Under a Willow Tree

Midsummer Night's Dream

The soft melody came to an end; subtly replaced by the quaint silence of the falling night. Len didn’t know what to do —he was still afraid that what just happened was nothing more than a product of combined tiredness and wild imagination. He dared not look on the other side of the trunk for fear of not finding her there.

His thoughts were drowned when another sound reached him—the voice which was melody to his ears; the voice he had longed to hear for such a long time after he left.

“I have prepared a little monologue for the moment when I would be able to see you again...Funny how actually being here made me forget about everything,” she said with a nervous, little laugh. “I don’t know whether I should hate you for not telling me anything...Although to tell you the truth...That’s exactly what I felt the moment Tsuchiura-kun told me you’re gone.”

Oh, I see that now...so the pianist arranged this. I must admit, even if my pride wouldn’t let me say it...I would prefer her knowing the truth from him than from anyone else...’

Being in good terms with the pianist, even if it’s only a thought, seemed a bit strange to him, and so he chose to focus instead on the melodic voice that was now telling him how she managed to live during the last four months without him.

“I really tried hard not to think about it; I don’t even know how I managed to go through those first few weeks. The only thing I could do was to lock myself inside the practice rooms and play my violin for hours. I could tell that my friends were worried sick about me; I’m no tough cookie or an emotionless freak. Tsuchiura-kun took care of me then—he took the time to take me out; to make me forget about things even if it’s just for a few hours. I’m really thankful for everything he did for me...”

Don’t tell me that she came here just to tell me how happy she is with him and that she never would want to hear from me anymore? But on second thought...it’s quite possible. I never did anything to make her... “ love me” ?’

The young violinist began feeling anxious at the thought—depressed as he was with it than he had dared to be. He tried to clear his head. No, never again would he think about him and Tsuchiura being in good terms with each other.

“...but even that failed to fill the hole I felt on my chest. I didn’t have to tell Tsuchiura-kun anything. That was a fact he understood and respected. After talking to him, though, I realized something. Something really important. That there is only one person who can fill up the hole that took place in my heart.”

Then, Tsukimori Len felt like he was living the most magical moment of his life. A simple and hesitant turn of the head revealed what seemed like an apparition. On the other side of the tree she stood, her flaming hair waving like a silken scarf in the midsummer night’s breeze. Dressed in a simple white dress with a light tinge of red on her cheeks brought on by the surge of emotion, she looked almost ethereal.

“Hino...”

‘Oh Lord, please, tell me that this is not a dream!’

At that very moment, he wasn’t the usual cold and stoic Tsukimori; he even failed to mask his face and guard his expression. Quite the contrary, for all the raging and differing emotions overwhelmed him and made his expression quite indefinable.

“Tsukimori-kun, I have waited for months to come and meet you here, just so I would be finally able to tell you...”

Disbelief clouded his thoughts, and she blushed even more as she lowered her head.

“Tsukimori-kun, I-” she couldn’t finish.

Despite the short distance between them, the young man strode forward to take her in his arms.

“Hino...”

Again and again, he whispered her name to her ear. The tenderness and emotion she felt in his hushed words was almost tangible, and she made to clutch his shirt desperately; to hold him the closest way possible. It was the first time he ever held her in his arms, and she knew by then that she would never want to be anywhere else for anything in the world.

“I love you”

Her eyes widened just as he said the words. For weeks, she had prepared herself for the moment when she would be able to tell him how she feels, but now he had interrupted her and confessed to her in an almost inaudible whisper.

They leaned away from each other; just enough to sink in each other’s eyes. They held their breaths as inches by inches they closed the distance between each other’s flushed faces. And at the last second, she whispered the four words that were the most melodic words the boy ever heard in his life.

And so, sheltered from the eyes of the rest of the world, under the curtain of the dancing branches of a Willow Tree, Tsukimori Len and Hino Kahoko gave themselves their first kiss.



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