A Slant of Light

Urei Sachi

There's a certain slant of light,

On winter afternoons,

That oppresses, like the weigh

Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives ups;

We can find no scar,

But internal difference

Where the meanings are.

None may teach us anything

'Tis the seal, despair,--

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,

Shadows hold their breath:

When it goes, 'tis like the distance

On the look of death

-There's a Certain Slant of Light, Emily Dickenson

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I'm baaaack. )

Thanks to:

- wittierbanter, who gave me permission to continue the concept and for conjuring the whole idea. :3

- Chibi Ra-chan, who inspired me to make another one of those canon contradiction pairings.

- And to reviewers, who give me a reason to write fluff and drama. ) You know, the good stuff.

I have no idea whether this will be dark and twisted or fluffy and sentimental. I'd vouch for somewhere in between. I really don't want to get too mushy and too disheartening.

Hmm… the only things I should warn you about are pairings, I guess. . Don't ask. I don't know whether I'll actually mention something other than RenAnna, but… yeah. We'll see, shall we?

This should be one hell of a ride.

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A Slant of Light

Prologue

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She walks alone, again. Her feet softly brush against the wooden floor with deliberate slowness, although she has never been this tense, this unhurried. Her movements are alert and detached, and her teeth are clenched tightly. She betrays no emotion other than that of vigilance, but what, in the name of all things holy, was she watching out for? There was probably nothing that could possibly happen tonight; not anything important, in the very least. There would be no assailants, no stray spirits, and, most of all, no unwanted visitors. Not much of it, anyway.

No, it's alright. Everything's alright. Yoh, Tamao, and everyone else that matters are alright. Even Anna's alright, although she keeps telling herself that she isn't and that nothing in the world could fix her quandary right now. She keeps searching for answers in her mind. There aren't any.

Perhaps it was better if things were this way- she would be privileged to be free and single for the meantime. She wouldn't even have to worry about Yoh that much. Assuming the role of future wife had certain responsibilities that single women didn't need to dwell upon for so long. Yes, things would be better this way.

Or, at least, that's what she wanted to think.

The whole house is quiet tonight. Strange. Usually, one Usui Horokeu's snoring would be heard all over the house. She's tempted to run up the stairs and peek inside the room he shared with the other boys, just to make sure that she isn't asleep and dreaming. Right now, she's pretty sure she isn't. The cold feeling of her skin against the wooden wall proves that point. She presses her lips together and glances back at the hallway, as if she was memorizing every nook and cranny of the whole house. After all, this might be the last time she would reside here. This is the last day that she is Kyouyama Anna, commonly known as Ice Queen or the rather generic Asakura Yoh's fiancé. Tomorrow, she would be ex-fiancé.

So this is what it feels like, she thinks, to be kicked out of your own house.

This is what it feels like to be alone.

Shivering, she walks up the stairs, this time with a heavier heart and a wistful expression. Alone. It sounds so empty and so foreign to her ears, although this is not the first and last time she would have to be solitary. She had always, always been impartial and self-sufficient, although she had had no trouble at all in learning the basics of concepts like teamwork and dependency. It may have been hard, at first, to adjust to that kind of thing, but she pulled through. She had to, if she wanted to have things the way she originally designed it to be.

This plan was not intended, of course. It was just Yoh thinking, time and again, of what things would be like if she didn't have him on a leash. If Anna could have had her way, this wouldn't actually happen. But, then again, she had a part to play in this grand design: the understanding probable wife who was sympathetic and empathic at the same time. Granted, she wasn't like this back when they were younger and unable to understand what the whole scenario of matrimony was. She wishes that she had had the impudent yet forceful way of thinking of Horo Horo a while ago, when Yoh had talked to her about them. About this. About everything.

God, she wanted the earth to consume her entire body then. She couldn't even comprehend whether she was indignant or melancholic or just plain taken aback. She remained aloof and unmoving even as he started to elaborate on why they had to take some time off. She should have been suspicious, because Yoh never actually went into detail in everything he said. She should have.

Oh. Tamao's waiting at the top of the stairs with the same old expression of distress. She's twisting her hands and trying to say something- anything – that wouldn't sound so feigned, so overused. Her uneasiness increases as Anna makes her way up, and when she finally walks past Tamao, their eyes meet.

"I..." Tamao begins, and Anna stares at her. "Is there anything I can do?"

Anna is torn between confusion and disdain. "No." Her reply hurts Tamao in ways that she could imagine. Her heart leaps up when she sees the pain fill Tamao's eyes, but she doesn't know why she takes great happiness in venting out her frustrations on the timid girl. She would probably regret this in the future, but god damn everything that was beautiful and brilliant if she didn't.

"A-alright." She wonders how much courage Tamao has to gather before she could shake it off and nervously run up the room without stumbling, but decides, for Tamao's sake, that she would rather not think about it for the meantime. Then, she is alone again, and the night air feels colder and bitterer than before.

The hallway is dark and depressing, but not as welcoming as it has always been. Had it heard and seen what had taken place? No, it was impossible. It was just her imagination. Grimly, she realizes that there isn't even a shaft of light coming from the windows. There are no shadows in the walls; they have been obscured by the entire atmosphere of dusk. Where is the moon? Terrified and hiding, perhaps, and shedding the tears that she had not bothered to shed.

She passes Tao Ren in that dark hallway; she almost didn't realize that he was there. If his eyes hadn't been a hauntingly golden color, if he didn't have this arrogance and air of mystery about him, she would have mistaken him for the darkness. They don't say anything.

Instead they continue to walk in separate directions, indifferent and at the same time intrigued. But he pushes the thought out of his mind before it starts to turn into something else, and she simply does not care.

Sleeping isn't an option, she knows that much. Her emotions and thoughts are too clouded to allow her a few momentary lapses of rest. But, then again, her entire body is fatigued and there is nowhere to go, nowhere to turn to right now but her own isolated four walls.

She shrugs her shoulders and walks back to her vacant bed, pausing in front of Yoh's room for a few seconds until she finally snaps out of her daze and turns her back to everything else that used to be home.

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END PROLOGUE

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