Some of you might recognize these two from my story "Street Angel". If you haven't read it, don't worry: this will still make just as much sense. This is dedicated to Ilze09, one of my favorite writers and the sweetest person ever. Read his stories… you will not be disappointed.
"I have plans for the future," he tells me, his eyes trained on the distant stars. And I can't help but wonder… why does one make plans in the first place? Why is he making plans? I thought we were completely perfect this way, spontaneous and free, completely unplanned. I am nothing but a college student, and he is still barely in high school. For the first time in my life, I know what it is not to plan every detail… I know what it is to feel free.
When I was younger, my parents tried to push me into attending medical school, tried to push their ideals onto me. But after meeting him, I switched my major to History of Literature. I'm working toward becoming a teacher, all because of him. And I finally wear my hair down and leave my tie at home, all because of him. And now, what is this sudden mention of the future? It scares me, for some reason. It could be the sake in my system, or it could be the cold rigidity of the night air. But it scares me, and I don't know what to say.
"Are you okay, Kuro?" he asks me, his shocking blue eyes peeking out from under a lock of blue-black hair, escaping from his high ponytail. It doesn't phase me anymore how he almost always fails to remember to use honorifics… it has been nearly a year since he came here from France, nearly a year since our destinies became entwined the way they have. I am used to his eccentricities.
"I'm fine," I try not to appear affected, as it would be suicidal to my pride. That damn pride of mine… it ruins everything. It makes me appear shallow and arrogant when I have none of either of these qualities in my body. But I know that Kureno is capable of seeing past that façade of pride and to the real me within… something both scary and comforting. He has stopped walking now and is staring at me, his head slightly cocked as he waits for me to speak. He looks prettier than I will admit in his pale blue kimono, his hair done up with a matching ribbon. He smells faintly of incense and he blossoms from the festival we attended earlier. I allow these things to fill my conscious rather than thoughts of the things I should be saying.
"Kuro… what's wrong?" he looks concerned now, and I curse internally, knowing that I have failed escaping his further questions. He is far more nimble-minded than others assume, despite his still-there accent and the fact that he routinely butchers the Japanese language in conversation: he is still learning.
"It's nothing," I say a little more harshly than I mean to, narrowing my gray-purple eyes at him. "Just drop it."
He doesn't look wounded as I would expect, proof that he is growing up much faster than I. He flicks those stunning blue eyes to the heavens, still fixed on the stars. He is a bit drunk, too, I know, and I can see it in the slight sway of his body as he stands still, transfixed by the distant beauty of the cold pinpricks of light. "We need to stop by a temple," he says, slightly serious," It's New Year's, after all."
I know Kureno loves celebrating New Year's… he even goes to great pains to celebrate the Chinese one. He was born in the year of the rat, and uses it to gauge is compatibility with others. I happen to be born in the year of the snake, but he refuses to tell me whether or not we are compatible, and I don't bother to check. Astrology holds no interest for me. But whether it comes to astrology or temples, I enjoy humoring him, and so I nod. "Of course, we should probably head there now," I am tired, and I want nothing more after the noise and bustle of the festival to go home, change into my normal clothes, and fall asleep on the couch with him lying unceremoniously on my chest. But I suppose one stop at a temple won't hurt.
"Alright!" Kureno looks excited, and beams at me. I can feel that familiar tug in my chest, and I sigh. His effect on me is far too strong for my comfort, and I don't want to admit how deep into this I'm getting. He grabs my hands and begins to pull me forward lightly, and I can't help but smile.
My own kimono is a gaudy orange affair that Taishuku picked out, and I know I look ridiculous. But with Kureno, somehow this doesn't matter. All that really matters is his presence. His presence is strong, like being in a room filled with vibrant colors. He is the kindest, most vivacious person I have ever encountered, and for a moment it saddens me to realize that I do not deserve him. I am weak, far too serious… and sometimes unkind. There is nothing in me that is good enough for him.
"Come on," Kureno has stopped at the foot of the temple closest to my apartment, and now he is looking at me. "You can't pretend nothing is wrong anymore, because now it's obvious. Come on, Kuro…" his voice is somewhere between coaxing and begging, and I don't want to shed my dignity and actually tell him what is going through my head, so I shake it instead.
"No…" a simple answer coming from a simple man, as though I have nothing to hide.
"Kuro…" his voice is a bit more forceful than normal, and his hands are on his hips. "You need to tell me what's bothering you. Vous ne pouvez pas garder ces choses de moi!" as usual with his rush of emotion comes a rush of his native French, and a couple passing us looks at him as though he is speaking in tongues. I wonder if they expect his head to start spinning.
