Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in these stories are the sole property of CLAMP, Nakayoshi and NHK, I'm just taking them out for a spin. (Updated 11/20/03)
Rika's scene is dedicated to Stirling.
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Scenes From A Spring Day 5-8
Touya was sitting at the kitchen table eating an early dinner, when Sakuras voice rang out in a shrill shriek. He looked up at the ceiling as scuffling, banging and other unladylike noises came through the floor. He smiled as he imagined Sakura chasing down that little stuffed animal of hers. He wondered how long hed have to pretend he didnt know it was alive. Shrugging, Touya turned his thoughts to his coffee and the job hed be at in an hour.
Stomping noises came from the stairs, and in a few moments Sakura appeared in the kitchen door.
"Monsters having some trouble?" Touya asked casually.
To his surprise Sakura didnt lose her temper at the nickname. "Um, Oniichan, I, well, I need your help." She looked abashed and decidedly unhappy. Touya watched her as she hemmed for a moment then blurted out, "I cant write poetry and I need three haiku by tomorrow!" Her brow furrowed, she continued, "Ill even make dinner all next week. Except Tuesday, when I have cheerleading practice " her voice petered out pleadingly.
He pondered the question before shaking his head. Tempting though it would be to make her do his chores, it wasnt really the point. "Sorry, monster. I had to do my own homework youll have to do yours." She looked seriously miserable as she turned away, so he added, "Its not how good they are, you know. Whats important is that you did your best."
Sakura nodded and gave him a wan smile as she trudged back up the stairs. Touya watched her until she disappeared, then folded the newspaper and put his chin in his hands. He wondered when the last time he had written poetry was probably for school a while back. He couldnt remember what he had written it probably hadnt been very good. For all the many talents his family seemed to possess, poetry didnt appear to be on the list.
Cleaning up his dishes, Touya found himself searching his mind for images and words that might make a good poem. He looked out the window in time to see a bird fly by, swooping down, then arcing up into the trees. Yuki was like a bird sometimes, he thought, so fragile you feel like you have to hold him in your hands to keep him from falling apart. But then, he admitted to himself, hes really the stronger of us now.
Entering his bedroom, Touya began to change for work. Today, he was working at a movie theater ticket office. At least he could sit. But the image of a Yuki bird kept flitting in and out of his thoughts.
The rhythm of the bicycle wheels against the pavement was soothing. Touya found himself humming a little tune in his head as he pedaled. Another bird swooped across the road in front of him; its wings flashing blue and silver in the late sunshine. Again a vision of Yuki popped into his mind. The tune rapidly became a song of a sort and Touya had to stop himself from singing out loud.
In a vision I saw you
blue and silver in the moonlight
Flashing across a black sky
Not bad for a moments work, he thought, but not particularly award winning either. It was funny - long before he had known about Yue, Touya had always associated Yuki with the moon. He supposed that that was natural, Yukis name being what it is, but still the Moon
He had always been attracted to its cold light. Those nights with Kaho, watching it together from the Shrine her light was never that of a full moon, though. Her's was the copper crescent, rising low in the sky on a late summer evening. The pedals beneath him sang a new song, this time in a slow, minor key.
The space between sun and moon is filled with you
Orange and gold that glow
The bloody sickle of moonrise,
The sun plunging the ocean into flames
Raw and unfinished, just like my relationship with Kaho herself. He sighed. He had always known it would never work out, but he had been so young and the very feeling of being with someone who understood him had been so nice .
Touya smiled ruefully as the bitterness of that time threatened to well up. He understood well enough now, why she had done what she had done. And he was grateful. If she hadnt left, he would never have found Yuki. No - on the whole, hed take the full moon over the crescent.
The first tune came back to him, a jauntier, almost jingly sound. He began to whistle it, and wondered if it would bear to be made into a piano composition. As it made its way around his mind it changed. It slowed, altered and drew itself out into something deliberate. New words formed in his mind.
Your true form is smoky quartz
But your arms around me are warm,
And your smile is for me alone
Nope, hed never be a poet. But maybe he could get a part-time job as a pop songwriter. Laughing at himself, Touya made his way to work where he put all attempts at poetry aside until later.
Rika smoothed the hand-pressed paper carefully in front of her. She smiled at the contrast of the dried daisy on the darker paper. Letting her hand gently stroke the pressed flower petals, Rika thought of the day he had given them to her. It had been a beautiful, warm, summer day the kind that seems like it will never end. They had met in the park, as usual, and he had been waiting with these flowers. She smiled at the memory and placed the tip of her finger against her lips, then touched the finger to the flower. She sighed.
It was hard sometimes, Rika knew. Harder for him, than for her. What if she grew away from him, fell in love with someone else while he waited for her? She smiled sweetly at the daisy, reassuring it that that would not happen.
Seating herself at the desk, she pondered the blank sheets and wondered what she could write. Something traditional perhaps? Something that she could give him after the teacher graded it. It was unavoidable, but she missed seeing him every morning, as she had done last year.
She jotted a few lines on scrap paper, took up her good brush and swirled it carefully in the ink. Delicately, she touched it to the paper and wrote
High on the mountain
The buck scavenges alone
Who hears the roes cries?
She frowned at that. It had a bitter sound that she did not feel in her heart. How could she be bitter when he would smile at her that way? It was something she alone had seen, that gentle look in his eyes.
Rikas eyes closed, while she pondered the next verse. She could see him; standing there waiting for her, his face wreathed in a smile, and all the sadness and loneliness would fall from her in a moment. She had told Sakura that it was right to know someone loved you, even if you couldnt see them, as long as you loved them too.
