Snowflakes and Sandcastles
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters herein and am making no financial gain from this work of fiction.
Todou Yukifumi held open the door for his wife and young son. "Are you sure you want to be out in this?" He asked motioning to the swirling snowflakes. It had been snowing in Tokyo off and on for days and Maria had reminded him of his promise to take their son out in it. When he saw her raise a delicate eyebrow, he let out a sigh. "Hai, hai." He began pushing the pram down the cleared sidewalk to the local park.
"You have to admit it's so pretty out." Maria said tucking an arm in her husband's elbow.
"Mmmmmm. Just how long are we staying out here?" He asked looking down when he saw his son's tiny hands reaching to catch the falling flakes. He smiled when her heard the laughter from his offspring.
"Oh, come on. Don't you remember the first winter you played in the snow?"
"No, I wasn't allowed to play. Practicing Noh was my play." His eyes had taken on a faraway look.
"Oh, Yuki. Gomen ne." Maria apologized. She knew his childhood had been filled with Noh, but she had always assumed he had been allowed some time to be a regular child.
"Iie," he told her, smiling down at her. "I was happy, don't misunderstand. But there were times when I wished I was anyone but a Todou."
She studied him as they waited at the corner to cross the street; when they first married, she felt his rebellion simmering underneath the calm surface and had supported him in his decisions even when he had divorced her to protect her. Now she wanted to give him back something he had lost. There were times when he played with their son she thought he was having more fun than just being with Yukihiko. Now she knew the reason. She pulled on his arm when the light changed, "Come on, let's go have some fun." She urged.
"Hai," he smiled at her and pushed his son's pram in front of him.
In mere minutes, Yuki was unbuckling his squirming and excited child. "Hold on, young man. I'll have you out in a second." Yuki laughed trying to contain the energetic mass with Maria looking on. He lifted his head when he heard a click and saw his wife snapping away with a camera. "You didn't say anything about pictures….."He whined. "I spent all last week in front of a camera for the album cover shoot and promotions."
"This is way different, husband of mine. For our eyes only." She told him switching the camera to video mode not wanting to miss a moment of Yukifumi's and Yukihiko's first play in the snow. She smiled as her husband held their son's hands as he brushed the younger Todou through the drifts laughing with the boy. She loved to see Yukifumi so relaxed; he and the other members of /\ucifer had been working hard on the next album. She had spent many an evening waiting for him to come home; she knew the creative process was demanding and not on any schedule. She had woken in the middle of the night several times to hear Yuki quietly strumming his acoustic guitar, scribbling away and then finding him slumped into a chair in the morning. So now, in this time and place, she was glad to see him relaxing and happy. She laughed as her son threw a handful of snow at his father, coating the long purple strands in white.
"Oi, Yuki-chan!" Yuki laughed, shaking his head.
"Here, "Maria held out a small towel.
"Do you think," Yuki asked as he dried his face. "That I could dump snow on him?"
Maria held her breath, willing the sad tears away. He doesn't really know how to play, she thought. She nodded, "As long as you're careful about it." She answered softly.
"Hai," he answered, a wicked grin lifting his lips.
She laughed as her husband chased after his giggling son with a handful of snow, stalking him. She was having a hard time keeping the camera still to capture these wonderful moments. Yukifumi was throwing handful after handful of powdery snow over their son when she heardfamiliar voices; turning she saw the rest of the band and Aine walking towards them.
"Maria!" Aine rushed up and hugged her. "We tried calling."
"Gomen ne, Aine-chan." Maria replied, pulling back. "Yukifumi promised to take us out when it snowed and this was the first chance he's had." She explained. "Konnichiwa, minna-san." She greeted the rest.
"So the Old Man does know how to play." Sakuya said, wrapping an arm around Aine.
"Iie," Maria countered. "He asked if it was alright to dump snow on Yuki-chan." Sadness in her voice.
"Shimatta. Let's go show him how it's done then." Santa said, tugging his cap down. "Atsuro, Towa…come on." He leaned down and scooped some snow into his hand and started packing it.
Aine and Maria looked up at the tall singer, "Well?" Aine said with a raised eyebrow.
"Hai," Sakuya answered with a sigh and followed his band mates.
Soon there was an all out snowball fight, "Oi, who said you could join in?" Yuki asked dodging Santa's throw only to get hit by Atsuro's. "No fair!" He cried.
"There is only one rule in a snowball fight, Leader: as long as no one gets hurt there are no rules." Santa let another shot go, hitting Yuki in the shoulder.
