As Sora was walking home after doing both his and Taka's classroom duties, he started having doubts, the wave of Taka's overwhelming enthusiasm dissipating. He was a good writer, but was he good enough to be able to surpass his dear Uncle 'Moru?
And besides, two people writing one book? It was an absurd idea. Sora sighed, feeling rather let down.
He decided to call Taka to tell him that he honestly didn't think that they'd ever succeed.
"Moshi moshi?" Taka answered.
"Taka, it's me, Sora."
"Eh? Sora, did you come up with an idea?" Taia's excited voice made Sora sigh with guilt.
"Taka...I don't think I'm cut for writing like you'd want." Sora admitted softly.
There was a silence on the other end then, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" Poor Sora had to yank the phone from his ear, the abused appendage ringing slightly from the shout.
"Say that again, I couldn't hear you." Sora said sarcastically.
"I WAS BEING SARCASTIC YOU MORON!" Sora bellowed down into his phone.
There was silence then a sheepish "Oh..." was heard.
"Anyways, Taka, I really don't think I can do this. I mean, Rahsita-sensei is a great author who got on the bestseller's list for a whole year!"
"...We're going to be better than Rashita-sensei! We'll write a novel that'll stay on the bestseller's for years to come! I swear this on the honor of the writing profession and my own honor! Where are you?”
Sora blinked at the abrupt question and change of subject. "Near Central Park, the one where you held our Study Club at...Why?"
"Stay right there."
And Sora was left staring at his phone as the connection was cut with nary a goodbye.
Nearly thirty minuetes later, as it was getting dark, Sora saw Taka tearing down the sidewalk in his after school clothes, a dark green high collared jacket and tan pants, along with green and white tennis shoes.
"Sora!" yelled Taka, hooking an arm around Sora's and yanking him in the direction of where he was heading then quickly swinging around without stopping or slowing down.
"Where are you going!?" yelped Sora, who decided that running was a better option than being dragged to who knows where.
Taka grinned and held up some keys on a key chain. "Your mom gave me these when I stopped by and told her what we wanted to do. She wanted me to give them to you."
Sora stopped cold, leaving a Sora shaped gap behind Taka. "My Mom?"
Taka's grin grew wider as he too stopped, and then jingled the keys.
Sora reached out to take them but Taka pulled them back out of his reach.
"I'll give you Rashita-sensei's apartment keys..." Taka's grin grew so big that it looked like it could split his face in half as Sora's eyes widened. Taka held out a finger to signify the number one. "On one condition!"
Here it comes Sora thought amused, he had a feeling he knew where this was headed.
"You stick with our shared dream of becoming authors!"
Sora heaved a laugh. 'Okay! Okay! I'll stick with it, you blackmailing sloth!"
Taka plopped the treasured keys into Sora's eagerly waiting hand.
"So?" he asked after they had both stared at the keys for a few minutes.
Sora tightened his fist around his new treasure, his grin matching Taka's level of excitement.
"So." he returned and started to sprint. "Are you coming or not!?"
Taka stared stupidlly after his shorter friend's retreating back before racing after him. "Sora! C'mon, give a man a break!" he yelled as he caught up.
"No way! We gotta catch a train to Kaku Station!"
Taka nearly tripped on his feet. "Crap! We only got fifteen minutes!"
"I know! Which is why we're running!"
"Oh so we're not running for the joy of it?!"
"Shut up you goat!"
"I'm a hawk not a goat!"
"Just keep running!"
They turned a corner and dove into the oncoming pedestrian traffic, weaving in and out with practiced ease, despite people cussing them out at times and the common squeak of surprise, so used for when one is startled and sees two boys hurtling through the crowd, eyes wide with panic as they tear past, yelling apologies that are too fast and quickly spoken to be sincere.
Taka glanced at the time and swore in his head. "Sora! We only have five minutes left!"
"GO FASTER!" he roared as he turned the corner to the station and tore down the stairs to where it was located, Taka hot on his heels.
They placed their phones onto the barrier and gained passage due to the fact that both had universal track passes and gained passage.
They both broke into another run, hurrying to the right area and leaped through the doors with seconds to spare.
They lay on the ground, panting for a few seconds before hurrying to find seats. They had to hold on or else they would be sent flying.
Sora found a spot at the end and Taka got one next to a teenage girl who was right between him and Sora.
