Pretentious prose abound. XD
Official Summary: (Takari) You scream and yell, and only one can hear you. You cry and sob, and there is only one shoulder to lean upon. You wobble and collapse, and there is only one to catch you. You rise and stand, and you walk together. In the dim twilight of a restaurant and the truth, Takaishi Takeru begins to learn the brutality of love, and the complications that its gifts can bring, even if they come in the form of Yagami Hikari.
Kimi no tsuyosa to yasashisa sae
Mamoru koto mo dekizu tada kurshii dake
Moshimo dare mo ga sono sadame ni
Sakarau koto dekizu umarete kita nara
Nee oshiete yo namida no imi o…
Without being able to protect even
Your strength and kindness, there is only pain
If everyone was born
Unable to defy their destiny
Please, tell me the meaning of tears.
Two Hearts Not Captured
Hikari sipped her tea quietly. She knew that if she glanced at the window, she'd see an image of herself superimposed upon the twilit street outside.
She paused her train of thought for a moment, surprised at her melodrama. Shaking it off as a slight fancy, she continued to sip her tea.
Minutes passed. She checked her watch quickly and sighed pensively. He was late.
"Penny for your thoughts?" someone said behind her. She didn't even bother to pretend to be surprised. His aura reached out to her with its golden fingers, and she immediately relaxed.
"You're late," she scolded as he slipped into the seat across from her. He uttered a quick apology while she signalled to the waiter. Without even seeming to think about it, he ordered both of their meals, affirming hers with a quick glance. The waiter did not regard this as odd. They were both regular patrons of this restaurant, and it was a common belief among the employees that neither Takaishi-san nor Yagami-san had ever had a meal without the other present. Hikari only knew this because once on her way back from the ladies room, she overheard two of the female employees speculating about her and Takeru's relationship. She'd never mentioned it to her friend, but she had found the idea ludicrous.
There was a stretch of comfortable silence, of which Hikari was acutely aware. It was as if her senses had been heightened so that she would notice every nuance of the moments between them. She was frightened by the phenomenon.
Their waiter came and poured Takeru a cup of tea and refilled hers. She sipped it and let the bitter taste roll down her throat, enjoying the warm, slick sensation. The night was deepening outside. The moon would rise soon.
"Penny for your thoughts?" he repeated. Hikari made a face at him and he laughed brightly.
"Honestly, I don't know where you get these sayings," she said, dancing adeptly around the question.
"It was Mimi-san," he admitted. "She told me that it was a popular American saying and I liked it."
"You like anything that sounds even remotely clever," Hikari accused. "And even some things that don't."
He shrugged, his eyes dancing with suppressed mirth. "I suppose it must be the poet within me."
"I thought you were a novelist," she teased.
"I'm a writer," he replied loftily. "A writer can be a novelist and a poet."
"Oh. My mistake then," she replied, just as loftily before giggling faintly. He joined in her mirth, shoulders shaking and fair hair trembling over his face. Absently, she suppressed the urge to brush away the tendrils of hair obscuring his eyes. It wasn't her gesture to make.
"Hikari-chan?" he queried tentatively. Childhood endearments, forever long.
She schooled her expression to show nothing but gentle amusement. "Nothing. Why do you ask?"
"It's just…you seem so distant tonight."
She winced inwardly; he had always known her too well. It was his greatest flaw. "Do I?" she answered slowly. "I'm sorry. I suppose I must have a lot on my mind."
"It's okay." He paused. "Would you like to talk about it?"
She shook her head, threads of chestnut obscuring her face. "No, it's nothing important. Really," she added when he continued to look at her inquiringly.
Thankfully, the waiter returned with their appetizers. He'd ordered a salad with Italian dressing for her. It was exactly what she had been craving for, and it did not surprise her that Takeru knew enough to order it for her.
They chatted companionably through their first and second courses, flitting lightly from topic to topic. Takeru was a good talker, and Hikari felt herself truly relax for the first time since the evening began. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, inhaling the scent of food, restaurant and Takeru. When she opened her eyes, she noticed him gazing quizzically at her, and she smiled through the nothingness of her tears.
A tear is greater than a thousand words, a thousand emotions, and a thousand pictures. Tears are the sum of our souls condensed into moisture. Simply put, they are a gift.
And so, through the tears of her eyes, she understood.
"Hikari…chan?" he queried tentatively, his hand reaching out to brush away a tendril of hair. "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"
The hammer and chisel were set above her heart, and she'd only have three chances.
Three was always a magic number.
"It's nothing," she lied. She wiped her face hastily with a napkin. "I've just had a long day, that's all." First strike. A hole has been created; there is no turning back. Cracks are forming and snaking across the stone surface.
"Let's go home," he said gently, signalling for the bill.
Through a heart breaking, she kept smiling.
She leaned her head against the window and watched the scenery go by idly. Streetlight flooded the pavement with a dull orange glow and overpowered the soft, silvery radiance of the moon. The dark alleyways beckoned to her, called her name. She shivered.
He's driving through moonlight and shadows, she thought suddenly. He's driving through this so I can get home safely.
Another thought occurred to her. But no one would dare to harm me in the dark. The dark can't touch light.
"Turn left," she said quietly. "I want to go somewhere."
He obeyed her directions, did not bother to ask. She was puzzling him, she knew, with her strange behaviour.
He parked on the side of the road, and before he could turn off the ignition, she had left the car and was running, running towards the crescent of the hill, absent of yellow streetlight and darkness, and the bright, bright moon.
She stood there on the top of the hill, her head tilted upwards, drinking in the faint beams. Then, without warning, she spun. She spun and spun and spun, faster and faster, arms outstretched.
The world blurred against her vision, green grass streaked with silver and the wind. Her feet crunched against the grass and she felt free, elemental.
Her foot caught against a rock. She stumbled and would have fallen had Takeru not caught her. His eyes looked questioningly into hers.
Through the tears of her soul, she laughed.
Even to her own ears, it sounded musical, and she exhilarated in it, exhilarated in this final moment, this closeness.
"What's gotten into you?" he queried as he righted her.
"Nothing," she replied, lying again. Second strike, and the hammer is still reverberating from the force of its hit. The chisel is embedded there now, driven into blood, sweat and life. One more strike, and she would break.
"Hikari-chan, you know you can tell me anything."
"I know," she replied without hesitating.
And through a heart breaking, she laughed.
She tilted her head up and closed her eyes, letting the moon wash her with its benediction and strength. "Would you like to hear a story, Takeru-kun?"
"I thought I was the storyteller between us," he teased.
"You are." She sighed and lay down, the grass prickling against the tender skin of her face. Her hand brushed idly against the surface of the green, making a strange swooshes sound. "But I want to tell a story.
"A long time ago, there was a goddess that lived in the moon. Her name was Selene. Her home was beautiful. There were silvery grasses and flowers of unearthly beauty, because, after all, they weren't from earth. And the moon rose every night and people on earth worshipped her because her light was like a benediction to them.
"And one day, when she was watching over them, she saw a man, and she fell in love with him. His name was Endymion."
"What is this, Sailor Moon?" joked Takeru. Hikari smiled briefly, but continued with her story.
"He lived with her on the moon, but because he was mortal, he would die soon. So she did the only thing she could think of: she put him in an eternal sleep.
"He dreamed of her, dreamt of their children, and dreamt of their life. She loved him, and kept him close to her for years, and the people on earth would comment on how brightly the moon shone during those few years."
Hikari stopped her narrative for a moment. He had not moved, had barely blinked ever since she had begun her story. She took a deep breath and plunged on.
"However, their children grew up and left, and soon, they were the only ones left on the big, silver moon. But she loved him and could not bear to lose him, so she let him sleep."
And so, through the tears of her heart, she cried for what she would lose.
"But her heart broke as he slept. While they had their children, she could pretend that he loved her, lived with her, but he didn't. He barely knew her, entrapped in his eternal rest. He was like dead, but worse. He breathed, he lived, and he was with her. He could not hold her, nor could he kiss her or whisper sweet endearments in her hair.
"So she wept. Her tears became the stars, but her sorrow dimmed the glow of the moon. The grasses and flowers around her died, and people no longer paid any attention to the orb hanging in the sky as it waxed and waned during the months, and sometimes, gave off no light at all.
"So one day, she did the only thing she could do: she woke him. He recognized her, because she had not changed. But because he was mortal and she was not, he died before she could blink thrice, and she never heard him say the words that she had so longed to hear from him.
"She buried him, and over his grave, cried and sobbed for what should never have been. And she said, 'If I had never loved, I might still have been happy. But because I do, my light has been diminished, and all I can do is create shadows.'
"So she vowed never to love again, but every day, she weeps for the love that never should have been.
"I think she was right. It's worse to love when there's nothing to come of it but sorrow. Even now, when I look at the moon, I can hear her crying. If you listen very carefully, they say that the night wind mourns with her, and that her tears still litter the sky every night, which is why we can't count the stars because she's cried for thousands of years."
Her voice hung between them, a tangible thing. The meadow was devastatingly silent, and he made no movement, no sound. She waited expectantly.
"That's not the story I know."
Hikari tilted her head slightly so she could look up at him. The faint light silvered his gold hair, and for a moment, he seemed to be a part of the light, the moon, and the image saddened her. "Then what is?"
