Sayoko's Puppet

Disclaimer, I do not own Ayatsuri Sakon


The Fukami household was decorating the courtyard with a few lanterns, for today was Sayoko's birthday. Her grandfather was busy in his shop and had asked not to be interrupted. She knew he was working on her birthday present as he always did. Usually she would have been waiting outside and every once in awhile knocking to see if he was finished. But this time she was waiting for her two special guests.

These guests weren't from her class at school as was the rest and majority of her class, nor were they any of her grandfather's apprentices. Her grandfather had gotten two new apprentices after he had lost the other two. Both were just out of college and had decided this was the route they wanted to take in life. So had Sayoko, after meeting the two guests she awhile back. She waited on top of the roof, watching for them to come.

She had a feeling that they, or one of them had gotten lost. She remembered very clearly how he had gotten so lost last time that he had shown up later then everyone had expected. When she had told the sempai apprentice that she had wanted to go and look for him, he had grumbled that the last thing he needed was for her getting lost too. He'd also muttered something under his breath that she couldn't hear.

Her eye caught something coming up the road and her eyes brightened up from the melancholy that she had been in. But as they got closer, disappointment set in. It was one of her friends form school. She still jumped down to great her friend and her friends mother. "Konnichiwa ! Kumiko! Kumiko's O-kaa-chan!"

"You shouldn't jump off the roof like that Sayoko. It's dangerous." Kumiko's mother said. Sayoko glanced down the road looking for the two people she was looking for.

"Who are you looking for?" Kumiko stood on her tiptoes.

"O-ni-chan and Ukon," Sayoko responded.

Kumiko pouted her lips. "Haha, all Sayoko's talked about at school is O-ni-chan and Ukon."

"You have an older brother Sayoko?" Kumiko's mother had a confused look on her face.

"Iie," Her eyes then brightened when she saw a familiar figure coming up the street. "Moshi! O-ni-chan! You are late!"

A young man dressed in black with a strange box on his back and a suitcase came up and bowed to the three females. "Gomen, Sayoko. I got lost again."

Kumiko put her hands on her hips. "What kind of O-ni-chan gets lost? You are cute though!"

The boy blushed a little at this comment. Kumiko continued to talk. "I am Kumiko and this is my mother."

Kumiko's mother glanced down at her and then looked back up at the boy. "Gomen, but we haven't met before."

"Tachibana Sakon." The boy responded. His eyes were on the ground and didn't look her in the face.

"O-ni-chan's grandfather and O-ji-chan are very good friends." Sayoko grabbed the boy's hand and began to drag him to her grandfather's workshop. "O-ji-chan says he wants you to see my present. He never lets anyone see my present before I get it, except for Chichi. You are lucky O-ni-chan. He also said after words he will show you where you and Ukon can get ready."

"Hai," Was the only response that came from Sakon as Sayoko pulled him away. She allowed him to remove his shoes and then continued.

She dragged him over to her grandfather's workshop and knocked on the wooden part of the door. "O-ji-chan. O-ni-chan is here."

The old man opened the door and motioned Sakon to come in. Sakon bowed to Sayoko and her grandfather closed the door.

M

Sayoko was sitting with Kumiko were waiting for other guests to arrive. Kumiko was inside preparing the cake, since Sayoko had no female relative to do it, and she was happy to do so. It was the that a little girl arrived. She removed her shoes and went up to the two little girls.

"Hello Mariko." Kumiko and Sayoko both said at the same time.

"So, what are you going to have at your birthday party. Mine had a pony."

Sayoko shrugged, not caring about the pony. "O-ni-chan and Ukon haven't told me what they are going to do. They are going to surprise me. That's their birthday present."

"You don't have an older brother," Mariko glared at Sayoko.

"I never said I did." Sayoko wasn't very fond of Mariko, who liked to flaunt that her parents were rich. And that she still had parents and had siblings.

"Sakon-chan is really cute." Kumiko stated out loud, like most little girls do, aside from Sayoko.

"Who's Sakon? An imaginary friend of the two of you?" Mariko gained a know it all look on her face.

"No. He's O-ni-chan. O-ji-chan is good friends with his grandfather." Sayoko beamed a big smile.

"So, who's Ukon? Did you see him Kumiko?"

"No. I just saw Sakon-chan. When will Ukon get here?"

Sayoko continued to smile. To Kumiko's utter confusion she responded. ", He's already here."

M

Sakon was in Junichiro's workshop. He had set down the box on his shoulders and had removed Ukon for Junichiro to inspect. Junichiro happily looked over the puppet. Finally, the old man spoke up. "I am fully amazed yet again at how you care for Ukon. Most children your age Sakon, would not have the respect that you do for a puppet this old."

Junichiro pulled down a puppet from the shelf, it's face cracked deeply. "A foolish parent of some rich family gave one to their child and the child treated it like a toy you can buy at one of those stores now a days. Which reminds me. Word came that your head of your house now?"

"Hai," Sakon responded without looking Junichiro in the eyes.

"Young as you are, your grandfather made a good choice. You have very capable hands and skill."

"Fukami-sama, I ..."

"Don't downplay your skill Sakon. You can also call me Ji-san. I would not be dishonored. Speaking of skill, Sayoko has decided she wishes to make puppets and learn to use them. She has always had great ambition for one so young.." Junichiro picked up a small piece of wood. Someone had obviously been practicing carving. "Already she shows skill at carving for just having started."