"So... how many stops till ours again?" Taka texted.
Sora leaned over to peer at Taka, eyebrow raised, but he shrugged and texted back: "About five or six."
Taka felt his eyes widen. "Wow..." Sora rolled his eyes and leaned back. "I'm going to take a quick nap, wake me when we're there."
Taka growled at his phone quietly. "Hey! That's MY line! >:( "
"Too bad ya lazy fowl! Now be good and guard the perch, won't ya?"
"Why you! Why don't you get your blue coat covered by gray moldy clouds!"
Then the two shared grins to show that they were joking in all good fun
The girl next to Taka had a book that he recognized as a worn copy of Sakura Breeze. He quickly texted Sora.
"The girl next to us, look at her book!"
Sora glanced over and his blue eyes widened before his fingers flew on his phone's key pad. "One moment. Don't ask about what I'm about to do!"
Taka raised an eyebrow but didn't text anything in reply.
Sora shut his phone and slipped it into his pocket before he started to rummage in his bag for something which turned out to be a very worn out copy of the same book that the girl next to them held.
The girl glanced up curiously to see what all the ruckus was abut and promptly froze, her brown eyes widening.
"You read him too?" she asked in a soft voice that struck Taka's heartstrings and memory box. The girl's voice was oh so familiar, oh so heartrendingly familiar.
Sora nodded, brightening as he always did when he ran into one of his missing uncle's precious fans. "Yeah. I love them all. They're all my favorite." he said honestly. His eyes flicked over to Taka and nodded slightly, showing that he too felt that she was familiar.
"Oh, my favorite is Running but my close second is this one." she said, lifting up Sakura Breeze. "The end is like my life story. I wish I had had more time with him."
"Did your Prince die?" Sora asked. Both Taka and Sora cringed at the bluntness.
She shook her head, long brown hair swaying with the movement. "Oh no. I just moved away without telling him. I fancied him, but I'm not sure he fancied me back. He was the top of our class, and he tutored me and another boy. He was even class president."
Taka choked on his spit as he sat up from his slumped lazy position he had gained when the conversation had begun and hiis head whirled to face the girl.
"'Yuki-chan?" he asked and she whirled around to face him, her brown eyes wide and confused. Taka flushed crimson.
"Who are you?" she asked eyes narrowing.
Taka turned even more red and stammered out, "A-Arashi T-Taka miss...." and flushed a darker shade as she froze and stared right into his eyes. I wish I hadn't said that...he thought feverishly.
Then something lit up in her eyes and she quickly matched the shade of red that covered his face.
Sora settled back, his duty done.
Though it had been a shock to find that it was Tsukino Miyuki he was speaking to, it had been worth it.
Sora shook his head with a wry smile. He had not expected to run into anyone he knew from 9th grade.
"So why are you on a train, and who are you traveling with. I don't see Sora with you."
Sora rolled his eyes and poked his female Nakama in the back. She turned around with a squeak and then her palm met her forehead.
"Of course! Only a shrimp like you could be Sora-chan!" she teased.
Sora pouted, but he smiled soon after. "It's good to see you."
"And you haven't answered my question!" she poked Taka in the side, suddenly brave now that she had inadvertently confessed to her crush that she fancied him.
Taka felt the warmth that covered his cheeks to spread down his neck and up his ears as he twitched in an attempt to escape her poking. "W-well..." he stuttered, feeling rather foolish under her gaze.
Sora sighed as his best friend was reverted to a stammering mass of goo. "We're going to my uncle's appartment, you can come if you want."
Taka shot Sora a Look of "don't go there!"
Miyuki happily clasped her hands together. "Sure!" she chirped, seeming to not notice Taka's frantically shaking head, but she elbowed him in the ribs so the point was moot.
Taka sighed ruefully, rubbing his side before relenting. "Fine." he grumbled.
Miyuki sent him a sunny smile, which caused Taka to flush darkly from the roots of his hair and down to his neck, causing Sora to chuckle at his friend.
"I-I'm only letting you come 'cause, 'cause it's the nice th-thing to do!"
Both Sora and Miyuki looked at eachother and let out a "mmm-hmmm..." causing Taka to flush darker.
"Taka, you're stuttering!" Sora teased.
"Oh, Sora look! He's turning even redder!" Miyuki jumped on the teasing bandwagon with a squeal.
"Oh shut up you two!" Taka spat, face a very dark crimson.
