A/N: Wow my first in this fandom.. So please be kind.. I'm going non-canon here only because it was perfect for the story. This is only a teaser. I have the companion fic plotted already. So if you think I could pass as an author in the MKR fandom, well you guys know what to do.
This was in no way proof-read and although I'm nearing my anniversary in this site, I still don't have a beta.. tehees... Well, I hope you enjoy.
Standard Disclaimer: MKR is exclusiveley owned by CLAMP. The plot of this story, however, is mine.
Figurante by Anne Raven
Twenty-year-old Umi Ryuuzaki was not so different from the fourteen-year-old Magic Knight of the bygone days. She was definitely the same person in and out. And yes, she believed that age was just a number. But despite the fact that Umi had not changed much, everything around her did... including her two bestfriends.
At first, the changes were subtle, they were barely noticeable but as time passed, much had been altered she refused to believe she just watched it happen.
She had no suspicions whatsoever. She knew exactly what changed Hikaru and Fuu so thoroughly they almost turned into ghosts of their former selves. There was only one name for it and even she could not utter the word without a feeling of loss.
Though all of them grieved at the thought of never going back to the land they once laid their lives for, Umi was at least able to salvage what her friends undoubtedly left behind.
There were some hurts you forget. And then there are some that grow worse over time. There are wounds that heal. And there are those that eat you up. Some broken things can be repaired. And then there were those which can't. Umi wondered, to which categories do you classify a broken heart?
Umi tried. God knows how hard she tried to help her friends get over this ordeal. Yet, she herself was at a loss for words to say; quite unbelievable for someone who always had something to say.
Love was one subject she usually stayed out of.
It wasn't because her first try at it turned out to be a complete fallout – she had come to think of it as one bad case of student-teacher crush. She just couldn't relate to something as messy and complicated. When something unpleasant happens to you, you move on.
Regardless of what she believed in, Umi would give up anything to help her friends get through. Her chance came one summer.
She was vacationing with her parents in France. She had wanted to bring her two best friends along but Fuu was busy with college. She was starting her majors at Todai, after all. And Hikaru… well, Hikaru had never accepted any offer of going out of the country; not even when Umi or Fuu offered to pay the expenses.
It was no secret that the statuses of their lives differed. Sometimes, Umi thought, it would be nice if the real world was a little bit more like Cephiro.
Umi was sulking. She was in France. She should be enjoying herself. There was one aother reason why she wanted to go there aside from it being an absolutely beautiful country. She had wanted to enter Le Cordon Bleu. Yes, her love of baking had grown exponentially to include cooking in general. In fact, she spent the previous two years in college studying Culinary Arts.
As she studied the campus, she vaguely thought if it was a good idea to relocate instead of studying at Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo but she was resolved. She wanted the full experience. If she wanted it to be authentic too, it had to happen here in the heart of France, Paris.
"Bonjour Mademoiselle Marina. Ça va bien?" The dean, Monsieur Pierre, greeted her.
"Oui, ça va. Et tu?" She replied polietly.
"Ça va, et merci, Mademoiselle. It's good you know French, no?" Monsieur Pierre said, his eyes wrinkling at the sides as he smiled.
"I'm not that fluent, Monsieur." She admitted inwardly thanking whatever gods there are out there that the older man used English, a language she knew she was proficient with.
"Ahh.. but you will learn just like the way you'll learn the art of French cooking with gusto." He answered her.
She smiled back, her pretty face dimpling. Although she would leave a lot behind, this was in no way a permanent separation. She will be back in no time. Umi knew this was one decision she had to make, a decision she would not regret. Little did she know, things would only get better.
As she descended the stone steps of the Admissions Building, an awfully familiar voice called her.
"Madamoiselle Umi, a moment please." When she did not stop, she heard a call from a much deeper voice.
And though Umi was wary about talking to strangers, all her instincts told her to stop and look back. When she did, her heart nearly stopped beating. It was like the heavens opened up and answered her prayers.
And so it was that somewhere in this world, people you never thought could exist, existed.
Two years later…
Umi was running late. An hour, possibly two, passed since the party started and most of the guests, if not all, were already there. She walked as fast as the high heels of her blue Manolo Blahnik shoes allowed. As she wove pass various guests strewn all over the hotel lobby, furtive looks followed her; some though were openly ogling.
