Title:Rust
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: X (by CLAMP)
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Yuzuriha, OC
Genre: Drama, Explorative
Word Count: 845
Notes: For togakushishrine's (Old) Destiny's Children Challenge (#004) put forth by tamchronin.
Summary: Mother was broken.

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Rust

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The old water can had rusted, but her mother still used it to water the plants.

The daughter knew the woman's tendencies well, despite the confused pattern of an onset of what seemed like early dementia – a scattered list of symptoms that put off most from talking to her properly. Sighing, she watched closely as her mother glided across the yard, spilling water beneath the leaves of the plants she so carefully tended. Her deep-rooted intuition told her of her mother's pain. Though her mother was a petite lady, and still young by society's standards – twenty-nine – she was able to recognize the quality in her eyes for what it was...harsh experience.

"Mother," she breathed in greeting when she approached her, a slow smile working its way across her mouth.

When the older woman caught sight of her, she changed at once, discarding the raw face of deeply rooted sadness and exchanging it for the pasted-on cheer that she wore for the benefit of her child.

"Good morning," her mother chirped back enthusiastically, the attitude a painful contrast to the underlying truth of a broken spirit.

"Morning," she replied, momentarily caught by how different she and this woman were. In appearance, you could hardly tell that they were related. Her mother was small and cute, with large eyes and bow lips. She on the other hand, though just fourteen, towered over her mother – sporting lanky limbs and what the neighbors liked to term "flowing elegance." Her eyes were narrow and dark – "unfathomable," according to the suspicious lady next door who disapproved of the mere fifteen years that existed between the mother and child.

"Are you hungry?" her mother asked, setting the can down on the porch and discarding her flower-motif gardening gloves. "I'll make us some lunch."

Naturally, like any good daughter should, she helped her mother prepare it – gripping the woman's hands when she came close to burning herself on a pot of boiling rice. But her mother merely giggled, finding some unattainable humor in her near-accident. When they finally sat down for a peaceful lunch, the usually mirthful woman took on an unusually thoughtful expression.

"I was thinking of going into the city today," she murmured, eyes glazed and voice slightly dreamy.

"Tokyo?" the daughter enunciated, surprised that the woman was mentioning the one place she had always refused to acknowledge.

"Yes," her mother nodded thoughtfully, taking a delicate bite of rice. "I was thinking just this morning that I wanted some strawberry pocky and ice cream, and from what I've heard, they've rebuilt some of the most wonderful shops."

The daughter nodded slowly at the statement, warily observing the weak smile that had crossed her mother's face.

"Would you like to come with me?" the woman asked, eyes twinkling. "You've only been there once before."

The daughter remembered. She had hated it with an unrivaled passion. The trees and the grass were always crying in that city – strangled and choked by human cruelty. She had cried so much then, but she had never told her mother why.

"No thank you, Mother," she whispered, returning to her food with grace – she had verbally denied the request, but in actuality, she had every intention of going with her mother if the woman did indeed follow through with her whim. There was no way she was gong to let her wander alone in those filthy streets, after all. Still, she felt that the expression of her disapproval was necessary.

"Why don't you like it?" her mother asked suddenly, eyes alight with what was probably some long ago memory.

Picking at her food moodily, the daughter answered more honestly than she had originally intended: "I don't like it there - the trees always seem to be crying. I can hear them."

A change came over her mother then, chopsticks falling from her suddenly slack fingers. It was the same as that one time they had witnessed a dog being pummeled by a car as it was trying to cross the rood. Her mother's pupils grew small and her skin turned ghostly white.

"I see," she murmured as she stacked the dishes, rose from her seat, and piled them in the sink. "I'm going to water my flowers then, dear."

Again, her mother returned to the rusted can, as she always did in the end. Distantly, she wondered why it was so precious. Perhaps, it was a gift from someone special? A heirloom? A representation of something happy? Standing on the threshold of the door and the porch, she watched her mother flit around the garden, giving some things so much water that they would surely drown. She watched her mother's little hands grip the red-rusted can and tip it over, sprinkling the water like rain.

Sometimes, she liked to imagine that the rust was gone and that the metal was a splendidly shiny surface that glinted in the sunlight. And sometimes, she liked to imagine that her mother had once been like those tittering girls at school – happily buzzing the halls like sprites with sparkling eyes and brilliant smiles.

END.

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