Notes: This was, actually, my final project for my creative writing 10 class. (You can guess, the final theme was "fanfic".) This is no longer the first version, though; that was long scrapped after my awesome teacher and equally awesome classmates put in their comments and reviews upon reading this little piece. And thus, after editing, I give you this! Actually, I got a perfect score in this subject; but getting a perfect score doesn't mean anything about your writing skills, so I hope you still enjoy this.
Disclaimer: If I had owned them part two would have existed and been out a long time ago.
the happiness of the believer
She stands next to him, and that is all it takes for the lies to begin.
He is writing something, but she is no longer surprised; when she comes, he is always scribbling little dots on lined paper. The piano next to his bed is open and used; the white keys glint against the streaming sunlight and the chair stays still, slightly ajar.
She stands next to him, and does not say anything. She knows he knows she is there; they have spent years together, after all, chasing phantoms and ghosts, murderers and victims, the alive and the dead.
He finally turns his head.
"Oh, its just you," he finally says, when he glances at her, as if he had just become aware of her presence. His tone is aloof, his shoulders are slumped, and his hair is a mess. "I didn't know you were coming today."
She sighs a resigned sigh, and sits on the chair provided next to his bed. "You never know when I'm coming, Narumi-san."
He glances at her. "I wonder."
"Hmf, go wonder."
Ayumu almost half-smiles; but instead, he straightens his shoulders and fixes his hair. His tone never changes. "What are you doing here?" he asks.
She stares at him defiantly: the answer to that should be obvious.
He stares back at her: the question I'm asking should be obvious.
They hold each other's gazes for a moment. Outside, a lady in white drops her checklist, picks it up, but eventually drops it again.
The room is still.
She knows she has lost the moment she looked away. "I'm on vacation," she finally admits, hesitantly, then drops her gaze to his sheets. "Well, I was just in the area. So I thought I'd visit you."
He turns his back away from her and begins writing his little dots again. He knows she has no vacations, but says nothing. "Hn," he grunts instead, and waits for her to continue.
Instead, she repeats the strange sound he made ("Hn, what is that sound for, anyway?"), and crosses her arms. "Is that all you have to say? Hn?"
He stops writing. "What were you expecting me to say?" He gives her a blank look. "Thanks for coming today?"
"Well, that would've been nice."
"It wouldn't hurt if you'd said it."
"Thanks for having me today, Narumi-san."
She places a hand on her forehead, and feels resigned. "Not even a you're welcome, I see." She slumps on her chair, and feels the urge to mope. She sighs, then glances at what he is writing. "And wow, Narumi-san, thank you for ignoring me."
"You're welcome." He doesn't miss a beat.
If he wasn't in the state he was in, she'd have felt like hitting him. "What is that?" she asks. She stands up from the chair and peers at his paper. "Another piece?"
He doesn't answer, and continues writing.
"What's the title this time?" She leans against his bed and moves closer to him, to the point that her chin is touching his shoulder. "It looks pretty complicated."
"That's only because you're a tone-deaf idiot."
"I'm not tone-deaf!" She draws away from him and stands up straight, eyes wide and defensive. "I'll have you know that I sung at my school's choir!"
Ayumu doesn't even budge. "Ten years ago."
She gasps, "Nine years ago! Nonetheless, I'm not any older!"
"You're twenty-three now."
"You don't know that!"
"Although you still act like a ten year old."
"I am not twenty-three! Nor am I ten!"
"The title is Happiness."
"I've sung dozens of things! I even did a solo, once! Although the choir master never let me sing again—" she pauses, and realizes he has just revealed to her a little bit of himself. "Happiness?"
He makes that strange sound again: "Hn."
She sits back on the chair, and feels like something just broke. "What kind of happiness?"
"You used to say it all the time," he begins, but continues his trend to never look at her. The notes add up on his paper. "The meaning of the iris."
They say it together: "The happiness of the believer."
She looks down, and feels like the room turned upside down. "But that was—"
He cuts her off, "Don't say anything." His voice is serious, cold, sincere. He continues writing his piece, the pencil scratching note by note against the paper, A-B-C-D-E-F-G becoming a physical mirror to the happiness of the believer. "It's not a lie."
She doesn't speak; her mouth runs dry and she swallows something chest-deep.
It is obvious he is keeping her from talking.
"I said: don't."
It is obvious he wants no more lies.
She does not know what to say, for a moment. Something has changed about Ayumu, she realizes; something passionate, something deep, something intense. It was a thing she could not fathom; he now had a power definitely more overwhelming than her own, subtly burning and blazing. She takes a step back and bites her lip—something dawns upon her, and she fights the urge to cry.
She used to be his power, his passion, his life.
But she lied.
A mere whisper, but she knows he heard.
"I said don't apologize," he mutters. "It's fine."
"It's not fine. I—"
"No! I'm trying to say something, I—"
"I'll make it real."
Something within her ends. "...What?"
He does not answer; but instead, he continues to write A-B-C-D-E-F-G, little notes on dotted paper, again and again the happiness of the believer.
She suddenly knows what has changed.
"Narumi-san," she begins, and walks back toward him; slowly, surely, carefully—as if the weight of their world depended on her steps. She knows she should not ask, but she wants to make sure if she is right.
"…Are you a believer now?"
And she thinks that he will give it much thought; spend days and weeks and years sulking about that single question, because he still would never admit or know. Narumi Ayumu was a genius but he could never ever come to an answer satisfying enough for himself, for her, nor for the cruel world order; for this was the paradox of his ignorance and his knowledge put to the test, and he would, as always, take time and time to conclude.
She, however, did not care what he came up with; just a yes or a no would be fine.
She waits and thinks it will take forever.
He answers less than an eternity later.
"You know, Hiyono…"
—and she is startled, so startled, when he calls her by name—
"…all this doesn't have to be a lie if you don't want it to be."
And then she feels it. The world restores its order; time begins, ends, and begins again; the lady in white outside drops her checklist but never fails to pick it up again. She is twenty-three, Yuizaki Hiyono on vacation, visiting Narumi Ayumu in Japan. The piece's name is Happiness, and there are no irises, but that doesn't matter.
She knows now, and she knows for sure: they believe.
She almost laughs, cries, weeps. "There were no lies," she says, and feels the urge to sing, like she did eight nine ten years ago in her school choir. "I never lied."
"Thank you," he tells her.
She shakes her head. "Thank you," she tells him.
He smiles, and it is real. "You're welcome."
She stands by his side, ABCDEFG to forever, and the truths finally begin.
//end - 1008
Notes: You know Kurt Vonnegut's A Long Walk to Forever? Well this was slightly based on that. Slightly.
I realized I'm nineteen now and I still love Ayumu and Hiyono. I discovered them when I was what, fourteen or something. Says a lot about them, doesn't it.