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Lessons of Flowers

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The water’s push and pull of the tides caressed his ankles. The air was even silent of all things except the waves but when he looked up all he saw was the moon. She was so close he felt he could raise his hand and touch it. So up- up he reached, even feeling the cool wisps of thin clouds over his finger tips. The feeling drew a bubbling giggle from him. It seemed like the clouds were a hand with thin fingers weaving through his. It was strange the way love swelled in his chest. Then, just when he thought he would also feel the fine space dust and dip of craters a gasp echoed behind him. 


He turned and saw a girl standing in the water. She was so far away that he couldn’t see her face but her sky was beautiful. It was such a clear blue with large fluffy clouds. It framed her in such a way with her long white hair and sea blue dress carried by a wind he couldn’t feel that it looked like a picture. A picture he couldn’t quite recall but a picture nonetheless. He could see her lifting her hands to her mouth then an unintelligible shout. 


He knew she was asking his name and the moon seemed to press down on him while the constellations watched impassive. He couldn’t remember his name. Was it truly such an important thing to recall?


He stepped closer to her with the splashing echoing loudly in his ears and stood in front of an ice wall. The frost smoke rolling over the water at his feet and over his arm when he reached out. Over the wall he saw a twilight sky but it wasn’t twilight. The night sky and a crisp blue swirled and flirted with the edges of their boundaries but never intermingled. The blue pressed forward, trying to pull evening into it’s dance but the dark sky glow contorted and pulled from the embrace. His eyes were drawn from the show to the wall where next to his own hand on the smooth surface was the silhouette of a smaller, almost dainty hand. He knew the hand wasn’t dainty at all when the girl's muffled yells fought the wall. 


He could see that hand, loved by the sun and holding a gardening tool as a weapon. He could even see the hand wrapping firmly around his wrist, calluses pressing into his skin. But he couldn't remember her name either. She hadn’t stopped yelling and he felt her tears ripple and the way she stomped the water at her feet from frustration.


“I’m okay,” he whispered and her screams stopped. Tears still falling, the hand slid down the wall as her knees dipped into the water. His moon, the thought came to him unbidden. Her wave laugh and voice soft as a stream seems like something burned into his mind, a branded carving to his heart. He felt he knew her even without remembering her. “Do you know who I am?”


The wall cracked and a tearful red-brown eye stared at him. Her lips parted, words starting to form and he sat up. 

Amane looked around the small room with bleary eyes. He didn’t know why he was awake with his palms sweaty and back damp. A dream? Steady his breathing, he knew. As he did he took another glance around his bedroom. The dark walls decorated with cheap glowing stars carefully arranged to mimic his favorite constellations was casting a strange aura over his soccer trophies. Even the thin glow of the slow rising sun peaking through the pulled curtains on the far wall seemed somehow ominous. 


His heart started pounding again just when arms tightened around his waist, dragging him back down to his bed. Looking into his own face with anger he sneered. “Do you have to sneak into my bed every night ?”


Mirror golden brown eyes were barely open in the early hours, a haze settled into them that made them seem darker then they truly were. “But Amane,” the reedy whine made his temples ache, “your bed is so much more comfy than mine!”


“Tsukasa,” he bit through grit teeth and admirable patience, “we have the same bed!”


Tsukasa only grinned, becoming more away by the second, and tightened his hold. “But my bed doesn’t have a big brother that has nightmares or kicks me in the stomach.”


He could only scowl at the dimples as he grumbled. “More reason not to sneak into my room like we’re three years old.”


As he spoke, the younger’s face fell serious in the grim room. “Do you want to talk about it?”


He sighed. Yes, he needed to. So he reached for the threads of the dream. When one finally filled his grasp he blurted the first thing that came to mind. “Daikon.”


“Daikon?” The bafflement in his voice made Amane laugh.


“Yeah, I know it’s weird but it’s all I remember. Something about losing a daikon- like it was dying or something. I was so terrified that… I don’t know- like I watched something important to me was hurt and I couldn’t reach it…”


Tsukasa hummed as he burrowed into his brother’s chest. “Maybe you should talk to Mom about it. She knows a lot about dreams and stuff.”


“Maybe,” he hummed. He held his brother close as he thought, savoring his warmth. “I just don’t want her assuming every bad dream is a spirit, you know?”


He felt him nod. “Part of being a part of an exorcist family though. And what if it was- caused by a spirit I mean. It could be a sign or a threat. Maybe even a glimpse of a-“


“I don’t care!” He snapped with far more anger than he intended. Tsukasa even stiffened in his arms but relaxed when Amane sighed and buried his face in his twin's hair. It was the same short uneven cut he had. The same messy look they gave each other that their mother had to attempt to unsuccessfully recover. “It’s just that we start the new school year today. I don’t want anything to ruin it.”


“That’s right!” Tsukasa squealed, shoving Amane off the bed in his rush to sit up right. He had the gall to ignore his injured older brother’s grumbling as he flounced off the bed and bounced. He never stopped cheering as he pulled Amane to his feet. “Come on! Come on! Come on! We have to get ready!”


Then just like that he was swept up into the tsunami that was his brother. By the time Tsukasa had dragged him to their spot for the entrance ceremony Amane had forgotten the dream entirely. This was the next chapter of their lives. They were officially high school students! Somehow though, it felt odd. 


