Chasing Butterflies

In their own ways, Fai and Sakura are both chasing butterflies. Outo arc, Sakura-centric


Sakura and Fai are chasing butterflies. The pale green grass sways in the slight breeze and the only clouds are faint and high up, their amorphous shapes changing quickly in the wind. It's spring - Fai thinks it's always spring in Outo.

He tells Sakura that when they both flop down from exhaustion, sprawling out in his tailored suit, getting dust and grass seeds and pollen all over his nice black pants.

"Your pants are getting dirty," Sakura replies, worried.

"Ah, this?" Fai gives her that smile that carries the essence of sunshine - the smile that says I'm happy and you should be happy too. "It's no big deal. I'll just have to do the laundry when we get home! I'll wash your outfit too." He nods at Sakura's waitress uniform, and she sees that it's also not in the best shape.

"Fai-san, I'm-"

"Don't worry about it." He waves his hand lazily, staring up at the sky. A butterfly flits above him and its shadow falls for a moment on his upturned face.

Sakura smoothes her apron and looks around. The main street isn't that far away - she can still see the passerby as vague shapes hurrying back and forth, buying and selling and running errands. She wonders what Syaoran and Kurogane-san are doing. She hopes Mokona is all right in the shop by itself.

"Hyuu!" Fai says, saying his whistle instead of actually whistling in the way that always makes her laugh. "Look at that butterfly, Sakura-chan! It's huge!"

The one he points to is shimmering and orange and its wings open and close lazily atop a purple flower. It looks peaceful. Fai gets up.

"Sakura-chan, hurry, before it flies away!"

Vaguely, Sakura rises and takes a few steps toward the butterfly. It stills, and then flits off. She watches it dance up into the blue, blue sky.

Fai makes a noise of dismay. "Sakura-chan, you're letting it get away! Hurry!"

"Why?" she asks, but stumbles forward anyway, following Fai's long-legged, loping stride. He reaches his hands in the air until they're silhouetted by the sun, but he's not tall enough. The butterfly gets away.

"Why are we chasing them, Fai-san?" she asks again after she reaches the spot where he's sitting, stretched out just like before.

"Hmm." The mage makes a face, steeples his fingers as if he's thinking. "I just think... it would be nice to touch one, once, right?" He flops back and lies down all the way in the grass, getting even more of his nice suit dirty. "Don't you wish you could fly, too?"

"Sometimes..." Sakura sits once more and leans back to look at the sky and the whimsical shapes of the clouds. "I think it would be very nice. I'd like to be a bird." There's another butterfly now, a white one, and it's landed on the pink blossom of an overhanging cherry tree. She decides not to tell Fai about it, for the moment. "What about you, Fai-san?"

He brings his arms up and stretches them out as though he wants to capture the whole scene and hold it close to him, forever. "Big kitties are supposed to keep their feet on the ground!" he replies after a moment, gaily.

Sakura knows she's not as suspicious as Kurogane-san or even as knowledgeable as Syaoran-kun but even she notices that Fai doesn't actually answer the question. "...I think you would like flying," she says softly after a moment, looking at the way his blue eyes are unfocused, seeing something beyond the sky.

"Do you, Sakura-chan?" Fai turns his head to regard her for a moment with that same unfocused look, and his smile holds more melancholy now than ever. It makes Sakura's heart hurt. "You remind me of... someone." And the smile looks more painful than ever.

She needs to say something. But as soon as Sakura opens her mouth -

"Oh, Sakura-chan, another one!" And Fai is up and running again, and this time his hands come down gently to cup the head of a flower and its precious passenger. "Sakura-chan," he whispers, beckoning her over with a toss of his head. "I caught one!"

A little apprehensive, she scrambles to her feet and hurries to his side. Fai is squatting down, peering at the flower and so she kneels. The grass is surprisingly soft and she hangs on to the mage's arm for balance. "What color is it?" she asks.

"A white one," he replies. "I think." Holding his breath, he lifts his cupped hands from the flower and holds the captured butterfly out to Sakura. "Here. Take it."

They both stand as she holds out her own hands, feeling the slight scratchiness of the butterfly's legs against her palm.

"Now that we've caught one, you can let it go. If you want."

Fai is so much taller than she is. She looks up and he's smiling, and she wants to hug him but doesn't dare. "Are you sure?" The butterfly's wings are tickling her fingers and she feels so bad for keeping it, but still -

"Why not?"

And at his words, she opens her hands and the butterfly wings its way away, across the field through the green grass and colorful flowers until they can't see it anymore at all. Fai's hand is heavy on her head, his long fingers nestling into her hair. "If only more people could learn from you, Sakura-chan," he says with that same indefinable sadness.

Sakura frowns slightly and looks up at him again. "But I don't-"

He holds a finger to his lips, then, suddenly, his dazzling smile is back. "We should hurry back, Sakura-chan. It's been longer than I thought and the puppy pair is probably already waiting for us!" He beckons her over as he begins the trek back to the street and to the cafe.

After a moment, Sakura turns, and follows.


I love this duo; they're so cute. And I love the Otou arc. This is going to be a two-part one shot; stay tuned for the next chapter. Also, as always, reviews are appreciated, constructive criticism is adored.
Incidentally, this was the first time I've written from Sakura's POV. How'd I do?