The sound of cups being set down roused Tayuya from her sleep as Enma came into focus a look of worry; anticipation and anxiety were etched onto her face.
"Are you all right?" Enma softly asked as she filled up the cups beside Tayuya with tea.
Nodding mutely Tayuya reached over and grabbed the nearest one, its warmth somehow filling her up.
"I'm sorry." Tayuya whispered into the cup as she brought it to her lips, "I shouldn't have acted-"
"I forgive you."
"I forgive you." Enma spoke just as softy sitting down n the chair next to Tayuya's bed. "I should have told you what I was thinking from the beginning, you really do look like her, Moa I mean. When you mentioned her name I…was beside myself I think, and acted rashly, so I am to blame as much as anybody."
Staring into her cup Tayuya was speechless, she didn't know why but it seemed to her that the ideal of maybe trying to at least get to know this woman wasn't so bad after all, then again its' not like she could just leave. The sudden thought of a herself hobbling out the door with both legs and an arm in a cast cursing all the while, caused Tayuya to laugh, and her small laugh quickly escalated into belly-deep laughter as and it opened a floodgate of feelings, some she couldn't even begin to understand. The laughter just seemed to melt all the pain, all the sadness and in its place a feeling of acceptance calmly washed over her as Tayuya vented in a completely different way.
It wasn't until Enma gently reached out and touched her shoulder that the feeling of wetness on her cheeks was apparent, looking of at Enma Tayuya smiled, it was still sad, but it overflowed with acceptance and Enma taking that as a cue gently reached out and pulled Tayuya into a hug, the sudden feeling startling Tayuya before she slowly began to return the hug.
"I'm glad I got the chance to meet you Tayuya."
Nodding into the older woman's shoulder Tayuya mumbled. "Me to."
Pulling away from Tayuya, Enma rubbed the girl's shoulders, comfortingly.
"Is there anything else you wanna say?" Enma asked looking the younger girl in the eye.
In truth there was but Tayuya wasn't ready to ask, things about her mother, things about Enma, things about her…family. So instead she decided to mention one thing she noticed over the days.
"Your tea taste like shit."
Enma was caught off guard by her statement, but recovered quickly laughing out loud…oh this was her daughter's girl alright.
A few months had passed since Tayuya and Enma's reconcilement, and over the course of the months Tayuya's arms and legs healed, although she was still a long way off from complete recovery, her relationship with Enma blossomed, it took quite a bit out of her but lately Tayuya had been helping Enma around the house where she could and the small wooden cabin was starting to feel more like a home every day. That's not to say there weren't problems, Tayuya still had moments where the feeling and experiences around her became too much, and at those times Enma knew when to back off and let Tayuya think.
One of these times was right after Tayuya's cast came off and Enma traveled to a small village in order to grab some clothes for Tayuya in order to surprise her…Enma quickly learned that Tayuya didn't like surprises. The red-headed girl was furious beyond belief and the profanities she used where still bouncing around in Enma's head as she tried to figure out what exactly Tayuya threatened to do. It just happened that today was one of those days.
Pacing around the small living room Tayuya walked back and forth in obvious disdain.
"Tayuya your going to wear yourself out, you need to sit down." Throwing the older woman she had grown accustomed to a look of loathing Tayuya none the less sat down in one of the chairs present.
Wiping her hands on a small rag Enma strolled over and sat down next to the fuming girl.
"I wanna play damn it!"
"Wha-?" Enma began.
"My flute I wanna play my damn flute you picked that up too right? I just need to play."
It was then that Enma remembered the small battle flute that was lying some feet away in the wreckage she found Tayuya in, however it was badly broken so she left it there.
"I'm sorry but the flute I saw was broken beyond repair, and it's been exposed to the elements for two months, I don't think it's possible to even go and get it."
Enma had seen a host of different emotions but the pain that crossed the girls face when she said that really did cut Enma deep, it was the pain of losing something that has seen you through the best and worst life could throw at you.