It was almost unreal by the time he was standing in the school courtyard watching the cherry blossoms flutter down. Something was missing and clutching his chest. When Tsukasa made him tell their mother about the weird dream she had said something along the lines of “getting to the time in a man’s life where things start changing”. At the time he was mortified but now he wondered if he misunderstood. If the daikon was somehow a sign of change…


Next thing he knew, Amane was staring into Tsukasa’s wide eyes. “Are you sure you’re okay?” 


“Are you?” He countered looking at the awkward bend of Tsukasa's spine. He only stared so Amane finally sighed and looked around for listening ears. “Just a bit intimidating, being here and all that. And I can’t stop thinking about what Mom said.”


“About you starting puberty?”


“Shut up!” He shoved his brother’s face away and smirked when he fell on the pavement. Turning to the fluttering cherry blossoms he let himself speak freely. “I don’t think that was it. It seems like something big is about to happen and I think it was the gods warning me. Lately it seems like I’ve been missing something and I think that’s finally going to change.”


He had only just finished the thought when he was suddenly bent backward by arms around his neck at a horrible angle that made his back ache. “Or maybe,” Tsu giggled “you’re a coward and looking for signs that aren’t there!”


With a practiced movement he twisted and wrapped his arms around Tsukasa’s middle and squeezed. “I’m not a coward!” 


His monster of a twin wheezed and adjusted his grip to a choke. “Coward!” He sang with a strangled note. “My brother’s a coward!”


“You little-“ Amane grit his teeth and lifted him. Ignoring his yelp, he made his way to the nearby grass. Even Tsukasa’s wriggling and squealing pleas of mercy wouldn’t spare him from being dropped in a particularly mushy spot in the green. Satisfied to see him effectively wet and muddy, Amane picked up his hat brushing off the dust. “You might have the stronger spiritual power but I’ll always be the strongest twin.” He turned, taking Tsukasa’s grumbling as his win, but froze in his tracks. 


A girl with long blonde hair and large red-brown eyes was giggling with a petite girl. He couldn’t hear the sound but he was entranced with the way her shoulders shook and the small hand that curled into a loose fist to cover a dainty smile. She wasn’t dainty though. She was sturdy and seemed perfectly capable of doing to him what he did to Tsu. He would absolutely thank her if she did…


“God…” he whispered as a presence stepped beside him to throw a muddy arm over his shoulder. “She’s beautiful…”


The petite girl said something raising her hands to mimic claws and the dainty facade broke. The pale haired angel snorted loud enough that he could actually hear the strain on her palette. She bent at the waist and a large breathtaking sound erupted from her lungs. It was like the wind in the trees with the melodic power and he knew that power had him. He was undoubtedly hers and he had no issue accepting it as mere fact.


“Her?” Tsu’s voice pitched low. “She seems to be in our grade. Doesn’t look like much. Except her legs look like poles or radishes or something.”


“Or daikons,” he said with a whoosh of breath.


Tsukasa groaned and slammed his hand between Amane’s shoulders. “Don’t do that to yourself. Let’s just go find our classes.”


“Whatever.” Grasping hands they walked through the halls. Yes, this was what it was supposed to be. Him and his brother against the world. Against bullies, spirits, and even their family it was them and them alone.


“I can’t believe they put us in different classes,” Tsu grouched as he looked up at the class markers. “We’ve never been in different classes before.”


“Maybe it was the restroom incident last year? I bet that teacher snitched when he found out where we were applying.” 


Tsukasa’s giggle was enough of an answer so they stayed in silence. They stayed silent even as they found their neighboring classes and bumped their fists. He could see the send off to cause chaos just as Amane knew Tsu would see his warning to avoid it.


So his first day was starting. He was alone for the thirteen steps that it took for him to get to his classroom’s door. High School was different. High School was lonely already and it was cold. Like literally freezing- he would kill for a sweater or something. With everything he couldn’t quite bring himself to step into the room. That would mean accepting the change and Amane didn’t know if he was ready.


“Excuse me,” a soft voice called. 


He jerked to attention and turned sharply to see the angel from before. She was even more beautiful up close. He could see her voice matched her sweet round face. Her red tinted brown eyes were wide with curiosity with just a tinge of anxiety. She seemed just as strong a personality as the laugh he had been graced with in the courtyard. “Sorry?” He choked around his own too thick tongue.


“I believe this is my class… is it yours too?”


“Uh-“ he muttered gracefully. God, what was he doing ? He felt his face was hot but desperately ignored it. They just met! He couldn’t be this- this- whatever this was! “Yeah,” he eventually managed, “my name is Yugi Amane. It’s nice to meet you.”


She gave him a dazzling, sparkling smile. One that bloomed over her face like the time lapse videos his mom loved that grew into a full rose. It made his knees weak and his blood rush in his ears. He would later thank the divine that it wasn’t loud enough to drown out her words. “It’s so nice to meet you Yugi-San! My name is Yashiro Nene! I hope we can be friends!”


“Yeah,” he murmured, feeling his own smile bloom. “Me too, but please just call me Yugi-kun.” Or Amane. He shook the thought away and just watched her smile widen. 


“Okay! Let’s go in! Maybe we’ll even sit next to each other!”


She grabbed his wrist and pulled him along with her. Her touch was so gentle but he could feel distinct calluses that rubbed roughly against his wrist. 


They soon discovered that he sat right behind her. She looked so happy but he knew the truth. 


He was screwed.