By Maria Szabo
Disclaimer: the settings and characters of X belong to CLAMP, their publishers and their respective distributers. This is a work of fanfiction, no profit is being made and copyright infringement is not intended. The title "Smiles of a Summer Night" is a tribute to the 1956 film by Ingmar Bergman and no infringement of his rights or those of his distributors is intended either. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter are from Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" and are used only because I love the musical so much. Please don't sue me!
The sun won't set
It's fruitless to hope or to fret
It's dark as it's going to get
The hands on the clock turn
But don't sing a nocturne
Stephen Sondheim The Sun Won't Set
"Well, that was educational." Murmured KAMUI as he watched Seishiro disappear back into the shadows. He'd sensed the Sakurazukamori earlier in the day and had tracked his movements, hoping to get some answers. He hadn't been disappointed.
"Sakurazuka-san knows that man?" asked Nataku. "I thought that man was a Dragon of Heaven?"
"Then why did he kiss him?" Nataku shook its head. "I don't understand."
"Kazuki, have you ever seen fireworks?" Time to change the subject, KAMUI thought.
"Well, then, we'll go see the fireworks, how about that?"
"Ok. What are fireworks?"
This he could explain. "Do you remember that last building you blew up?"
"Fireworks are like that. Only prettier and they don't hurt people."
"Oh." Nataku pondered that for a moment as they walked down the path towards the field where the fireworks display was being held. "But why DID Sakurazuka-san kiss that man?"
KAMUI sighed. "Because they were once in love. And still are, perhaps." And, please, he thought silently, don't ask me what love is.
"Oh." This time Nataku remained silent until they found an empty spot in the field and sat down on the grass. The construct took in the sound of piped-in music, the many people around them and the clear sky above. "Today was very beautiful."
'Hmm. Summer nights are special." KAMUI wrapped his arms around his knees and also looked up at the sky. "My father used to tell me that if you looked hard enough, you could see the summer night smile."
"Yeah. It smiles three times, he said. Once for those who would be in love, again for those who had been in love, and the best and brightest smile for those who are in love. He was kind of romantic, for a priest."
"But what about those who don't love?"
He reached over and ruffled Nataku's hair. "No smiles for us, Kazuki. But we still have fireworks."
Yuzuriha rushed through the crowd, pulling Kusanagi along with her. The encounter with Sorata had startled her. While she hoped that she had handled it well, poor Kusanagi-san must have been horribly embarrassed.
"Missy! I think we can slow down now." He laughed. "It doesn't look like they're following us."
"But the concert!" Maybe if they made the concert, she could salvage this date and they could have a good time.
"It must be half-over by now. We were running late as it was."
She stopped suddenly and turned to look up at him. "You think so?"
She bit her lip. "I'm sorry. This hasn't been a very good date, has it?"
"What are you talking about?" he smoothed his hand over her hair. "I'm having a great time."
"Really? I mean, even with the fish, and Sorata-san grabbing you like that…"
Kusanagi-san smiled down at her. "All's well that ends well. And he did apologize. As for the fish, well, I should apologize for being so sensitive."
"No! You shouldn't hide that!" At his surprised look, she stammered, "I mean, I don't want you to change the way you are because of me…I like the way you are…" Oh, this wasn't coming out right at all, she thought.
His eyes managed to light up and look pensive all at the same time. "Is that so?"
"Yes," she said decisively, taking both his hands in hers. "Absolutely."
"I like the way you are, too, Missy. Dog and all."He squeezed her hands gently. "Even if I have to deal with a dozen hot-headed priests."
"Sorata-san's pretty impulsive." She admitted. "But he's nice, too. Arashi-san, also. Just not to Sorata-san."
The girl gave a conspiratorial grin. "I think she really likes Sorata-san and is just too shy to admit it. It's really cute."
He grinned back at her. "Missy, you're going into matchmaking now?"
"I'm sorry," he said, "That was mean of me."
"So how are you going to make up for it?" she demanded.
"How about some takoyaki?" A festival was not complete without the sticky octopus balls. "You like takoyaki, don't you?"
"Of course! Oh! I just had a good idea!" she exclaimed. "Let's get them and go watch the fireworks! I know a great spot, if you don't mind the distance…it won't be as crowded."
"Sounds good to me." He replied. "Lead on!"
He sat still, with his hands still covering his face. Maybe if he didn't answer, they'd go away. Maybe if he didn't answer, he could continue to re-run the event through his memory, over and over again. Maybe if he didn't answer, he'd eventually figure out what he could have done differently, something that would have spared him the humiliation of being rejected yet again by the man he loved.
They weren't going away. He lifted his hands and looked up at them. Kamui's beautiful eyes were full of concern Karen-san and Aoki-san stood further back, respectfully trying not to intrude, but ready to help if necessary.
"It was HIM, wasn't it?" asked the boy, sadly. His face was full of compassion and pity. From anyone else, Subaru could not have borne it, but Kamui of all people understood what he was going through.
"Yes," he whispered.
"Did he hurt you?"
He let out a ragged sigh. "He's always hurt me. I should be used to it by now."
"No, you shouldn't." Kamui offered his hand. "There's such a thing as hope. You mustn't forget that."
