Shunrei hurried outside of Shiryu's room. "Why is he late for dinner?" she spoke as she turned to the railing and toward the deep shaded forests "I hope he isn't lost!" she gasped, as she hurried toward Shiryu's door and knocked desperately. "Shiryu!" she called out.
The Chinese girl breathed a sigh of relief as she heard his voice. "Oh Shiryu, thank goodness you are there! I thought you were lost!"
Inside, shirtless and sweating hard, Shiryu rested on the edge of the bed. "No, I've just been working on something that Old Master asked me to do," he spoke as he picked up his latest clothing causality from burning his cosmos too much.
"You're still doing that?" asked Shunrei. She remembered that after lunch, he bolted back to his room and asked her not to come inside, until he had finished. Hopefully whatever the Old Master's request was, it wasn't too hard.
Shiryu turned his head, "yes. Listen, go ahead and start without me. I'm actually still stuffed from lunch."
Shunrei nodded. "Alright... well... good luck with... whatever you're doing."
He sat there, leaning on his elbows, listening carefully to the sound of Shunrei's footsteps fading into the distance before lying back down on his bed. His dull eyes stared at the darkness toward what he assumed was his ceiling. "Why is he asking me to do this?" He spoke to himself as he traced the sharp creases of the flower. "I just have to name the color of this. This is supposed to be easy? Three year old children are asked to name the colors of objects but..." a small tear fell from his eye. "I can't," he whimpered.
The day is almost over and he still had yet to name the color of the origami flower. If he can't do that, how could he even tell Old Master what Shunrei painted? He even tried to feel the shape of the flower and knew it was a rose, but roses came in many colors and he wouldn't know if Shunrei used just a random piece of paper to make it.
He reached his hands over his face, and used his fingers to wipe the ducts at his face. It would be easy to think that his teacher was giving these tasks to make him understand that he was blind and he couldn't do everything a person with sight could, like appreciate color. However, it seemed like the two tasks were triggered over the fact that he mentioned he couldn't fight because he was blind. The Old Master was far too honorable to create such a lesson that would leave him in even more despair just to prove he was right.
Shiryu stepped over the side of the bed and used the bottom of his feet to find the carpet. He walked over and followed it to his dresser. While he did feel like the carpet paths were going a bit far in terms of help, they really did make things more convenient to find. He opened the top drawer and pulled out a new shirt to put on. Luckily for him, everything was buttoned thus eliminating the embarrassment of having his clothes on backwards.
He went outside. He then followed the rope and just like lunch time, he ran down the path until his hand reached the first wooden post. It was at that moment, he slowed down, knowing that the stairs were coming up. The moment he opened the door, a flurry of different smells came at him like a good Ryu Sei Ken to the face. "Wow!" he muttered.
"Shiryu, do you like it?" spoke his Old Master from somewhere in the room.
Shiryu nodded as he slipped off his shoes and walked on the floor slowly, reaching out until he found the backside of a chair. "It smells like grilled perch with soy sauce," he turned his head a little bit, "rice... and some bean soup..."
Shunrei giggled, "very close. It is actually-"
"Wait!" Shiryu interrupted, "tofu soup!"
The Old Master smiled pleased that Shiryu's senses were adjusting without his sight, "very good Shiryu. Your sense of smell has seemed to improve," he said as he sat by his bowl and small plate of untouched food.
"Well, I really like grilled perch and we always have rice every day," shrugged Shiryu as he took his hands and slowly brought them forward to find the edge of the table before sliding them over where his chopsticks were usually placed.
Shunrei immediately grabbed his plate and began to put some fish and rice on top of it before handing it back. "Old Master, what exactly are you having Shiryu doing this time for his tasks?"
Dohko took his spoon and sipped some soup. Time was running out for Shiryu to provide an answer. "Oh, you'll have to ask him."
Shiryu raised his head as he heard this. He looked down in his pocket where the origami flower was in. Feeling embarrassed that he can't do something as simple as name its color he simply turned away to his food, "it's nothing too important."
