Sorata glanced down at the sleeping girl, her side rising and falling slowly as she breathed. Poor Arashi, he thought as she made herself more comfortable on the makeshift pillow that was his leg, She probably hasn't slept for days. He sighed. The recent string of events had begun to take its toll, and no matter how hard she tried to hide it or cover it up, the weariness still showed. He sighed again. She wasn't the only one who had missed a lot of sleep. They were all exhausted...
Sorata smiled as a small yawn escaped from her. She'll probably beat herself up later when she realizes she fell asleep. And when she realizes where she fell asleep, he added with a grin. She still didn't realize that the more she pushed away from him, the more futile it was. He'd chosen to die for her, and she'd just have to live with it.
He looked up at the sky and sighed wistfully. It was still just the beginning...
At first, Arashi thought she was in her room, in her bed, and it had all been some sort of dream. No, she thought as she became steadily more conscious. It felt different here...
She slowly opened her eyes. She looked around, and saw...
Sorata. Almost instantly, Arashi sprung about a yard away to put some distance between them. She looked at him, bewildered.
Sorata grinned and said, "Didja have a nice nap?"
A hint of anger highlighted her voice. "What did you do to me?"
Sorata grinned wider and said in a very unconvincing tone, "Nothing!" He knew he looked and sounded guilty, but it was true, he hadn't caressed a single hair on her head. Well, okay, so he had done that, but that was all...
She sat and glared at him for a little while but then began to take notice of their surroundings. With awe in her voice, she remarked, "Where are we?"
The two sat in the middle of an incredibly lush green field, beneath a humongous tree covered with light purple flowers. There were more trees off in the distance with other flowers of bright and varied colors. In fact, the whole place seemed to have a lively, vivid color scheme. Even the browns seemed to jump out at you. Then there was the sky. It was black and dotted with millions of stars, yet it seemed to be daytime where Arashi and Sorata were.
"It's a dreamscape," Sorata replied, also looking around.
When he offered no further explanation, Arashi asked, "Who do you think made it?"
"Obviously someone very powerful," Sorata replied. "And someone who obviously likes colors," he added, plucking a flower off a low-lying branch.
Arashi stood for a few moments, gazing at the stars. She then turned to him. "This 'dreamscape'- it's an illusion?"
Sorata stared thoughtfully at the flower for a few seconds, then turned his gaze to Arashi. "Think of it as... a 'false reality'," he said and held the flower out to her.
She eyed him cautiously, then gently took the flower from his outstretched hand. She immediately began to feel more relaxed, and her muscles lost their dull ache. She slowly raised the flower so that it was beneath her nose and gave it a delicate sniff. The scent was faint but pleasing.
Sorata cocked his head slightly to the side as he watched her and smiled. She's so beautiful, he thought.
Arashi suddenly became very self-conscious and felt Sorata's eyes on her. She looked at him and raised an eyebrow slightly. "What is it?"
"You're just so beautiful," he said, as though it was an everyday thing for him to say to her.
Which it was.
Ignoring his comment, Arashi turned away from him enough so that she could barely see him out of the corner of her eye and looked at the trees in the distance. "Is this Hinoto's doing?"
Sorata bent over to pick up a yellow blossom, sniffed it, and shrugged. "It would explain why we haven't been attacked yet. And it would account for the colors, too."
Arashi turned back toward him, somewhat confused. "But... she's blind, isn't she?"
Sorata placed his hands behind his head and stared up at the starry sky. "Exactly. In her mind, colors must appear much brighter and happier than they would in the mind of a person who can see. If, say, one of us had created this, everything would be drabber but more realistically colored based on what we know of our own reality. It's a shame, though, that a beautiful place like this is something that we would consider 'fake'."
Arashi stared at him. He sees and understands so much from knowing even just a small bit about a person...
Sorata caught her glance and grinned.
...Yet he manages to hide that intelligence so well, she thought sourly, looking away.
Sorata looked back up at the sky, still grinning.
"So..." Arashi said, after a considerable moment's pause. "Why are we here?"
"You see," he began, "One day, our mommies and daddies decided to have a baby, so they -"
"No," Arashi said, sounding exasperated and looking as though she was desperately trying to hold back a smile but not quite succeeding. "What I mean is, why are we here?" she said, gesturing to their surroundings. "Why did Hinoto put us in this dreamscape?"
"Destiny?" he said, with a hopeful grin.
The grin slowly faded and he looked down at the ground. "My guess is that it probably got too dangerous, so she sent us here."
"What?!" Arashi exploded, a cold fire burning in her eyes. "We're supposed to be protecting Kamui! And we can't do that if we're stuck in some fake world -"
"Like I said, it probably got too dangerous..."
"'Too dangerous'?! There's no such thing! The more dangerous it gets, the more we should be helping him!" Arashi turned away from him and, after a few moments, had in her hand a sword.
Sorata looked startled but not because the sword had just protruded from her own hand. "What are you doing?"
Arashi narrowed her eyes. "I'm breaking out of this place." With that, she turned her back to him, held her sword out in front of her, and prepared to recite a spell.
Sorata grabbed her shoulder firmly.
She turned her head to look at him.
"No," he said.
"You don't know that it would help. There's probably a reason why Hinoto sent us here. And if we're here, the others probably are too, or in similar places. Besides," he said, softening his grip, "If you break it, you'll hurt Hinoto in the process."
Arashi's eyes lost their cold yet burning glare. Her arms dropped slowly to her side, and her sword returned to its resting place within her body.
"C'mon," he said, placing an arm around her shoulders and grinning as she shot him an icy glance, "Let's go back to our tree and pass the time."
Arashi stared straight ahead, arms crossed, sitting against the tree.
Sorata smiled up at her, head resting on her leg. "You really are beautiful, you know."
"Shut up," she said, her voice betraying no trace of emotion.
Beautiful but dangerous, like a storm. Sorata closed his eyes, but his smile never faded. Your name fits you so well.