By: Kitara Lira
Sometimes we just let go; we give up.
Because it was unkind…
It was cruel…
It was too much.
But what would life be if it wasn't too much?
What would love be if it wasn't cruel?
What would I be… if I wasn't unkind?
I was only six at the time – everything had happened so fast. One moment we were laughing and dancing and the next? The next were the blood curdling screams, the broken glass, and then… the darkness.
I remember the periodic flashes of a bright white light, a constant sting in my side, and the buzzing sound of unfamiliar voices.
Once, when my lungs had drawn up enough courage, I cried out. Screamed your name. Even thrashed about.
But you didn't answer.
"Are you sure that this is what you want Miss? There is still a small chance…" A dark haired nurse, no older than myself no doubt, held the forms of consent: my name signed in bold upon the red line. It was the line of death; the ink shed of blood.
Her voice seemed worried – hand quaking just above the switch. If I didn't know any better I'd say she had never taken a life before. Too young no doubt. But then again no one likes to take another's life. At least that's what we like to think.
"If you won't turn it off, then I will." My voice was stern; assertive. I demanded authority. If this silly girl wouldn't do her job, than I would. This game of cat and mouse had gone on for far too long now.
I watched as those hazel eyes dimmed, reality sinking in, "This is your final decision?" Her voice was meek, eyes downcast as if to even glimpse upon my body would incur an eternal damnation in Hell.
"Do I sound like I'm joking?" It was frustrating. "What sick bastard plays with the fragile threads of life? Push the damn button," As if making the decision wasn't hard enough, then to be questioned for it? If I didn't believe that the bandaged figure upon the bed still happened to be watching over me I would have slapped the woman then and there. Her brilliance was far from what one of her occupation should have. And she still had the audacity to give me that look…
A flat shrill rang through the single room. The woman… crestfallen.
"Fucking people can't even do their jobs right. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself." Over my shoulders I slung my black felt jacket not bothering to slip my arms into the sleeves. For the last time, I walked out of that hospital, never to return.
I had spent everyday praying that you might answer, move your lips even.
You hadn't gone to Heaven.
Because I could still hold your hand…
Your heart still beat…
Your line… never went flat.
But no matter how many times I laced my fingers within yours – clutching tightly to your cold hands – you never held back.
Your heart didn't make you smile – you always said the heart makes a person happy.
Were you not happy?
Was your heart broken?
The green light on the monitor was still beeping smoothly.
It couldn't be broken.
"Welcome back Miss, will you be having tea?" As I entered the oversized oak door an old man with hair whiter than snow slipped the coat from my shoulders. Gently he ushered me past the entrance and into the parlour, "Supper will be served as per your instructions – sharply at eight. Is there anything I can get you until that time?" He inquired, setting down the already brewed cup of tea before me.
It seems my arrival was promptly on time as I took a sip from the Victorian style china set scolding my tongue; still hot. Very hot.
"No, that will be all," I stated, more cautious of my tea upon the second sip.
A formal bow – not even a word – and he was gone.
"Wait!" I mentally kicked myself at the neediness that sounded in my voice.
The man stepped back into the room; underneath his calm facial features I knew he was enjoying a good chuckle at my expense, "Yes Miss?" My jacket still hung on his arms as he had not yet had the time to properly hang it in the entrance way closet.
"The daily newspaper," I sat back down and for the second time, the man turned to go, "And my blanket from up in my room, the one I received last Christmas." I paused for a moment, thinking my list of needs to have been met.
"Will that be all?" He inquired again, receiving nothing more than a simple nod from me.
It wasn't until he was halfway down the hall that I realized there was one more thing which I desired, "And… and a glass of apple juice!" I spoke in a harsh whisper as not to let anyone else hear of my 'childish desire'.
I was in my third year of middle school when I first felt the strange sensation known as love.
I hadn't realized it at that point and it certainly wasn't anything like the movies depicted it to be.
My first crush.
He was a boy, a few years older than I was at the time. He was handsome, charismatic, and the way he smiled… now that was just as Hollywood had depicted it to be: brilliant, shining, and heart melting.