The time passed quickly in this sort of manner, friends teasing each other and generally having a good time.
And then, it was their stop.
"You ready?" Taka asked Sora.
Sora nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be, you?"
Taka gave a jerk of his shoulders. "Same." he said.
Sora looked over at Miyuki. "Fancy a race to the apartment?"
She took off. "Sure, ya slowpokes!"
"It's over by the General Store, you can't miss it!" Sora yelled, taking off after her.
Taka groaned then ran after the two cheaters.
Soon all three teens were neck and neck, and the apartment loomed over all.
"Top floor." Panted Sora. "I remember... coming here... as a little kid. ...So many stairs!"
"There's an elevator right?" Miyuki asked.
Sora nodded. "Yeah. But for old time's sake, let's go on the stairs!"
"No." both Miyuki and Taka shot the idea down before it could take root, making Sora pout. Then they entered the building and piled into the elevator.
There was a brief squable on who should press the button to the 10th floor between Sora and Taka but Miyuki solved it by pressing it herself while the two were busy getting each other in headlocks to notice until it was too late.
They reached the top with a minimum of fussing after that and Sora glanced at the keys. "His apartment is number 18, right down here."
He led them down the directed hall and to the right door. He fumbled with the keys for a moment before he gained access. Then he and Taka stepped aside to let Miyuki peer in.
"Welcome!" Sora began grandly.
"To Rashita Gaomon's apartment and work place!" Taka finished with a flourish.
In a certain place, in a certain city, in a certain house, in a certain room, there was a rather large unidentified lump in the covers of newly turned eighteen year old Takahan Sora's room.
"Sora! It's nearly time for school! Sora!" came the morning call to start off the household's routine.
Heeding the call, the lump stirred, like a massive beast sleepily awakening from it's long restful slumber.
The dark covers shifted and wiggled, out popped the long arms of the room's sole resident, followed by a mop of messy black hair, flattened to his skull on one side due to his pillow.
As the teenager turned new young adult stretched, he let out a massive yawn that caused tears to come to his eyes.
Now that Sora was vertical, his mother called again, "Sora! Get up, or else you won't have time to eat breakfast!"
Blue eyes opened wide at that. ""Crap! I overslept again?!" he muttered to himself, as was his habit to do when alone.
"J-Just a minute!" called the young adult, as he hopped on one leg and struggled to get his clothes on fast enough to please his time concerned mother.
But his foot, in his mad hopping, hit a few old text books and manga and that sent the young adult tumbling to the floor with a muffled yelp as if he were still a gawky teenager with unproportional limbs.
A knock brought him out of his floor induced daze. "Sora dear, are you alright?"
"I'm fine Kaa-san! I'll be down in a second!" Sora called towards the door. It was true, he just needed a shirt and some socks along with breakfast, then he would be ready to take up the last few weeks of high school!
His bare foot hit one of the many books that had scattered when he had tripped.
Curious on what book it was, Sora glanced down and promptly froze. It was Rashita Gaomon-sensei's Sakura Breeze, a simple story. About a school girl meeting a faerie prince and both secretly falling in love love, but their romance was doomed as the girl belonged with the mortals and he with the Faerie Kkingdom. But every spring, when the Sakura trees bloomed in pink splendor, they could sneak away and spend just a little time together. The story ends with the two wishing for more time.
"Just a little more time!" I cried out, "Surely you can spare that much!"
"I have my kingdom, you have your own life to attend to." he spoke as he turned to leave, his elegant cape swirling majestically in the breeze that had picked up as he had spoken.
He looked so noble, so sadly resigned as he said these things.
I felt despair licking at my throat, scratching at my eyes, as I choked out, "Then will His Majesty refuse one last dance under the falling Sakura with a mortal peasant?"
He turns and wordlessly takes up my hand in his and holds me close, as we start to dancing to music that only we can feel, a melody that only plays in our hearts.
He will be crowned King soon. King of all the Faeries. This will be our last Pax De Deu, our last actual meeting without it seeming scandalous.
But, who am I fooling, this last dance hurts him as much as I.
The thought of it is enough to make me weep.
But my Faerie Prince simply clutches me tighter and whispers in my ear, "When the breeze brushes against the Sakura's pretty leaves, think of me. Think of me and the fond memories we have shared. Know that when Spring comes, I will not stop thinking of our shared memories."
