Characters-Yukari Tanizaki, Minamo Kurosawa, unnamed relatives
Rating/Warnings-PG to PG-13, if you wanted to get picky about the swearing. Also-very, very referenced MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH (that is totally not entirely elaborated on, since I just love leaving your imagination up to that kind of stuff) and...um, not much else.
Pairing(s)-N/A (Oh, how badly I had to resist putting in some sort of Yukari/Nyamo reference. Oh, wait, I think I did at the end! A little. Not really.)
Summary-Some things transcend the bounds between life and death. Strong friendships happen to be one of them. Rambling on about unimportant things to your best friends is one, as well. Yukari manages to do both. //Rememberance!Recapwiththedead!fic.//
Betaed?-No, but now I actually went over it and fixed some of the more glaring mistakes.
A/N-Japanese flower language is used here instead of Victorian. Also, three blank lines between any two lines of text is a way of separating the sections-LJ really hates the dividers Word puts in automatically, and I always want to do what makes LJ happy. *eyeroll*
Also, I'm claiming some creative license (poetic license, one of those) on the graveyard scene/descriptions. I did research on it, and what's in the story is what I found, but I haven't personally been to Japan, so it's bound to be inaccurate in some way, shape, or form.
“Graveyards really suck.”
Yukari looked down at the bouquet of flowers she had bought and realized that they were so out of place it was sickening. The light purple contrasted horribly with the white and gray tombstone she had stopped in front of.
In fact, the flowers contrasted with the graveyard and day in general. The only colors besides white and varying shades of gray in the entire place were the brown stumps of Japanese maples that had been planted—which had long since become bare and uninviting—and the light gray cement and dirt pathways that weaved between various different towers and headstones. The sky overhead was nearly black with rain, as well, and gave the entire place an odd, depressed sort of feeling.
(“Though,” Yukari had thought when walking through the gates, “that could just be because the place has a bunch of dead people in it.”)
The English teacher hadn’t even meant to go to the graveyard in the first place.
She was on her way to a bar from work for a quick pick-me-up shot or five when she walked by a flower shop. The various different colors displayed in the window had caught her eye, and she stopped to take a look. All sorts of colors popped out at her—everything from pale white to inky black flowers were displayed. Yukari looked at them for a moment and was about to walk off when she caught sight of a purple flower.
It wasn’t a particularly pretty flower. It certainly wasn’t like the other large, colorful flowers that sat around it—the only “petals” it had on it were small, barely discernable ones, all clumped together at the end of a long stem. Normally, the English teacher’s eyes would’ve just skipped over them in favor of the other strongly colored ones about it; however, the difference between the light purple bouquet and the vivid reds and blues around it made the flowers stand out enough for her to notice them.
She’d stood there for a while, looking at the flowers and trying to remember a long-forgotten day when (against her will) her mother had introduced her to Hanakotoba—the Japanese language of flowers. While she couldn’t remember exactly what the purple flowers “said”, she was fairly sure they were something along the lines of faithfulness.
“Reminds me of Nyamo,” she had muttered to herself.
(—Ms. Tanizaki, I’m afraid that your friend didn’t make it through the accident—)
Taking a deep breath, Yukari walked inside and asked for a bunch of the “little purple flowers”. After a lengthy lecture from the elderly woman tending the shop about how they were called lavenders, how shameful that a young woman doesn’t even properly know the names of such a common flower, and a brief fight between the two about the price of a bouquet, she walked out with a bouquet of lavender with a sheet of crinkly plastic wrapped around the bottom.
Though it was clear to the brown haired woman what she should do with the flowers—take them to her friend’s grave and lay them there as a sign of respect—the thought of actually doing it made her extremely nervous. She had never been a particularly superstitious woman, refusing to (fully) believe in ghosts, but something about being that close to Nyamo’s ashes made the thought of beyond-the-grave visits a very, very real possibility. And if there was one thing she didn’t want to do, it was have to look any form of Nyamo in the face again. Yukari was fairly sure she wouldn’t survive the wave of guilt she was sure to get if she did.
