Disclaimer:I don't own nothing.
Author's Note:Uh, I don't really know what's going on here. One day I sat back and realized: 'Hey, I feel like writing again.' I closed my eyes and this is what my bizarro mind and off-track imagination came up with. The ending's kinda really cut off but, nyeh, I got bored. Hope ya like.
The Porcelain Angel
It was getting cold, Takeru Takaishi thought to himself, horribly windy and unimaginably cold. It was autumn and the days were filled with bitter drafts, carrying on their lifeless carriage leaves of red-orange hue, equally dead in their own rights. The dust in the air stung at his eyes as he jogged through the streets, stung with an irritancy that brought about tears. His eyes closed in an effort to clear them but when opened again only resulted in a vision halfway blurry and halfway blinded. He swiped annoyingly at his eyes, stopping only in regards to the other pedestrians on the sidewalk. Had there been a bit less traffic, Takeru did not doubt that he would've flat out run the entire distance to the Kamiya apartment, blind man or not.
Hikari had called him earlier and though she only asked for help on her literature, he treated it no less than had she called with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at her doorstep. The option to help her over the phone had not even occurred to him and he had tried valiantly, many a time, to brush it off as impossible because he was without textbook. It was, after some evaluation and denial he would admit, another weak attempt to steal glances at his friend while they studied. Truly, with his innate nature in literature, Takeru did not need to give a second glance at a piece of writing to understand what it meant and so he rarely needed a textbook at all. He found himself blushing at the very thought of his underhanded nature.
TK lifted his eyes, shamefaced and all, to look at the swaying trees as the howling winds picked up. He thought of her again and the tingles that crept through his body had nothing to do with the freezing bite of the drafts. Takeru turned his body, prepared to continue his jog when his peripheral vision caught onto something. He turned to his right and was startled to see that his wounded eyesight had caused him to stop in front of it. He paused, knowing distantly that this sight now mesmerized him and knowing also that Hikari would have to wait another ten minutes because of it.
In front of him, displayed upon a podium that was so isolated from everything else that it almost demanded passerby's to look at it, was a little statuette. It was the physical, and very well captured at that, embodiment of an angel. A pale and glossy thing, sculpted so finely that the artist who made it must've been taken lessons from da Vinci himself. The angel was standing upright but was hunched over, bowing its head almost. The arms were prostrated before it, as if the seraph was carrying the entire world on its two gnarled hands. Its four wings hung droopily behind it, its spirit to fly apparently crushed by some unseen force. And it was sexless, Takeru knew, in that with its hood pulled over and heavy cloak donned, a spectator could not have known whether it was male or female.
Yet, beyond that he saw a frail being, something inside his analytical mind just clicked and TK saw the true meaning of the sculpture. He saw it long ago when he first stopped by the display and was awestruck by the hidden meaning that was embedded within its beauty. This figure was alone in life, crying out for a companion to share the heavy burden that rested on its curled fingertips. The heavy cloak and hood concealed its pain and identity, showing the world only a riddle that was seemingly without an answer.
A part of him cried out for Kari as he saw it and another part of him wanted to slap himself stupid for even comparing her to this desolate and grim angel. The sculpture, beautiful and magnificent in its entirety was marred by the sad, sorrowful life it led outside of public. And, for the world of him, Takeru could not make himself stop thinking that the artist who created the porcelain angel had chosen Kari to model it after. Despite what so many saw in the vibrant eyes and outgoing nature of Hikari Kamiya, few would ever know the fragile and delicate person behind the vivid delusion.
They shared secrets, spoken with such a frankness between themselves that the two never even noticed how easily they had bared their souls to each other. Their conversations were indeed of the hush-hush, confidential, does-not-escape-the-room nature, that of which even happily married couples would never reveal to each other. He knew of her deepest fears and longest-forgotten failures, so many weaknesses that he was surprised she could even think about fronting a carefree personality.
She would never know, he realized grimly to himself, why he would give her the world on a silver platter. She was not nearly as strong as she tried to be, not nearly as strong as others wrongly perceived her to be. So delicate, his porcelain angel. He wanted her to stop pretending, to toss her stoic image when he was around her.
He stared into the hollow crevice where the angel's face would've been, looking and waiting for something to recognize from the darkness of it all. Who are you? he wanted to ask, fraught for the answer that he wanted to hear. Kari? Why do you remind me of her? It remained its silent vigil, nonexistent eyes boring into Takeru with the knowledge that it knew something he so desperately wanted. So desperately needed.
And the winds continued their torment, swirling about the streets whispering with their lifeless, distant wails. The leaves continued their solitary flight, flittering about the current until one of them became brave enough to graze the shoulder of Takeru. Even then he stood still, his mind racing, drawing out conclusions and possibilities that he discarded with a mere blink. And when the ten minutes were over he could still be seen, braving the autumn chill alone, eyes still searching for the vague familiarities between his porcelain angels.
