Aishuu Offers:
Mystic Eyes
shitsui@yahoo.com
standard disclaimers
Personal Note: Due to circumstances beyond my control, my penname has changed. I formerly wrote under Quicksilver.
Background: The way the Tarot was abused in Escaflowne has always really annoyed me, and what the fandom (ie inexperienced fanfic writers) has done to it only made it worse. My goal with this piece is to do a continuation that explores some aspects of the series, and do an accurate representation of the Tarot. For this, we're going to assume that Hitomi uses an Ukiyou Tarot deck, not the modified Merlin seen in the series. My understanding of the tarot is less than perfect, but... I'm trying. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do lay the occasional spread out. I'm going to attempt to use the entire major arcana, but considering there's so many cards… I'm also going to be a chicken and avoid dealing with the minor arcana if I can avoid it! Main resource is located at: http://www.learntarot.com/

Prologue:
WHEEL OF FORTUNE
KEYWORDS: Destiny, Turning Point, Movement, Personal Vision


"In Greek mythology, there are three women known as the Fates. They are responsible for spinning the destiny of each person at his or her birth. It is not surprising that the Fates are spinners because the wheel of fortune is an apt image for the elusive turns of a man's fate. This is the theme of Card 10.
The Wheel of Fortune is one of the few cards in the major arcana that does not have a human figure as a focal point. This is because its center is above the realm of man - in the higher levels (clouds) where the destinies of all are woven together in the tapestry of life. The tarot recognizes that each person sets his own path in life, but is also subject to the larger cycles that include him. We experience chance events that appear to be accidents although they are part of the great plan.
In readings, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate a vision or realization that strikes with great force. If you've been struggling with a problem or tough situation, this card can signal that you will find the answer if you stand back and view everything from a larger perspective.
The Wheel of Fortune also represents unexpected encounters and twists of fate. You can't predict surprises; you can only be aware when one is circling around. Indeed, Card 10 often suggests wheel-like actions - changes in direction, repeating cycles and rapid movement. When the energy of the Wheel arrives, you will feel life speed up. You are caught in a cyclone that may deposit you anywhere. "Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."
********************

She was chasing after him; always, she was chasing after Van.

People who watched Kanzaki Hitomi run always tried to describe her afterwards, but were unable to. It was as though she were flying, competing in a shadowy race against an opponent only she could see. Her fleeting steps were a joy to watch; yet there was such a sorrow to her running. Even though she won race after race, racking in an impressive display of medals, the smile she gave her fans never reached her eyes.

Amano and Yukari were unable to understand exactly what had happened. The day after Hitomi had fainted, Hitomi had insisted on racing again. Despite her friends' protests, she had taken her place in the starting blocks. When it was over, Yukari gazed at her stopwatch in disbelief. 00:12:44.

From then on there was no stopping her. People began to talk about college scholarships and professional races- perhaps even the Olympics in 2004. Hitomi seemed to be oblivious, unhappy with her efforts. No matter how fast she ran, she could never catch Van, or outrun the past.

Teachers always found it disconcerting to have Hitomi in their classes. She was the prettiest girl in her section usually, yet she ignored the boys. Her eyes would be vague, yet when she was called upon, she would invariably shoot back the proper answer. After a while, they would learn not to ask anything of her. She was just too different, too not within their world.

Yukari sat on track, watching Hitomi prepare for the last track meet of her high school career. Within a month, she would be graduating and entering KO on a full track scholarship.

Hitomi's shoulder-length brown hair was pulled back strictly from her face, and she was stretching carefully to avoid pulling a muscle. Yukari smiled at her friend, and was relieved to see Hitomi give her a wink. "This will be no problem," she assured her friend.

Yukari smiled at her. "I know that, silly!" she said cheerfully. "I was thinking that this was the end of the era... I won't be your manager again- after all, we're going to different colleges," she said.

"It's ok- I understand you want to be with Amano-sempai. Just promise to invite me to your wedding," she said playfully.

"Invite? You're going to be my maid of honor!" Yukari declared, setting them both off into a fit of giggles. Then Hitomi slipped her warm-up outfit off, smiling as she stepped into the blocks as the race was announced.

She sighed and shut her eyes, feeling the wind brush against her cheek. Then there was the sound of the starter's gun, and she was off, and there was nothing except her and her feet... and the memory of the man she loved. Perhaps this time he would come back to her. Perhaps.... perhaps... perhaps...

All too soon it was over, and she slowed to a jog after feeling the ribbon break across her chest. She had won. Bringing herself to a jog, she turned to see her time, though she had little real curiosity. Her eyes widened at the hush from the crowd, and she wondered what was wrong. Perhaps one of the other runners had injured herself?

Her breath caught with disbelief as her eyes fell on the clock. Her stunned mind refused to acknowledge it.

11:49. Exactly one second over the world record currently held by Flo Jo herself. She had just clocked a world-class time. She blinked a few times, but her time was still there, blinking over the words "TRACK RECORD."