He sealed his vow with a kiss, under those beautiful Sakura trees.
I just wish we had more time, more memories...
Sora slipped the book into his backpack.
It wouldn't hurt if he read it on a day as special as this, it was that man's birthday after all...
"Indulging in something he wrote wouldn't harm anyone..." Sora mumbled to himself before shouldering his school bag and exiting his room, heading to the stairs where the wonderful smells of a good breakfast was wafting up to Sora's nose, making his mouth water.
"Morning." he greated, snagging a slice of toast right off the toaster, taking a bite before slipping into his seat.
"It's that time of year again, huh?" Sora glanced up and located his younger sister, Rika, who flished slightly under her older brother's gaze.
Sora chewed and quickly swallowed before saying, "Y-yeah..." Then his gaze turned to the calendar which had May 22 circled in red, a faraway expression on his face.
"Hurry up and eat dear." His mother reminded him.
"Oh...aa..." Sora quickly finished off the toast and started on his rice, quietly taking tiny sips of Miso between bites.
Soon, his food was gone, and it was time for him to go.
As he opened the door, he was greet with the sight of his best friend Arashi Taka waiting for him.
"Yo!" the taller teen greeted, a grin on his face.
"Hello, Taka." Sora sighed, a soft, fond smile on his face.
"C'mon, let's go. We'll be late." Taka grinned easily as he said this.
Sora knew that Taka would take every chance to not go to school except not actually flunking or skipping.
To put it simply, Taka was just too lazy to care.
The older eighteen year old got great grades, sure. In fact, Taka was the top student in their class and third in the national top scores. But Taka was the type to not care about how he always got A's and A+'s.
Why Taka prefered Mediocre Sora's company to the other smart teenagers in the top, Sora had no clue. But he was greatful to the older teen, who had turned out to be the best type of friend a guy could hope for, even if he was a bit lazy, he'd still take the time to hang out, despite all the crazy back twisting he did to wrench out time from his suprisingly busy schedule to do so.
Early morning classes went as usual, Himura-sensei was boring as ever (Taka was nearly caught taking a cat nap), Akira-sensei taught them something sciencey that Sora had a hard time following, and Sato-sensei had them run the mile.
In all of the classes one thing was constant, Final Exams, next week and the entrance exams for the colleges that Sora wanted to try for were a month after the Finals.
Finally though, Himura-sensei left for lunch, leaving the students to do what they pleased.
Sora nudged Taka awake and both grabbed their Bentos and snuck up to the roof, as was their habit.
It was time to chow.
"Say, Sora..." Taka said after swallowing some of the bit of gyudon that was in his mouth. "Why is it that on May 22nd you always have the same bento?"
Sora blinked at the abrupt question. "Well," he looked down at his bowl full of Miso and ramen noodles and smiled softly, "My uncle loves everything Miso based, but Miso Ramen is his favorite."
Taka stared at his friend before eagerly leaning in. "You have an uncle?! Where is he? How come we've never met? What's his name? What does he do?" he demanded excitedly, green eyes lit up with curiosity.
Sora was used to this rapid fire questioning, so he answered in a like fashion, shooting off answers once he took a deep breath in preparation. "Yes I have an uncle, I don't know where he is. You haven been introduced because he's been out of the country somewhere for nine years. His name is Takahan Mamoru and he writes novels."
If Taka's eyes were bright before, they were shining like two green suns with major curiosity as hydrogen fuel. Sora could practically see Taka's tail twitch.
"Eh? Really?! Your uncle was an author?!" Taka rocked back and forth, his face very animated. "What he write?!"
"Um... Sakura Breeze, Running, Loud Whispers -"
"EH?! Your uncle was Rashita Gaomon?! I read all of his books for Himura last term! Then I re-read them because I loved them so much!" Taka practically exploded from glee.
Sora leaned back, eyes round from shock. "Y-you like his books?" the black haired teen stuttered.
Taka stood up and took a dramatic pose. "I don't just like them, I love them, they're majestic works of art! ...Say...I'll bet that we could surpass Rashita-sensei!" Taka declared.
"Surpass...Uncle 'Moru?" Sora murmuered to himself. Could he do it? Could they do it?
"So?" Taka asked, and Sora blinked at the other teen's hand that appeared infront of his face. Taka continued, "Will you help me?"
Sora laughed softly and took the offered hand, riding on Taka's enthusiasm.
