Title: Wishes on Tanabata Day [1/1]
Author: Kikiam-sama
Rating: G
Description: It's Tanabata Day. Haruko hangs her wishes on a tree, and so does Rukawa. [non-yaoi] [RuHaru] [concluded]
A/N: Yes, folks, another rainy fic! I'm juts a sucker for fics with rainy scenes in them. Haha! We had this activity in Economics class. I'm not Japanese, of course, but our teacher was a student in Japan, so she let us have this one before we had our university entrance exams.

The overview of Tanabata that's at the beginning of the fic was researched at http://japan.chez.tiscali.fr/TokyoWeb/E-Tanabata.htm
This legend was probably introduced in Japan during the Nara era (710-794) and was incorporated in the indigenous legend telling the life of the princess Oto Tanabata, considered for the brocades she wove in gods' honour. However Tanabata became a popular festival only in the Heian era (794-1185).
Each year the stars festival: Tanabata or Hoshi matsuri, generally takes place around the 7th of august according to the solar calendar, becoming thus an integral part of the Bon festival (ancestors' cult which takes place on the 5th of august). However some localities continue to celebrate the stars lovers on the 7th of july according to the lunar calendar.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are offered to the two stars and bamboo branches are decorated with huge bobbles, paper lampions, strips of multicoloured japanese paper (tanzaku), talismans and small paper ornaments.
On these paper strips each participant writes a poem expressing his wish to see his aspirations in love coming true or a pledge of fidelity in love or the wish to become a better pupil in class. The bamboo branches thus decorated are placed on a pole in front of the houses and become "summer Christmas trees" (sasa kazari). At the end of the festival, the bamboo branches are thrown in a river; a ritual act which must move away the bad luck...
The two most famous Tanabata festivals in the nipponese archipelago take place in Hiratsuka (Kanagawa prefecture) on the 7th of july and in Sendai (Miyagi prefecture) on the 7th of august.

And just to remind people out there. Haruko's name mean's 'spring child', if you base it on the Kanji. Please keep this in mind as you read this fic, especially when you're reading Rukawa-kun's small haiku... ^_^

Disclaimer: Slam Dunk and other related trademarks belong to Takehiko Inoue. Kikiam-sama doesn't own anything except for the plot. Don't sue me.


"It's raining again," Haruko muttered as she sat up her bed that early morning. She rubbed her eyes and stretched her arms to drive away all the remnants of sleep in her. It was good that it was only a light drizzle, nothing much to worry about. Although the sky was gray and a light pattering sounds of the rains were heard, she knew that the rest of the day would be sunny and bright. Thus, she stood up, and according to her morning ritual, looked at the calendar.

"July 7?! Tanabata?"

She wondered at the thought. She recalled the legend of Tanabata Day. It was about a weaver deity Ori Hime, who fell in love with a shepered named Kengyuu. They met when Ori Hime, bored with her life in heaven went down to earth and met a shepered named Kengyuu. She lived with Kengyuu and they became an inseparable couple. They had two children, a boy and a girl.

When Tentei, the celestial empereror, heard of the news of his daughter's new life, he sent a genie to seek his daughter and bring her back to the sky. Separated from her children, Ori Hime started to cry. Tengyuu, noticing that his wife was gone, placed his children in two blankets at the end of the river and went to search for Ori Hime. But when he was about to catch the genie, the emperor's wife gave birth to a deep, wide river which stopped him. Grieved, he did not want to leave the river bank. On the other side, Ori Hime refused to listen to her father's instructions to weave. Tentei couldn't stand her cries anymore, so he made a special order: He allowed Ori Hime to meet her lover once a year.

Since then, each year, at the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the celestial magpies form a tempory foobridge above the Milky Way (Ama No gawa), on which the stellar lovers: Tengyuu and Ori Hime, renew their pledge of love.

It is said that at the dawn of this day, it often drizzles; these are the tears of the VĂ©ga princess who, clasping her children to her and tenderly holding her husband's hand, cries sadly.

Haruko, upon recalling the old legend, remebered the celebration to be held today.

"Gotta get up early. Hiratuski's also a train trip away," she thought. She thought that it was quite strange, though, that it was drizzling that early morning, as if coinciding with the legend. Remembering all the Tanabata Days she had celebrated, never once did it rain at dawn.

"Could this be something special?" she thought and smiled. She stood from her bed and opened her desk drawer and smiled at the strip of paper on which she wrote a haiku that contained her wish for this year's Tanabata Festival.

"My heart makes this wish, For him to notice me now, This beautiful day."

Haruko headed for the shower with a smile. She hoped it would indeed be a special Tanabata day in her life.

-------------------------

It was already noon. The sun was high up in the sky, and Hiratsuki was bustling with people from all over Kanagawa. There was laughter everywhere, and the spirit of this year's Tanabata Festival was a happy one. They stood around bamboo trees, hand in hand.