Soon the players had divided themselves into teams: Yuki, Atsuro and Towa against Sakuya, Santa and his son. "You are on the other side?" Yuki asked his son with feigned hurt in his voice and eyes, clutching his chest as if mortally wounded.
"Otousan." Came the tiny voice, giggling merrily which made everyone smile.
Maria and Aine laughed on the sidelines as the fighters became soaked and tired. "Okay, I think you all have had enough." Maria finally said, laughing.
"We're just getting started, " Santa whined, snowball at the ready.
"Yeah, what he said. " Sakuya added with a whine as well.
"Iie, the last thing we need," Aine started motioning to Maria. "Is to have five musicians sick and Sasaki on our case about it."
"Awwwwww, cutting into our fun." Santa said dropping into the snow and smiling when Yukihiko climbed into his lap. "Tired, Yuki-chan?" He asked hugging the small boy.
The child shook his head, but gave a little sigh. "I want to keep playing with you and Otousan." He shivered a bit.
Yuki seeing this, walked over and picked up his soaked son. "We can do this again." He reassured the boy.
Sakuya moved to them, "Hai, but maybe we can do it somewhere warm next time." He suggested. "Ever build a sand castle?" He asked and nodded when both father and son shook their heads. "Well there we go. We have a date with a beach soon."
SIX MONTHS LATER
"Oi, Yuki! Come get your son. He's burying me." Santa yelled from where he was currently laying, Yukihiko pouring another bucket of sand over him.
The tall guitarist, laughing, came over and swept his errant son into his arms. "Aren't you going to help with my sand castle?" He asked the giggling child.
"I think Santa can manage on his own."
"Yuki!" The drummer cried out, watching father and son walk away.
From under an umbrella, Aine and Maria watched the members of /\ucifer frolicking on the sand and in the surf. The past six months had seen the band on a grueling schedule. They had all come home exhausted and in dire need of a long break. The record company had rented the property they were staying on and it had included a private beach. Under the sun, with plenty of rest, relaxation and good food, the band was almost back to 100. They had even taken on a bit of a sun-kissed appearance. "They look so much better." Maria said observing Yuki, their son, Atsuro and Towa all constructing a castle. At least they thought it was a castle.
"Hai, I don't know what possessed Sasaki-san to allow a schedule like they had." Aine replied, her breath stopping when she saw Sakuya emerging from the surf, dripping wet and combing back his hair with his long, talented fingers. "I told Sakuya and the others if they agreed to a schedule like that again, I would have something to say about it."
"You wanted to say…" Sakuya interjected, plopping onto the towel next to Aine and accepting another towel to dry his soaking hair.
"Aa. All they told us was that there would be little free time." He told them rubbing his hair. "Little did we know they meant no free time."
"Well it's over and done." Maria replied, smiling at the young couple. "I hope Yuki told them what they could do the next time."
"You should have been there, Maria. It took me and Santa with a bit of help from Atsuro to keep him from hurting the company rep. All the while, Towa was giving the guy a piece of his mind." Sakuya laughed, sipping at the bottle of water Aine had handed him.
"Hmmmm….." She replied, her attention was stolen when she heard her son scold his father. She laughed seeing her sexy husband fall back on the sand trying to apologize for knocking over part of the sand structure.
Sakuya and Aine joined in and before long they both got up and made their way to the group which now included Santa. "I guess we'd better go help the Old Man." Sakuya had told her. She watched as members of the band helped both her husband and her son construct a huge castle of sand. An hour or so later, Yuki walked up and settled next to her on the towel in the shade of the umbrella. Maria had felt her heart give a little jump as she had watched Yuki stroll to her in his swim trunks, his skin gleaming in the sun with a bit of a tan.
"Have a good time?" She asked, handing him a bottle of water from the cooler.
"Hai," he replied taking a long drink. "But the castle will be gone when the tide comes in." He said sadly.
"But you'll have the memories forever." Maria encouraged, hugging him from behind, laying her face against his neck. "That's the important thing. You, Yuki-chan and everyone will have those memories the rest of your lives. You finally played in the sand, Yuki. You played." She told him, pressing a kiss to his temple, feeling the silky hair there. "Aishteru, Yuki."
Yuki turned in her embrace, "Aishteru, koiishi. Always and forever." He returned her kiss.
"Go get a room, you two." Santa and Sakuya jeered from the surf where they held Yukihiko's hands and he played in the water.
'Great idea," Yuki said looking into his wife's eyes. "I know how to play a game of a different sort." He whispered against her soft lips.