Hikari stared blankly at the textbook on her lap and then glared severely at her best friend, perched and nestled snuggly on the large sill of her bay windows. Her eyes softened at the sight and for a brief minute she forgot that she was annoyed because he was supposed to be helping her out and not reading the frightfully thick book he was immersed in. She watched him in silence, knowing that if he ever lifted those heart-breaking azure orbs from his reading, she would die of embarrassment. Takeru looked comfortable, she thought, not caring to notice that a year ago she would've puked the very thoughts down the toilet. It was those very same little murmurs in her mind that she could no longer go a day without, secret whispers that noted the slightest things he did. It was almost subconscious now and Hikari never gave it much thought anymore.
He shifted slightly as the pages turned and she noticed that his eyes had still not lifted, had not even blinked for the past minute-and-a-half for that matter. The sapphire twins flew down the pages, comprehending at such a rate that Hikari could not understand how his mind processed it so quickly. And then he blinked, letting the all too familiar pain from not resting his eyes overcome him. When she saw the watery depths again, the tides had turned towards her and Hikari could not look away.
"Still don't get it, Hika?" he said tremulously, for his voice had not been used since he started the book in front of him.
"No," she responded softly, tearing reluctantly away from his gaze and back onto her book, "I've read it three times, TK. All I've gotten is that he's an artist who lost his sight and is afraid he'll never see his family and friends again. It's pretty straight-forward, 'keru, the poem's barely two pages long."
"What about the woman?"
"I gather she's a love interest, undying faith and all that," Kari said, dismissing it with a wave of her hand.
He chuckled at the simplicity of her words. She was always the practical one, straight to the point with the whimsical bluntness that he so cherished. TK put down his heavy volume and looked out of the window. It had become dark fairly quickly, he realized, noting some nearby, lurching power lines that still signified the assault of Mother Nature outside. He continued to look outside as the weather shifted sporadically.
"She is his sight," TK spoke up after a while, "and it is her that he is afraid of losing. His eyes are beyond damaged and he already knows that he will never see again. I guess because of it he's scared that she will eventually realize the futility in loving a blind man. She, on the other hand, is afraid that with no vision he will forget about her, forget about them, forget what they looked like together and when that time comes she is afraid that he would've truly lost his sight. Ironically enough, the memories of them are the only thing he will ever see anymore…Textbook happy ending I guess you would say."
He glanced back and saw that she sat in silence, managing in all her stupefied glory to madly scribble down notes even as her eyes never left his. Takeru did this often, he was almost sure of it, he realized as he looked into her never-ending circles of brown eternity. He wasn't afraid of it anymore and it did not trouble him that he could look at her the way he did, knowing that no other woman would ever be able to see it from him again. She was blushing, red to the very core but still her gaze locked with his and Takeru had to smile at her stubbornness.
"There's more to it, of course. If you want to get in depth about it, the poet might've wanted his readers to think about an arrogant person, humbled by an accident that robbed him of his confidence and security. And that by loving this woman he has unconsciously told her that he desperately needed her, probably more so than she needed him. Stanza seven sort of hints at what she has ultimately become to him: all the shattered support and self-assurance that he lost. She was his sight and for all his blindness, she was the only thing he saw clearer than the blackness."
He shrugged indifferently, returning to his book. "That was a hard one to get, seeing as how the poem was really too short. But the symbolism's there if you care to look, I guess."
Hikari smiled wispily, something she found herself doing too much in his company. "Listen to you, turning into a poet right before my eyes. What happened to my 'keru, the one with the killer crossovers and game winning treys?"
She dropped the book, no longer interested in the works of a century old corpse, and walked over to the sill. She nuzzled in beside him, knowing that he would hold her close but disappointed because it was no more than a friendly gesture to him now. She had waited too long and it saddened her greatly to know that theirs was a bond that could go no further.
Hikari breathed in his scent, eyes closed as she recalled his cologne. "I remember a time when you tossed paper airplanes at the teacher while he tried to teach on the board. And now? You're breaking down the poet's mind like you were Sigmund Freud."
He turned and chuckled softly into her hair, sending wonderful chills through her as the laughter crept into her ears. She didn't want it to stop.
"Your 'keru? I'm still here, except now I can break ankles and teach about Tolstoy while I'm at it. And for you I'll still throw paper airplanes, they'll have my term paper about Steinbeck in them but I'll still throw them if you want."
They laughed uneasily, for with the little talk dispensed all they could do now was wonder about the lack of space in between them. For the most part, Takeru decided that he was glad Hikari could not hear his heartbeat, finding it surprising that the rapid pace hadn't awoken the dead with its noise. The blur in front of him, which he once recognized as the words of some plot or another, had long since run into each other and TK found that he could no longer see them. His hands were sweaty and the room became stuffier as his composure threatened to leave him. And Takeru thought blissfully: this must be love at its finest.
She felt herself relax, her body going into a quasi-limp as Takeru's arm supported her. Her eyelids drooped for the sleep that was becoming imminent. His breathing, rhythmic, controlled, was all she heard and Hikari eventually found herself submitting to the tranquil moment. And before she knew what happened, her arm had draped itself around his neck and her lips trembled as she spoke to him.
"What are we, Takeru?"