Of course, I wasn't the only one to notice him. No doubt half of the school's population secretly or not so secretly had had their hearts stolen by this Knight in Shining Armour. His peers admired him, the underclassmen admired him, his classmates admired him, and even the strangers who came to visit the school for no apparent reason admired him.
Looking back on it, it truly was nothing more than a school girl crush. After getting to know him in person I realized… he wasn't the one.
I was sprawled out across the parlour floor, tangled in a golden brown Egyptian cotton sheet with delicate gold kanji covering the entire front side. Each character having been hand stitched onto the sheet; each resonating with devotion.
Before me what had once been the paper from this morning was now nothing more than lumps and clumps of paper sprawled about as carelessly as I. Some I had sculpted into miniature works of art – the palm sized flower serving to be my best.
It was an exact replication of a carnation – the coloured paper from the ad only aiding to amplify its artificial beauty.
Next to the many lumps sat an empty crystal glass and a fine china tea cup still half full.
"Dinner is ready now Miss," The deep voice of the old man flung me from my wonderland and three inches clear off the floor.
"Ah! God damn it!" I cursed vocally as my body crashed back down the short distance and onto the carpeted floor, "Don't you ever knock?!"
"Miss, this is the parlour. The parlour to which three weeks ago you requested the two respective doors be removed and turned into archways because you were tired of having the maids constantly knock." His white brow rose in curiosity which I saw to be laced with mirth, "Would you like me to call an architect to have them redesign and install the doors?"
From my position on the floor I offered my most deadly glare, "No," I grumbled, wrapping the blanket more tightly about my worn frame, "I… just… I forgot I suppose." To my feet I rose, picking up one of my paper creations as I went, "What are we having tonight for dinner?" I asked, not bothering to remove the blanket from my body as it was to come with me to the dinner table. There I might set it next to me in the empty chair to my right. I had asked the one to my left to be removed; too many bad memories I suppose. (-1-)
"Pasta," Was the only reply as the man followed two steps behind me and into the dining hall.
"Pasta… I like pasta…"
In my first year of high school my life changed… forever.
I happened to be skipping class again that day, nothing interesting ever happened during class anyways. So instead, there I lay, arms and legs spread wide apart as if mimicking the appearance of a starfish. Eyes closed, I allowed Nature to slip over me; it was in moments like these that I was truly able to forgot all of my troubles.
"My my, what do we have here?" A soft finger sunk into the tender flesh that was my side; the same side I had… (-2-)
"Ah!" Pain coursed through my entire body, sending my muscles into a spasm in which I jumped, my right hand flying up only to connect solidly with the skin of another.
For several minutes I didn't move; didn't breathe. I didn't want to open my eyes in fear of what it was I had done. However, something within me denied my demands, causing my eyelids to flutter open. Just to my right hovered a young girl, not much older than I.
She was beautiful to say the least; her auburn locks swayed in the breeze the light catching it in all the right ways. Her skin was soft to the touch of my fingers, and her beautiful eyes… brimmed with tears.
My eyes widened as I realized just what it was I had done. Unintentionally my hand had come up to connect with her cheek, the tender flesh pinking instantly, "I… I'm sorry," I whispered, running my thumb gently over the offense I had inflicted, "I'm so sorry…"
It was at that moment when she smiled that my heart suddenly reduced to nothing more than a meagre puddle, "It's alright," She said, her voice like that of an angel, " I suppose that's what I get for sneaking up on cute girls like you."
Such an innocent comment left my face flush, "Yeah…" Was all I could think to say.
"She apologizes but due to the rain her flight was delayed in her stop over in Paris."
Rudely I slurped up my noodles, the basic basil tomato sauce splattering about my face, "…"
Like a parent, he reached for the fabric napkin, using it to dab the sauce from my face before I could once again shove another forkful of supper into my mouth and create even more red specks about my face.
