The Wind and the Cherry Blossoms
She saw the cherry blossom petals float in through her window and lie at the side of her pillow, and that was all that made her want to have someone to crush in a bear hug. It wouldn't hurt if someone else did the same to her; she just wanted to be comforted…
And she knew it would be perfect if there was a certain wind mage who would be her teddy bear for a minute.
More petals floated into her bedroom, and soon enough wind picked up her hair, tugging at them and tangling the soft crimson locks. Now, whenever her hair was teased by the wind, it almost made her nostalgic. To think that she had come to love the very same wind that she had hated once; it being not because of the wind alone, but because of the person that wielded it.
But of course, wind breathes life into flames.
She sighed and a small smile made its way on her face. The sudden need of wanting a hug had vanished completely, leaving in its place a desire to crawl into bed and forget everything for a minute.
I wonder if he's okay…
She mentally kicked herself for thinking that.
He must be okay! He can handle himself WAY better than me, after all.
She stood up from her bed and closed the window in her room with a clattering noise, determination etched over her features.
He's okay, damn it! Stop thinking about him of all people!
The frown on her face vanished as she saw the cherry blossom tree's branches swaying to and fro in the passing breeze. Petals fell across the empty garden; some were swirling in drifts as gusts of wind blew harder from the east, while some made their way over to the koi pond and stayed afloat the water.
I always knew he would go away and not be around… I had prepared myself for the pain and heartache that might cause, too; so why am I worried? Why am I feeling so… empty? So lonely and so… broken. I can't help but think that he mightn't even come back. Maybe he won't ever come back. He's a jerk after all.
Despite herself, she opened the window once again, all the while telling herself that false hopes were meant to be shattered. She couldn't decide whether she felt happy that the wind had stopped blowing or if she felt sad that the wind had 'stopped' blowing.
Maybe it's a bad omen?
She had a sudden urge to bash her head against a wall or something.
Oh shut up, brain! Wind blows, or it doesn't blow; what's unlucky in that!?
Frowning, she shook her head and pulled the sheets over her head; she wanted to escape to the kingdom of dreams as soon as humanely possible.
A gust of air, quiet and rushed, entered the room through the open bedroom window, and slowly ran over her face. She stirred.
"Hey, Ayano?" A voice whispered.
The only response the person was able to get was her pulling the sheets over her head.
She moved, but the sheets were still pulled over her head.
"…Princess?" The person used that as a last straw, knowing full well that it would probably elicit the response he needed. She sat up suddenly, her eyes wide open and her pupils dilated in the dark, slightly moonlit room. She turned her face to the window, expecting that guy. She found him floating in mid-air.
"Kazuma! Y-You're here!" She exclaimed and scrambled out of bed, tripped over the sheets in her haste but steadied herself by holding one of the pillars of the bed, then looked at the man accusingly.
"It's been a while…" He drawled.
"It's been a freaking five months and four days!"
"You kept count?" He asked, a hint of amusement lacing his voice.
"How could I not!?" She spat back. "You said you'd be back in a month! And you just told me like it was someone talking about the weather! And you chose my birthday to tell me about that! How could you, Kazuma? How could you do that when you knew… you knew that I…" She broke of when her voice sounded scratchy to even her own ears. Her eyes stung and her throat had gone dry. She didn't speak any further—she knew that if she did, she would certainly break down. Or do some utterly stupid thing. She closed her eyes and breathed in and out deeply once, not intending to open them any sooner.
Kazuma felt a pang in his chest. He had known it would be difficult speaking to her after all this time (yet he chose her bedroom in the middle of the night as the rendezvous point), especially when he had failed to contact her after two weeks. So much for the modern communicative technology… He felt sorry, he really did; but he didn't know if she would believe him. He had been more or less done with Armagest around a week ago, but he had delayed meeting her because he wasn't ready to face her. He knew delaying would only make matters worse, but for some inexplicable reason he felt scared. Him? Scared? Nice words in the same sentence. He slipped inside the room, unnoticed by Ayano.
"Didn't you promise, Kazuma? That you'd be safe, be in touch, and let me know when you were coming?" She whispered, suddenly looking up, and not a bit surprised to see him standing in front of herself.
This proved to be rather heavy on Kazuma's conscience, because the word 'promise' brought back unwelcome memories. He'd failed to keep his promise to Tsui-Ling. He had not kept his promise again. He had broken his promise… He had broken her trust. He had also probably broken her heart. He was a heartbreaker, a monster, an idiot, he—
"Well, we'll talk about that later." Kazuma looked up at her in surprise. Ayano's eyes looked bored but equally sleepy. What the…? "You know, it's conveniently past midnight. Was this the only time you got to barge in my room?" She asked pointedly, the uninterested expression still plastered on her face.
He blinked when she went over to the bed and threw a pillow on his face.
"Err, Ayano?" Kazuma asked in confusion.
"Sleep on the floor. It's your punishment." She commanded, still behaving like someone in a bad mood from being woken up at 6 in the morning on a Sunday.
"I didn't mean that! I mean—what do I mean—are you seriously telling me to go to sleep!?"
"Say you're an idiot."
"You're an idiot."
"Not me, jerk! Yourself!"
"Okay, I'm an idiot." For some strange reason, he was actually feeling that at the moment.
"Good. I'm satisfied."
"Did you hit your head against a wall today?"
"I thought you're the idiot."
This time, it was her turn to blink. Kazuma surely didn't apologize easily, and certainly not on something as minor as forgetting to be the idiot.
She didn't respond; outside, a rather harsh wind flew, and the clouds chose this moment to cover the full spring moon so that it was wholly dark and he couldn't see the expression on her face. The cherry blossom tree in the garden was the only thing that was illuminated by light, its petals and leaves waving, swaying, and flailing to and fro. But the room still remained dark and untouched by that piece of ethereal beauty, nothing in the least like it. It stayed like that for what felt like an eternity to him, while it was actually only a few minutes in reality. The moon was freed by the clouds, and a moonbeam shone right on her face as if by magic.
She had tears in her eyes.
Kazuma stepped forward, but before he could reach her she had already wrapped her arms around him. "I missed you so much, you dummy." She mumbled against the fabric of his shirt, which he aware was getting wet. He hugged her back.
"I know. I missed you too, Ayano."
"And… And I love you so much, you idiot."
"I… guess I know."
"You're supposed to reply 'I love you too' or something decent, moron!" She said letting go of him abruptly, and even though her tone was a bit indignant, she was smiling. Even if a little, she was smiling and he couldn't help but think how heavenly she looked in the pale, silver moonlight.
"I love you too." He said, as he gathered her up to his arms once again.
A merry breeze flew again, and the cherry blossoms danced in the night.