I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move. (Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Tohru slowly skipped the stairs as she looked over the faces of the Sohmas, there is that strangeness in their faces, and at most, they hold themselves to a certain hunger. She particularly looked at that portrait of one of the family members which he took a masque as an ancient god. She somehow makes fantasies what he would be, in that guise of time.
However, the smell of fried mutton nearly tempted her, which she glanced at the sidelines on Kyo gazing to the celling of the triumphs of Gods and Goddesses in unison. He nearly gave a satirical chuckle. She shivered slightly at his ramrod gaze. She swallowed quietly at that thought. “Ohhh good morning.”
He did not reply much. In contrary, she saw Yuki descending down the stairs, and as usual, he seems composed in his actions. “Good morning Miss Honda…” his hands somehow curled to the maps of the countries. “Should we move on with breakfast….” it seems like a deep contrast from Kyo’s sullenness.
Meanwhile, Shigure came down the stairs lazily, his face seems flushed as his hand gripped to the papers of the work “Oh good morning miss Honda.”
Soon she saw a ginger-haired girl, wearing a simple eggplant dress and patent leather shoes “Good morning Lady Kisa.” She did not reply as she was rendered silent, her eyes gazing over a small modelli of Rinaldo walking over the enchanted gardens of an enchanted sorceress.
Shigure somehow squeezed Kyo’s shoulder. “Come, do not sulk, we should have breakfast together…” Kyo mumbled quietly “There is no need…” as his hands reached out for the nearest book. “I bet Yuki will say that I am a failure for the family, even more, when I laid there…“ He only gave the company goodbye. "Do not let this affect you, Miss Honda. Kyo is always upset…I just cannot get through his head since he charged in front of the house…"Shigure nearly glanced at Kyo storming out of the corridors “So be it, Yuki, I wonder what did they prepare this I hope it is devilled kidneys…”
During the breakfast brought by the servants, Tohru grew uneasy than before, she heard about the plight of the soldiers of that war, and the horrendous conditions that they lived, but she has never seen someone who has been shaken by the war by Kyo. For that moment he seems to be like a caged tiger, waiting to lash at anyone. She somehow traced her fork against the French omelette, thinking what is that side which he is afraid of.
“Tohru…your tea seems cold…”
Tohru blinked her eyes slightly, as she gazed at a young maid trying to fill up the pots with hot water to keep the ham warm.
“Sorry…I have something in mind…”
“Yes…I just need some fresh air Shigure…” Tohru mumbled slightly, as she gazed at Shigure smiling quietly as he enjoyed his favourite dish of devilled kidneys. “…I feel that my digestion is…”
“You are excused…” Shigure simpered quietly. “Just do not take too long…”
“…Thank you, Shigure….“
Tohru curtsey Shigure quietly. Somehow Tohru could breathe easy as she left the dining room, leaving the door ajar as Yuki showed Shigure his plans of expansion, which he observed her trying to hold back the tears in her eyes.
He somehow knew that Tohru is going to their family gardens to look for him.
“It seems that Miss Honda is off, should I bring her to the…”
Shigure held his hand slightly to Yuki “There is no need, a woman must figure her own path, well about Singapore, how it is like. Heard from friends that is balmy.”
Tohru quietly searched over that young man in the gardens, which the gardeners barely recognise that stranger. And soon she found Kyo, he was different from the meeting in the courts. He seems settled with a simple shirt and breeches. He seems to be sheltered with the shade of the leaves. A scene of tranquillity and at most she could hear him speak.
"For heaven’s sake, let us sit upon the ground. And tell sad stories of the death of kings,. How some have been deposed, some slain in war.”
There is a slight tremble in his voice, as Kyo focused himself to be that illicit king, a mulberry flower slowly landed on his shoulder.
"Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed….”
“Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed, All murdered. For within the hollow crown…” And finally, he stood up to himself, watching the sun rays bathing in the lands “…That rounds the mortal temples of a king.” She was moved by those words, perhaps he has to wrestle with his demons, alone, and yet frightened. At that moment, Tohru nearly tripped her skirts and found herself falling down on the patch, causing a thud.
Kyo glanced at her slightly, and soon Tohru ran off from that hedge. And Kyo scratched his head slightly, only resigned himself to follow along with the speech again.
Quietly Tohru assembled herself a small palette of watercolours and papers when she noticed Kyo sitting down quietly amidst the nestled mulberry leaves, with his hands trembled from reading a poem from Shakespeare. He somehow possessed a quiet spirit which is much different from his more violent nature. She could not tell the trembling of his hands, as he flipped through every page. Amidst the soft light, she could see the pricks around his hand, swallowing lyrical wisdom of characters that came back and forth in mind. Shigure seems to walk by with ease, as he leans by the wall "Ahhh, as usual like Keats, in deep melancholy, he tried to be awake from the biting reality, and yet he is not…”
“Why do you said that…”
‘I know faces like him, who came back from uncharted lands… And this war, though as a way to gain lands, are executed rather poorly.“ Shigure closed his eyes slightly "They are once boys, now they become the hollow men of the world…” Tohru paused slightly, maybe that is why, at times, he could hear him scream at times, as he was forced to be awakened by the demons that encapsulated his mind. Somehow Shigure helped himself to take a piece of bread, and quietly chomped it “I somehow pitied him, I know that Yuki could have been in the same position as him, fighting against those power hungry Russians.