Why wouldn't they?
She was impeccably dressed from head to foot in a look that screamed WOW. Black and white pearl earrings set with marquise and brilliant-cut diamonds adorned her lobes, a stunning chocker studded with circular-cut diamonds and five-row bands of cultured pearls was wrapped firmly around her slender swan neck, Harry Winston style.
Like her choice of jewelry, her attire was unimpeachable. Simple yet complementing her gaudy jewelry quite well. It was a white strapless bustier which reached her knees layered with silk and panel detail and leaf-shaped cotton lace, a Versace wonder. Carrying the Celestina capiz minaudiere seemed off the top but Umi needed something to hold on to.
She laughed inwardly. She could probably pay for half the expenses of the party with what she was wearing.
She congratulated herself. This party was made possible because of her meddling. She never thought she would witness the day she would see her best friend married. Well, engaged technically. As she was escorted to the venue by a concierge, she started panning the room. Where was the charming couple?
Then she heard the tapping of the microphone followed by a voice she had not expected to hear.
Zagato was giving his opening speech. Umi would have laughed to see the once-feared high priest give out a speech for an engagement party but, what the hell, it was his brother getting married here. Umi smiled. She couldn't be happier than she was.
She found Ferio and Lantis, rather, they found her when she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu two years ago. She had found a way to bring them close to her best friends. And now… Hikaru was about to be married to Lantis.
"There you are." She heard from behind. "You're late."
She smiled sheepishly as she faced the red-head.
"Gomen. My flight was delayed."
"We are glad you made it Miss Umi." Lantis said.
Umi sighed and if she were the type of girl who would do it and Lantis was the type of guy she could do it to, she would have hit him in the head with her bag.
"Okay, I know you made good on your word not to marry her until I got back in Japan. But could you have waited for me to at least get one day of rest before the engagement party?" She ranted.
"Miss Umi, I think they've waited long enough to get married. Give them this at least." Fuu had stepped in and hugged her gently.
Fuu had gone and helped Hikaru freshen up after the latter accused their blue-haired friend of not even letting her be the prettiest girl in her own engagement party to which the three of them laughed. Umi seriously doubted that. It had been two years since she saw her two best friends. And the changes were dramatic. You could see them blooming radiantly. You could see their smiles reach their eyes. You could see them thoroughly in love.
"Ferio…" She called once her two friends were out of hearing distance. "When are you popping the question? You can't let Fuu wait long."
"You two just graduated. Once she's settled, I'll ask. Don't worry. I'm not letting her go." He reassured her.
Most of the night, she stayed away from the conversations of the two charming couples. She would just be the third wheel if she lingered. What could she say to them that won't interrupt their sweet nothings? Another batch of congratulations? More of which would be completely unnecessary and plain stupid.
And so she stayed where she was – in a throng of doting males she hardly cared about. When at last one man did catch her eye.
He was sitting at the far corner of the room in one of the more private tables. He looked vaguely familiar but Umi couldn't place where she first saw him. At the back of her mind, she knew, he was one of those who populated the world of Cephiro, reborn in this world like the rest of them. The weird thing about him was he wasn't mingling with the rest of them unlike Caldina who probably greeted everyone she knew thrice already or like Clef who reprimanded everyone at par with Caldina.
His topaz eyes were intensely focused. His gaze was penetrating. His mein, calculated. In a room where everyone was happy, he was everything but. And when his eyes met hers, his lips lifted in a half-smile as he beckoned her to come to him.
That's when she remebered who he was.
He never looked this dangerous before but she knew he was.
And although she declined his offer with a polite shake of her head and although he acknowledged her refusal with a toast of the red wine he had in one hand, she knew his eyes never left her ever since. And she was highly aware of him the rest of the night.
They were enemies in a past life. But now that their worlds had converged, what purpose was there for her to know him?
What was it that kept her thinking of his topaz eyes and the feeling that he knew… absolutely knew what she felt.
In this room where everyone was happy, he was everything but… Umi silently acquiesced.
So was she.
A/N: Okay I did say earlier that I have the companion fic in mind but I'm still not sure when I would be able to post it. Heck, I'm not even sure if I would ever be able to post it as I'm very busy with work. Hopefully I would. Reviews will inspire me though. so please be kind.. mwahugs