Prologue

Petals from the flowering trees were swirling all around him as he stood on his feet. He glanced up to see that it looked very much like rainfall, but instead of rain, it was flower petals. He breathed it in and sensed himself calm down with the floral scent.

He was rather tense, standing here of all places. He had never come here and felt very much like a trespasser.. 'I hope I'm not too early,' was his trailing thought as he continued to stare at his reflection in a puddle of water.

It felt like he had been standing there forever instead of the mere fifteen minutes he'd actually been there. Being there really brought it all back to him vividly, seeing all the memories of that one year flash by in his mind… memories that he kept in his heart with every single day that passed by.

'What I would give for it to have been different,' he thought sadly as he shifted his weight between his feet. He always thought of those times back then, those events that changed his life and the lives of those he cared about the most. All those years and the years to come would never erase them from his mind or ease the pain in his heart that came with remembering them.

Letting out a heavy sigh, he wondered how it came to be that he was to meet him here of all places. 'Who am I kidding? I've wanted to come here for so long, and now that I'm here, all I can think about is leaving. Rather pathetic…'

Closing his eyes, he breathed in deeply as he allowed himself to think back on those days with all his family… how it all happened… how it all ended.

'To think that in one year, so much could happen, so much could change. Just like the seasons that pass us by—sometimes they can pass by quietly, but other times, they can come crashing down on you…'

--ooo--

DISCLAIMER: All FB characters belong to their creative author, Takaya-sensei; I own only the storyline. Hopefully that's not up for discussion!

Winter's Tears of Hope
--Reflection--

Edited by: Miya-chan 10-19-05

Yuki stood in his bedroom, overlooking the snow-covered forest beyond his window. It was turning out to be a rather chilly winter day, snow as bright as light shining all around the home he shared with his family. He breathed it in – yes, winter has a smell – and wondered how much longer it would last. He wanted to memorize the moment, winter truly being a favorite season for him. Then it struck him that this was probably the last time he'd see it from this window.

Yes, the winter before graduation... rather dreadful to think about it that way.

It was an arranged part of his life, tradition, fate, whatever you'd like to call it. It seems they were all heading to that same destination all prior Zodiac members had met. It seemed oddly comfortable, but for that reason it was frightening to him. He wondered if the others also felt the same way. He didn't wish to voice this thought out loud though.

'Bad enough we have to live through it,' thought Yuki. Yet, who knew, maybe Akito would have a change of heart (literally) and decide to let everyone live their lives as they wished. 'Now I know I've been standing here too long.'

Letting out a sigh, he moved to close the window before anyone came in. No doubt he would hear the worries (Tohru's) and complaints (Kyo's) if they caught him with the window opened. It was really out of habit now—Akito was a great influence on him, he realized. He caught himself in the mirror as he walked away from the window, and with that last thought going through his mind, he remembered how often (and to Hatori's distress) Akito would lay out over the window while she had Yuki with him. Whenever it snowed, Akito called the snowflakes 'winter's tears'. She would explain how the cruel world that surrounded the Sohmas was a poison that affected all living things, and, to cope with such 'monstrosities', as Akito put it, it would snow each year as a way to heal itself.

'Rather poetic coming from her, if it wasn't so negative,' thought Yuki. He shook his head of the memories, since they would usually lead to a sleepless night or two.

Oddly enough, it had been quiet at the Sohma main estate these past few years. Of course, the occasional call from Akito on his cell phone and the now once-a-month visits to her (could be more depending on Akito's mood) were something he had to endure since skipping that one New Year's banquet. But there was something one didn't usually find in the same line of thought: Akito had been more 'calm' now than she'd ever been—still had her quirks, but none that would scar Yuki for life like in the past—and it seemed to have had a domino effect for everyone else. Akito didn't even care about Tohru's presence anymore. Yuki guessed, since it was almost graduation, that Akito had decided that the matter would be taken care of on its own. Yuki's instincts told him to leave this issue well enough alone—for now anyway.

