nightcenturymountain: (i'm listening)
[personal profile] nightcenturymountain
This was a written for the drabbleathon on [livejournal.com profile] utenadrabble, as a request for another member. I'm posting it here as well.
Word count: 736, rating: PG, because that series gets that rating by default. Juri & Kozue have a chat.

strange bedfellows.

Time was pretending to pass. Juri could almost feel the breath of autumn whispering in her hair, almost feel the hands of winter tugging at her wrap, but she knew that as soon as dawn came she would find the weather warm and beautiful. That feeling was one reason she strayed into the darkness, why she sat silent by the still fountain, waiting for nothing.

Footsteps echoed on the concrete uncertain and alone, and she turned, curious to see who disturbed her unsleeping watch. At first she thought it was Miki, wandering out on some strange midnight errand, but a second glance cleared her eyes--it was his sister, adjusting her tie as she idled back to her room after some assignation or other. Their eyes met, fierce green on hazy blue, and it was Kozue who looked away first.

"Good evening, Upperclassman."
"And what, pray tell, are you doing out of your room at this hour? You know the rules--"
"And so do you. I may not personally be a member of the Student Council, but I'll never be in trouble for this sort of thing. I'm a wild animal, remember."

Juri paused a moment, then laughed at her impertinence. Kozue tried to hold her gaze but could not and shifted her feet nervously, stepping in and out of a moonbeam as though a rabbit trying to run from a fox.

"So you are, Kozue. The teachers are nearly as scared of you as they are of me at this point."
"More, I think. You don't offer them nearly the temptation that I do."
"Don't tell me you’ve been--"
"Don't be foolish, Upperclassman. That's what they want from Miki. Not me. I just offer them an easy way out."

Juri arched one elegant eyebrow. Curiosity piqued, she patted the cold marble beside her.

"A way out of what, Kozue? Would you care to tell me what it is that you offer, if not that?"

Kozue sat down, seeming more at ease once she was off her feet. She crossed her legs at the ankles, pretending to be demure, and looked down at her hands, picking at the leftover crimson polish on her nails.

"I offer them an easy way out of this school, Upperclassman. I do my own dirty work, and if they're too scared of me to stay here, well," she blinked up at Juri, who sat so still she might as well have been a statue, "Well, then so much the better. That's one less person to hurt Miki. That's all I want. That's all I've ever wanted."

"Such honesty. I never thought I'd hear these words from you, and I'm not certain I believe them."

Kozue smiled sharply, her mouth red as a wound, her teeth white as a scar.

"Well, you asked, didn't you? I have no reason to lie to you, Upperclassman. You surely know about this sort of feeling. You've got your own person who is precious to you, and she understands you about as well as my brother understands me."

Juri nodded slowly, her hands drifting unconsciously to cover the locket that she still wore, even after all that had happened, all that had (not ever, would never) passed between herself and that person, that person she---

"I should be getting back. I don't want Miki to wake up in the night and miss me."

Kozue leapt to her feet lightly, practically dancing in her hurry to be gone. She bowed gracelessly to Juri, who did not even nod an acknowledgment, and slipped off into the shadows, heels clicking faster and faster as she ran, hurrying to get back to her brother. Juri remained there by the fountain for a few moments, reflecting on the strange conversation. A late night mist began rolling in, thick tendrils of fog reminding her of the hour, and she began to walk slowly back to her room, lost in contemplation of the vagaries of the heart.

If such a shallow child as Kozue could understand the way this world kept people in, kept people safely behind the locked doors of their own perceptions, and knew that people could be forcibly shoved out by something as simple as a whim--how could she still be pretending to be blind? How could she justify herself in her own eyes, if that girl could protect the one she loved, and Juri could not?

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March 2010

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