Thinking for a moment Enma retreated into her small room, before coming back out with a small wooden flute, it wasn't by any means valuable, just something she had been given years ago and decided to keep, a memento of sorts from a more…active time in her life.
"It isn't much really but would this do…for the time being at least?"Enma asked softly handing the small flute to Tayuya.
"You're giving it to me?"
"Well I certainly don't have a use for it."
"Then I don't want it! I don't need handouts!" Tayuya yelled back as she stormed away to her room, slamming the door.
Sighing Enma set the flute down on one of the small stands next to the chair Tayuya was sitting in a moment ago, she knew that despite Tayuya outburst the girl would at least try it once.
Six hours, for six hours Tayuya was able to resist the urge to go out and grab the flute that she knew was waiting for her. Two months without her flute, without music certainly was a withdraw that Tayuya didn't want to face again, and now the little flute was comparable to a forbidden fruit just waiting to be plucked away and indulged in.
It was dark outside now and surely Enma had gone to bed, it had been a few hours that she had knocked on the door asking if Tayuya wanted dinner, which she refused. Tip-toeing over to her door Tayuya opened it so she could peer through the crack, looking for any trace of the older woman. Despite being able to somewhat discern chakra signatures, Enma constantly seemed to keep hers suppressed, which only added on to Tayuya's theory that she was an ex-ninja, and the control needed to keep it constantly repressed surely sent a tingle down Tayuya's spine, a few hours sure that was nothing but twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week was as Tayuya liked to think 'bat-shit scary'.
Deciding that the coast was clear, Tayuya crept from her room to where her prize lay.
"You didn't think I was gonna miss this did you?" Enma asked from the seat next to where the flute lay in her nightwear. Her long hair although gray still shimmered with aged beauty as it spilled across her shoulders in waves, as it was released from the bun she always had it in.
"Indeed, I think the phrase; 'getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar' would be very appropriate here don't you sweetie?" Enma smirked as she motioned for Tayuya to sit. "You won't keep me waiting in suspense will you?"
Striding across the room Tayuya threw herself into the chair opposite Enma as the older woman handed her the small flute. Grabbing it roughly away Tayuya took a moment to regard the small piece of wood in her hands. It certainly was small, very small, almost a child's, but then again there wasn't anything to say that it wasn't, and at this point Tayuya couldn't care less.
Bringing the small flute up to her lips Tayuya gave an experimental blow, a little shocked at how clear the note came out before giving in to her desire and simply letting the feelings she had experienced over the two months she had been here wash over her in a symphony of highs and lows, long periods of heart breaking melodies of pain and sorrow, punctuated by quick bursts of fast almost feverish ones that were clearly of elation, whether or not from having the flute or something else Enma couldn't identify as she sat looking at her granddaughter pour her heart out through a simple piece of wood, each and every melody meant something, a feeling, a thought, a wish and Enma understood them all as the music flowed against her, fast and slow, but always seamless.
Her eyes tightly closed Tayuya was adrift in the sea of her music, finger movements didn't even register as note upon note was directed and called out of the instrument in a controlled chaos.
Stopping abruptly Tayuya's breathing was labored giving credence to the fast pace at which she was playing, opening her eyes the awed face of Enma greeted her gaze as Enma slowly reached out and embraced her.
"What's this for." Tayuya questioned somewhat meekly as her face was covered in Enma's hair.
"I can't hug you?" When Tayuya didn't answer back Enma only squeezed her tighter.
Waking up to the combined rancid odor of the numerous homeless bodies that lay around her Tayuya, rubbed a dirty hand across her face willing the sleep away as she began to pack up what small possessions she had.
Packing everything up Tayuya shrugged on the tattered backpack that held everything she owned as she walked out of the abandoned building many of the homeless went to at night, the thick and patched coat she wore barley fended off the cold as she made her way through the streets to a small music shop, where she sang every day to try and earn a little money not that she ever earned much but it was enough to earn her a meal for the day.