In the end, though, the part of her that knew the right thing to do got a rare win over the part of her that knew what she wanted to do, and she had started the long walk to the bus station.
Hesitating, the teacher looked at the smooth granite headstone in front of her.
In the way of decoration, there was a minimal amount—the only inscriptions on the granite were Kurosawa, several birth and death dates, and a short prayer for the spirits of the deceased. The grave marker itself wasn’t particularly impressive, either; it was a tapered pillar, about half a foot taller than Yukari, standing on a fairly large platform of similarly colored and polished granite.
Having only been to a graveyard twice—once when she was five, and once for Nyamo’s funeral—she wasn’t sure what exactly she was supposed to do after laying the flowers on an exposed portion of the platform. Leaving so quickly seemed too tacky, but it was getting colder and darker by the minute. Shifting from one foot to the other uncomfortably, the brunette searched for something to do, something to break the silence.
“So…” The word echoed eerily around Yukari. “Um…well, this certainly is awkward.”
The granite stood strong and silent while the woman in front of it sighed uneasily.
“It’s been a while, huh? Yeah…I’ve…I’ve been meaning to visit. It’s just…life, and all. It’s gotten in the way.” Realizing how bad that sounded (especially standing in a graveyard), the teacher swore under her breath before continuing.
“So I got these flowers for you. For Nyamo, I mean. Since there’s a bunch of dead people buried here, from what I can…damn it! I didn’t mean that how it sounded. Honest.”
Silence hung in the air, thick and discomforting. Yukari was severely starting to regret coming to the graveyard—she was making a fool of herself, for all she knew, in front of Nyamo and her dead family members and there wasn’t a drop of alcohol in sight to quell the unfamiliar embarrassment that came with it.
“Ok. Ok, lemme start over.” Repositioning herself so that her feet were at shoulder width, the teacher took a deep breath, stared intently at the large granite pillar in front of her…
“This should not be this frickin’ hard,” she muttered under her breath. “I mean, geez, I’m talking to a hunk of stone. It’s not even alive.” Yukari’s shoulders slumped slightly. “Ok. Alright. So…huh. What to talk about…well, there’s…school. It’s getting better, surprisingly.”
A gust of wind blew through the graveyard, chilling the brown haired woman. Shivering, she wrapped her coat more tightly around her before continuing.
“New class, naturally. No Tomo’s or Osaka’s, so that’s always a good thing. Though no Chiyo’s or Yomi’s, which could turn out to be bad…they’re not too bright, and they don’t have anyone to bail their asses out when I start handing out the big assignments. No athletic people, either. All in all, not too bad, but not too good. At least they’re smart enough not to talk loudly when I come in with a hangover. God, I had to throw so much chalk at last year’s class for that…
“Kimura retired last year, too. I dunno what was up with him, but he just kept muttering ‘there’s not enough’ whenever he walked past my office, so maybe it’s a good thing he’s gone. The jackass they have to replace him, though, keeps hitting on me. Bastard. He’s not even good-looking, too, though he struts around like he’s some sort of gift to women. Hah, nearly ran him over for that.
“Also, the Yukari-mobile. Ugh, it got totaled last year. Some incident with a semi-truck…heh, can you believe it, though? I wasn’t even the one that was in it when it got totaled. Mom was. Oh, it was rich, I tell you, Nyamo. Rich. But now we have a new car—they don’t want me calling it the ‘Yukari-mobile II’, something about bad luck—so that’s cool. Hah, I got a couple dings in it the other day. I may not be able to call it the ‘Yukari-mobile II’, but I’m sure as hell going to make sure it looks like it. Though…well, that may have been the reason I got cut off from it today…”
As her recap started going growing larger and including more and more insignificant things (what she had eaten that day, the time she had yelled at a random person for bumping into her on the bus, how her favorite video game series had finished with the lamest cop-out ending she had ever seen), Yukari started to relax, even going so far as sitting down in front of the grave. The dim, gray-tinted light slowly faded away, and she saw some lights go on around the perimeter of the graveyard, signaling that it was going to close soon. Surprisingly, though, despite the darkness and rapidly dropping temperature, she found herself unwilling to go. It had been a while since the teacher had some form of “unloading”, or more, someone to “unload” on.