He sat anxiously, fearing the next words that he was sure could make or break what they had built together. His callous hand left the book and made its way to her chin, lifting the delightfully soft skin so he could see her eyes. They were half-closed but he found himself at wonderment to her shimmering puddles. He read them as in-depth as his current stupor could let him, finding the mutual fear in her orbs and noticing all too suddenly that he was not afraid anymore of what the soft ones would say to him next. TK took a shuddering breath and let the common sense within him go flying into the turbulent storms outside.
"What do you want us to be?"
Hikari had her opening and even through the sleepy haze she knew what he had just offered to her. She sat up and pulled him closer, so confident now that she did not know if it was containable for much longer. What she did know was that she couldn't look into his eyes, because her resolve would break too quickly and the next sentence that she wanted to tell him would be lost to tears.
"I don't want us to be friends anymore."
She dared to risk his cobalt vision then and it took all she had to keep from collapsing. For the sake of them both, Takeru pulled her closer until the distance between their lips was almost negligent.
"Neither do I."
And the whisper, so low and final, spoken with the equivalence of a butterfly kiss, was her signal. The tears she thought were so close did not come and when their lips touched Hikari knew that he was hers just as she was his. She kissed him with a passion that she had been unwilling to show for so long, channeling all the years of sleepless nights and frustrated tears into the single moment. Hikari melted into him and the two became closer in that span of a few seconds than could ever be achieved for the many years that they had known each other.
That night Takeru had never slept better, for the knowledge that she was in his arms comforted him like nothing else. She huddled close to him and he held her with everything that he was worth, sacrificing all the warmth that he possessed. The winds bayed outside and TK stared with no particular interest as stray leaves rasped over the windows. When the commotion died down and there were no more distractions he looked away, burying himself into the silken hair of his porcelain angel.
Takeru dropped by the Kamiyas' a couple of days later, remembering several assignments that could be getting him "A's" instead of collecting dust on Kari's desk. After greeting Taichi, all 5'10", 185 pounds of muscle bound, protective brother though he was, TK found himself inching towards Kari's room - carefully avoiding quick movements as the predator watched on. There was no doubt in his mind that TK could've taken Tai, perhaps with a gun or some sort of bazooka but being short weapons of mass destruction, Takeru decided that he was better off without risking the rapture of Taichi. Several agonizing minutes later, cold-sweating all the way as he had watched the terrifying image of Taichi Kamiya and a Louisville Slugger bat in his hands, Takeru knocked on her door.
Hikari welcomed him in a moment later, pulling him in with her lips rather than anything else and TK was faintly aware of the irony at the two Kamiya's receptions. Of course, for the brief moment that he was connected to Kari in almost every possible way, few things passed through his mind except for the girl before him. She pulled away some time later, brown eyes hazy and with a blush on her that could've set Little Debbie to shame.
"Did you forget something again, Takeru?" she asked, slipping her hand into his.
There was an amusing sort of silence as the man-child remembered that his lips had other purposes than to keep Hikari from going red.
"Uh, yeah," he drawled out slowly, stalling as the left side of his brain searched for words, "Oh, I left my notes on your desk the other day. There it is…"
His speech left him again as he saw his papers, laying scattered and wrinkled underneath the impromptu paper weight above it. He blinked in surprise as he saw the porcelain angel, stunned as if it were an old friend long forgotten and then freshly united. Takeru stared at it and realized that despite the fact that it sat on worn and tearing paper, it had not lost a shred of its silent dignity and obscurity.
"You like it, TK?" a gentle voice interrupted his musing, "I saw it the one day while walking over to your place. It reminded me of you for the strangest reason."
"It's…beautiful," he replied at length.
"Remember how you once told me that the symbolism was there if only you cared to look for it? Well, I looked…and I saw you."
He chuckled as her statement struck home. If you only knew, Hikari.
"What's so funny?"
"Just thinking about the irony," he answered, noticing her confusion, "More symbolism, sweetheart."
She shrugged it off, clearly not interested in venturing off into an area where Takeru actually had an advantage over her.
"You'll never guess the artist, 'keru," Hikari challenged smugly.
He turned his attention towards the figurine again as he searched for an answer. And for a moment the thought crossed his mind that he still couldn't figure out if the angel was a man or a woman. It was strange really, that such a reflection could strike him out of nowhere at all. The blank face of the porcelain statuette watched him, almost daring him to guess. Are you truly sexless? Or are you…
Hikari stared at him in stunned silence. "Takeru Takaishi, I don't even know who you are anymore. What next? Tomorrow's lottery numbers?"
The corners of his mouth turned upwards to that Devil-may-care smirk that Hikari and half of the Odaiba female population found utterly heart-stopping. He pulled her to him, every thought of the angel forgotten and replaced only with the aforementioned purpose to make Hikari blush wildly. She ran her fingers along his jaw line, tracing the days-old stubble as she pulled him closer still. It was sharp she noted but tucked it into the depths of her mind as his lips became the only thing she knew. And the porcelain angel watched, holding its silent vigil yet again whilst the two lovers became one.