A\N: Hi, I like poetry. Bonus points if you place the poem this comes from. Um… I feel compelled to note that neither Mrs. Muroi or Mrs. Ozaki were given much screen-time, so the interpretation of their characters is quite loose. + also I have no computer. My motherboard exploded, so0o0o0 fic output gr8tly decreased.
Takae Ozaki was not pleased with this particular turn of events. She had made that perfectly clear, cursing at the birds and trees as she walked up the hell-bent steps to reach the temple.
She had accepted the invitation for tea, because Miwako was a respectable woman, so much unlike her son. In fact, she had never quite liked Miwako's son. There was something strange about him. When she looked at him, instead of seeing the family resemblance, she felt as though she were looking right through him.
And that discomforted her greatly.
Not to mention the thing that existed between her own son and Miwako's. Lately, he had been spending a good deal of time with Toshio. Her son was irresponsible. She knew that much; but this time, he had gone too far.
Any time she had brought up her own dissatisfaction with his current situation, he simply shrugged it off.
Your friend can't stay over. He simply made an excuse to work later. To make matters worse, she had seen that boy leaving the clinic the following morning. Wearing her son's clothes, no less.
And there was all this talk of kissing. The friend of a wife of a temple aide had told her that her son had been seen in a compromising position with the young priest. They were both men. Anything that happened between them was most likely disgusting.
In fact, her displeasure had started because of that boy. He had called her son late last night, and promised to surprise him for his birthday. Takae had planned to be at home, to subvert a potential romantic encounter.
Her son had to be remarried.
Miwako for her part was quite welcoming. She had met Takae half-way, listening to her complaints about assorted things. By the time they had made it, Mrs. Ozaki was rather worn out.
"It has been a while hasn't it?"
She frowned. "Not long enough, it seems."
"Takae, is something the matter?"
"I don't like it." She was a rather blunt woman.
"Takae, I haven't even served the tea." Miwako chuckled. "It can't be that bad."
She made a face, halfway between annoyed and disappointed. "This thing between our sons. You couldn't have possibly ignored that."
Her expression changed from the normally cheerful grin to a slightly more downcast look. "… It can't be all that bad, can it?"
"What does Nobuaki think? What would the village think, if we told them? Our sons in a relationship! They're men, Miwako! Two grown men should not be seeing each other." She glared at the other woman, unable to comprehend the lack of awareness.
"Why don't I pour us some tea? I have some sweets too, I asked Seishin to go get them yesterday."
The displeasure was evident. She allowed the priestess to serve her tea, but refused the snacks that had accompanied them. He had tainted them, no doubt. Just like he had corrupted her son, and turned Sotoba on its side.
Mrs. Muroi had set a cup of tea in front of herself. "There is something about those trees out there, isn't there?" She lifted her cup, and took a sip. "Tea is just so relaxing, you know?"
The other woman eyed her cup suspiciously. Had he made this too? Was it filled with the same poison that the tea-time snacks were inevitably infected with?
After another long glance at the priestess, she pushed the cup away gently.
Miwako had not commented. She had continued smiling. She was oblivious.
So it was up to Takae to inform her. "You are aware that they were kissing. Two grown men. Kissing."
"… That's rather… private, isn't it?" She was blushing.
"Miwako, word of this has already spread! If anyone knows about this..."
She frowned. "Takae… They're grown men… And… if it makes them happy…"
"Happy?" She had made a face. "How can they possibly be happy?" She was sorely tempted to overturn the table, spilling both cups of the awful tea with it. "They are both men! It's disgusting." You should know better, he's your only son.
"You haven't touched your tea. Is it too hot?"
There was a look of genuine worry on her face. Why was she worried about something so trivial?
It was because of her son, wasn't it?
"… Ah. Would you like something else, perhaps?"
She nodded, and an attendant placed sliced bread on the table. She was irritated by the fact that a temple worker had brought the bread, rather than Miwako herself. It was wasteful; the volunteers should have been working. But nonetheless, she was grateful for the change. The other woman had probably taken the time to prepare these herself.
It was fine, baked with nuts and dried fruit; catered to her tastes. Perhaps she would take some home and give it to her ungrateful son. That priest-boy probably hadn't made any food for her son. And it was beneath her son to do such things for himself. So naturally the task fell on her.
She took another slice, and made a casual inquiry. "Miwako, how do you find the time for these things?"
"Oh… no…" She was smiling, her face lowered into her kimono sleeve. "Ah… Actually, Seishin left these…"
Takae Ozaki was aghast. She set the slice back on the plate, gently pushing her teacup towards it.
"… Ah yes… He said something about wanting to bring your son cake instead and…"
But the other woman was beyond the point of listening. She had fallen on the tatami.
She was already unconscious.