Mi Menchi

I miss you.

The sunlight streamed from the windows of the old repainted house by the glens. Dust motes danced in the play of light. The furniture are covered by white linen sheets. The sink is empty of dishes. New wallpaper covered the walls as the plaster dried last week. Curtains brightened the room with their brilliant colors. Everything is stacked in place.

Outside, different flowers; daisies, peonies, hydrangeas, and roses permeated the air of fragrance. On the meadows overlooked by the sprawling house's windows, a still figure was observed.

Lying on her back, the girl's short clipped hair peeked from the white kerchief as the wind lifted its short strands away from her face. She was unmoving and not making a sound, simply listening from the sounds of nature with its orchestra of bees and birds. Her face was heart-shaped, graced by fine arched brows and long thick lashes that form perfect half-moons on her cheek when closed. Her hands are small, tapering, with fingernails clipped short but definitely know housework due to the dirt smearing them. Her skin was blended peach and cream, glowing and vibrant with health She was breathing evenly, in rhythm with her surroundings.

She was dreaming, her left hand on hold of a letter.

As she let Morpheus weave his spell, her last thought was him.

Dear Mikan,

By the time you opened you eyes, I'm long gone. I have gone to war.

Last week, Night

"You wake me up tomorrow early, okay?" Mikan smiled as she curled like a ball on the large bed, the blankets around her, wrapping her small lithe body like a cocoon. "If you want a delicious breakfast, wake me up and I'll make you one. I bought sausages the other day and some parmesan cheese. Maybe you'll like some sandwich tomorrow morning." She yawned, undoubtedly sleepy.

Ruka smiled, an endearing smile as he joined her in their bed they both slept as children. "Aye, aye ma'am."

Mikan grinned and pinched his cheeks. "We have our talk about the war settled then, right?"

Ruka's eyes grew solemn. "Yes, it's settled." He kissed her forehead and squeezed her right hand. "Don't worry."

"Don't leave without waking me."

"I won't"

I know I broke our promise, but I must. I will return soon.

Fourteen Years Ago, April

"Isn't the dress just right for you, Mikan?" Misaki smiled as she admired the child in front of her from the mirror. She was the one assigned to take care of the orphanage Mikan used to live, and the child itself.

When I come back, Mikan, I want us to be married.

The child let out a squeal. "Oh yes, I look like a princess!" Mikan pirouetted, a graceful one, and stopped, lifting her skirts not too high to marvel at the quality of cloth used. "Thanks Misaki!"

I have loved you for a long time.

"No she isn't!" A small boy with a blond head, Mediterranean hued eyes and pouty lips protested as he stared at Mikan with a critical eye. He just woke up, sandmen in his eyes and his hair unruly. He was with Tsubasa, the one in charge of him. "She looks like a bride!"

"Oi, Ruka, what are you saying?" Tsubasa replied startled by the outburst. Misaki let out a surprised laugh.

And now that you're eighteen, I think it's the right time I tell you about it.

"I'm saying the truth! And I'm going to marry her someday!"

Misaki and Tsubasa shared a secret smile. "Oh, is that so?"

I don't want to leave you if the choice was mine.

Twelve Years Ago, March

"Misaki, Tsubasa!" Mikan wailed into the night as the fire consumed the orphanage that became their home. It started from a forgotten candle wick left by one of the younger children. As their neighbors rescue and offered shed to the other children, Mikan cried, tears an endless trail on her cheeks and with a little of courage, attempted to run back the burning house. Ruka managed to get hold of her in time, locking her in his arms as she weep and buried her face in his throat.

"Ruka, Tsubasa and Misaki, they're still inside the house!"

"I know Mikan, I know."

" Mi-sa-saki, Tsu-Tsu-ba-sa…" She hiccupped as Ruka brushed the hair on her temple for comfort.

I want to stay,

"Don't worry little one, I'm by your side. I won't leave you."

She felt dampness in her collar and realized he was crying too, and trying hard to repress it.

Laugh with you,

Last year, February

"Hey Lemon, I'll be needing some milk for the cream sauce I'm making. Just two cups will do, can I have some?" Mikan rounded on the cow she just purchased last December. They named it Lemon, with no utter reason at all. Ruka laughed over it.

Mikan got a stool and a bucket and settled into place. She squeezed the cow's teats, but no milk came out. She tried harder, but still nothing came.

"You mangy smelly cow! Give me some milk!"

Mikan gritted her teeth and yanked. The cow's tail moved and slapped her on the cheek. She fell backward from her stool and hit the Earth with a hard thud. She heard Ruka laugh behind her.

And share the simple joys of life through memorable tasks that simply entwine our lives.

"Ruka! I don't appreciate you siding with this cow!"

Ruka raised both of his palms and feigned innocence. "Sorry, I can't help but laugh. Of all things you want to clash heads to, you chose a cow."

He reached for her bucket and looked inside.

"Not even one drop!"