Shunrei's face dropped a bit, "Oh... well.." she muttered, "I thought it was since you seemed so absorbed in doing..." she paused, "...whatever it is."
Dohko sat there and watched the two teens sit there a bit uncomfortably. While most Masters in the Army of Athena don't like it when their students develop any relationships with each other, he was the opposite. He had no problem with it though. If he was allowed to train them till they are near death, surely there is no problems with him playing matchmaker either. He knew a good catch for a son and Shiryu would make a good husband for Shunrei, even if he didn't make it as a Saint. Perhaps being over two hundred years old was finally causing him to think old now and was causing him to desire a grandchild to spoil. Unfortunately for him, Shunrei is too shy, and Shiryu can't read signals that someone liked him. "Shunrei, Shiryu didn't know that you took up painting recently."
Shunrei looked up, "oh, I guess I forgot." She shrugged. "They aren't very good. Although, I wish I would've showed them to you earlier since," She looked down as she noticed Shiryu leaning forward a bit in anticipation, "...I you now can't really see them anyways."
Shiryu sat there quietly, hearing her sad tone. Nothing made him more upset for anyone to hurt her, especially if he did it, regardless if it was an accident, "I'll try."
The girl was shocked, unaware that Dohko was smiling. "You will?" she asked.
He nodded, "when I fought Algol, I saw him for a brief moment. Maybe if try hard, I'll see it again. I would really like to see what you made." Even if his Old Master didn't give him the task, he truly was curious as to what she made. "We can go after dinner, is that alright?" he asked, hoping that his head was facing in her direction.
"Yes, that sounds nice."
Shunrei's room had a very bold flowery smell to it. While to Shiryu, it seemed like Shunrei liked to put on light perfumes, her room was so strong that he wondered if she slept on a bed made of potpourri.
"Shiryu, do you want me to guide you?" the girl asked.
Shiryu looked up. "Shunrei?"
"What is it?"
"While I appreciate the offer, you don't have to make a path for me, to get around. While it is nice, the thing is, I will have to go to other places that will have me guide myself. I would rather use home to practice this," he finally admitted. He waited there as silence filled the air. He really hoped he hadn't hurt her, but if he didn't mention something, he was worried Shunrei would construct paths around the Five Peaks.
"Oh, why didn't you say something earlier? I didn't realize I was being overly helpful," she muttered.
Shiryu waved a hand, unaware that Shunrei was in the other direction. "Don't worry about it. I like you helping me and if I could have it my way, I wouldn't mind if you held my hand everywhere we went." He chuckled.
Unknown to him, Shunrei blushed at that last part, as she wondered if she was looking into his words too deeply or if it was just a cute little slip up. She hoped that her doing all of this didn't make her seem too motherly or worse, sisterly. If he really wanted to do it by himself, she'll do her best to see that it will happen. "Alright, I'll go over here beside where they are at and you can either follow my voice, or just walk to the end of the room."
He listened to her steps before he slowly made his way forward. The worst part was that he knew she had a number of priceless vases sitting on tiny tables, like the devil had designed the room for this one moment. He moved carefully hoping he didn't make any mistakes that would make him regret not taking her offer about guiding him to them. Suddenly his finger touched the cool porcelain of a doll that she kept on a pedestal by her bed. He pulled away and moved his hands downwards to trace the side of the pedestal before moving forward, reaching over to touch the end of her bed and following it. If she didn't move her furniture around, he knew that her bed was in the corner. He reached up and finally touched the side of the wooden wall. His fingers moved up and down until he felt a small frame.
"Shiryu, you did it!" Shunrei cheered as she walked up next to him.
Shiryu nodded as he placed his other hand over the other side of the frame and faced forward. "Burn my cosmos." He thought as he summoned it once more toward his head, causing his long black locks to wave up and down. "I want to see Shunrei's painting! Please Athena, I don't care if I must see nothing but darkness for the rest of my life, but let me see at least one of her paintings!" he thought as he focused as hard as he could, praying that Athena heard his cry and give him that boost that he had before. He gritted his teeth and gasped as an outline began to form. "I'm seeing it!" he muttered.