Junichiro then turned to a small box. "This is what I wished to show you.

The old man pulled something out of the box and showed it to Sakon. "Do you think my Mago will like it Sakon?"

"Hai." Sakon responded without his usual lack of self confidence. The man patted him on the shoulder.

"I'll leave you and Ukon here to get ready." Sakon and Junichiro bowed to each other and the old man left with the box. He also carried Ukon's stand and the cd player with him so he could place it for Sakon.

M

Sayoko's grandfather gathered the children into a semi circle. The stand was set up off center of the semi circle. Sayoko was grinning from ear to ear. Sakon then entered and bowed to Junichiro. He was dressed in his hakama. Mariko's eyes went wide. She whispered "Is he a Samurai?"

Sayoko paid her no mind, but Kumiko responded. "Can't you see the puppet? He's a performer."

Sakon stepped into the semi circle and then started. He pressed the play button on the cd player. As soon as the story began, he began to move Ukon. The children were raptured. Some by the story and the others by the fact that Sakon could move the puppet the way he did. He finished and placed his friend on the puppet stand and bowed. The children clapped. He then raised his head when they stopped. He was then bombarded by questions, so many so that he couldn't answer any of them. Kumiko's mother rescued him by getting them started on a game outside that the apprentices were helping with.

"You said that your name was Tachibana Sakon. You wouldn't happen to be related to Tachibana Saemon?"

"Hai,"

"I remember seeing a performance of his as a young child. You have his skill in puppetry,"

"Saemon is very proud of his grandson. So am I. Sakon has gotten Sayoko interested in learning to make and use puppets." Junichiro noticed Sayoko standing in the doorway. "You should be out enjoying the game. It is your birthday."

"I came to say, Arigatou O-ni-chan. Arigatou Ukon."

"O-tanjoubi omedetou, Sayoko," Sakon bowed his head to the young girl. She grinned and ran off to join the others in the game.

M

Sakon and Ukon had changed out of their performance attire by the time the cake was being eaten. Ukon was on his puppet stand. Sayoko sat on his right side. Sakon finished his piece and pushed away the plate slightly, and said politely that he was finished. One little boy with his mouth full spoke up. "H'w 'ld 're u?"

Sakon put his hand into Ukon. The puppet then pointed to the boy. "Oi, you know, you shouldn't speak with your mouth full."

The children gasped and then giggled. All except for one little girl who just looked at Ukon with a horrified look. Sakon noticed this, but didn't say anything. Kumiko then raised her hand and asked a question. "So, is the puppets name Ukon?"

"Hai! I am Ukon. I am a child puppet made in ..." Sakon covered Ukon's mouth.

"Ukon, must you always brag?" Sakon received a death glare from the puppet, causing the children to laugh again. He removed the hand from the puppets mouth.

"Just because you don't like bragging doesn't mean I am the same. Anyways, I am a child puppet made in 1870 by Unosuke, a great puppet maker."

This caused one little boy to gasp. "Your father let you have a puppet that old!"

Sakon, who was usually more confident with Ukon by him, winced when his father was brought up. Ukon noticed this, as did Junichiro. Ukon was about to say something, but the old man did instead. "Sakon is from a Baruku family. In his family, he is trained from a young age to use such puppets. Perhaps Sayoko should open her presents now."

Sayoko grinned. As always, her grandfather's was last, after thanking each person for their gift. She opened the plain box and gasped. Inside was a marionette puppet. It wasn't just any marionette puppet, but a black cat, just like Rirusu. She looked at Sakon and handed him the puppet. "Can you show me how the puppet works?"

To everyone's surprise, Ukon took it. "Sure. I'll show you how to use it Sayoko-chan."

Everyone laughed as Ukon began to move the puppet, but got it tangled. He turned to his left. "Sakon, I think you need to handle this one."

"Hai." Sakon placed Ukon back on his stand and began to untangle the puppet. He then moved the cat to a sitting position. The cat then opened it's mouth and let out a meow just like Rirusu's. Sayoko grinned while the other children gasped. The little girl who had been frightened of Ukon was again afraid of this puppet. Sakon handed the puppet over to Sayoko and picked up Ukon.

"I am such a bungler. I should leave the puppets to you Sakon." Again, the majority of the children laughed.

M

Sakon and Ukon helped Sayoko and Rirusu, as she decided to name her puppet, say good by to her friends. She then turned to Sakon. "Arigatou O-ni-chan. Arigatou Ukon. This was the best birthday ever."


Author's Notes

sempai/kouhai - a refrence in rank, sempai meaning that the person has a higher rank, wether in age, length at being a place, or postiion, ecetera then the person who is the kouhai. And example of it being used is like how we call people at school juniors and seniors. A junior would be a kouhai, while the senior would be the sempai.

o-kaa - mother

o-ni - brother or older male

iie - no

haha - mother

konnichiwa - hello

gomen - sorry

hai - yes

o-ji - grandfather

chichi - father

O-tanjoubi omedetou - happy birthday

arigatou - thankyou

sakon/ukon - Sakon relates to the left hand in a way while ukon relates to the left hand, that is the best way I can describe it.

As this is my first attempt at using the Japanese laungage in a fan fic, it would be wonderful if I could have help on anything I got wrong. Arigatou.

Arigatou to HollyMistress, for pointing out which word to use for hello. Also, someone pointed out I used to much Japanese. It is my first fic, so I have decided to leave it for this once and use the advice for my next fic.