middle of them! Those were some of the best times of my life."
Seeu is quiet again, wondering what joy could be gathered from jumping into a pile of dead vegetation. Nonetheless, a mental image floods his mind, of a young Kaguya running and playing in the leaves. And he remembers his own childhood, and the horrors that walked hand-in-hand with it.
Kaguya squeals, and he lifts his face instinctively, something deep and buried within him terrified that something could have possibly happened to her. But she's fine. A gust of wind has brought many leaves flying toward the ground, and Kaguya races toward them, holding out her hands. After many failed attempts, she catches one in her left hand and runs back to a very confused Seeu.
She's out of breath, panting while she runs her right hand through her dark hair. "You see… Seeu-san… if you catch a falling leaf… you'll get a letter from your lover."
Seeu blinks at her. "Why?"
Kaguya laughs. "There's no reason. It's just an old saying. But I think it works. Try to catch one!"
Seeu looks around and the air is filled with leaves. He reaches out quickly and grasps one in his hand. He is a warrior, and while most have forgotten that aspect of him, he still has powerful reflexes and instincts, however long they have been unused.
Kaguya claps. "That's amazing, Seeu-san! It took me forever to catch one!"
Seeu thinks she is easily amazed, and he is once again reminded of one who was just as eager to praise Seeu for the simplest things. Someone who looked so much like Kaguya.
Kaguya places a hand on the arm that holds the leaf, and he flinches invisibly. He's almost accustomed to Kaguya's feathery touches, but they can still take him by surprise sometimes. They're always impeccably soft, always soothingly warm, but still yet, they're always intrusive. He doesn't have the heart to shove her away, just as he couldn't shove Kagami away. He wonders idly if he has a weakness for blue eyes, but he suspects that there is far more to it than that.
"You're going to get a letter from you lover, Seeu-san!"
Seeu looks at her strangely. "But I don't have a lover."
Kaguya smiles. "Then maybe… a past lover?"
Seeu is still staring at her. "There was no…" His words trail off, and he remembers that yes, there was a lover, many years ago. But that lover cannot send him a letter, and Seeu wonders if he'd accept a letter from Kagami at all. Their relationship ended sourly, with Kagami taking from him all he ever wanted, in so many different ways. But while he still feels anger and bitterness toward the man, he knows that he wouldn't be able to push him away, even now.
Kaguya is still smiling. "It doesn't matter. I'm ready to go back now."
Seeu nods. Kaguya had asked to visit her family, back on her own, ugly world. It was risky, and probably stupid, but Kaguya had that effect on Seeu. He couldn't tell her no, not when he knew how important this request was to her, even if he didn't fully understand that importance. He starts to pull the collapser from his coat when a fresh pile of leaves between two trees catches his eye. They had walked down a small path away from the city, to a secluded, wooded area. Transporting to another world would surely gather some attention from curious passers by, and neither of them wanted that.
He gestures toward it. "Is that… the sort of thing you and your brother used to jump into?"
Kaguya grins. "Yeah! Exactly!" Then she looks at him. "Do we have time?"
He nods, and Kaguya drops her bag to the ground. She takes a few steps back, then runs toward the pile, diving into it at the last minute. Seeu raises his eyebrows, his own form of astonishment, when Kaguya emerges from the pile in a giggling mess. Her hair is full of leaves and twigs, her brown plaid skirt is wrinkled and there's a hole in her knee socks. She motions for him to come to her.
Seeu walks to the pile and Kaguya holds out her arm. He assumes that she wants him to help her up, and begrudgingly extends a hand. Kaguya takes it, but instead of standing up, she pulls him into the leaves beside her. Seeu feels leaves crushing beneath him, and the inevitable cold ground beyond. He opens his eyes, and his vision is filled with flying leaves, fluttering above his face and coming to rest upon and around him. Kaguya leans over him, smiling.
"Its more fun with two people," she says.
Seeu is quiet, deciding that this is indeed comfortable. Kaguya scoots closer to him, until her body is against his. He is met with the sudden urge to get up, to pull out the collapser and return to the security of his isolation, but there is a small part of him that realizes just how pleasant Kaguya's body feels, how hauntingly familiar. That's right, they were about the same size, Kagami and Kaguya. Only, Kagami may have been slightly taller, and Kaguya has those lovely breasts.
He rolls over to face her, and it's her turn to be surprised. "Seeu-san?" she asks, blinking.
He stares for another moment. "You remind me of him."
She blinks again. "Of who?"
Seeu shakes his head slightly. "It doesn't matter."