Shunrei looked at him, "really! You can see it!"
Shiryu opened his dull green eyes and focused harder. Sweat dripped down the side of his face while his shirt shredded into tiny scraps. Suddenly a sense of disappointment began to fill him. The only thing he could see was the outline of a giant rectangle, but not the painting itself. The flame of his cosmos subsided as his body relaxed. "I can't..." he muttered and sighed. "I'm sorry..."
"Shiryu, it's okay, you tried and that's all that matters." Shunrei spoke as she held her hands.
Shiryu shook his head. "I want to make her happy!" he thought. He was lucky to have such a wonderful friend with him on the Five Peaks. He leaned his hand, gasping as he realized it was on the picture itself. Before he turned away, it was then he noticed the picture itself had texture. He came closer and ran his hands over it. He touched what felt like a really long stroke and followed it down before doing it once more. "The strokes are really smooth." He moved a hand at the top and rubbed his thumb, "I think its hair. The strokes are very tiny but in the same direction, but they aren't too straight... this feels like a head... and it has a long body... four legs... did you make a horse?"
Shunrei gasped. "It is! It is actually my second painting I made. It's really ugly. There is no shading or anything. I feel like I only used one shade of brown."
"No, it feels nice... you gave it a background of flowers... didn't you? They really feel like flowers... and you even added texture to the pods."
Shunrei smiled, "thank you." She shrugged, "I didn't realize I made them feel like that. I just wanted to make the flowers look like they have pollen for the bee in there."
Shiryu reached over and traced it a long flying path before coming across the insect, "you gave it a really big stinger."
"I know, it's so ugly, it looks like a cartoon bee, and not realistic. I think my latest looks a little more real, but I don't like it either!" she blushed.
Shiryu began to follow along the side of the wall. "Is it this way?"
Shunrei walked over and grabbed his hand. "This way," she spoke as she pulled his hand, determined not to allow him to feel her first monstrosity of what was supposed to be a mouse eating cheese, but resembled a whale with a giant zit. She brought him over to the third painting let go to allow him to feel his way to it.
Shiryu reached over and began to run his fingers slowly over it. There was a definite improvement over the first. This one had far more texture and a lot more subtle details. "The strokes are very fine on the outside of it... but smooth in the middle." He ran his hands a little more down, "here it's like two little jewels in a crevice. "He moved his hands downwards, "it's smooth again, like peaches... his thumb ran down until he felt a large line. He ran it over, feeling the line grow larger. He moved his hands outwards and used the pads to feel past the smooth section, "it's like the horse's hair. You used smaller thinner strokes... I thought it was a vase, up until this point."
Shunrei shook her head until she remembered he wouldn't be able to see her expression. "No, it's not a vase." She watched as he stroked the picture repeatedly, investigating the small tiny details. "He really likes it?" she thought to herself, before she watched him turn around. "So, do you know what it is?" then she noticed his hands fidgeting a bit. "What's wrong?"
Shiryu looked down, "Shunrei, at the hospital. They said that because I was totally blind, that if I wanted to know what someone looked like. I would use my hands and feel their face. Dr. Kung even had me practice on him. Could I..." he asked as he held his hands out.
Shunrei turned a bit red at the question. "Okay..." she spoke as she reached for his hands to show her where she was at. Her cheeks blushed a bit as she felt his hands touch her face for the first time. She closed her eyes, feeling his thumbs lightly stroke her cheeks before sliding around to her ears before he slowly ran them through her silky hair. She watched as he came up closer. She closed her eyes, as she felt him rub his thumb lightly over her eyebrows and gently over her eyelids. "He smells really nice... like a clean shower," she thought as she stood there with her eyes shut. It was then; she felt his thumbs rub down the bridge of her nose. Her heart began to beat a little faster as he pulled his thumbs further over her lips. She knew it was his fingers, but it almost felt like he was pressing his lips against hers.
"They're so soft," Shiryu thought, as he took his thumbs and felt her lips once more. He felt her body shiver for a brief moment, before he bashfully pulled his hands back. "You, made a self portrait, didn't you," he spoke, hoping he wasn't embarrassing himself down below.