"Lack of clean water, cold winters which you have a blanket to wrap your hungry body, and the usual diseases, cholera, and if you are wounded. Your arm or leg could be chopped off, though in an untactful manner. ”
Quietly Shigure looked over the framed pictures of the relatives who have passed on. “Yuki has shown promise on expanding our business, that itself, a big ticket to escape the clutches of war.” He took a deep breath, as he glanced at one standing proudly in military uniform “And of course we have to give a scapegoat to the persons in charge, and you probably know who…” Tohru could easily fill in the blanks in her mind. She made a slight frown, as she watched him more growing agitated at dinners which Yuki shared his dreams with the older members of the family. Maybe that is why he has a sinking feeling in his heart. “Oh…” Shigure smiled quietly, watching the clock tick by. “I suppose you should be making your way to the drawing room. A certain little lady is waiting for you…”
Somehow Tohru’s eyes widened slightly, as she quickly grabbed the papers and paints “Uhmmm..uhmmm…I am sorry if I took your time Master Shigure!, I should have to keep track! I am sorry! I am sorry!” And before long, Shigure gave a small smile. He thought to himself, there is no way that a kind person like Tohru could break through Kyo’s defences.
Shigure quietly slipped himself another piece of bread left on the plate, and slick some butter on top. “You know after, that walk by the garden, I notice that Kyo came back to eat, but always in silence…” His voice seems to be grave about this matter. “I think you must have an effect on him…”
“I have never seen him smile since he came back to the house. It seems that not all hope is lost.”
Meanwhile, Tohru curtseyed to the small lady, clutching her skirts slightly “How are you doing Lady Kisa.” She, of course, rendered silent as she looked over the window, and seeing the oak trees swayed in the breeze. Quietly she set up the easel, alongside with the papers and paints. Toru quietly gripped her hand “Come…let’s paint this landscape which you can see from this window…”
Tohru took the lead and started to sketch out the trees and the sunlight bathing in the leaves. Subconsciously she started to sketch a small figure hidden amidst the trees. Kisa hesitantly took up the brushes and started to paint the landscape with her own paper. She somehow cracked a small smile, as she glazed over the leaves. Toru grinned quietly “Well that seems lovely…”
However, Tohru was left with that lingering thought in her mind. What seems to go on with his mind. She wished to be at his side. He seems to be a kind man who dived himself to the crevices of poetry to quell the demons in his mind. Suddenly she heard a quiet mummer from Kisa “Lady Tohru…” Tohru looked at her quietly “…you must be worried about Master Kyo…”
How did a child know?
Tohru looked over at Kisa’s piece, her brushstrokes convey a delicacy, as if spring has come to the dull rooms. She yearned to be closer to him. Maybe what Shigure said is true, there are demons which she could not resolve for him. He has started his match He could smell the gunpowder amidst the mulberry trees, the roasted meats which she ate at nights, haunted his mind, and even the merriment of Shigure discussing the recent developments of his new bunch of friends made him all sullen. Even at nights, he would do nothing but to sit by the porch, and watch the moon glaze by, maybe it was comforting from the cramped tents, only lit by gaslight.
Tohru clutched her skirts slightly, there is got to be a side which he is afraid to show. Kiss tried to cheer her up, by showing off the new piece. “Miss…” Tohru looked at her quietly “I think master Kyo will one day, will see you as you are.”
Tohru found her eyes welled up in tears and soon held her by the shoulders, and before long she heard him speak. It was different from the jealous tones, he seems to show his vulnerability in these trees, and maybe that is what strikes her to paint him hidden. A man lost in the forest, never able to return home.
Kisa broke out her miasma as she clutched her hand. “I am sure, I have been thinking of Master Hiro, I wonder..I wonder what would he think of me..“
Tohru smiles quietly as she wiped a tear from her eye. She, will one day reach her hand to him. She knew someday will be the sweetest day ever.
“I do not know, but we will figure it out…” Tohru thought of something else to keep Kisa busy. Maybe she could brush up some French.
“Now the works are dry..maybe some light French conversation…” That thought of reaching out to him will come by someday, as she took that dusty book out from the shelf. Kisa nodded quietly "Allons-nous commencer?”
A/N: Thank you all who have read that ficlet! I hope I do justice to this era, given I did that all in a week (With a busy schedule and all). You may wonder why I chose that war, as it seems appropriate in this time and learning the conditions where the soldiers live seems rather horrid (along with its bad military planning which is amazing). Interestingly, as I did the research there are mentions of PTSD in the armies in the Crimean War but it was kept in secrecy (thank goodness for modern medicine). I kinda approach Kyo and Tohru's relationship to be like John Keats and Fanny Brawe (Watch Bright Star and you know what I mean!), so I took the natural elements as a metaphor to their perspectives (Yes the second meaning of the word blossom) to see where they meet.
And also, if you are wondering what is he reading, and I chose Richard II (Yes I am being biased as I am obsessed over this play) so I am thinking of this blessed isle or the hollow crown speech and thought the other is a better fit for Kyou's character as he has his demons to settle.
Per usual, feel free to comment or give me feedback on this story :)