Actions

Work Header

My way

Work Text:

The way from school was always silent. Her family wasn't so wealthy, which is why Claudine and her parents lived in a rather remote area of the town. Most people would get their bikes, or get into the bus, wildly chatting with each other. She would walk, alone, no more noises than the nature. She loved it.

The birds were tweeting as she followed her usual path. Hearing her boots crush the earth and stones underneath, Claudine took a deep breath.
A small time to rest.
She would help out her parents when she was home. It was pretty late when Claudine was done with her chores and homework. She couldn't fail in school. She needed a good graduation so she could get a good job so she could help her parents.
Everyday was a cycle.
But this walk, there always were small details changing. With the change of seasons, diffrent animals and plants would appear. Claudine loved to watch it.

It was a day like any other. Winter rolled around. She was wrapped in an old coat of her father, walking her way. She expected another small detail to change. Would it be a new bird? Would there still be frogs at the small pond she passes?
And something did change. Just not what Claudine expected.

A girl with long brown hair crossed her path. She was in clothing way thicker than Claudines, hands buried deep in her pockets. The red scarf she wore contrasted with her blue bow. The purple eyes looked tired.

The girl went the opposite direction. She didn't really notice Claudine and instead just kept walking.

Strange.

 

A week passed. The events of that day repeated. Claudine would go home, looking for new, small changes in the enviroment. The girl would go past her, not sharing a glance.
But Claudibe couldn't help looking at her, seeing her lifeless expression.

Is something wrong?

 

There was another change the next week. This time, the trees were covered with white and a thin layer of ice covered the pond.
That wasn't all.
The girl didn't look as lifeless anymore. She looked better rested, refreshed.

Claudine couldn't help but wonder.

Why?

 

Another week passed. Winter break was close and the temperature dropped more and more. Her coat did not help much anymore, it was all she got.
She shivered as she went her way. Despite being cold, she still loved it. This time, almost no animals were in sight, and the water looked frozen enough to walk on.
Again, the girl caught her attention. How many layers of clothing can you wear? Maybe she was trying to answer the question. The red scarf that covered her mouth, blue bow, and a thick green hat.

She looked her straight into her eyes. Claudine felt these purple eyes staring at her, like she was looking into her soul.
Claudine quickly averted her gaze. The moment passed and they lost sight of each other, both going their way.

Why do I feel emberassed?

 

Holidays. Dusk breaks as Claudine pulled her coat closer. She was an early riser.
There was no need to walk the path today. She did it anyways.
What would happen today? It would probably be the girl, missing. There would be no reason for her to go outside on break.

Claudine walked. Somehow, it felt like something was missing.

What is it?

 

School started again. Christmas had passed, but january was still cold. Claudine went home carefully, trying not to slip on the frozen ground. She wore a new pair of gloves, the gift from her parents.
As usual, something changed. The girl was back. Scarf check, bow check, hat check. Though she was holding something.

Their eyes met and Claudine almost froze. The girl was still halfway covered from her scarf, so she couldn't read her face.
She apporached the blonde, holding out the object in her hand.

"Here. I noticed you are freezing, and it's important to wear correct clothes. It's easy to catch a cold this time around the year."
Her voice was suprisingly soft and deep.

Her hands contained a grey beanie.

Claudine blinked. "I couldn't.."

"Please." The girl practically shoved the hat in her hands. "I insist."

It would be better. Claudine needed proper clothing. "Thank you."

The girl nodded before departing..

I didn't even ask for her name.

 

The next day a classmate talked to her. "Kuro-ko? You seem distracted."

She was shorter than her, the pink hair easily drawing her attention. It was different. "You cut it a bit shorter?"

"What? Oh, you mean my hair? Yeah." Her classmate gave a small smile. "You always notice such things. Is something wrong?"

"Everything's alright, Futaba-san." She slung her bag onto her shoulder and put on the grey beanie.

"Drop the -san, Kuro-ko. We're friends. Also, the beanie, is it new? It looks good."

"Thank you, Futaba-sa-, I mean, Futaba. It's a present." She said to her classmate. No, to her friend, apparently.

The steps on her way home were lighter than usual. Claudine would need to thank the girl from yesterday correctly.

However, as they crossed paths, the girl didn't look at her. Instead, she hummed a melody. It sounded beautiful. She walked away again.

Why couldn't I bring myself to interrupt her?

 

Spring. The days would get warmer again, but it was clouded and humid. Claudine had changed her coat to a sweater and a thin raincoat, a courtsey her mother got from a friend.
She still wore the beanie.

It has been weeks, but Claudine just didn't get to thank the girl again. The girl kept humming, and the melody put her into some sort of trance.

So it was irritating as it was silent. The girl didn't come today. After a while, she still heard the familiar melody, coming from herself.

Why am I doing this?

 

"Kuro-han, please quiet down a bit." Kaoruko, the childhood friend of Futaba, said.

Claudine was startled. She had hummed. Why?
"Excuse me, Hanayagi-san. I didn't want to disturb your focus."

She sighed. "Something's been strange with you lately. And, use my first name. A friend of Futaba is a friend of mine."

Something strange? With Claudine? Deep down, she felt herseld agreeing. "Nothing's wrong, Kaoruko-san. But thank you for your concern."

She meant it. Kaoruko and Futaba were her only friends.

She walked, almost expecting it to be silent again today. But the familiar humming was there. The girl, in grey sweater and her blue bow was back.

Claudine didn't know why, but she felt a spurt of courage. "Excuse me!"

It quieted down, purple eyes meeting hers. There was a lot she wanted to say. Who are you? Thank you. Why were you so nice?

