❯ Imperfect Sky – Red Moon ( Chapter 8 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: I’m holding the rights hostage until you give me ice-cream!

AN: (sweatdrop) Been a while, ne? (bow) I’m really sorry! The thing is, the last chapter was the last of everything I’d written before I’d started posting. I’ve got a couple other stories I’m working on right now, too (I said I wouldn’t let this happen…), so the next one might take some time as well (though hopefully not this long!). Sigh… But on another note, this chapter is hereby dedicated to Yami no Tenshi chan!! I couldn’t get your suggestion out of my head once it got in there, so I wound up fitting it in a lot sooner than I’d been expecting to 🙂 Now for some facts: first of all, yes, Elrik is the boy from chapter three – and yes, I did nick the name from FullMetal Alchemist 😀 Awesome show, peeps, if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out. Also, some people might not know this – I’d only heard of it a few years ago – but the Harvest Moon isn’t the only moon with a name; they all have one. It’s a little most complicated than this, but basically the `Red Moon’ is the name of the full moon that comes before the Harvest Moon. Honestly, now, Red Moon, how could I pass that up? 😀 And one more thing! (over-compensating…?) If anyone’s curious to read some of Kaori Yuki’s other works, here’s a MARVELOUS site: http : / / sakuracrisis . ukepile . com / (take out the spaces, o’ course). May I recommend Boys Next Door? Enjoy 🙂

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Chapter Eight: Red Moon

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Seas dyed the color of zinc… Wind turned into gunpowder smoke… Forests turned to yellow desert… Thou, who would burn the heavens…

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It was two in the morning, one of the darkest hours of the day. Even the earliest risers would still be abed at this time, and there was no entertainment available in Heaven of the variety that went on much past midnight. All things considered, Katan thought, he might just be the only angel in the whole layer still awake.

He sat at a table in the library with a pile of books before him and, beyond them, a small army of brightly burning candles, but he did not read. He slouched slightly in his chair, head thrown back, in a seemingly relaxed pose, but he didn’t sleep, either. His eyes were locked unblinkingly on the shadowy rafters, though it was doubtful that he was actually seeing them.

(The boy we see here has changed a bit, since that mythical battle between siblings that rocked the worlds. His aging has slowed to a crawl, these past few centuries, for he is nearly an adult now; soon the process will stop altogether, and he will be locked into his present form for the rest of eternity. Fortunately, he has grown into an exceptionally beautiful man. His sole flaw, people would say, is his eyes. They contain some kind of incredible distance or intensity, even as he speaks so politely – and on top of that, they are rimmed with tired dark circles.)

Eventually some thought seemed to rouse him, and Katan sighed heavily before sitting up straight. He eyed the books for a few moments before shaking his head slightly – a disappointed gesture – and standing up with a small moan at how stiff he’d gotten. He wasn’t exactly sure how long he’d been here, but he had watched the sun go down through the library windows.

He extinguished all the candles save one, which he carried with him to show him the way through the silent halls. His quarters were spartan for the most part, but he did have a small stove, and he put water on it now for coffee. Though he was done reading, he knew that it really wasn’t worth even trying to sleep tonight.

Once the coffee was done, Katan took a seat at his small table and watched the liquid steam for a bit. He had a balcony that probably would have been more appropriate for late-night meditation, but he just didn’t quite feel up to looking at the beautiful full moon that currently presided over this layer.

He had looked through so many books… so many years… It wasn’t as if he’d been incapable of finding any answers in all this time. He’d found one way to save his master ages ago, but… as much as he wanted to see him again, he’d kept looking, he couldn’t possibly…

Katan rested his forehead on his palm, seeking some response in the depths of his coffee. The funny thing was, he’d actually spent more of his life without Rosiel than with him. It seemed so odd to him…

He took a sip of the warming drink, and hummed softly to himself as it worked to sooth his muscles. But then again, the time he’d spent without Rosiel certainly hadn’t been as important, he reflected. It couldn’t possibly have been, when he was just working for the next time he would see him, without any care for the present. Even just seeing Rosiel for an instant had consumed him enough for him to spend his entire childhood working towards seeing him again – it had been a miracle that he’d even had any friends during that time, and it certainly wouldn’t have occurred to him on his own…

“Hey! What’s your name?”

Katan stared at the speaker for a long moment over the top of his textbook. He had heard that some people might actually start a conversation with such a cliché line, but he never would have believed it… Yet here was this boy, cocky as anything with a huge grin, hands on his hips, blaring it out for the whole bustling common room to hear. The blond boy smiled nervously. “It’s Katan…” He looked at the mysterious other party expectantly; so rude, too, to not give his own name first, really shocking…

The boy smiled appreciatively. “Huh. That’s a kind of old-fashioned name, isn’t it? That’s cool. My name’s Elrik. I just got transferred from Blue Quad; they decided that I’d be better for the civil servant track than the techs’ after all.” He glowed with pride. “Come to the vids with me.”

It didn’t sound like a request; Katan arched an eyebrow, and looked back down at his book, feeling mildly irritated. He was new – that must be the problem. Even though they were only third years, everyone else had already long since given up trying to talk to him… “I don’t go to the vids,” he stated, trying to sound as pointedly preoccupied as was possible within the bounds of propriety. Elrik remained cheerfully oblivious.

“What do you mean? Everybody’s going tonight, they’re showing something really great. Come on! Homework’s so boring-”

“Not really,” Katan said placidly, turning a page.

Elrik threw up his hands in dramatized exasperation. “Fine! I’ll stay here and do homework with you, then, and maybe you can show me what’s so great about it.” At Katan’s shocked stare, the mischievous grin returned. “I don’t have anyone else to go with, so it really wouldn’t be any fun. Everyone else already has friends, you know… Why don’t you have anyone – because you’re always studying like this?” Katan started to scowl, but Elrik hurriedly continued: “I mean, most people want to hang out with someone who can make them laugh, and they don’t really care about anything else. If you don’t say what’s on your mind, quickly and in a clear voice, they’ll lose interest. But I’m not going to be like that – we’ll be real friends, you and I!” The look of determination in his eyes, Katan noted, bordered on maniacal…

Now, as he swirled the last of his coffee around in his mug, Katan smiled softly at the memory and permitted himself to close his eyes. What had happened to Elrik, anyway? During those first few weeks, he’d done everything he could to deter the alien presence in his neatly ordered life, but in spite of his best efforts, they’d somehow wound up becoming inseparable companions. After he’d been appointed as Rosiel’s aid, he’d lost track of the boy…

Katan’s eyes flickered back open as got to his feet, to slip soundlessly across the floor to the balcony doors and through them. The moon was so huge tonight… August’s full moon, he thought vaguely, which meant that the next one would be… be…

Why does everyone stare at the moon, anyway? It’s dead inside.

He bowed his head, clenching his eyes tight. Perhaps he shouldn’t have looked after all. It had occurred to him as he looked at the moon – or perhaps he’d already known, really? – that even such a fond memory didn’t make him even slightly interested in finding Elrik again. This knowledge sat in the pit of his stomach like a death sentence – but for whom…?

Such a beautiful moon, though…

TBC

Imperfect Sky – Purpose
Imperfect Sky – Beautiful