"Selene fell in love with a mortal, and he with her. Endymion would rather have slept through all of eternity by Selene's side than have been separated from her. So he slept, and they lived happily ever after."
Hikari hesitated. Then, "I don't think I like that ending."
"Because she's living a lie."
"How is love ever a lie?" His voice sounded thin, used.
"But it wasn't love," she said softly. "Love needs to be returned. Love isn't a dream, Takeru-kun." She pulled herself up into a sitting position.
"I think she was lucky," he said finally. "To have loved at least once."
"It was a false kind of happiness. It's even worse because she deceived herself into thinking that it was love. Oh, Takeru-kun, you can't tell me that fooling yourself into happiness is the best thing for anyone. That giving yourself false hope is the true path to it, because I refuse to believe it."
"I suppose," he said, sounding defeated. He paused. "Hikari-chan?" She let out a silent, explosive breath, half a sob, and half a shudder.
"I think Endymion did love Selene. He just never got a chance to show it."
"That's because Selene couldn't let him. He would die otherwise," she replied softly.
"But what if she hadn't put him to sleep? Do you think she would still be mourning him?" Hikari thought about this for a while, hugging her knees to close to her chest.
"I don't know," she admitted.
"Let's take it a step further. What if she had never found love? Do you think she would still shine as brightly once she realized that she had no one to love?" he persisted.
"I think," Hikari began slowly, "that the moon would illuminate our souls as it was supposed to. Endymion took it away from everyone. It wasn't his fault."
"Then whose was it?"
The third lie, the last beat of hammer against chisel.
She closed her eyes. Finish the act; the deed is almost done. "Selene should never have let herself love him." Struck once, twice, thrice. It's finished, the heart shattered, hammer and chisel have shaped its object.
He was quiet. She turned her head to face him, and was surprised to see tears streaming down his cheeks. Tenderly, she reached out to wipe it for him, but he flinched from her touch. Her hand dropped.
The third time pays for all.
"Let's go home," she whispered.
And through a heart breaking, she mourned for what she had lost.
She let him walk her to her apartment, let their hands brush against each other in the dark. They could pretend that it was accidental. It probably was, except she knew it wasn't.
They stopped at her door. Her fingers clutched the hard knob of the portal convulsively. It no longer mattered; it'd shattered a long time ago. Only remnants remained, but that did not make this any easier.
"Ayaka-san asked about you," she said. She saw him pause, silhouetted in the darkness. "She thinks you're cute. She'd like to know whether or not you want to meet her." She was proud that her voice was steady, strong. She had to leave him with this.
He nodded briefly, once. "I remember her. She seems nice."
She felt the little thing that had been a butterfly within her die, sliced by a knife of duty.
"She is. You'll like her," she replied softly. "Good bye, Takeru-kun."
"Good night, Hikari-chan."
She swallowed, and closed her eyes when he leaned in to brush his lips against her temple in a final piece of tactile contact. She allowed this, allowed him to stir the splinters of her heart, because she loved him too much. She let him convey everything to her in that little piece of intimacy, because even if he agreed to stop loving her, she never agreed to stop loving him.
But I never started to love him, she thought.
He gazed at her with an odd sort of sadness, and she smiled at him. His hand made as to brush away a wisp of hair, but she shook her head adamantly before opening the door. It dropped to his side, and he left without another word.
She closed the door behind her and leaned her head against it. It was late, and the apartment was dark.
And through her tears, Yagami Hikari wept for herself.
Mou mayowazuni ikite yukeru yo
Mou nakanaide ima arukidasou
Live without being lost anymore
Now, don't cry anymore and start walking.
- Strength, X OVA ending
A lot of my idea of Takari was shaped by Rb's "Kirai ni Narenai." Blame her. XD *waves* Hi Reebie~! I want my Kenyaaaaaakoooooooooo~!
Thanks go especially to Rb for writing KnN, and Netchama (Absolut Angel) for helping me figure out this fic. Also goes out to K-chan for putting up with the pre-edited version and for creating the new bible with me.
The prose in this is a friggin' nightmare. Remark on that and die. XD Actually, Hikari is a lot wordier than I like.
The story Hikari tells is an actual Greek myth, but it ends in "happily ever after." Endymion actually stays asleep for the rest of eternity, and Selene lives in happy-happy land. I just adapted the myth to suit my own needs, and yes, Sailormoon was created from this story.
I wrote this with two intentions: to develop and shape my own idea of Takari and secondly, to make people cry. Fine. I'm evil. Whatever. XD
Complain and die. Beg for a sequel and die. Comments and criticism would be appreciated though. ^_^ I need to feed my ego.