Instead Claudine asked, "What's the name of the song?"

The girl blinked. Her mouth was not hidden anymore, so the blonde saw her small smile. It looked beautiful.

"Fancy you."

"Pardon?" Claudine had spaced out.

The girl chuckled. "The name of the song. You just asked me, remember?"

She looked amused.

"A-ah, right. Thank you." Both went their ways.

Great, she had made a fool of herself.

But to see that expression, she wouldn't mind doing it again.

 

Weeks passed, no more words spoke between the two. Claudine had felt herself looking even more forward to the way home than before. She didn't know the reason.

Summer was coming. More and more birds were sitting on the trees, more and more fishes were in the pond.
The next school break also was coming.

Did that mean Claudine wouldn't see the girl for six weeks? Would it be so awfully quiet again?

She made a decision.

There she was. Blue bow, white shirt and grey skirt. Claudine took a breath.

"Excuse me! Uh, I wanted to ask for, your name."

The girl lifted a brow. "Don't you first introduce yourself?"

Shit. "Sorry, I'm Saijou Claudine." She was fidgeting.

The girl smiled. "My name is Tendo Maya. Nice to meet you, Saijou Claudine-san."

It was freshing, hearing the name in this deep tone.

"Nice to meet you."

They parted.

Maya. Her name is Maya.

 

Summer break. Claudine would walk alone today.
She still went.
She listened to the birds, the bugs, the slight wind rustling the leaves. It has been a while since she took in the small changes like that.

Footsteps. She looked onto the path again, seeing the gir- seeing Tendo Maya.

"Saijou-san." A smile. She sure smiled a lot. "You're still out here? It's school break."

"Why are you?" She was honestly confused. "I like to walk here. The path is pretty. Why are you still around?"

"I've been wondering why. The outfit looks nice." Maya looked at her wristwatch.

Claudine didn't notice she wore one. How did she miss it?

"I have to go now. It was nice talking to you, Saijou san." Maya walked away.

She dodged my question.

 

Summer break ended and school begun again. She normally was bored at that time. Claudine didn't have much free time after school, so she had no idea how to fill so much.
It had been interesting this summer.
She had walked, met Maya and chatted a few minutes before the latter had to leave.

Claudine found out a few things. Maya was her age. She was on her way to a studio when they crossed paths. Her parents led a theater troupe.

"Theater? Are you gonna join their troupe one day?"

Maya strechted her arms. "That's the plan."

The statement was kinda weird. "Are you not happy with it?"

"Oh, I am. I love the stage more than anything." She looked into the distance, eyeing a bird flying away. "But it get's lonely sometimes, there is no one my age."

"Most people probably first finish school at this age and don't have a plan set in stone yet."

"What about you?"
Claudine? A career? She didn't spent much thought on it. Her plan was to finish school and find any job. It doesn't matter which one, so that she could just support her family quickly.

"I don't know."

A spark appeared in Maya's eyes. "Saijou-san, do you want to accompany me to practice?"

"I.. I don't have the money for it."

"I practice with people from our troupe, so as my friend you can join in free." Maya answered.

It caught her off-guard. She seemed so eager. But their time run out before Claudine gave an actual answer.

Acting, huh?

 

She did the mental math. According to Maya, practice lasted two hours. She would be home at 16, finish chores until 18, homework until 20. She went to bed at 20:30 to be ready for the next day.

30 minutes. She would be giving away a good part of her time.

Humming. Claudine looked at Maya as she arrived. "Tendo Maya. You seem well."

"You, too, Saijou-san. Do you have an answer for me? Will you join my training?"

It would be exhaushing, cost time and energy she didn't have.

And I still said yes.

 

Maya was brilliant. She was shining. Gliding over the floor, saying her lines with such elegance it shocked Claudine.

But she wasn't doing so bad herself. It was fun. Expressing herself in so many ways, looking at the expression of the other, looking for details that truly vitalized the played character.

Months passed by, it got colder again. She would from school, meet with Maya and go to their studio.

She loved it. It became a routine, and at the end of her senior year in high school she couldn't imagine it otherwise. Where were the days she walked alone with silence? When she was happy to not talk and just enjoy her peace?

Claudine also knew this couldn't go on forever. Both would graduate, Maya would start an acting career and she herself would probably end up as cashier or something.

20:20. Claudine was supposed to submit the paper infront of her tomorrow. The task was to write down what you wanted to do after school. The teachers would sit down with the students and discuss their decisions.

What should she write? She couldn't concentrade. Her mind kept drifting off to her next day of practice. She was humming again.

She sat up boldly. Of course.

I know what I want to do.

 

It was dark, but that didn't matter. She had walked this way for so long.

"I have piano at thursday evening. I walk home at 20:30."

Claudine remembers asking why so late. Maya had just shrugged in answer.

She needed to be faster. She put a hand on her beanie, keeping it from slipping off. There! A familar figure in the dark.

"Tendo Maya!"

"Saijou-san?" she responded perplexed.

"You once asked me what I wanted to do." Pink eyes met purple. "Let me join your troupe."

The stars were so bright that night.

 

Time has passed since then.

"Look, this plant here is new. The flowers over there, too." Claudine pointed out more. It was a routine for the two to walk this way together.

"Claudine, as beautiful it looks, it's quite cold today."

She pouted. "That's your fault for wearing no gloves. You were the one that told me to dress properly."

Maya laughed. "Yes, I suppose that's true."

Claudine grabbed her hand, entwining their fingers. "C'mon, we don't want you to freeze."

Maya pressed it slightly. "Thank you."

Once, my walk home has been silent. But not anymore.