Author's note: This fic was inspired by two things: the first being the series itself, and the second being the song "Out of my League" by Stephen Speaks. I suggest listening to the song first before reading this to help really set the mood of the story.
I hope you enjoy this fic!
She Dances in Beauty
It had been a long night. Her hands throbbed and ached in pain. She fought to stay awake, but her eyelids were getting heavier with fatigue as each second passed.
Tsukimi let out a large yawn and removed her glasses. Her eyes also felt strained from having to do a lot of up-close work on the dresses she and her housemates were working on. She took off her glasses and rubbed both of her eyes with her gray sweatshirt sleeves. Everyone helping her - Mayaya, Chieko, Banba, Jiji, and the latest addition to the dress crew, Nomu - were knocked out, some slumped over a dress-in-progress, fast asleep. Mayaya was snoring the loudest out of them all. There was large spit bubble coming out of the Three Kingdoms fan's mouth as she snored. Tsukimi couldn't help but chuckle at the sight.
But wait a minute, wasn't there one missing? Tsukimi took a quick head count and felt foolish for forgetting the missing individual. With his gregarious nature and flashy, fashionable display of clothing, how could he not be noticed?
(I wonder where Kuranosuke is?) Tsukimi wondered. She decided to take a quick look around the house to see where he went. He had to be around somewhere. It wasn't like him to up and leave without a word. Definitely it wouldn't fit his social character.
Tsukimi slowly got up and softly walked by a couple of the Amars. She carefully made her way past Chieko, who appeared to be lost in a dream about her dolls. "Midoriko," she mumbled, sleep-talking, "You...you look very lovely in your new...kimono. Zzzz."
The backlight from Kurara's tank glowed a pleasant pale light blue. The water surface's reflection shimmered across the floor as it rippled from the filter stirring it. Tsukimi paused and quietly walked up to the tank. (Kurara, you look so peaceful in there,) Tsukimi thought as she placed her palm on the side of the tank's glass and watched her pet jellyfish flutter innocently in the water. When she was satisfied of having taken a quick visit to Kurara, Tsukimi walked around the corner to a set of stairs leading up to a few of the Amar's rooms on the second floor, including her own room.
The old steps creaked from under Tsukimi's weight. She made her way up them as carefully as she could, not wanting to cause a step to creak too loudly and wake the girls up downstairs. They all worked hard. They deserved to sleep without any disturbances.
Tsukimi figured Kuranosuke was somewhere on this floor, wandering aimlessly about. She could recall the first time he came to Amamizukan, how he had strolled out in this very hall so carefree, and how much in a panic she was in when he did that. Tsukimi still found it hard to believe how meeting him all turned into this: putting her dream into physical form and how people, strangers she's never met before and never could imagine herself interacting with in any manner, were interested in them... the jellyfish dresses. She felt content about how it turned out. She also had to admit that deep down, despite her quiet nature, she was actually excited about the possibility of the dresses becoming a world-wide phenomenon. It was all thanks to Kuranosuke that this was all becoming a reality. It was funny how their first meeting, fateful perhaps, had all led up to this.
"Pssst, Kuranosuke-san?" Tsukimi whispered. "Are you around here?" The female jellyfish otaku waited a few seconds for a response. When she didn't hear one, she tried again.
"Kuranosuke-san? Hello? Are you up here?"
She walked up to the door of her room and gently rapped her knuckles on it. Grasping and turning the handle, she cracked the door ajar. Her head poked inside.
"Kuranosuke-san? Please don't be sleeping again in here." Tsukimi slithered inside. "I'll let you sleep here for tonight, but I beg you please stop making a habit of it." She didn't see him snoozing in his usual spot on the floor next to her bed. Instead, she saw him sitting by her windowsill, window wide open and brisk, night air blowing in. His eyes were casted up into the sky, taking in their display of stars.
Kuranosuke turned around when he heard something shuffling about in the room. He saw Tsukimi looking at him. She had petrified into a stone statue.
He smiled at her. "Geez, Tsukimi!" he laughed in a hushed voice. "You really ought to be use to my male appearance by now!"
Her stone exterior cracked and crumbled to dust. She held her eyes shut tight.
"Please put on a top."
"I don't have any suitable tops to wear right now."
Tsukimi, eyes still closed, pointed in the direction of where she assumed Kuranosuke's female clothing lay in a heap.
"Please put back on your fashionable top at least."
Kuranosuke cocked his head to the side. "But it was making my skin so itchy before. I don't want to put those clothes back on right now."
"T-then I'll-" Tsukimi waved her hands around, feeling her away around her room. She did not want to open her eyes and risk seeing a half-nude, handsome male and becoming totally petrified once more. She tried heading towards her clothing dresser.
"I'll lend you s-some of my clothes again for y-you to put on."
"Those bland gray sweat pants and shirt? Nah," Kuranosuke briefly closed his eyes and stretched his legs. "It actually feels good to have the night breeze touch my skin."
Tsukimi's cheeks began to flush red. Although her eyes were still squeezed tight, her mind was still free to see. Kuranosuke's image appeared in her head, dressed in nothing more than a pair of shorts, precisely the way he was at the moment.
She went into total petrification again as a result.
Kuranosuke watched her as she did so. "Tsukimi," he sighed. "Tsukimi. Come over here, one sec."
His soft voice broke the petrification spell on Tsukimi. She opened her eyes and walked over to the windowsill.
"Look out the window, up in the sky. What does it look like? What do you see, Tsukimi?"
She sat down next to Kuranosuke and looked up into the night sky. The heavens were painted a dark, midnight blue and dotted with tiny, glimmering diamonds that were stars. A full moon was out. It was beautiful by itself, but its white light made the large, stretched fabric of the night sky pulse in currents of a strong royal blue. With the stars glimmering, Tsukimi felt as though the oceans of the world were flipped upside down and placed high above her, blue waves rolling along the surface and stars twinkling in sync.
"An ocean," Tsukimi watched, entranced. "I feel like it's heaven's ocean." She reached a hand out, imagining dipping her hand in the celestrial waters and being pulled in.
"Yeah, an ocean. I can see that. You know, what I see," he pointed a little west of the shining moon to a patch of the milky way exposed, "is a long, flowing ballroom gown. It'd be a good outfit to wear out to a romantic dinner or something."
"Is that so," Tsukimi was still taken in by the sky. Her eyes kept scanning the entirety of it, her mind filling the empty ocean with frilly jellyfish, their long ribbon-like tentacles drifting like a ghost behind them. "It's almost hypnotic to look at, don't you think?"
Kuranosuke shrugged. "I guess so."
Tsukimi watched his expression. "Really? Well... I think it is. I can picture Kurara-"
"The spotted jellyfish you helped me rescue the first time we met."
"Oh, right. That."
Tsukimi's head started to bob a bit, sleep trying its hardest to seize the girl away. She shook her head to ward it off.
"I can picture Kurara up in that ocean, swimming so freely...without a care in the world. I wouldn't mind being up there, too," Tsukimi could not fight off sleep anymore. Her mind began to sink in the calm shadows that are a person's untapped dreams. "I...wish I could be...up there... swimming in heaven's ocean." Her eyes closed softly and she finally drifted off. Her body slumped over and bumped against Kuranosuke's. The act alerted him, but he couldn't help but give a heartfelt smile. Being as careful as possible so as to not wake her, he wrapped an arm around Tsukimi and brought her a bit closer to his warm body. Tsukimi seemed to be at ease with this gesture. Still sound asleep, she nuzzled against his bare chest.
(But you are up there, Tsukimi,) Kuranosuke watched as she quietly breathed, feeling her exhalations softly beat against his skin. He looked back up in the sky.
There she was, donned in a stunning jellyfish-inspired dress that seemed to flow with a life all its own. It's color glowed, the dress having been dipped in the pure white ink of the moon. Her hair drifted freely behind her and moved in harmony with each step she took.
The beautiful damnsel began to dance. They were little steps at first but with the passing of time, they gradually became more vivacious.
She then held up her arms, appearing as though she were holding on to someone and dancing with them. Kuranosuke could not see this invisible figure the beauty held onto. Nevertheless, the princess continued on dancing with her ghostly partner.
Kuranosuke rested his head on top of Tsukimi's, the girl being unaware of his action as she continued to sleep peacefully. He took in her sweet scent. She was here on land, this Earth, with him. Anyone could see this.
But there was something else...something only Kuranosuke could see. He could see the beautiful princess up in the sky, surrounded by an expanse of dreams filled with stars. The one who loved her with all of his being could only watch his celestrial beauty continue to dance, the ocean seperating the two.
He yearned to be in that strange sea, dancing with the princess.
Even if a lifetime passes, he will wait, for when the princess finishes her dance with her ghostly partner, then can he enter the ocean where the princess resides. When this happens, the invisible veil covering the princess's eyes will finally be lifted, allowing her to see her partner... and allowing the couple to become whole at last.