Even through winter
Alone in the cold forest
Two pine trees stands firm
That was questionable, Rika thought, still a little cold. I hope he doesnt take these the wrong way! What she needed was a simple love poem something timeless, warm, and so classic that no one might think it more than the scribblings of a lovesick girl. Which, she smiled, she was.
She wondered how her friends were getting on with this assignment. She could see Sakura, chewing furiously on her pen and Chiharu avoiding the assignment by shopping or watching TV, or more likely, haranguing Yamazaki about *his* haiku. Rika laughed at the image and turned back towards her last sheet.
The sound of your voice
Soft under the forest eaves
The sun on my face
That was exactly right, she felt. It might not be high art, but Terada-sensei would understand what she meant and that was what was important.
Naoko stuck one pencil behind her ear, and opened her notebook. This assignment should be easy! She stared at the blank page, waiting for inspiration to strike. The clock on her desk ticked ominously.
Naoko yawned and took the pencil from behind her ear. Laying the tip against the page, she wrote a single word. You. She erased it furiously and tried again. I.
The eraser came into play once more.
The clock had ticked away a half an hour and the page in front of her was covered with a variety of erasures, pencil marks and random words, but no poems. She sighed heavily. So much for easy homework.
She looked around her room searching for a single image she could use. The books on her shelves had timeless tales of adventure and action, with a fair sprinkling of magical creatures. Maybe she could write haiku about tengu. Grinning, she turned back to the desk.
From the mountains
Cold tower, grant my wishes
Then you fly away
She stared at the verse reflectively, her lips pursed. Seventeen syllables were really just too few to do the trickster spirits any justice, but it was better than nothing. Next up. Naoko let her eyes travel again across the books piled around her. A wide grin covered her face when she lighted upon her video collection. If I can write about tengu, she thought, I can write about kaiju too. The next verse came quickly.
From a far island
He comes to save Tokyo
This one cracked her up. I dont care if the teacher doesnt like it I do, Naoko nodded firmly. Only one more to go and she could watch some anime. She blew the bangs out of her eyes and hunched down over the notebook.
Hiding in the evning mist
Your tears are the rain
That took care of that! She copied the verses in neater handwriting, slipped the notebook into her book bag and headed to the kitchen for a well-deserved snack..
Mei-Lin looked at herself in her mirror, wondering if these frown lines might become permanent. What a stupid country this was! The language was too hard and this poetry bleah. Cheap rip-offs of the more beautiful classical poetry of her own culture.
Mei-Lin quickly stuck her tongue back in her mouth with a thankful sigh that Syaoran wasnt here to see her. She sighed a second time, then giggled at herself in the mirror. She stuck her tongue out again, this time at herself and crossed her eyes for an added effect. It wasnt as if she was good at poetry in Chinese either, but it was the principle of the thing!
It wasnt really fair, she thought. Her mother had sent her back to Japan for another season of school. She was beginning to feel like a ping-pong ball.
"Its not like Syaoran needs me here." Not now that *she* had all the Clow Cards. "Not that he ever really needed me." Mei-Lin crossed her hands on her desk and laid her head down on them. It didnt hurt quite so much now, but it still sucked to think about it. She wondered if shed ever find someone to love.
There was a soft sound coming from Syaorans room, and Mei-Lin lifted her head to listen. It sounded a lot like someone banging their head against a desk.
Turning to the wall, she said softly, "I know how you feel."
Taking a few deeps breaths, Mei-lin rolled up her sleeves. "Okay." She faced her notebook with resolve. "If Syaoran can do it, then so can I."
"Okay, Mei-Lin, heres the deal. You can work at this and maybe, if youre lucky, come up with mediocre, uninteresting poetry. Or you can throw together three really bad ones and not care." Her image glared back at her from the mirror. She nodded. "OR," she continued, "you can compromise and try at least a little."
The first verse pretty much confirmed her fears.
The rain and wind howls
Outside and inside my heart
Now I am alone
Mei-Lin reached for the paper to crumple it up, but stopped herself quickly. It might be awful, but it was one down, leaving only two to go. And it gave her an idea .
She stuck her chin in her hand and thought about a day when she had asked her mother why all poems seemed so sad. Her mother had said that great art comes from pain, just as great skill comes from hard work. Mei-Lin thought about herself, a non-magic user in a family known for their magic and about how hard she had worked to make up the deficit. But it never did seem to be enough, and Syaoran had never loved her, no matter how hard she tried. The words seemed to form of their own accord as her hand moved across the paper.
A wave of my hand
Conjures up magic and light
Love is energy
I bet thats how Sakura feels, Mei-Lin thought. I wonder why Im writing about her? Unless maybe Im not .
When she had returned to Japan, it had all been different. Only Tomoyo really noticed how she had felt. She had practically ignored the girl her first time here, and then, when it all became too much, she was the only one Mei-Lin could open up to.
I guess I have changed, learned to make friends, and stop trying to compete so much. Mother probably noticed too, and just never said anything. That would be like her and its like her to send me back here again to figure it out myself.
"Just like this assignment. I have to figure out how to do this, too. A year ago, I might have asked Syaoran for help, or Wei, but now Ill do it myself. Just one more to go."
The ocean is wide
That separates me from home
Time passes slowly
And with a flourish, Mei-Lin signed the final haiku, placed the brush down on the desk and flashed a smile at herself in the mirror.
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