The Cat and the Skylark

Chapter One

I smiled up at the morning sun as I lied in the grass, feeling at ease to be in the field. I had ditched school again, but I felt that school didn't matter. Besides, there wasn't exactly anyone to tell me 'no.' I hadn't seen a hair on my father's head since six years ago, after telling him off, and my mother had died a while ago, too. The only people I had were my father-in-law and my sister, but it was more typical of me to seek solitude. After all, I HATED that man, and my sister... well, I loved her, but she loved me back in a way that siblings shouldn't.

I shuddered, remembering the few times she had kissed me. Forcibly. On the lips.

When we were both already far above that age!

Heaving a sigh, I slipped my hand into my pocket, only to be reminded that I no longer had the key that meant so much to me. I had given it to my first crush, Amu, a long time ago, hoping that it would bring us even a little closer together. Ah, the heartache. No, I was sure that even then I knew that she didn't like me in that way, that all of her love belonged to another.

"Ikuto... are you all right?" Yoru asked, pawing at my chest. I sat up, frowning.

"Just remembering," I told him. Yoru still looked worried, so I petted him gently on the head. "I'm fine," I assured, "so don't make that face." I then stood, and picked up my white violin case, trying to block out the fearful memories of being trapped in darkness. The violin amplified the pain by a landslide, but I had to ignore that. I would never give up my precious violin over mere shadows of the past.

As I picked up the instrument and the bow, I noticed that my Guardian character was finally convinced of my wellbeing. Giving a gentle smile, I began to play. Sorrowful melodies broke out in the quiet field, and I moved with the wind, swaying back and forth to help me keep time. The song flowed back from my past, and my fingers moved on their own, practicing the precious moment where I had heard the sound of my father's soul. The heartfelt tune was one that I might never forget... it was permanetely etched into my mind, constantly playing to stress to me how important it was that I kept playing... that I kept moving on.

It wasn't an exaggeration to say that it had saved me from a life of despair.

There was a gentle roar in the background from an airplane far above, but I continued to play- after all, I couldn't stop if I wanted to. But I did spare the craft a glance, and a smile, as it passed overhead, preparing to nest in the heart of Torakoa city.

My hometown.

With a few more strokes of the bow, the melody came to a close, ending on an elegant note, and I sighed, content. As one who thoroughly enjoyed the music, I could always find peace by playing, no matter what I was feeling before.


Hearing the shrill call of my name from my sister, I turned, just as she threw her arms around me. "What is it, Utau?" I asked, trying not to shove her away.

"I've been looking for you everywhere- you're homeroom teacher told me that I had to tell you..."

"What? What?" I insisted, gently shaking her by the shoulders so that she'd continue.

"There's going to be a transfer student from Namimori Middle!"

I fell silent immediately, shocked by the words. Namimori? I used to live around Namimori! I wondered about that transfer student immediately, and smiled at the idea of it being a girl. Man, I would get myself all nice and cozy with her, and get some real insight about that place. After all, I didn't know much about it... my mother moved to Torakoa city when I was much younger, around the time my father left the family.

I may not have known much about Namimori... but I did know that it was a beautiful place. It had to be, if my father once lived there.

He was... quite fond of beautiful things.

"All right, thanks for telling me," I replied. "I'll have to come to school tomorrow, I suppose."

"Yeah," Utau agreed. She looked around, just a bit awkward, and said, "You know, um... you should really come to school more often. You might get summer school, or Saturday school if you don't."

"It's not like I'll attend those, anyway," I sighed. "School is dumb. They all teach you what they want you to know, and then, they ask 'oh yeah, by the way, what are YOU intrested in?'"

"But what about orchestra?" she asked. I wish she hadn't asked that. Of all the nerve points to strike within me, the biggest involved strings. I didn't appreciate her calling me on abandoning my ensemble, even as the first chair violinist.

"I'm still practicing the music," I muttered. "I don't need to practice with the group. It's not like I'll skip out on the concert." Her eyes were still filled with worry, but at my comment, she began to head away, thankfully. I sighed, and let my shoulders relax as I repeated, "I don't need a group. I'm totally fine practicing all on my own."

And that I was.

-End Chapter

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