Jiyuu - Freedom
The last thing I remember is the pressure of your head on my chest and you calling my name. After that, everything's black. Before that, beautiful memories...
The faded face of a woman crying - my mother, the last time I ever saw her. The old stargazer and his prophecy. The first time I ever met you, and my decision that you would be the one I would die for. Every exchange we ever made - my copious compliments, your cold shoulder, the battles, the smiles, the gasps, the surprises... all of them remembered, adored. My memories, sweet treasures of the one I have loved, the one I will love forever. And you said you loved me too, you said as I was...
As I had laid dying, as the Earth was dying around me. What... now? Where are you? Are you safe? Panic sweeps over me, and I soon become aware of my body and the odd sensation of the air around me as my hair whips wildly about.
I open my eyes, and it's as if I'm plunging through the clouds - my vision is white, hazy, and I feel like I'm falling, although I do not know where I've fallen from or where I'm falling to. It is a swift descent, yet there doesn't seem to be any reason for alarm. Nothing bad can happen to me now, in this place. I don't know how I know this, there is just this sensation in the air around me.
Before long, the hazy white emptiness thins and exposes a wide expanse of emerald grass below me. A never-ceasing field that expands in all directions. A gust of sweet-scented wind propels me forward as I fall, towards a small white object, the only anomaly in the endless green field.
As I approach the object, a pair of magnificent white wings stretch out behind me, slowing my descent so that I settle carefully onto the ground. They are a surprise to me - I had not noticed them before, yet they seem to have sprouted from my back as if commonplace. The grass is cool, soft, and I realize now that I am barefoot - indeed, it's not just my feet that are bare. As I contemplate the disappearance of my clothing, the object - in actuality much larger than I had originally thought - before me shifts, and my eyes widen as I discover what the object is.
The 'object' is a person - the white that I had seen from above was another set of wings like the ones I had somehow acquired, and they are attached to the only person I have thought myself unequal to -
O goddess, Arashi, sleeping peacefully, cloaked only by the feathers of your own angelic wings.
The old stargazer taught me - and taught me well - to treat all others as my friends, my equals. But you - you were always so far above me, in my mind. You are Beauty, you are Strength, you are Temperance, you are everything - you kept me in balance, and it was no wonder that I mortally fell in love with you.
It may have seemed to you that I regarded my fate as a joke, that I only chose you to be the one on a whim, but... it's not true. No other woman made me feel how I feel towards you - from even the very beginning moment, I felt something about you that I could not resist. You were the Stoic, the counter of my being, a woman that made my soul sing, my spirit grin, and my heart beat wild and free. And now here you are before me, the weight of your hardships lifted, revealing your true beauty. Beautiful. I can't help but smile.
My shadow is cast upon you by the warming sun, and the difference of lighting causes you to stir. You yawn and stretch and slowly open your eyes. You narrow your eyes in confusion when you look at me, but they quickly widen, and you spring up and rush to me.
Cool drops hits my shoulder as you tightly hug me around the neck. I feel your soft cheek against mine as you whisper my name joyously.
In an insulted tone, I reply,
"I thought you promised you wouldn't cry..."
You loosen your embrace to look at me. I just grin at you.
You wipe away your tears of happiness, and with a sarcastic smile, say,
Your smile softens into one more genuine, and you rest your head on my bare chest. A deja vu shiver runs through me as I remember...
Remember myself dying... hearing you say...
"I love you..."
I look at you a moment, wondering if you had actually spoken, or if it was only the memory of before. I hesitate for a moment and decide to kiss the top of your head, and I smile as you tighten your arms around me.
"So, this is love..." I comment wistfully.
"Hai... I suppose it is..." you respond.
"...Standing naked in a field of grass..." I add wittingly.
"Eh..." You push slightly away from me and look down, causing a deep blush to fill your cheeks.
I laugh and with a finger I raise your chin so that you are looking into my eyes. I smile gently, and your blush fades slightly.
"No need to worry, babe... we'll get to that -"
Your blush instantly returns to a beet red color.
"-When we're ready."
In a quiet voice, you reply,
With that, our eyes close and we are drawn together. Our lips touch, and we remain that way.
An eternity together.
We are free.