This challenge was produced in half an hour, after my previous attempt had failed miserably. I liked this rather better. It's a Tsukimineshrine challenge fic, with the following parameters:
Topic: Original Character
Canon: Optional(I say a definite, resounding YES, post-canon)
Rating: G to PG(G.)
Length: 1500 to 3000 words.(921. Not even close)
Time Limit: Two weeks.(All of 'em. It's 9:45 Wednesday night.)
Special Requirements: The character introduced must be original; do not re-use any of your other OCs. The character must be sympathetic, in that the reader should not hate the character.
Also, the character must have any two of the following traits:
- Mostly, if not universally liked.(Check)
- Magical. Interpret at will.(Check)
I still fail to be CLAMP. So:
Take No Notice
Junko Watanabe was fifteen years old. Her hair was golden brown, and hung loosely braided to her waist. Her cornflower blue eyes perfectly matched the May sky. Her looks were such that she should have caused heads to turn and hearts to beat faster everywhere she went.
She didn't. Not one person looked up to see her walk by. She was invisible. Not always and not completely; if asked, anyone would be able to say they'd seen her. But they wouldn't mention if not asked. And they never were asked.
Her parents said she was lucky. "Everyone likes you," they said, "How wonderful, to have so many friends!" She never corrected them. If she had, she would have explained that the people who liked her liked her in the same way you like a tree in the park; it's perfectly nice, but you don't notice it's there and wouldn't see it was gone. She could have explained anyway. But it wasn't worth the bother.
She was in the park. Usually, she avoided crowds like the plague; all those people, glancing over her and not seeing a thing. They sent a tremor up her spine every time she went to a festival. But she wanted to be in the park to draw, her one great skill. An idea had been floating in her head all week, of a group of children silhouetted against the trees, not quite fitting into the grown-up background. She thought she could do it, if she had something to draw from.
She was hot. For a May afternoon, the heat was stifling. She was hot, and her head hurt from the strain of trying to force the picture onto paper. It wouldn't come. No matter how hard she tried, the image stayed just out of clear sight, laughing and asking, "What're you going to do about it?" She was sick of stepping back out of people's way. She wished one person, just one, would ask what she was drawing.
Someone did. From behind her, a strange voice asked her why she had stopped. The words, just then, were like an answer to prayer. She turned around, slowly, not wanting to see because it might vanish like a mirage in the desert and leave her alone again.
It didn't vanish. She turned and saw a boy watching her, a boy at least three years older than her, a boy with a face like a god. She still wasn't sure if he was real, so she asked him, regretting the words the instant they slipped out. How stupid that was! But he didn't seem to think so; he just said yes, he was. She started to cry, without really understanding her reason, just sobbed in a sort of relief that someone had seen her at last, with all the tears of years of being ignored pouring out behind. He just stood there, in the park, and awkwardly patted her on the back while she cried.
Hours later, it seemed, she stopped and apologized. He said it was all right, he was sure she felt better. He asked her to tell him about it, because she would feel even better, and she did. All the mediocrity, the normalcy, the unobtrusiveness, poured out like the tears and left her empty. He smiled, just a little, when she told him that, and asked her what she would rather be filled with. Oh, she told him, sunlight on leaves and the laughter of children and the chill of sweet, pure water on her tongue. She felt them fill her as she spoke, let them out, made them real as she had made the invisibility unreal.
They talked for a long time, hours it felt like. At the very end, she asked him why he had talked to her. He shrugged. I don't know, he said, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But how, she asked, how had he seen her when it was almost magic that no one ever did? He said that he had been very good at seeing things like magic for a long time, and the way of looking straight at things never really leaves you. I don't think it has anything to do with magic, she said. I think it's just being willing to see what's really there rather than what you expect. Anyone could do it if they tried. He seemed surprised by that.
She had to leave and waved goodbye. He looked after her for a long time, as if he saw the next day, when she would walk into class with a new light in her eye, and all the students would ask themselves why they never looked at Watanabe-san before. She was really very pretty, after all. He almost looked further ahead, into the artist-wife she would become to someone who always swore that he knew she was special since the day he met her. He smiled, to see her being happy.
It had made him wonder. Perhaps she was right, and it was all in the way you looked at things, what you expected to see. He thought he'd remember that for later.
Junko Watanabe was a wonderful artist, everyone said. The one thing they never could understand, though, was her favorite portrait subject. It was surely nobody she'd ever met that they could recall.
A young man, with a face like a god, smooth and bronzed, and deep blue eyes gazing with sympathy from beneath windswept locks of dark, dark hair.