He stared at the boy for a moment, then took his hand and pulled himself to his feet. "Perhaps. Who's to say?"
He pulled away from the young man. His wound was too fresh to share. Kamui had a kind heart and he didn't want to add to the boy's heartbreak. He was doomed from the moment he'd met the Sakurazukamori as a child and while his destiny required that he join the Dragons of Heaven in their fight for humanity, he had no wish to endanger them or distract them with his personal problems. "I'm fine. Please don't worry about me."
"Kamui! There you are!" Arisugawa-kun came up with an angry-looking Arashi-san in tow. The monk must have said something annoying to her again.
"Did you find Yuzuriha-chan?" he asked. "Is she alright?"
"Yes." Arashi replied. She went and stood by Aoki-san, as far away from Arisugawa-kun as she could get.
"Turned out the terrorist guy was her boyfriend, can you believe it?" Sorata kept rubbing his shoulder.
Kamui turned an incredulous eye on the young priest. "Yuzuriha has a boyfriend?"
"What terrorist guy?" asked Karen-san.
"Isn't she a bit young for a boyfriend?" chimed in Aoki-san. "Especially a terrorist!"
"I'm not sure he was a terrorist," admitted Arashi-san, in her quiet way.
Subaru took advantage of the chaos to light another cigarette and take a long, satisfying draw. Then the thought occurred to him.
"Arisugawa-kun," he asked, "That man…Yuzuriha's boyfriend…he wouldn't happen to be…"
Kamui caught the direction immediately. "…a Dragon of Earth?"
They all turned to look at the priest, who scratched the back of head.
"I, um, didn't think to ask."
"Won't be as crowded" was an understatement, Kusanagi thought, as he followed Yuzuriha into the wooded area behind the fireworks display field. The area was virtually secluded, except for a few couples who were too involved with each other to notice them passing. They didn't stop there, as he expected. She beckoned him further, up a small hill to a grassy knoll.
"What do you think?" she asked, proudly.
"Wow." She was right. The hill was high enough that the trees below would not obstruct the view. He sat down carefully on the grass, carefully not to crush any of the blades. "How did you find this place?"
"Inuki." She replied. She put down the plush dog and the bag of takoyaki and spun around, looking up at the sky. She was so beautiful, there in the twilight, with the glow of the festival lights below outlining her form. "This is my favorite spot on the campus."
"I can see why you like it." The spot was almost wild. "I never imagined that there was a place like this still existed in this city."
She stopped. "You don't like the city much, do you?"
"…No," he finally admitted.
"Why not?" She took off her geta and sat down next to him.
"Look around you. This is what all that mass of concrete and steel used to look like, before man tore it down."
"I never thought about it that way. But…" and she thought for a moment. "People still need a place to live and to work."
"Yes. That's true. But there should be a way to do that without destroying the landscape."
"I see." And she looked a little sad. "I don't know the answer to that."
He cursed himself for a fool. Yuzuriha was the practical sort who would try to fix any problem the world presented her. He'd seen before how she reacted to questions without answers. It was part of her charm. "I'm sorry, Missy, I shouldn't be lecturing like that."
"No, that's alright." She hesitated for a moment, eyes wide, then reached up and pressed her mouth to his. For a moment, the world centered on the warm night, the sweet smell of the grass and the spicy taste of oranges from her lips. She pulled back for a second to look at him, blushing wildly.
He smiled at her gently, then leaned in for another kiss, less innocent this time. She twined her arms around his neck and drew herself closer to him. He deepened the kiss briefly, then pulled away, brushing her hair back from her face.
"How old are you again, Missy?"
"Almost fifteen, huh?" he sighed and, dropping another kiss on her lips, set her firmly away. "Then we'd best stop here."
"I'm not a child, Kusanagi-san."
"Neither am I," he whispered hoarsely. He did not bother to hide the hunger in his eyes.
Her face was a reflection of dismay, need, fear, acceptance and finally confusion.
"It's a little overwhelming now, isn't it?" he murmured softly as she hid her face against his chest.
"…..yes…" she replied, not looking up.
He curled his fingers under her chin and made her look up at him. "So we wait until you're a little older. When you're almost eighteen, you can have all the kisses you need, and more besides, if that's what you want."
He felt her face grow very hot at that. "I'm sorry…it's such a long time."
"Shhh," he replied, and kissed her brow, "Almost seventeen, then, if you like. I don't mind waiting."
She took a deep breath and released it. She moved away from him and his arms felt strangely empty. "We forgot the takoyaki!" she exclaimed. She reached over for the small bag. "Hey, and the fireworks are just starting!"
He'd almost forgotten about the fireworks. "Good then. We didn't miss anything."
"Hey, these are great. Want some?"
"Sure." He grinned at her. "Missy, you don't have to sit all the way over there."
"Hmph. C'mere." She came towards him and he pulled her down onto his lap. "I said we should wait. I didn't mean we shouldn't be close." He wrapped his arms securely around her. "Comfortable? Can you see ok?"
She leaned back against him and sighed happily. "Fine. Takoyaki?" she held up a toothpick with the sweet and they both laughed.
From the distant dreamscape, Kakyou Kuzuki looked down on the lovers with soft eyes and saw the summer night smile its brightest. "The future has taken root in the present," he murmured. "It has begun."