Well, gents, here we are—the end at last. It's taken some time, and there's been a fair few mishaps along the way, but I think I'm quite content with the direction this took. My aim was to show that you didn't have to live and be married with someone all day long to love them, but as to whether I've succeeded—well, you tell me.
Final chapter dedicated to Fyliwion-sama-sempai, who inspired the whole fic in the first place, and is doing wonders with her current updates. Thank you.
Disclaimer—If I owned MK, well… I wouldn't be able to write fic, now would I?
'And nobody better than you, wonderful Tout-Va-Bien, All-Is-Well, would be able to prove to us, with a thousand proofs, all of them more convincing than the ones that came before, that in life everything always gets better, and that All Is Well…'
(a story does not start.)
A train station is a metaphor for departures.
It is not really that you are not quite gone, it is not really that you are about to go; it is that you are gone, in truth, from the moment you set foot on the white-washed tiles of the quays, and that even though your body is still remaining physically present on the floor of that place you're hereby leaving, there is no longer any sign of your ever having been there in the first place.
The gare de Lyon, thus called despite being situated in Paris, is a tall, metallic affair, though the old structure of stone still holds, strong and wide and large and an anchor into this French world Aoko is leaving. It is crowded with tourists—Frenchpeople and strangers, men and women, adults and toddlers, meddling together in a funny melting-pot of cultures and tongues for the brief minutes it takes them to cross each other.
(The salle des Pas Perdus—the room of Strayed Footsteps—well deserves its name. For who isn't lost, really, where nobody ever stays?)
Aoko stands there like a stray ship in the eye of the storm, face lifted to consult the timetables overhead. She waits, because of all things she has learnt there is this: that when you wait what you are waiting will always come home to you, eventually.
Saguru looks exactly the same as he ever did, exactly the same as he did that first time when he introduced himself in her high school class, and that feels a little strange (because she has changed, and he doesn't know it yet.) "Aoko."
"Saguru-kun. Did you have a nice trip?"
"Fine," he dismisses, and those pale-gold eyes of his seem to dissect her face and stance, easily, unblinkingly; and the result of that is: "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she echoes, half-lying, and she is just a little afraid.
"Good." (It is satisfying that they do not need many words to understand each other. They are alike, she and he, perhaps too much than their friendship could bear; with Kaito communication is always necessary. She thinks, what Saguru and she have, it's a little fake.
She wouldn't give it up, though. His friendship is one of the few things that anchor her these days. She is (like) a kite, reaching out for the perfect blue of the sky, only to be held back by the strong gold of the earth.)
Saguru is everything her father never could be for her—brother and mother altogether, and that's, that is satisfying.
It is. It is, (and she knows perhaps a little more than she did so many days ago. It's a secret Saguru cannot hear, and that's fine.)
"We've got thirty minutes before our train leaves," he says, the Brit accent in his Japanese slipping as though by unfamiliarity. "I'll go buy a newspaper, if you don't mind." He strolls off, strangely out-of-place in this out-of-place location, strangest in this stranger station.
(A train is a metaphor for departures.
And. What else?)
There is a little too much crowd, a little too much colour. She is treading a thin line of littles, and, well, that's fine too. The light is fine as it falls, as she sets foot past the salle des Pas Perdus and into the actual station—where the trains come and go, come and go—as it falls from the high, glassed ceiling. It is shining across the treaded floor. It is shining, and what a beautiful thing that can be, when one knows where to look.
(A train is a metaphor for departures. And what else?
… death, and,)
She is upset by a passing trolley, and its owner gasps and grabs her elbow to prevent her fall. "Are you alright, mademoiselle?" says his voice in heavy English, the French accent within it heady and drumming. It is enhanced by the bark of his dog.
… his dog.
"I'm okay," she manages, staring at him. He's blond, with jaw-length hair, distinctly European, and his clothes are fine and outstanding. His dog is a long-haired affair, whose name she can't for the life of her remember—
He smiles. "I'm glad. Bon voyage, mademoiselle." And departs, with a long look of blue.
(And what else? Birth.)
"Aoko?" Saguru asks, returning to where she stands stilled and smiling a little. (Littles make it a rule. And that's fine.) "Is everything okay? we'd best get in the train now, or we might miss it."
"Everything's fine," Aoko says, because it is, it really is, and follows. She looks up at the ceiling as she passes, the clear ceiling of glass and sky—that early sky that make pale waters and sunshine, without one cloud to fog out the dear blue and the fine light that falls and flows.
It's a beautiful morning.
(a story does not start.
but then it need not end either.)
And with that's the end. Thank you all, readers, reviewers, lurkers, whoever and wherever you are. I can only hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoy others' fics.
I'll probably be posting one or two more drabbles today or tomorrow, and then I'll be gone for a full month. Au revoir, dears.