"She asked me to inform you that you forgot your cell phone home again - I found it ringing under the pillows. The Lady also asked that I make sure you not do anything rash today. Of course I told her I could make no promises as you had already escaped the house well before any of us had even arisen." Setting down a glass of apple juice next to my plate, his voice continued, "You didn't do anything rash today… did you?"
I gulped down the entire mouthful of noodles and sauce before hesitantly reaching for my newly acquired drink, "Of course not, I just went about my normal day."
His eyes saw right through my lies however he said nothing.
"Benjamin…" Idly I swirled the golden liquid unable to remove my gaze from its steady dance. I rarely called him by his name; rarely. But out of all the house staff he was the only one – to everyone else I remained distant… cold. "Did she sound alright? I mean, as in she's getting enough rest and the weather isn't getting to her?" My eyes never left the glass.
"She sounded sad."
"Sad... I see…" My heart plummeted. It seemed that our fight just before she had left for another one of those international meetings was still weighing heavy upon her.
That had been six days ago.
It was unexpected; the two of us. Who would have ever thought such a thing were possible.
You were someone that everyone admired. You were smart, beautiful, rich, and an angel.
I was the child who knew what it was like to be tossed around from house to house. I wasn't rich, no one admired me, and I knew every last detail of the inside of a prison cell.
But for some reason, fate works in funny ways. And from that first moment on the summer's grass when my palm connected with the delicate skin of your cheek… things changed.
I stopped missing as many classes and you learned to skip a few.
No one ever knew; it was just our little secret.
I loved you… and you loved me.
Dinner passed without another word. Thanking the cook for my meal and offering the aging man a bow I turned in for the night; tucking myself beneath the sheets. The scent of her was quickly fading.
Outside the rain poured down.
Why couldn't she just be home this once? I needed her more than anything tonight and as fate would have it… I couldn't have her.
Tears slipped past my hold, the first serving to break the dam. I never cried often, but when I did she would always be there to kiss away my tears.
"Shizuru…" I whispered - all the insecurities I held flowing through my voice when I murmured that one name. Only for you was I ever weak, for the rest I had learned how to displace my emotion. Even… for her. (-3-)
"Why do you always take me here?" Her voice fluttered across the open air. It sounded hesitant; as if that wasn't the question it wished to ask.
Cracking the lids of my eyes open just a fraction, my lips curved upright, "Why do you always follow me here?"
Two questions – both with such simple answers. Yet, neither of the women chose to answer their respective question. Instead a comforting silence settled in their midst.
"I take you here because I know you'll follow me." I stated as my gaze drifted from the clear blue sky above to the small pond several yards away, "Because the expression that takes hold upon your face isn't like those you offer to everyone else." At all costs I avoided meeting her deep stare, "Because here we never have to say anything to convey what we our hearts truly feel." Rolling onto my stomach – arms crossing to serve as my pillow – I finally allowed our eyes to meet, "Because here, in amidst the natural beauties," I motioned to the surrounding willow trees; the emerald coloured grass we laid upon; the pond; and even the sky, "Among these you feel most at peace. Among all these, you allow me to see the real you; the one who not only smiles but also cries."
In the eyes I loved so much I saw tears. These, I knew not to be tears of pain but of joy. And when you crawled across the grass, tenderly cupping my cheek in your palm, all was right, "Silly…" The voice was riddled with emotion, but to me it still sounded like that of an angel, "I'm most at peace when I'm with you," Tender pink lips met mine, but only for an instant, "When everyone admired me for my stature – my family name – you admired me… for the ugliness that are my flaws."
Upward I bent, kissing away the trail of liquid your tears had caused, my thumb absently stroking your cheek, "Baka, your flaws are beautiful Shizuru, don't you ever say they're ugly."
Another kiss, followed by the sweetest, most honest smile I had seen ever come from those lips, "I promise on one condition," A playful mirth twinkled in her crimson eyes.
Brow arching upright in curiosity I could only nod, "Of course, and what might that one condition be your Highness?"
With the straightest face I had ever seen, you crossed your arms across your chest, "You must allow me to continue stalking you here."