Kaguya stares too, then leans forward. "Have you ever… kissed anyone, Seeu-san?"
It takes a moment for the word 'kiss' to register. Ah yes. Kagami had asked that identical question, so long ago, just minutes before he pressed his lips to Seeu's. Seeu finds himself wondering if Kaguya will repeat the action, but he's more curious about the fact that part of him hopes that she will.
"Yes. I have kissed someone."
Kaguya grins. "It was 'him', right? The person I remind you of?"
Seeu nods slowly.
"Do you… like girls too?"
Seeu doesn't understand her question at all. "What do you mean?"
Kaguya's cheeks are now tinted pink. "Well… you were with a boy once, right? So… you must like boys in that way. Do you like girls in that way too?"
"In what way?"
Kaguya giggles, and now her face could match Seeu's hair. "In a way that you would kiss them. In a romantic way."
Realization dawns. "I've never thought about that. It didn't matter to me that he was a boy. The same thing would have happened if he had been a girl."
Kaguya smiles and leans in, kissing his lips tenderly. Seeu's mind is instantly flooded with memories. They're not the same, he thinks, similar, but not the same. Kagami's lips were more firm, and no where near as gentle.
Kaguya pulls back, and Seeu, remembering the deep wet kisses he shared with Kagami, is confused. There's more to it than this, he knows it. Kaguya is blushing, and watching his face. "Was that okay? I mean, I didn't get too close, did I?"
Seeu understands now. She's nervous. There's another blaring difference between her and Kagami. Kagami would have already had their clothes off by now. Seeu remembers this clearly now, and something buried deep inside of him begins to ache, something he had almost forgotten about.
He reaches up and places a hand on Kaguya's hair. The sudden contact startles her, but she doesn't pull away. On the contrary, her eyes look curious and hopeful. He pulls her closer to him and she, realizing he wants to kiss again, closes her eyes. This kiss is better, Seeu thinks. He coaxes her mouth into opening with his tongue, and his hand on the side of her face can feel the heat from her blush.
This is different.
Seeu remembers Kagami's hunger, and his hands upon his flesh. Kagami never blushed. It was cold with Kagami, deep within Seeu's dark dank palace where they reached for each other in the night and in the day as well. The only warmth they could find was in each others' bodies, and Seeu came to long for that warmth with each passing moment that he wasn't wrapped in it.
It's cold now, with Kaguya. The dirt beneath them is cold and hard, and a breeze carrying leaves by their faces and ruffling their hair is chilly. But yellow-orange rays of sunshine are beating down on them through the empty tree branches, and the spots where the light contacts their skin make sharp contrast with the crisp autumn air. And Kaguya is warm.
Seeu's hands are nearly trembling. After all, Kaguya is female, and everything he had learned with Kagami is fairly useless now. He had read books on this, had even seen live demonstrations of it. But he was fourteen then, a wide-eyed child who couldn't possibly understand the depth of what he was seeing. It was supposed to be a learning experience for him, as the people of Asu refused to give up on the notion that he would someday provide an heir to the Asu bloodline. He did learn, but only the textbook version of it. Kagami had utterly destroyed everything he had learned that day in the course of ten minutes.
Kaguya is uneasy, but she sits up and slips off her sweater. Beneath is a white shirt, and she reaches for the first button. "Is this what you want, Seeu-san?" Her voice is shaking, but her eyes are full of desire. Seeu has seen that before too.
He nods without thinking. Kaguya unbuttons her shirt and slips it from her shoulders. She shivers, and reaches behind her to unfasten her bra. "I don't know exactly how you feel about me but… I think I'm in love with you."
Seeu doesn't know how to respond to her words. Mainly because he isn't sure how he feels about her either. He knows that he cares for her, and that he somehow enjoys being around her. He can't imagine what it would be like in the palace without her, now that they had been together for so long. He privately thinks that if he understood what being in love meant, he would probably be in love with her. For now, he just wanted to be with her, until the end of time. And that was enough.
Seeu leans toward her and kisses her again. She leans back, gently pulling him down on top of her. His hands move to her breasts, lightly rubbing them with his palms. Quite frankly, he doesn't know what to do with them. Are they sensitive? Would it hurt her if he squeezed them? He doesn't know, so he continues to massage them very gently, until he can figure out what to do next.
Kaguya coos softly into his hair, wrapping her arms around him. Seeu thinks that she's too soft. Something so soft and delicate could be hurt so easily, and he suddenly thinks that protecting her for eternity may be a difficult job in the long run. She tugs at his shirt, and he pauses to discard both coat and shirt, only to freeze when Kaguya pulls up her skirt to her waist.