I want to reach things that are too high for you,

Mikan stomped her foot to the ground like a petulant child. "I don't know how to milk a cow, okay? Now give me back my bucket!" She tried to reach his arms as he raised the bucket over her head.

"Grow some inches more squirt."

Carry things that are too heavy,

Half an hour later

"I would appreciate it if you help me with this?" Mikan screamed as she spied Ruka going back to their house, walking stealthily like a fox. With a large gulp of air, Mikan tried to carry the bucket and screech at the same time. Unfortunately she stumbled upon a rock and the milk spilled all over the ground. She caught Ruka at her line of vision as she stood up.

Ruka threw her a sheepish grin.

She made a sound with her knuckles.

Hear the light swish of your skirts and those light footfalls of yours as you go up and down the house stairs from the doorway of our bedroom.

"I'm going to castrate you with my bucket, you hear me!" Mikan threatened as she ran holding her skirts after Ruka who was both chuckling and running at the same time.

To wash your aching feet after we run recklessly on the meadows as if claiming it for our own.

"Ow, ow, don't touch it! It hurts!" Mikan whined as she saw Ruka kneel in front of her with bandages ready. "It's all your fault you led me into a wild chase!"

Ruka arched his left brow. "My fault? You're the one here screaming your lungs out to the mountains that you'll cut my genitals if I let you catch up with me!"

"I'm not serious!"

"Oh, is that why you broke the bucket in your attempt to smash it in my face?"

Use the same hairbrush,

Three years ago, April

"Why don't you marry Ruka?" Mikan asked one night as Ruka brushed her hair. They are in their meadow, enjoying a late night and the smell of flowers Mikan planted two summers ago. "You're twenty already. Its time you settle down and have your own family."

Lie on my back on the soft green grass with you by my side and together, admire the stars.

Ruka stopped brushing and rested his chin on Mikan's head, as if thinking a reply. He looked up to the stars. "I'm waiting for her."

"I'll miss you once you'll go away with that woman you'll marry. I like you a lot, you see."

Call you just to say I love you.

Ruka looked at her fondly. "I lov…like you too, Mikan."

Drink from the same mug of coffee,

Mikan smiled at him. "She'll be worth waiting for; you're a pretty mighty catch yourself and patient at that."

Ruka grinned. "Yeah, but I hope she'll be here fast."

To read poetry together, and find you in the words of beauty by poets of long ago.

"The roses are in full bloom!" Mikan sniffed the air. "We're blessed."

"The fairest things have the fleetest ends,

Their scents survive their close.

The rose's scent is bitterness,

To him that love the rose." Ruka quoted with flourish.

Mikan laughed. "Daisy by some Thompson fellow, right?"

Ruka nodded. "Struck me funny to have that line in a Daisy poem."

I have always wanted kids. Imagine, us a family with you pregnant with my child and I'm simply holding you in my arms, just touching and staying like that, and not worrying about the war, only aware of each other.

"The stars are mighty pretty tonight." Mikan exclaimed as she raised her arms over her head for a stretch and fell back to Ruka's arms. She stayed there for a while, snuggling into his warmth. He liking the smell of her hair and the softness of her skin.

"Its fun to simply stay like this, isn't it? No problems and anything."

"Yeah, mighty glad to be just this forever."

I want to grow old with you.

Two weeks ago, Night

"What do you mean join the army?" Mikan asked, tears in her eyes, her breath shortening, her voice shaking. "You want to join the army? Ruka, you're killing yourself! Its murder out there!" She was in an agonized state now, sobbing wildly, her lips trembling, unable to form words. "Y-You-You're go-going to-to k-kill you-yourself," Mikan struggled to breath.

"Mikan, please understand." Ruka said, pain in his eyes. "It'll pay well. I won't die. The country need some more soldiers, I volunteered, that's all."

"You're risking your life, Ruka!"

"Mikan, I,ll come back to you."

Once I return, I'll give you my name and our ring.

"You want to leave me! You said you won't leave me alone! I hate you Ruka!" Mikan ran up the stairs, not looking back to him.

For now, carry my heart in your sleeve for safekeeping.

She was crying now, her dreams ugly and haunting, forcing her to consciousness. Mikan woke up and realized she was dreaming the same thing last night. With a whimper of despair she clutched the letter to her breast, hoping for Ruka to come from behind her and wrapped her in his arms. Wishing that his body isn't the one buried near the house they live together, wishing he could have just said his feelings to her so that she must have persuaded him not to go anymore.

Mi Menchi.

"You fool, Ruka, I would have given everything back just to have you with me." She cried, watering the ground with her tears, as she does so every day, and also at his grave.

I love you,



Author's Notes: Mi Menchi is Italian for 'I miss you'. Ruka and Mikan both grew up together in an orphanage and was raised as brother and sister. However, Ruka fell for Mikan and is afraid to confess in person. His hesitation cost him his lost chance to do so and left an anguished almost lover on their home they both built as they grew from adolescents to adults. The only thing that kept Ruka's memory alive is the letter the army's courier sent in the day of his demise during service.