However, she was quickly running out of both large and trivial subjects to recap (an even bigger surprise to Yukari than her unwillingness to leave, considering that she hadn’t even had a drop of alcohol since that morning) and soon had to get up with a sigh. By the time she was done, it was completely dark in the graveyard—the light from the far edges barely illuminated the gold painted inscription of Kurosawa enough for her eyes to see it.
“Well…looks like it’s time for me to be going.” The brown haired woman stretched slowly, a little stiff from sitting for so long. “Ah. Ah…that was surprisingly relaxing, Nyamo. Especially since I’ve basically been surrounded by dead people for hours and hours. Who knew that being around death could relieve so much tension?”
The silence settled in around her again, though this time it wasn’t nearly as intimidating—now, it was just a little sad rather than very, very awkward. Yukari looked down at the flowers. They seemed to still be healthy, though she couldn’t tell entirely in the dim light. Their meaning came back to the teacher again, and she frowned.
(—she was found dead on the scene by paramedics, we couldn’t do anything to revive her here—)
Kneeling down, she very gently laid her hand against the cool, smooth surface of the grave marker’s platform.
“I don’t like saying I’m sorry. You know that. Usually, it’s ‘cause I have nothing to be sorry about. But…I know it doesn’t mean much now—hell, I’m not even entirely sure you can hear me, if you’re still even out there—I’m sorry you’re gone. I’m sorry I had a part in your…your death.”
Yukari felt tears sting at her eyes. “Damn it, now I’m crying. I never cry. Frick, look what this place is making me do…” She straightened up and cast one last forlorn glance at the grave and flowers before muttering a good bye and turning around to leave. Before she could get farther than the next headstone, however, Yukari felt an odd prickling along her spine. Not a particularly painful prickling—just a strange, itchy sort of prickling that she usually got whenever someone was behind her.
However, when she turned around, no one was there. The graveyard (or at least the little portion she could see) was completely empty. The wind, which had been blowing incessantly before, had even stopped. Everything was still.
Normally, she would’ve been terrified. (Though she wasn’t a superstitious person, anything of the supernatural sort that did happen to her always freaked her out.) But she was still kind of buzzed from “talking” to her best friend, and she had a fairly good feeling that she knew what was up, so instead of running away screaming, Yukari just grinned a bit, said another goodbye, and walked away.
“See? I told you she wasn’t a jerk.”
“Well, Minamo, it’s not like we had much other proof to go on.”
“Yeah. After all, it had been nearly two years after your funeral. Two years, and just one mention of your name? It seemed like she didn’t even care.”
“I don’t think that I was completely off her mind. I have a feeling she was thinking a lot about me.”
“You and your feelings, Minamo.”
“Feelings get you into nothing but trouble.”
“But you’d know that, wouldn’t you? I’m pretty sure it’s what got you here in the first place.”
“I’d rather have feelings than nothing. I’d end up turning into you.”
“Whatever. I’m still trying to figure out how you sat through all that drabbling.”
“It’s just a Yukari thing. It’s what she does.”
“Your taste in friends leaves a lot to be desired, Minamo. Or…what was it she called you…‘Nyamo’? Sorry I wasn’t around to see that.”
“Shut it. It’s a—”
“Yes, I know. A ‘Yukari’ thing. You have a lot of ‘Yukari’ things, Minamo.”
A/N-Yeah. My first AzuDai fic, and-surprise!-it's about a major character dying. In a car accident, on scene, no less.
Some days I worry about my brain.