It had been a year since Tayuya burnt her house to the ground and left, very quickly the cruelty of the world became apparent as Tayuya had to fight for everything including her life a few times.
Although she was ten years old, the lack of proper nutrition had somewhat stunted her growth and the baggy coat she wore made the appearance that she was even younger, which was both a good thing and a bad one. People tipped more if you looked younger, but some men and sometimes women had more sinister ideals about you as well.
Arriving in front of the music store Tayuya set her bag down as well as a small tin, before clearing her throat and began to sing aloud. She wasn't that bad, but she wasn't that good either as her voice carried across the streets. This was only one of the few places where she was allowed to sing unmolested, and the people where more generous here. Taking a deep breath Tayuya held a long note as a few people threw whatever loose change they had on them in the small tin in front of her as they continued along their way.
The cold air had numbed her cheeks and her throat always felt raw after a few hours of singing but a smile still worked its way on Tayuya's face as the she had made a good bit of money today, enough for a few days at least. Walking to a nearby food stand Tayuya parted the curtains to gain entry as the warmth of the stand began thawing her cheeks. The warm smell of ramen awakened her stomach as Tayuya pulled herself up to one of the stools and ordered a big bowl, handing over some of the money she earned and waited for it to arrive.
The little ramen stand she was run by a slightly older woman, she never asked questions about why Tayuya was alone or said anything about Tayuya's appearance, but Tayuya knew that the woman knew she was homeless, Tayuya also knew that the woman always asked for half the price the ramen cost and the onetime Tayuya mentioned it the woman replied it was a 'discount day.'
It only to a few minutes but the woman gingerly set the large bowl of ramen down in front of Tayuya, what surprised her was that next to her chopsticks there was a long cylindrical object next to them.
"What this?" Tayuya asked holding up the object.
"It's a flute, an instrument you play it."
"Why?" Tayuya questioned as she caught on to the woman's intention
"It was left here a couple days ago and the owner hasn't come looking for it, and I have no use for it so I thought you should have it."
"I don't know how to play."
"So learn." The woman said as she leaned over the bar poking Tayuya gently on the nose. "Somehow I have a feeling that you wouldn't be too bad."
Putting the flute into her coat pocket, Tayuya nodded as she began digging into her ramen, letting the warm noodles fill her up with warmth.
Waking up on the couch still being embraced wasn't exactly what Tayuya had planned, but she wasn't really against it as she removed herself from Enma's arms and replaced the blanket that was over both of them.
Walking back into the living room from her trip to the bathroom, Tayuya smirked at the sight before her.
Enma was curled up on the couch her hair falling off the side like a waterfall onto rocks as the blanket was wrapped around her like a cocoon of sorts as gently snores emanating from the sleeping form of Enma.
Tayuya was never gonna let this one go.
A.N.- Well here is the next installment in A Song for Our Sorrows, it is short, but it felt right to stop here for some reason. The next will be longer. As for those of you that reviewed my thanks are in order, and I hope that this chapter is better than the last, not quite sure if I'm back into the feel of things or not, but I'll let you, the readers be the judge.
There will be another time skip again, probably in the next update but if not the one after that. I do have one question…well actually two, but only one is for this story. How do you as the readers like Enma? Although I have really yet to scratch the surface that is her, I was wondering how you felt about here, and if you could give me some feedback I would be very grateful.
The other question spawns from a few PM's that I have received asking what my gender was, and I deciding to see what people inferred from my writing and wanting to have a little fun have decided to play a small game where if you could whether you think my gender is in you reviews which I will finally reveal, on the update coming up after the one after this…I hope that makes sense.
But anyway THANK YOU for your continued support.
Your slightly-at-the-moment misguided writer.
Zanaso Clramm, (listening to 'Gold Saucer' by Nobuo Uematsu & Seiji Honda from Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII)