Feeling the soft snow unfurl, around the wild flowered garden.
The two men sat apart from each other, legs crossed, fists clenched, swords lying inches from their hands. Of course, one would die. It was inevitable, he knew that. He had known that the moment he saw the back of him. The day beyond the porch was bleak and cold, the heavy clouds threatening the first of the season snows. In the gardens the pond paved over with ice, and the herons had immigrated south. They were all but alone. The tense silence loosened their minds, just as wine had loosened their tongues, back in their youth.
Adrenaline began to make itself known, nestling into the hollow of Jin's throat, and his heart quickened its disciplined pace. Beyond the window frame, white, pristine flakes began to descend from the heavens, heavy and unperturbed in their journeys to the ground. They needn't have worried, upon leaving the safe womb of their cloud, there was no wind to trouble them these days.
He was not meant to have lived beyond that snow storm. But he had lived to see many. The first few years after her death, she had visited him in his dreams. As soon as the first snow fell, he closed his eyes and let her come. She was a spirit, a beautiful phantom who seduced and enchanted him. It was only when he awoke, did he feel the harsh sting of winter.
Leo's eyes were narrowed, his jaw set, and his hair streaked into grey. There was no need for words, yet he spoke then, and his voice was throaty, grief induced.
'I am the last of the Flying Daggers.' Jin simply nodded, his face as calm as his body, while his insides ached with the strain of it. 'You know why I am here.' He nodded, again. 'And I know what you are thinking.' He sniffed slightly, the skin of his lower jaw tugging downwards, as he shot his nose briefly into the air. 'I think it too.' Looking down, 'I should have taken my own life' Jin was silent, he found the silence more satisfying, more maddening, more judgemental than anything else he could have said. 'Mei haunts me while I sleep, she hides in the recesses of my dreams, of the shadows of my nightmares. She only shows her face as the snow falls in the night. And her face is as white as the blizzard she finds me in. She only smiles though, but all the while, that smile, it terrifies me.' He finished, and looked up into the eyes of his listener. Why he was telling him this? Only he knew, only Jin knew the pain he was feeling, only Jin knew the woman he had loved and lost. The woman he had loved and killed. 'I reach out to her, but she flies around me like a butterfly.'
Jin was silent for a few minutes longer, letting the silence seep in through Leo's ears and curl itself around his brain. Then he spoke, and his voice was so much changed, that at first he wondered whether it was the same man with whom he spoke.
'Mei visits me as well' As the years had passed, he found it far more bearable to speak her name. But it still pulled at the invisible seams of an old wound, to repeat it now. He went on; 'She visits me when the snow falls, and she takes me in her ghostly arms, and I can feel the heat from her heart against my living skin. Sometimes we re-act the one moment of satisfaction we shared when we were both alive, but mostly we talk, we talk about how we love each other.' Jin stopped there, failing to mention the fact that she spoke a few times of her love for Leo. Remembering her last visit, Jin's skin warmed slightly despite the frost. He remembered the passion, the desire, and the feel of her light weight limbs brushing softly against his own, her hair falling against his shoulder, and how she had smiled and sighed, when they released.
Leo flinched, and recovered. He always recovered, no matter what the wound, physical or other. Now as an aging man, he found it very difficult to look the Wind straight in the eye, knowing all along, that he was the man she had chosen.
'You should not take your life Leo. I will not let you have the satisfaction of leaving this world to meet her again' Jin felt her presence against his neck, the ghostly touch of silk brush along his bare skin. Outside, the first of the snow flakes settled on anything they could find, and would remain there for months. He saw her reflection in the natural diamonds, the beautiful effervescent light which had captured and held her all this time. She was as alone as he.
He observed Leo on a new level, his forehead was creased into y shaped frown. The scowl seemed permanent, as though the wind had blown it into shape. He chuckled darkly, knowing he had always been a source of discomfort in the other man's life. He seemed changed, more sincere maybe, but he could easily detect the short tempered young man hiding away in the corners of his dark eyes. He held onto his youth too much, the years had not seen him grow wise. Jin had often wondered why he had remained in this life for so long. But he felt the pull of something, whenever he had reached for Mei's last dagger, he had felt the pull of life and will, even if it was not his own. Now he understood. He had lived for this last moment, this one last moment of revenge, of understanding.
'You will never die, and we will never meet. I will never forgive you, and you will never forgive yourself' Wind spoke slowly and clearly, as though he were trying to explain something very simple and mandatory to a young child. He saw again, the flicker of anger streak through Leo's unchanged eyes. He carried on, 'Mei pities you. You will never see her in the afterlife. You will never be able to explain yourself to her, like you so often dream of doing. Even though, she knows why you did it. She understands, and it is because her hidden heart is strong enough to hold her love for you in its cage. But it was never enough for you, was it? Her love, you needed something more. Something to hold that love, to never let it slip. Because it could never grow.' He knew it, he had hit a nerve. The older man's face was puckered, and turning a sallow pasty colour beneath the visible sheen of nervous sweat. 'So kill me Leo. And what's more I will forgive you, I will thank you even. And me and Mei will visit you in your winter dreams.' Leo's hand shot into the breast of his robe, irrational as ever. And the dagger hissed even faster, into Jin's chest. The pain was more than he had anticipated, suffocating, acute, burning, but not enough to drown out all these years of remorse. Leo would never die while it snowed. Jin had waited his life to declare and to curse this upon him. He would never die in the winter, and he would never be reunited with Mei.
With effort, Jin scraped his way across the porch, and into the snow of his home garden. Here, the wild flowers grew, despite the maintained appearance of his house, and the cold mocking remarks of his wife.
Then, with one hand clutched tightly to the hilt protruding from his body, and the other curled beneath the biting frost around one such flower. Jin pulled the dagger grindingly from his chest. Hot, red blood pulsated from him, staining the snow. Now, at last, it was his time to die. The wind carried him up into the sky, where he dispersed with the falling flakes, and Mei joined him, curling and furling in and out of him, like butterflies in the playful, unseasonably warm winds.
Really, I think that Jin and Leo probably would have died in the snowstorm, injured and cold as they were! But this is just what might have happened if they had both lived to tell the tale. I tried to do it realistically, but with a sense of the supernatural tucked away there to liven things up a little :)
Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading too! Also, sorry if there are any spelling or grammer mistakes, I tried to catch them all x
p.s disclaimer: I don't own House of Flying daggers, but I did write this story!