Yukari walked up to her slowly, then, at the last second, threw herself at Hitomi, wrapping her in a tight hug. "Hitomi!" she shrieked joyfully, "you... you're amazing! You can easily qualify for the National team- think what you can do with some professional coaching!"

Hitomi, rather then feeling joyful, felt only numbness as the crowd began to chant her name. Someone pulled her free of Yukari's warm embrace, and she was passed from person to person as everyone congratulated her. She accepted their words with quiet dignity, and when she mounted the podium to receive her award, bending over so the official could slide the ribbon around her neck, she wondered what the point was. Why did she have to run with a crowd? She ran for only one person, and he wasn't here. He had never been here- perhaps she had dreamed him. She often wondered if she had.

An hour later it was over, and Yukari was handing on her arm, pulling her as she chattered eagerly about her latest accomplishment. Hitomi nodded and followed along, not really paying attention. Poor Yukari; Hitomi never really paid attention anymore.

"...Tarot?"

"What?" Hitomi said, the word jerking her out of her reverie.

"Have you read the tarot to see your future lately?" she asked.

Hitomi's eyes darkened. "Yukari, you know I don't read the tarot anymore."

Yukari's eyes flared angrily. "You don't do anything anymore! What the hell happened to you, Hitomi? Wasn't I your best friend? You're not at all like the Hitomi I grew up with!"

Hitomi blinked, trying to assimilate Yukari's sudden outburst. "Yukari..." she said hesitantly, trying to find the words for her pain.

"Don't 'Yukari' me, Hitomi! I don't know you anymore! Don't you realize how long it's been since I've seen you really laugh? YEARS! People, Hitomi whisper about you... you're not NORMAL anymore."

"What's normal? Are reading tarot cards normal?" Hitomi asked dryly.

"For you, yes! It is!" Yukari said.

Hitomi smiled softly at her. "Would it make you feel better if I read my future?" she said with a sigh, hoping to placate her friend. Then she swore inwardly, recognizing how she'd been maneuvered into trapping herself.

Yukari looked at her friend, then reached over and spun Hitomi around, holding onto her shoulders. Staring up into the sprinter's eyes, she spoke with utter seriousness, "Yes. I want you to be the Hitomi I used to know- the one who was curious about her future, the one who knew how to laugh."

Another hour past, and the two girls found themselves in. Time was irrelevant, Hitomi had learned; the weird passages of Gaea had taught her that it was merely a matter of perception. A second was not important, nor was the past or future. All that mattered was the now, and Hitomi smiled as she sat down in front of her friend. "Can't we just go get a hamburger?" she said.

"No!" Yukari said, adamant. "I want to see your fortune!"

Hitomi got up to retrieve her cards, and smiled softly at Yukari. Carefully she unwrapped the cards that she had wrapped up in a silk bag years ago and stored in her vanity. She hadn't seen them in ages, but they were like old friends. "I'm only going to do a three card spread and keep to the Major Arcana," she said as she separated her deck. That would be swift, and keep her from knowing too much. She used to favor a more complex spread, but the more cards brought into play would define the future further. And knowing too much was as dangerous as knowing too little, perhaps even more so.

Messing with the Tarot was dangerous. She had learned that, yet here she was again.

She shuffled the deck slowly, her slender fingers moving over and over, breathing slowly as she cleared her mind. Then suddenly she hesitated as the cards almost spoke to her.

There.

She was half tempted to keep shuffling, but she had learned the danger of forcing a future. She had begun; now she must finish. She removed the top card.

"The past: The Lovers reversed," she whispered.

Yukari blinked. "That's a weird card for you to have, isn't it?" she asked. "I mean, I don't know much about tarot, but...."

Hitomi shook her head. "No, it's appropriate."

"Well?"

"The lovers stand for Relationship, sexuality, personal beliefs, and values. Since it's reversed, that means that the energy was unfulfilled or not fully recognized," Hitomi said with a bitter smile.

Yukari winced. She remembered Hitomi's crush on Amano all too well, and assumed that was what her friend was referring to.

Hitomi didn't bother to enlighten her.

Then she flipped the next card. "The present: The Hermit." At Yukari's inquiring eyebrow she explained. "The hermit means introspection, solitude, guidance and searching. It's particularly appropriate at this point in my life, since I'm pondering choices and questioning what I've been taught since birth." She was rather surprised that it was in the position of the present, rather then the future; she saw herself as being solitary for the rest of her life.

"Final card, the future," she whispered, and she was shaking. She never should have let Yukari talk her into this. She was raking over old wounds, reopening scabs that she thought had healed.

Her eyes widened in horror. The Tower or Death or the Hanged Man she would have accepted, but not this. Normally it was a pleasant card, one full of positive energy, but for her.... it was not for her. Destiny... hadn't she had enough of that already? Turning point... she'd experienced too many. Movement... was something she didn't want. Personal vision... was horrifying. No one should know too much about themselves or their world.

"The Wheel of Fortune...."



END WHEEL OF FORTUNE
UP NEXT: JUDGMENT