"We stand here making our wishes, hoping our wishes will come true."

A lone figure, far from all these people, stood alone in front a small bamboo tree hidden beneath the larger ones. He hoped that no one would see him in that place that day, making this little wish of his. He took a strip of blue paper out of his pocket and a string, then tied it to the higher branches of the tree. The wind blew, sending his raven hair across his face. He brushed it aside, then tossed a coin at the tree, clapped his three hands thrice then silently recited a small mantra.

The wind blew again. It was good. According to tradition, it was good to let the wishes be blown by the wind so they would be granted. It would be even better if someone read it, because they said that the person who'd read it with wish it himself for the person who wrote it, thus, increasing the possiblity that it would come true.

He sighed. But he didn't want anyone to read it. The wind was fine. He knew it would never come true, anyway. In fact, he never believed the legend, but there was never a harm in trying...

He decided that after finishing this small prayer, he would go back home and spend the rest of the day asleep.

-----------------------

"Rukawa-kun?" Haruko thought in surprise. She never expected to see the cold and icy Kaede Rukawa standing in front of a bamboo tree and praying for whatever his wish was to come true. It seemed that he was about to finish his prayer, so she decided to wait behind the larger grasses and continued to watch him without revealing her presence.

There were so many people in the outer area of the woods that there was no space for her on the trees to say her prayers. There were less people in the deeper parts, so she decided to go there and look for a tree. When she thought that she was getting lost, she saw a lone figure standing in front of a young bamboo tree. She couldn't mistake the tall, lean, and pale figure topped with beautiful raven hair for someone else.

"Wonder what he's wishing for..." she thought with a giggle. She squeezed the strip of paper she held in her hand.She couldn't help but blush a bit. That year, she wished that Rukawa would finally notice her, and just that morning, she felt that today would be a special Tanabata. And right then and there, she was alone with Rukawa in the woods. Now that there were only the two of them, maybe he'd greet her, or just say hi. Or maybe even look at her.

Maybe her wish would be granted after all.

Just maybe..

She was staring at him so much that she didn't notice a small fly land on her nose. It tickled, and caused her to sneeze. Alas, the silence of the woods was disturbed. She wanted to hide, but it seemed that he had already noticed her presence. He was glaring at her coldly. He didn't seem to like the idea of someone disturbing his prayer or watching him say them.

"Ah, gomen ne, Rukawa-kun," Haruko said apologetically, with her hands covering half her face, trying to cover the light shade of pink her cheeks had become.

Rukawa didn't answer but instead he walked towards her.

Haruko felt her cheeks redden some more. Rukawa was approaching her. Yes, indeed, he was!

"Rukawa-kun..."

Suddenly, Rukawa walked past her, without saying a word or giving a glance, as if there was nobody there escept for him. His blue eyes looked straight ahead, and nowehere else, like he was anxious to leave the woods immediately. After a few minutes, he was gone amidst the trees.

Haruko's hopes, which had been rising, fell. The cold attitude wasn't new to her, but she realized that it wouldn't be a special Tanabata Day that year. The drizzle that morning was just coincidence.

"It always rains here in Kanagawa. What's the matter if it rained earlier?" She wanted to cry. She lost all hope for the strip of paper she held in her hand. Instead of hanging it on the tree, she wanted to throw it away as far as possible and forget about everything...

Or could she?

Tanabata was a day for wishing and hoping. She couldn't lose hope now...

She went to the small tree and saw the lone strip of blue paper hanging on its thin branches: Rukawa's wish. Suddenly, she felt a strong urge to read it.

"There's nothing wrong if I read it. In fact, it's bound to bring better luck."

"Should I?"

"Well, it is possible that he went this deep into the woods to keep anyone from reading it... But wouldn't that be useless on Tanabata?"

Reading it would make the wish come true. Somehow, whatever Rukawa's wish was, she wanted it to come true. Maybe that would make him happy and maybe she'd be glad, as well.

She raised her arm and reached to gently pull the strip of paper from the branches. She suddenly stopped.

"Maybe I should just leave it..."

The wind blew.

"Should I?"

"I don't think there's anything wrong with that..."

She pulled the string and the strip of paper gently landed on her hands. She opened it, then looked away.

"He might get mad if I read this..."

"Well, who said he'd find out that you read it?"

She finally decided to stop heasitating and returned her gaze to the paper. She slowly read the words written in black ink. The handwriting wasn't so good, but the message was conveyed clearly.

"On this day of stars, I wish to say these words in me, To the child of spring."

Haruko smiled upon realizing what the words meant.

"You just did, Rukawa-kun." She put it back on the tree, then hung her own strip of paper right beside Rukawa's.

The wind blew once more, but the sky was clear and the sun shone brightly. There was a light dirzzle that morning, but it was indeed a special Tanabata Day that she'd surely cherish for the rest of her life.

~Owari~
kikiam.08.10.02.16.14.00