Standard disclaimers apply.
By Cassandra's Destiny
"You know, Touya, I have a theory."
She smiled brightly; he looked away.
It was all too cheery for him. The intense rays of the sun illuminating her golden brown tresses piled upon her shoulders. Her warm brown eyes radiant, unwavering. How they were constantly thrown together like this, he didn't know. Surely, their unrelenting close-proximity, magnet-like even, was not just coincidence. He refused to believe that. Yet it was all a big joke; anyone who wishes to be stuck with an overly talkative seventeen year old would be mad. He knew.
"Touya-kun?" Her voice was softer, lower, and with a glance, matched her lowered eyebrows.
"What?" He already regretted asking.
Her face screwed up for a moment, upset with his unnaturally intense interest in the lanky oak tree to their side. Her dismay was quickly replaced with impatience. "My theory."
"Ah, yes. Your theory."
Her voice was hopeful again. "Well, do you want to hear it?"
"Hearing a theory from Nakuru…" he started grimly. "The ground might as well open up and swallow me alive."
She made a very disconcerted face, then realized he must be joking.
"I don't think the ground will like you."
"You're too grumpy."
She crossed her legs, fanning herself with her right hand. "It's too hot."
"Dry is more like it." It was a statement. He was not simply correcting her.
"Either way," her tone was slow and hushed. "It's going to rain."
Touya looked up. Light rain, perhaps. A light sky yet with charcoal-gray clouds, everything cast in an orange hue. Bright sun behind and to the side. "Your theory," he began slowly. There was no need to rush; they had nothing to do for the day. "Let me hear it."
A playful smile graced her features before she turned to him. "Really?"
If she was going to ramble, so be it. If his ears were going to pop, so be it. Anything is better than being idle. Maybe when his ears pop, she'd have to rush him to the hospital, and there'll be some excitement in their day. He grimaced. Some twisted idea of excitement.
"My theory is about people."
He lifted an eyebrow, but not to her. "Go on."
She shot him a look for interrupting, but continued just the same. "Everyone is afraid of failure." The seriousness in her voice made him want to listen intently to her next words. If a theory such as this is making her serious all of a sudden, it must really be something.
She nodded once.
"People are terrified of failing at things, of setbacks. They don't like to take risks." She paused, uncrossing her legs and placing each foot firmly on the ground. "They always tell each other to take the plunge, go for it and do what one feels like doing. Yet they themselves don't take their own advice."
He hadn't taken notice, but he was already staring at her. Her sugary smile was gone. She was no longer wide-eyed and beaming. Her facial features showed deep reflection. Touya thought she looked like a whole new woman.
"You know why love is so controversial?" Her voice snapped him out of his musings, something he would never admit openly.
Slightly bobbing her head to the side, she had an entranced look. "Because love is all about risks…"
"And people don't like risks."
"Mhm." She hummed. "It's telling someone how you feel when you're not sure how he will react. It's giving your heart to someone when you're not certain if he will be willing to accept it. It's all about risking a fraction of your life, surrendering it to possible heartache or heartbreak." She closed her eyes. "Love scares people."
What she was thinking, he didn't know. A pregnant pause followed.
Touya looked up the sky once more. The clouds were getting darker and seemingly heavier. She was right; it was going to rain. But it's not the only thing she was right about.
"Touya?" Came her silent call.
"I don't want to be afraid, and I don't want other people to be afraid either."
He opened his mouth to give a reply, but no word came out. He felt like there was nothing to say. Touya can't tell her to take the plunge, go for it and do what she feels like doing, because if he did, he would be someone who doesn't take his own advice.
"I don't like failing as much as the next person, but…"
If she uttered something more, Touya was not able to catch it. The sound of the hasty rain drowned her almost silent whispers.
"Nakuru," he began, glancing at his companion as she opened her eyes. "Why the theory?"
The sudden display of interest took Nakuru by surprise. But to actually keep her mouth agape, eyes wide open and a clenched fist to her chest – no, she did not go that far. "What?"
"A reason. A reason for your theory."
She closed her eyes once more, mind focusing on the sound of the rain beginning to pour.
"On days like this, when we're idle…" Nakuru took a deep breath, then slowly exhaled through a small 'o' she made of her lips. "It made me wonder if there's a reason why we're not doing anything."
A sudden gust of wind filled the air, making her shiver slightly. Touya scooted closer inadvertently.
"We idle away the days, but why? Are we so afraid of failure, of taking risks, that we'd rather keep ourselves unengaged? Do we choose to be idle because we're so afraid to try?" There was a hint of worry in her voice, reflection and perturbation equally evident.
Touya remained stock-still as she rested her head on his shoulder, eyes slowly opening, waking her lithe and petite form.
"Would we rather keep it all in, become insipid, rather than risk the butterflies in our stomachs and the racing of our hearts as we take the plunge and follow our hearts? Would we take being quiet over the risk of failure, failure because when we tell someone we like them, we're not certain if they like us back? Would we rather be… idle all our lives?"
"Nakuru…" he rustled softly.
"I don't. I don't want to be afraid."
"You don't have to be." The rain picked up suddenly, forming fuller drops to fall on the concrete. A gust of wind filled the air once more, and Touya wrapped a hand around her shoulders, holding her closer to him. Whether the action was done inadvertently or not, it is uncertain, a mystery left to be deciphered.
He looked up to the sky and took note of the full, dark clouds. A boring day, he thought, even adding that anything is better than being idle like this. Perhaps her theory was right. Would he rather remain quiet all his life and not take risks? Forever remain afraid of failure and rejection?
Touya glanced at Nakuru's now placid form, and he surmised: The fear of failure and rejection might not be an issue any longer. And he inwardly smiled.
The rain might not be the main attraction today.