Seeu has seen the female anatomy, many times in fact. But it had always been for some scientific purpose, and he had never been expected to touch a woman's most private areas. How should he do it? His time with Kagami had trained him in the ways of touching another man, but what about Kaguya?
She seems to be waiting for something, so Seeu hesitantly takes hold of the hem of her panties and pulls them down. They slide over her knees and off her ankles. Kaguya sits with her legs tightly together, and she is blushing furiously again. "I've never… I've never done this before…"
Seeu suspected this, but doesn't say so. "I never have either."
Kaguya laughs, and Seeu thinks it is an odd time to do so. "Then we can teach each other."
Seeu feels relieved. Kaguya understands. He doesn't have to worry. She's as uneasy as he is. But he can't help remembering his first time with Kagami, when no words were needed. There were no awkward silences, just hands and lips and flesh upon flesh. Kagami had started it and Seeu's instincts had guided him through the rest. Perhaps a similar tactic could work here.
Seeu kisses Kaguya's knee, and she opens her legs. Seeu remembers the poems he read once, where a girl's womanhood was often described as a blossoming flower. He thinks he now understands where the imagery came from. Kaguya is beautiful.
She holds out her arms to him, beckoning him into her warmth, and he plunges in. Kaguya's hands intertwine with his hair and run their way through to the tips, only to start over again at the roots. Seeu has always paid attention to detail, and the stark contrast of his vibrant red hair wrapped around her delicate white fingers makes an oddly intriguing image.
Kaguya's body is like velvet, so soft and fragile. Another difference. Kagami's body had been hard and smooth, and Seeu feels uncomfortable. He's terrified of hurting her, of breaking this rare doll. But soon his desire for her takes over, and his instincts lead him on.
He had always known this would someday happen, that he would eventually make love to a woman, if only to produce an heir. He just didn't expect it to be like this, on the ugliest of the worlds with the most beautiful creature in the universe. If he were anyone else, he would take satisfaction in the fact that he was deflowering the Girl of Choosing, the most revered female in all of the nine worlds, and the one woman Emperor Kura desired and could not have. But such petty thoughts are not present in Seeu's mind. All he knows is that he feels safe and warm in Kaguya, and he wants to be with her forever.
Eventually they both reach their peak of pleasure, and Seeu collapses onto the ground beside Kaguya. Their hair is scattered among the leaves, red mingling with black. Kaguya's face is whiter than usual, and her lips are red and burning. Her expression is blank until Seeu speaks.
"Are you all right?"
She smiles as she turns her face to him. "I'm fine."
A smile touches Seeu's lips, so quick that Kaguya would have missed it had she blinked. "You're not hurt?"
"No. Not now. A little at first but… I'm fine now. I'm happy."
She smiles again. "Just… thank you. Thank you for letting me get so close."
Seeu stares at her. "I should… thank you…"
Kaguya sits up and digs around the leaves for her clothes. "Why?" she asks absently, already blushing again. She feels awkward.
"Because… it was your first…"
Kaguya freezes in the middle of buttoning her shirt. "Oh… well… I wanted it to be special. I always expected it to be with my husband. But you're special, Seeu-san, and I've never felt like this about anyone before. I wanted you to be my first lover."
Seeu stands up and begins gathering his own clothes. "I don't know what will happen now. The future can't be read when you're involved. But my people died hoping for an heir to the Asu bloodline. I don't know how you feel about this."
Kaguya looks surprised, but she remembers something about that from Take-san's story. She reflexively touches her stomach. She doesn't feel anything, and she tells herself that if a new life had begun to grow inside her, she would sense it. What surprises her more is that she's not afraid. If she were pregnant, she wouldn't be worried. She had never thought of herself as a mother before, but suddenly the thought seems appealing.
She wraps her arms around Seeu. "I would be honored to have your child."
Seeu puts his arms around her as well, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the affection does not feel intrusive. In fact, he doesn't want to let her go. But he has to, and he does. They have to return to his palace, and sort out many things. Kaguya must make some very important decisions, and Seeu silently vows that he will support her, no matter what she decides to do. Kaguya is the only person who can touch him now, but with her help, perhaps he can learn to accept the touch of others as well. Perhaps this broken man can be repaired after all.
Seeu pulls out his collapser and opens the door to another world. Kaguya holds onto his arm, and they take one last look at the fluttering leaves before disappearing.