My Way

I always used to trust in my friends.

Maybe I should have reconsidered.

Except that I believe it, too—what they said, I mean. I used to believe it, and it would have been the advice I would give if they had asked me.

Oh, but let me explain.

I used to be madly in love with a certain man who went by the name of Ryu.

Whenever one person loves another, a friend will undeniably advise this person to tell their love of their feelings. Normally, I would say the same. It is good advice, after all.

I never realized quite how hard it was to follow until I had to try it, but I would have said it was good advice.

My times with him—Ryu, of course—were stressed ones. I was on higher alert than I might have been, tense and on edge, all the time. It was only a matter of time, I guess, before Yuki noticed.

Being Yuki, he asked me the cause of such anxiousness, and, being Kyr, I told him.

His reaction I should have expected, and some small part of me, the part that managed to stay sane, did, and was not surprised. He was startled at first, then perplexed, then accepting. It was his way, and I was grateful.

His first question I should have expected, also: have you told him.

No, I replied, of course I haven't told him. I don't want to be the cause of some distraction during a fight that may cost him his life. I don't want to be the cause of any confusion or inner pain of his. Yuki told me I was being ridiculous.

I began to explain my reasons again and he stopped me.

"No," he said, "you need to tell him. I don't want him distracted by anything during a match, but I don't think that will happen, and I know this is distracting you. That's not good, either."

I tried to press on, slowly coming to realize how awkward and difficult it would be for me to actually confront the youkai of my desires with my emotions, but Yuki would hear nothing of it.

He told me he would see to it that I told Ryu of my emotions, or I would be locked in my room and unable to come on any more missions.

So, feeling like a child with the threat of some benign punishment looming over my head, I did the only thing I could.

I told him.

Not outright. Of course, it needed to be eloquent and heartfelt, because I am Kyr, and it is my way.

"Ryu," I began softly, my throat pained slightly and my voice a hint raspy, "have you ever been in love?"

He told me that yes, he had been in love once, but things hadn't worked out, and he had been forced—and not all together unwilling—to kill the girl in a brutal fashion. He had quickly realized that it had not really been love at all, but lust, because she was pretty and made of curves and would be easily manipulated.

This should have deterred me, and as I recount the tale to you now, I do not know why it didn't.

"Would you ever consider being in love for real?" I asked him, and it was a stupid question.

He snorted and scoffed his answer, "No," mentioning how it would be a burden and distract him from his kendo. I nodded slightly as if agreeing with him.

I then questioned, in a halfhearted and passive way, what he would do if someone were to fall in love with him. He glared at me and muttered about my asking such cruel and heartless questions, for no one could ever fall in love with the Forbidden.

I smiled forlornly then, resting my hand on his and nudging myself a bit closer.

"Ah," I said softly, "but I do."

My first mistake, and ironically, my last.

He turned his fire eyes on me, glaring bitterly, and I was too lost in their beauty to notice the roiling hatred. He snapped his hand back and stood stiffly, flickering away.

"I pity you."

I pity me, too.

I haven't seen him since.

So I should be pitying him, or at least empathizing. But I am selfish this way, and I feel only for myself. I sometimes think where he might be. Our sentences long expired at that ridiculous probation (something no one really follows, anyway) and the pair of us remaining with Yuki purely out of trust and promises, I knew it was only a matter of time before he left. I suppose I just never thought it would be because of me.

I certainly never thought it would be because of love.

I guess I'm just delirious. I like to think that love overcomes all bounds.

It is my way.

My foolish, idiotic, delusional way.

My foolish way that used to trust my friends.

I don't do that anymore.

My idiotic way that used to believe love was always accepted.

I don't believe that anymore.

My delusional way that used to know he would love me back.

I don't know anything anymore.

Love overcomes all bounds in storybooks and fairly tales, not real life. Unicorns aren't real and elves don't giggle in piercingly high tones as they dart around the North Pole.

But princesses with long, pretty dresses are real, and princes woo them with pathetic songs and drab poetry, and when story books are half true, it becomes a game to tell what we believe and what we do not. And I, of course, believe only what is real.

Arrogance follows me often, for I am the mighty Kyr.

I wonder, in that arrogant way, if my life will be happy a story book, a smiling fairy tale, and my prince—my Ryu, who truly is a prince, if I am not a princess—will return to me and ask for my forgiveness because he was a stupid child.

I wonder if he will ever come back to see me, or any of us. His sister is living at our friend's temple, perhaps he would come back one day to see her and she would tell us all of his return. Perhaps he would come to see if Yuki was still ranking among the top swordsmen of the country, or if his retirement from the local kendo team had softened him up too much. Perhaps he would return to make certain Shin wasn't crowding his sister, and to take one last jab at the poor man.

Or perhaps he would come to see if I still loved him.

If I would be willing to take him as my own after such a rude departure.

Maybe.

Or so I sometimes hope.

I am delusional, and I like to pretend.

It is my way.