Ficlet #30: Anywhere
Promt#22: ichi-go ichi-e

A look. A touch. A smile.

A look--any look. We're here again, aren't we. It could be anywhere, anyplace, but it would still be here--because their eyes turned to each other in exactly the same moment, only half a second, but in that half a second they meet each other's gaze openly. And when it happens, it really doesn't matter when or where they are. It happened years ago; it will happen years from now. Half a second, of concern, understanding, exasperation, the demand for understanding or acceptance. Perfectly shared.

From there--a touch. And it could be any touch. Healing hands or practice blows; back to back in fear; shoulder to shoulder, and the room is not quite that crowded. Palm to palm, a hesitant grazing, knowing that something is being stated. The smaller hand, sword callused and perpetually bandages, reaching for larger but somehow more delicate fingers, both knowing that this bare touch means more than anything else could. The tokens, the physical trinkets that could be passed from hand to hand--a certain gem, perhaps, a certain flower--could never serve to do more than what had always been done, the same business over and over again. Rules, questions, uncertainties. I need you for this, I need you for that, I need you for something and never just I need you. They have stopped giving each other tokens; they touch.

From there--a smile. And it can be every smile. Small, or sardonic, or twisted; private or public. At the other's expense, or sharing his amusement, or formed and forced just because of him, just to lift him past the latest impossible challenge. It's moments like these that push them past the boundaries of anything either of them knows, rendering the two skilled warriors nearly helpless with inexperience. This is not a strategic advance; it is a feeling, no more and no less, to be honored for itself and nothing more. It comes in brief but beautiful moments, hovering over them like some winged creature, ready to be pursued if and when; here and there; now and again. They smile when they see it.

From the smile comes a look; brief, but all-encompassing. From the look a touch, accidental but right. From the touch a smile, pained but genuine; the beginning turns into the end, and the end to the beginning. We're here again, aren't we.

A/N: My understanding of this prompt is that it does not translate directly, but is a concept along the lines of 'for this moment only' or 'one chance in a lifetime.' It's my belief that these two are so close, so suited to one another, that any and every moment could be like that--one moment in a lifetime.

This is the last prompt; thank you all for reading! It's been great fun to write.