"Sure." he agreed, Maybe...maybe we can do this, we won't know until we try.
"Oi, race you to the door! Last one will have to do classroom duties of himself and the winner!" Sora yelled, taking off.
"OI! That's cheating! OOOI!"
Sora heard the front door open and close. He was curious, but not curious enough to inspire his father's wrath. The nine year old was supposed to be reading, but he paused as he heard voices approaching his room. One of them was his father, but the other…
“Uncle ‘Moru! You’re back!” he shot up off his bed, dropping his book in his haste to get to his uncle, tripping as he attempted to stop.
“Whoah there squirt!” the man said as his nephew crashed into his outstretched arms, steading the boy.
“It’s great that you like seeing me, but please be careful!”
“You’re back!” the cheerful boy grinned up at his Uncle ‘Moru, as he ruffled Sora’s back hair.
“Yes, yes I am you Squirt.” The man chuckled.
“Ne, ne, Uncle ‘Moru! Can you tell me the story ‘bout the Glowing Stones?!” Sora asked eagerly, bouncing on his heels as if he were an eager puppy ready for an extra tidbit from the dinner plate.
His uncle chuckled again, ruffling the boy’s hair as he sat down on the child’ bed with a sigh.
“Alight…where to start.” The man rumbled theatrically.
“Um…A long time ago?”
A chuckle. “Alright then, once upon a time, a long time ago…
There was a man, we do not know his name, who was the brother of the head of a prestigious clan. While the clan’s homeland was in turmoil, they fled, being led by the divine via the brother.
Eventually, this unnamed clan settled in a land far from their homeland, across the vast sea where wild storms destroyed the strongest of ships.
So, to traverse over this harsh sea, the brother was directed to build many odd shaped ships that looked like a sealed walnut once it was finished. These boats were designed to slip under the massive waves and resurface unharmed.
But there was a problem. There was no way for light to filter into the vessels. Glass would shatter by the force of the massive waves, fire would burn and sink the ship. So, the brother turned to divine guidance once more. And the brother was gifted glowing stones to light up the ships.
After they had made it to their new homeland, peace came upon the people. But as the years passed, the people whom had started to flourish in the land, began to forget the glowing stones and the hard journey their forefathers had embarked on. Many gathered wealth and a social divide grew between the rich and poor. And such, civil war erupted and only one man was the survivor to tell the tale to the new inhabitance of the land.
And the years passed, nay, millennia passed with the stone hidden from sight, till one day a few of our ancestors stumbled upon them and vowed to protect these precious rocks. But many of our ancestors didn’t believe of the reports of their brethren and called them mad.
And so, the location of the stones that gave light to that unnamed clan, was lost to the winds of time.
Sora stared at his uncle in awe. “So, we really don’t know where the Glowing Stones are?!” he demanded, excited and eyes round.
Uncle ‘Moru laughed. “Nope. But lemme tell you a secret.” The man said conspiratorially. Sora eagerly leaned in. “I’m going to look for them.”
“Eh? Really?! Take me with you Uncle ‘Moru!”
Uncle ‘Moru laughed and ruffled the nine year old’s hair once more. “Maybe when you’re in high school, Squirt.”
“Mamoru, you’d better not be filling my boy’s head with your foolish fairy tales.” Sora’s father stood in the doorway, a frown on his face.
“A little tale wont hurt the kid, Eiiji.” Uncle ‘Moru said, frowning.
Eiiji gave a huff of disapproval and left.
Sora and Uncle ‘Moru shared silly faces at the stern man’s back.
“Well, Squirt, looks like I’ve overstayed my welcome.” The man sighed as he stood up. “I’ll see you around kiddo.”
“Eh!? But, Uncle ‘Moru, you just got here!” Sora complained.
Uncle ‘Moru sighed and smiled sadly. “Me and your father really don’t like eachother, Squirt. I’m always surprised that he even lets me see you.”
Sora pouted and watched with mournful blue eyes as his favorite uncle left. “Ne…Uncle ‘Moru, you will take me to the Glowing Stones once you find them, won’t you?”
Mamoru paused at the door and smiled sadly. “Sure, Squirt. Of course I will. Well, ja ne, kiddo!”
And as Sora’s door shut, the nine year old had the horrible sensation of his heart heaving in two. Little did the boy know, was that this moment would be the last time he would see his uncle ever again.