For a moment I paused, weighing the condition carefully, "I have to let you, the Great Fujino Shizuru, continue to stalk me, The humble bum?" A grin captured my lips as I leapt up, imprisoned her with my arms, tackling her down onto the soft grass. "I think I can allow that, can I call you my stalker as well when we get back to the City?"
Arms wrapped about me, tugging my head to rest on her chest which was bubbling with laughter, "Ara, only if you will call me your number one stalker." Those delicate hands that I loved so much combed through my unruly locks.
"Of course, my one and only number one stalker," Laughter reverberated through the empty space.
With you I always found a reason to smile. With you, I never felt unloved.
My sobs were muffled by the heavy rain and the continual crashes of thunder, "Why… why today…" My face burrowed deeper into her pillow, the scent filling my lungs.
"Why not today?" A calm voice asked.
"Because today… fifteen years ago… Because of it the only thing keeping my mother alive is some God damn tube hooked up to a machine!" I cried to the ghostly voice that I deemed to be my subconscious, "Because… today was the day… I finally let her rest… I… I …" At that point my body broke; my mind fully comprehending the earlier actions of the day, "I killed my mother!" The sobs raked my body even worse and this time she wasn't here to make it go away.
"Shhh…" Warm arms wrapped about my midsection, a nose nuzzling into the nape of my neck, "Love, you didn't kill her… you let her go." The voice was Heaven sent; an angel.
My body continued to shake for several moments, until the presence of the other body lulled it into such stillness. The next thing I knew was the familiar scent… grew stronger.
My eyelids flew open and I spun about in great hast. Unfortunately it was a little too quick as the figure had no time to retreat in surprise and my disobedient hand connected awkwardly with the tender skin of her cheek.
Silence hung about us for several moments. Both of us in a state of shock – though for different reasons.
I finally noticed where my hand lay, "I'm so sorry!" Tenderly I nursed the surely pink skin with a kiss, before murmuring into the wounded flesh, "I'm sorry…"
"I should be the one saying sorry," Another flash of light revealed a pair of worried crimson orbs, "I should have been home today, I should have…"
Index finger pressed gently upon her lips, I couldn't help but smile, mimicking her actions of earlier, "Shhhhh," My arms snuck about her midsection drawing her closer, "All that matters is that you're here… now…"
A giggle escaped my lips as she nibbled affectionately upon my earlobe, "But I should have been there for when," A pause, no doubt struggling with a way to confront the issue, "She meant the world to you and you shouldn't have had to do it alone… I should have been there with you at least…"
"What's done is done," I murmured, allowing her to kiss away the last of my tears, "I couldn't wait another year to do it. Fifteen years is too long Shizuru, I should have let go of her long ago, than her soul would have been resting up in Heaven and not…"
I was silenced with a kiss. It wasn't long; merely a brief kiss with a gentle passion to demonstrate the true feelings she held for me, "She's always been in Heaven; always. Watching over you as you grew into a mature young lady who has gone from having nothing to everything." Crimson eyes stared upright at the darkness that was presumably the ceiling, "I can feel her smiling love and she's proud of you… so proud of you."
My arms tightened their grip about her and I buried my face in the tresses of her hair, the tears falling a new, "Thank you Shizuru," I whispered between sobs, situating a lone kiss upon her forehead, "… I love you…"
For some reason you had stayed with me, "I love you… Nao…"
And for some reason, you loved me.
My name is Yuuki Nao. I am a 21 year old manager of the District Art's College. My mother has been in a comatose state since I was six years of age and fifteen years after the incident I finally decided to pull the plug on the machine that was connecting her to this fragmented world.
Currently I reside on a country estate with a care staff of twelve capable individuals and my girlfriend – recently turned fiancée – of six year.
We don't have any kids or even any pets but perhaps some day in the near future that may change.
Right now we are just thankful for the things we do have.
We are the two polar opposites that no one would have ever expected to fall in love, but here we are, living proof that anything is plausible.
I never expected to fall in love, but than in you walked capturing my heart with but a smile.
You have stolen half my soul and I half of yours.
Sometimes we just let go; we give up.
But then there are instances where we never let go.
