Amid the Falling Snow
Memories drift across your mind as soft as falling snow.
Only staying long enough until the wind doth blow.
Away they go across the landscape of your weary mind,
And barely can you catch a glimpse of the ones you left behind.
Of all the places Amu had been in her 16 years, France had been one of her favorites. At least it was definitely a close second after her summer in the Antarctic at age 12 and it barely passed the month on New Zealand at age 7. But it was her 10th winter in France that always returned to her mind when she looked out and saw petals, leaves, snow, you name it, floating past her window. France had started off being just any other city her mother had been asked to write in depth articles on.
Her mother worked for a world famous magazine company that circulated in nearly every nation and her mother was one of their best article authors. Her father also worked for the company as a photographer. For this reason they were sent on long full paid trips all around the world. Since she was 3 years old Amu had never stayed in one area longer than a season lasted. Even when her mother had another daughter to care for. Amu's little sister Ami was only 7 years old but she was her parents pride and joy with her lovely little singing voice and bouncy personality. Amu sometimes found her antics a little hard to deal with but for the most part she tried to be a good big sister. Amu had especially found it difficult to be a big sister in France. Ami was just 1 year old and cried whenever anything was the least bit wrong. Naturally this caused her parents to fuss over her almost constantly even if it sometimes meant they didn't get any work done that day. Most of time, this also meant that Amu was neglected. She tried to pretend that she didn't mind and smiled when her parents deemed to praise her for being a good big sister.
Still she often slipped out of the apartment when her parents weren't paying any attention and went walking through the streets nearby. She was generally careful about coming back after an hour but one particular day she was feeling particularly lonely and just shuffled along not really caring where she was going. When she next looked up it was to see a darkening sky. Immediately Amu had turned around to head home until she realized that she had no idea where home was. Every street looked both familiar and unfamiliar in the gathering twilight which cast shadows over the small square she found herself in. Instantly the panic set in and she began running a ways down each street trying to find something she recognized, but each time she turned around and ran back to the square.
The twilight was thickening and lamps were springing to life when she finally gave up and sat down on the ground next to the fountain in the middle of the square. She pulled her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around them and started to cry. A cold wind was blowing causing her to shiver and pull her thin sweater tighter while she sniffled and hiccupped from the tears.
When the first flakes of powdery snow began to fall Amu was curled up so tight in a ball that she almost didn't feel it settling in her hair. She glanced up and blew out a misty breath into the cold night air. That's when she had heard it. The light melody of Oh Holy Night mixing with the snow flakes in the air all around the square. She had managed to force her stiff body to uncurl itself so she could stand up and look for the source of the melody. It sounded like nothing she had ever heard before and she had heard plenty of music in her travels. The sound was sweet and lilting like a flute but with the same slight twang as a guitar. Was there such a thing as a stringed flute? Amu hadn't thought so but still the idea hadn't sounded utterly ridiculous. But whatever the music had been she had been determined to find it's source and it was her search that had lead her to him.
He was standing on the other side of the fountain with a foreign instrument tucked under his chin. He held it with one hand firmly but delicately on a neck like a guitar with his fingers pressing down on the strings in different patterns. His other hand was moving a long stick smoothly across the strings in a fluid back and forth motion. The sound that emitted from the instrument was the same that Amu had followed and she just stood there in awe watching his hands move and listening to the sweet sounds circling around her.
She had to have stood there for at least a minute while he finished the song till at last he opened his eyes and noticed her for the first time. His eyes went wide in surprise and he dropped the hand holding the instrument down to his side while he pointed the stick at her with the other.
"What is a kid like you doing out here after dark?"
Amu snapped out of her trance the music had created.
"You…you're a kid too. What are you doing out here?" she asked stupidly folding her arms across her chest.
The boy grinned.
"I'm 13. My father lets me go outside when I want, now that I'm no longer a kid."
Amu was slightly surprised at that. She let her hands drop to her sides and her eyes grew larger.
"Really? My daddy says I can't be out after dark without an adult until I'm 18."
He had laughed at that clutching his stomach slightly.
"If that's the case then good luck ever having a boyfriend."
"B…boy friend? I don't want a boyfriend!"
"Ever?" the boy asked with a smirk.
"Well maybe someday." She said quietly, "I mean I would like to know what it's like I guess. Someday."
The boy had been slowly inching closer to her without her realizing it so she was utterly surprised when he gripped her chin and forced her to look into his midnight blue eyes.
"How about now? You're cute so I'll be your boyfriend."
Amu's moth was wide open and all she could manage to get out was little gasps of "ah…uh"
The boy laughed and let go of her chin.
"Well that's settled then. I'll start by walking you home like a proper boyfriend would."
He walked back over to the case lying on the ground and gently lay the instrument within it. He placed the stick beside it and closed the lid before lifting the strap over his head and shoulder to let it rest on his back. Then he came back over to where Amu was still standing with her mouth agape and no coherent words coming out. He grinned at her and grasped her hand in his. Like his voice had done previously, the action snapped her out of her stupor enough for her to close her mouth and give him a suspicious stare.
