(embarrassed) Eep! This felt a bit whimsical... ^^;; Still, I hope you enjoy reading.
The Way Things Are...
written by YEN (10/29/99)
final edit (02/05/2000)
Yui was on guard, her eyes scanning the surrounding area carefully. Around her, the foliage lay perfectly still, not an animal sound to be heard or even the rustle of a breeze going by. This was not the usual case even in the close contained environment of one of Shevat's hydroponics farms.
There was the barest flicker of movement from the corner of her eye, and an instant later, she whirled about, her sword, drawn and blocking a strike from her attacker. Blue eyes twinkled mischievously at her, and Yui instinctively somersaulted backwards, her feet kicking hard against her opponent's body just as another blow descended from above.
Yui landed easily a short distance away and watched with satisfaction as her teacher slowly picked himself off the ground. He brushed dust and dirt from his clothes meticulously before lifting his head to smile proudly at her. "Excellent, little one, you have been practicing."
Yui groaned. "Uncle, please stop calling me that!" She glared at him. "I am no longer little!"
His smile remained unfazed. "Very well, as you wish. Your technique has improved, child."
He lifted a hand and wagged a scholarly finger at her. "You know very well that unless you have taken a mate, you are not yet legitimately an adult."
Yui stared back at him and looked away, uncomfortable with the situation. "I'm not ready..."
He sighed. "You are of age-"
"I know that," she interrupted, turning back to him with a helpless look in her eyes. "I'm just not ready for that!"
"Not ready? Or have yet to find someone?"
"Please excuse me..."
She turned away from him and exited the farm pod. Left behind, Azuire sighed
again and began cleaning his weapons. "... This is the way things are,
Yui stared blindly at the vista before her. It was early dawn, and the sun shone yellow gold as it rose slowly and steadily through the clouds. A wind blew strongly against her face, also producing an excited jangle from the wind chime behind her.
... Too fast... things are happening too fast... Yui sighed and pressed a switch. The breeze stopped abruptly as the window closed and a panel slid over to cover it. She stared at it. ...I shouldn't have left uncle like that... She turned and walked towards the bedrooms. ... It isn't his fault... I should be thankful... If it were another person other than him as my guardian, I would have been married off a long time ago... Even grandfather couldn't have done any better...
Grandfather... She went inside her bedroom and laid down tiredly, wanting so much to sleep but just couldn't. ... I wish you were here... She felt so helpless. Is this how you felt when they banished you from Shevat? ... Even now, when you have been pardoned and again honored, I can understand why you wouldn't want to be here...
In the skycity of Shevat, there were two classes, that of pure Shevat line and people rescued from the surface. For hundreds of years, there was intermarriage between the two, and of now, only the noble class of Shevat retained the patrician line.
Yui closed her eyes, forcing herself not to think or to worry, then suddenly sat up when the door opened. She relaxed immediately when she saw that it was her uncle. An amused smile lightened her weary demeanor. ... He never did believe in knocking before entering... "Uncle..."
"Forgive me, little one," he interrupted her gently as he sat down at the foot of her bed. "I shouldn't have told you so callously..."
"Quiet," he shushed her, "Let me finish. You can have all the time you want and need." His eyes were both serious and gentle. "I promise I will not give you away unless you, yourself, tell me you want me to."
Yui laughed, relieved and embarrassed for him. She kneeled and hugged him impulsively, feeling as well his delight and fondness of her. After a while, she released him and looked back at him frankly, "You spoil me too much, Uncle," she said softly. "If you are a proper guardian, you would have married me off four years ago."
Azuire lifted an eyebrow at that. "You want to be married then?" he asked hopefully.
Yui blushed and lowered her eyes. "... You know I want to have someone..." she whispered haltingly, "but I just haven't met anyone who interest me in that way..."
"That's because you have very high standards," he quipped.
Yui glared at him, then smiled. "Very well then, Uncle," she sat back down on the bed, brought her knees up against her chest, wrapped her arms around them, rested her chin on top, and stared at him. "If you can find me someone who is even remotely like you, I will marry him in an instant," she continued seriously.
Azuire stared back at her silently. "... Someone like me?" he repeated. When Yui nodded, he frowned thoughtfully and a moment later, laid back across the bed and stared blankly at the ceiling.
Yui fought back a giggle when her uncle had assumed his habitual thinking position. It was not unusual to find Azuire in that particular position, nor was it at all an uncommon posture. It was where he did his thinking that proved humorous. Yui could never forget the time she found him lying down in front of Sophia's Angel. The Empress Zephyr herself had requested her to remove Azuire.
She waited quietly while her uncle mused on, seemingly oblivious to everything around him. Biting her lower lip to keep from laughing out aloud, Yui slowly reached back for a pillow.
?! "... Yui!" Azuire knocked the pillow from his face and lunged at Yui who was laughing with another pillow held defensively in front of her. She easily evaded him and scampered off the bed. "You brat!"
Yui turned to find him shaking his head at her. She grinned as he got off the bed, rearranged his clothing, and combed back his short mussed hair with his fingers. He was also quite a narcissist.
Still holding the pillow, she answered back, "If I'm a brat, it isn't my fault, dear guardian of mine."
He glared at her. "I think I have an appointment with a prospective suitor of yours right about now. I really should be going, little one."
Yui smiled. "That reminds me, Lady Jeszal was inquiring about you." Azuire paled. "Should I answer her for you, Uncle?"
"You wouldn't dare!"
"Oh, whatever do you mean, Sensei?"
"Speaking of suitors, shouldn't you be married by now, Uncle?"
"Oh no, do not change the subject. We are discussing your marriage here."
"But, you are being so cruel, Lord Azuire, all those ladies waiting so eagerly for your affections."
He turned crimson, and Yui giggled. He was such an unlikely ladies' man, her uncle, but she could understand why so many found him attractive. Tall, broad-shouldered, and well spoken. Silky raven-haired with quiet intelligent sapphire eyes. He had a fighter's skill, but preferred the scholarly academic life which he led. Perhaps what drew the most attention was his unawareness of the appeal he possessed.
... If only he wasn't my uncle... Yui thought regretfully. ... but then, there are marriages among close families... she shivered slightly, sickened by the idea. So few families of nobility left, and the members so stubborn about continuing the pure line. It has become even acceptable to commit incest. Fidelity is so rare as well... I do not want that kind of marriage... all for the sake of genes...
Yui... She started, realizing that Azuire was now standing in front of her, the expression on his face regretful. She felt his hand touch her face. ...Forgive me, little one, I should have never taught you what I believe-
No, Uncle! She closed her eyes, vision unimportant in communication such as this. Never think that!
A soft sigh... Your life is harder, because of the morals I have taught you-
They are the right ones!
... I am glad you think that, but try to understand that our society only wants to survive-
We can survive without having to betray ourselves!
... True, so true... Yui opened her eyes just as his hand fell from her face. He smiled at her warmly. "Choose your mate with your heart." His eyes darkened purposely. "I will handle those old goats asking for you to be paired with their sons."
Yui smiled teasingly. "What if it's a she asking you?"
Azuire flushed again. "... Do not worry. I will take care of it."
He smiled back at her fondly. "It's those young bucks begging for your
hand in marriage that cause me the most difficulty actually." He frowned,
irritated. "They don't seem to understand the word no."
^^ Short, isn't it? But many chapters, I think. Hmm... An original character has a prominent role. I do not like the idea, but there isn't much data available, nor many known characters at this point in Xenogears' history either. Don't worry, Azuire's role is very limited in this fanfic. ^^ You do know who I will be concentrating on, don't you? ^_~