Where we fall in love.
Where eventually we become loved.
Life is cruel,
Life is unkind,
Life is too much.
But sometimes the unexpected happens.
And life becomes kind.
(-1-) This might not make a lot of sense to people but sometimes we tend to leave things in a hopes that whatever filled it before will return again. Nao would always keep another chair at the table for her Mother in a hopes that one day it would again be occupied by her.
(-2-) If you recall in the first portion I wrote how Nao felt a pain in her side. Without getting into details I'll simply say she was injured and left with a scar. Some scars - as I know from experience of poking my little sister's - can be extremely sensitive. Consider it like... a ticklish spot - think Nina/Arika moment in Mai-Otome.
(-3-) Again, another reference to Nao's mother. You should notice several of them throughout the course of the story.
What can I say? I think most of what I want to say about this piece I have posted on my profile page so if you'd like to feel free to wander over and take a look. Otherwise, I'm going to keep this short.
When I had asked a friend to read this - sent it in an email with nothing written in it - she asked if it was a cruel prank. Of course, when she read my text she knew it to be sadly... the truth. I had written a Nao/Shizuru fanfiction. I wasn't shocked with the reaction; heh, I think that was the same thing I would have done a year ago...
But something about this just seemed... it seemed right.
Heh, I won't go into the logistics of it as I still don't know how to explain it to myself entirely...
I know I may have gotten many of your hopes up for another Shizuru/Natsuki moment, but I can't apologize for that. Mystery is what this story needed and so it was what I gave it. And let's be honest, if I had initially said this was going to be a Nao/Shizuru fanfiction how many of you would have stopped reading right then and there?
Nao: You wrote your first piece about me... with Shizuru?! Are you crazy? Do you know how many people are going to hate me even more now? -Glares- Do you know how many people already hate me?
Shizuru: -Sips tea- I have to agree with Yuuki-san on this one, Author are you sure you are feeling well?
Natsuki: -Gives Author her patented death glare- No one touches my Shizuru!
Author: I think... you're all looking at this the wrong way -Seems oddly calm-
Nao: Then enlighten us... and fix my fanbase!
Author: Well you see -points at Nao- You need to experience love; -points at Natsuki- You don't exist in this script; -points to Shizuru- And needed to be in this to make it work.
Natsuki: Shizuru don't 'ara' at this woman! She has just made you kiss and laugh with... with... that devil. More than once!!
Nao: Mutt, I'm standing right beside you...
Natsuki: Shut up, I'll throttle you after I throttle Author.
Author: -Chuckles- You know, I had a lot of fun writing this... I haven't been inspired to write anything recently and this... -Fumbles with the pieces of paper- This just flowed out nicely...
Shizuru: I am glad Author-chan could...
Natsuki: Don't be cute with her Shizuru she's working for the devil!
Nao: -Snickers- You know, I don't mind playing a key role, even if it is with Fujino. I think you're just jealous mutt that I'm a smooth talker with the ladies.
Natsuki: A-a-a-am not!!
Nao: And Shizuru and I make a damn good duo here -Points to several of the lines- Can you imagine if Author had wrote naughty...
Shizuru: Ara, did Yuuki-san really have to make my Natsuki pass out?
Nao: -Shrugs- The mutt should have a stronger nose by now, she is living with you after all.
Nao: But really Author, next time... make me a fan base, don't destroy it. People get pissy when you do things like that.
Author: -Rolling about on her bed playing with her scarf- Ah... well... I can't promise anything Nao-chan, you know that. I'm like an ice cube.
Nao: ... You expand when frozen?
Author: No! ... well.. maybe... I don't tend to stick myself in a freezer very often so I wouldn't know... but what I meant is... okay maybe an ice cube was a bad thing to use.
Nao: You think?
Author: How about, I'm like a cookie...
Nao: -Groans- Baka...
Author: Or maybe I'm like a....
Nao: For the love of all that is right in the world! -Throws a teddy bear out the five story high window-
Author: Nooo! Teddy! -Leaps out the window after the teddy bear-