"I said it's nothing!" I snap, and he does look wounded this time by all the coldness I push into it. I just want him to leave me alone, and suddenly the peace and beauty of the night is ruined by my hard feelings. "So just leave me alone, alright?"
He doesn't turn away as I would have, instead stepping toward me and taking my arm with a tenderness that I don't really deserve. Glittering blue eyes find my evasive ones until he has them pinned, locking our souls. "Stop this! I just want to know what's bothering you… just stop… please tell me," he places a small delicate hand on my chest, and it is warmth against the bitterness of the night. He strokes at my chest through the kimono's smooth fabric and smiles sweetly. One of his hands strokes across my black hair and then joins the other on my chest as he smiles up at me. I can feel the sparkles emanate from his fingertips, and for once I don't scold him for using his powers on me. Instantly, his emotional healing abilities rush through me, dissipating the unpleasant feelings I have created for myself tonight.
"Now tell me," he says softly, his eyes searching mine in a way that I can't find uncomfortable. "What's wrong? I feel like I said something to make you unhappy…"
"Nothing is wrong. I just wanted to ask…" I take several deep breaths and swallow my pride. "If your plans for the future… involve me at all."
Kureno looks surprised, but then smiles slightly. "En effet, mon cher… of course they do. Did you worry I was going to leave you behind?"
I nod slightly, wounding my pride but healing the wounds that my silence have created tonight. "I suppose…"
"I would never leave you behind. Kuro, there are stars up there…" he points to the dark night sky above us, "And they're so far away, they seem so distant. But when they become shooting stars, do you really think they'll forget the night sky?" he gives me a slightly cryptic smile. "Of course my future plans involve you. You're my night sky, Kuro."
Behind us, I can hear the temple-goers counting down to 1999, and I can't keep the stupid, unflattering smile from my face as I stare into his eyes, aware that I might break down right now from the depths of his words, his candor and absolute sincerity. I can't believe that such deep things can come from the mouth of a fifteen-year-old boy, and I realize just how much I have to learn about him still. But that's what makes it exciting, I suppose.
As the numbers the temple-goers shout grow smaller, Kureno leans up on his tiptoes and presses his lips to mine, soft and sweet. The warmth of his mouth soothes me, and I reach out to wrap him in my arms. I bend down so he no longer has to stretch and I kiss him happily, pouring the last of my doubt into the kiss. Kureno's warm lips suspend me in that perfect moment, and I swear I can see stars even with my eyes closed.
"3...2...1...HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Starting a new year locked in a kiss with someone I care for is a new but pleasant experience, and I can't help the tingle of butterflies in my stomach. Kureno pulls away and smiles at me, taking my hand gently. I let him pull me into an impossibly close hug, and he rests his cheek against my chest, breathing a soft sigh of contentment.
"I love you, Kuro," he whispers, and suddenly the world is completely different, altered unchangeably by the first mention of those little words. The light from the fireworks above the temple shines on his face and hair, casting him in a multicolored glow as I stare down at him. I want to return the sentiment because I truly do love him and I am experiencing a sensation that makes me worry my heart is going to burst. I stammer slightly, and he reaches up to place a finger on my lips. "I know," he assures me gently, and I smile.
I know Taishuku will find out about this somehow and gush at us melodramatically about the beautiful flower of our love. I know tomorrow I will most likely have a headache from drinking too much sake and I won't be able to bring myself to go to class. I know there are a million things I should be thinking, but all I can focus on is his soft hand in mine as he leads me home. We pass a bonfire, and Kureno stops for a moment, asking me softly if there are any regrets I want to write down on paper and toss into it. It is one of his favorite traditions, and as much as I would like to humor him once more, I can't.
"I don't regret anything," I tell him fiercely, burying my face in his hair. He gives a tiny squeak and holds me tight, so that I wonder if I'll begin to melt into him. And I am aware of how completely perfect he is capable of making everything around me. I make a silent resolution to never take him for granted again.
"Me either," he tells me with a slight smile as we turn to move on down the sidewalk. And hand in hand we leave behind the bright blaze of the fire and head onward onto the gleaming horizon of our future. And I know that if we are ever to grow apart, if our futures are ever to lead in separate directions, I will never forget him, and I will always be able to be reminded of the wonderful feeling that fills me whenever I look at him.
After all, there are always stars up there.
You know you're all that I live for
You know I'd die just to hold you, stay with you
Somehow I'll show you that you are my night sky