Shunrei opened her eyes and smiled, "it is, so... my eyes are like jewels and my skin like peaches?" she said in a half joking manner.
Shiryu reached over and touched the painting. "Yes... it's really well done. You shouldn't say its ugly, because it's not... it's very beautiful."
Old Master sat on his rock outside, with his hands on his lap. He looked up to see his student coming toward him, assuming he managed to find him with the loud waterfall from behind. "Well Shiryu, how was Shunrei's art?"
"It was really nice. I actually have the answer to your questions."
Dohko raised his head. "Do you? Well tell me, what did you find out?"
Shiryu sat down. "She made a painting of her herself."
"How did you know?" asked the teacher.
Shiryu held his hands, "I felt it. The paint on a canvas is very thick and I just traced it out, and I was able to see the picture in my head. Not only that, but like any artist, she would paint from her memories and her heart, and knowing what she liked, helped narrow things down."
"Ah, you used your other senses beyond the fifth?"
Shiryu nodded, "I did. I tried to see it with my cosmos, but it was just too much work."
The old man chuckled, "I bet it was. Using your cosmos for sight is a terrible waste, when you have four other senses at your disposal. A true warrior does not give up in a fight because the spear tip of his weapon breaks. He uses what he has left, stabbing with the broken end or striking with the weight of the wood, making effective use of it. Make no mistake; although you were a blind man, you are just as capable of appreciating art, in your own way."
Shiryu nodded. He figured there was to be a less somewhere in this. He had been with his teacher for over six years and knew his tricks well. "The other task was the origami, I unfortunately couldn't see the color, so I asked Shunrei and she told me it was yellow." He shrugged. "I'm sorry that I couldn't figure it out myself."
Dohko stroked his beard, "weren't you listening. I said a true warrior makes use of what he has left. If all you had was a friend to ask, you are still making use of your resources around you," he frowned before he began to chuckle and wave a finger, "of course, I did have a feeling you still have a little bit of your cockiness that Seiya had yet to beat out of you from the tournament, that you wouldn't think of the solution. I did tell you the origami would be much more difficult, didn't I?" he grinned. "So, will you be ready to try and do some training tomorrow?"
Shiryu blushed, "well, actually, Shunrei asked me if I could pose for her painting tomorrow." He held his hands together, "I could ask her if we can do it another day."
Dohko's eyes widened, "no no! You need more time to recover from the trip. I think a day of posing would be marvelous."
"Master, are you sure?" asked Shiryu.
The old Chinese man waved his cane in the air. "Of course! Will just either postpone training for a day or if there is extra time, do it later that night."
Shiryu bowed before him. "Thank you, Master. I really appreciate this," he said as he rose up and headed back to his room.
Dohko stroked his beard and grinned as he thought of the day he managed to convince Shion to give Yuzariha flowers. "Ah I still got it," the Chinese matchmaker thought.
Author's Notes: One of my favorite moments in the anime was definitely the part where Shiryu was first blinded. The amount of character development from Shiryu, Shunrei as well as the other bronze Saints dealing with it was phenomenal and had yet to be repeated on such a grand scale. As such, when I received the request to create a Shunrei/Shiryu romance, I immediately thought of this period.
At work, I've actually worked one on one with the blind as well as the huge challenge of blind/hard of hearing children so writing about Shiryu and Shunrei adapting to it was easy as well as Chinese life due to repeated trips to Southeast Asia. The hard part was the prologue since I had to do research on eye surgery itself.
I've always supported Shiryu/Shunrei shipping and so when I wrote this, I could see them ending up together and possibly having children. When Saint Seiya Omega was announced, I was shocked and thrilled that it became canon and what was simple wishful thinking on my part here, became reality (as well as any others who supported the pairing).
I know this is an old fic, but after two years of writing one fic, I needed something easy to break out of that frame of mind to write other stuff. Because my next fic, as per request by bronze andromeda shun will focus on Ryuho, a boy who if you dye his hair green looks like Shun, but after examining his character, is quite different. Until next time.