"Why do you want to be my…boyfriend?"
The boy looked at her for a few seconds before smiling mischievously,
"Like I said you're cute. Plus I'm curious to find out more about you."
Amu didn't know how to respond so she just nodded.
He grinned at her again.
"By the way the first thing I'm curious about is your name."
She hesitated a moment before answering.
"Amu. Amu Hinamori."
"Ikuto." He replied still grinning, "Ikuto Tsukiomi."
It had only taken them 15 minutes to find her apartment, which was partially because a large squadron of Policemen were standing out on her street trying to calm down her hysterical parents. Who only got more hysterical at the sight of her in the company of an "older boy". Ikuto politely and calmly had to explain the situation to both of them at least 5 times before they at last calmed down and thanked him for bringing their wayward daughter home. He was even invited in for some hot coco, as the snow had picked up considerably and the cold was biting at all of their cheeks. Of course he politely declined but asked if from now on he could occasionally visit Amu and take her out to explore the surrounding area, during the day of course, so that she wasn't alone. Mrs. Hinamori agreed right away but her husband was still not so sure of the trustworthiness of the "older boy". Reluctantly he was forced to agree when his daughter commented that she would only sneak out of the apartment again if he refused.
So it was that at least four times a week Ikuto took Amu out on "dates" all around France. Occasionally this was done with the help of his father Aruto who performed the violin, as Amu had learned the instrument was called, all around café's and theaters in France.
Amu loved sitting and listening to Ikuto and his father play the violin almost always in perfect harmony. She had to admit that Ikuto was nowhere as good as his father but she had the nerve to point it out Aruto had smiled and patted both hers and his sons heads and replied,
"He may not be to my level now but there is no denying that he is a genius just lying in wait. He just needs to discover himself and his full potential. Ikuto had looked fondly at his dad and chuckled.
"I don't think I'm a genius but I am pretty darn good."
All three of them broke into laughter.
When the time came for the Hinamori family to finally take their leave of France Amu had experienced all kinds of things thanks to the Tsukiomi's, especially Ikuto. Though she never told anybody, this included her first kiss. At the airport Amu had kept looking around for the tall figure and deep blue hair but it was only when she was about to board that he appeared. She had to almost jump out of the way when he came barreling towards her with his violin case swinging wildly about his shoulders. He slid to a stop in front of her and gasped for breath.
"Ikuto?" she gasped and touched his shoulder while he bowed his head and gasped for breath, "Are you all right?"
He looked up at her and grinned in between gasps.
"I was afraid I wasn't going to make it. I couldn't let you leave without giving you this."
He held out his palm upon which was a sparkling crystal barrette in the shape of a sitting cat with sparkling amber eyes and a jeweled pink collar.
Amu caught her breath and gently took it from his palm to gaze at it more closely.
"Ikuto, it's so pretty." She breathed moving the barrette back and forth so that the sun caught on the many jewels and caused them to sparkle.
"I also came to give you a promise." Ikuto said smiling at her with his customary grin and mischievous eyes.
"What?" Amu asked looking at him directly.
His grin widened and he leaned down so that his face was so close to hers that his breath tickled her nose.
"We were only pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend for now. I know that and you know that, but…" he paused and leaned even closer so his nose touched hers, "I promise to make you fall in love with me someday."
Amu gaped like a goldfish and like when he had first said that he would be her boyfriend she could only gasp out "ah…uh".
Ikuto grinned and tilted his head up slightly to kiss her forehead and slip the barrette into her hair.
"I'll see you again someday Amu kitten." He laughed and then he was gone.
Amu finally managed to break her eyes away from retreating back when her father's voice rose louder than the murmur of the crowd.
"How…how dare he! My baby girl! Fall in love with him? Not on my watch!"
"Now papa." Mrs. Hinamori giggled clutching his arm in an attempt to calm him down before he woke the sleeping Ami, "It's only a childish game. A little fantasy of theirs. Just let them have their fun. Let Amu have her dreams while she's still young."
It had been six years since then but as Amu looked out the window of the airplane traveling to Tokyo the wisps of cloud that floated by reminded her of the snow on the night they had met and as she touched the cat barrette in her hair his words came back to her.
I promise to make you fall in love with me someday.
And for probably the millionth time in six years she wondered if that day would come soon.
So I do have something to say.
While I understand that criticism is beneficial I also feel that too much of it can really be a confidence and self esteem killer that just makes a writer not want to continue writing for awhile. In this way it is hurtful and I would greatly appreciate it that if you find something wrong with the story that you only point out one flaw instead of a whole bunch. (I hope there aren't allot but it does tend to happen even to the best of writers, which I personally know allot of us are) Anyway thankyou for understanding and I hope that the first chapter was ok.