Yet, Yuki did have to admit to himself that he was getting more comfortable around Akito. He wasn't as petrified of her as before, although he would still catch his breath each time he initially spoke to her . How to describe their conversations – well, walls would never tell and neither would he. It'd always been that way he didn't see a need to explain his conversations with Akito to anyone else. No doubt, Akito likewise felt the same way, and so it would always be that way.

Actually, truth be told, no one outside of Kureno and Hatori knew of his visits to Akito. How that was managed was just another Sohma mystery... or curse, however you saw it. Yuki was a master of discretion (Akito taught him well) and being the rat helped his skills naturally. He didn't understand Akito's latest quirk on these secretive visits, but then again this is Akito we're talking about here... you didn't have to understand, just obey. No harm done anyway, and no one asked him questions to which he'd have no answers to provide. His visits were integrated into his busy schedule, so no one thought otherwise whenever he left for the whole day, only to return late in the evening. All assumed it was part of being the student council president - to be completely immersed in school activities (and boy, was he ever!) and dedicate every waking hour to the school. That was overestimating it a bit; yet Yuki held onto this perception, since it suited his current needs perfectly.

Sudden laughter and conversation snapped Yuki out of his reverie, and he went over to the window again. Below, he saw Tohru and Kyo talking about certain fighting stances that Tohru was trying to master. Yes, apparently Kyo managed to have his first 'student' in her. It was always asked (more like begged) that Tohru learn how to defend herself in case Kyo or Shigure couldn't pick her up from work.

Yuki's face faltered at this thought—he was the one who used to be there for her every night up until his responsibilities with the school and Akito made it impossible. Kyo seemed to have jumped at the very first opportunity to take over. Yuki admitted only to himself that he'd rather give everything else up if only to have those moments with Tohru by himself. She was definitely a breath of fresh air for him during his constant hectic days. His whole council did little to alleviate the burden, yet he did see them trying to help, especially with graduation upon them. Even Kakeru Manabe (his unreliable vice-president) managed to take on some responsibility for Yuki. Hence, he had a day off today because of them. He guessed his last explosion in front of them got them thinking that it was high time they did what they could to give Yuki some alone time.

Alone. Looking down at the two of them from his window conversing like the best of friends with no care to the rest of the world—no care to him.

'No, stop thinking that!' Yuki reprimanded himself. It was only natural that they were hanging out together since he wasn't there often. Tohru was no doubt worried that he kept yawning throughout his meal last night and could barely keep his attention on the conversation around him—she must have felt he needed the rest, so she let him sleep in late today, to have this one little pleasure. Tired, yes he was, very tired. Not just emotionally, mentally, and physically (though that's plenty). Just tired. Hmmm...

'Oh, well, once all the brouhaha is over, I can finally relax some and hopefully spend more time again with Tohru like before, Yuki sighed, as a small smile tugged at his lips.

While he observed the two of them from his window, he noticed how Tohru was actually doing better in her defense stances. (He always kept a watchful eye on her during these sessions whenever he could be there.) Kyo kept at her with the commanding voice of a sensei and pointed out the flaws.

'Not bad, baka neko, you actually did learn a few pointers from Shihan,' snickered Yuki. He wished he had partaken in this training, however he promised Kazuma that he wouldn't interfere. That unexpected request was odd to be sure...



Author's Note
:

Hope you like this – I know, rather long! This is my very first & only fanfic. I'm so constantly inspired by the many good writers out there!

For more details & explanations on the story, please see below! Thanks to all my readers!


(SOS Chapter 1 Post Remarks - 7/13/04)

Well, it's my first chapter about anything so what to say? Well, this chapter is Yuki-exclusive, & you can get an idea as to how the world of Furuba is doing from his viewpoint. One particular detail is Akito. Many will want to know how is it that she's 'calm'. Well, I'd love to explain here, however, future chapters will clarify this so please be patient.

Music: Well, I recommend hearing any BGM with soft piano music. I know, throw tomatoes at the author, that's all right! I was listening to "My Girl" Soundtrack BGM theme (the one with McCauley Culkin & the pretty little girl)--it's the last track on the CD. Very pretty & blissful, like Yuki felt like in this chapter.

Sorry if I left anyone hanging there in the end...next chapter should be up soon enough. Ja ne!