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Thread: ~Learning to Smile [Advanceshipping, PG-13]

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    Default ~Learning to Smile [Advanceshipping, PG-13]

    Summary: [AU] In a place where family is important, two different people must do everything they can to benefit their family, even if it means setting aside their deepest desires. But Satoshi, who has been brought up by a strict childhood, and Haruka, who has sacrificed much to keep her family happy—when they meet, they’ll learn in each other how to smile in happiness once again. SatoHaru

    A/N:: This is my…second attempt at an Advanceshipping fanfic. For those of you who remember, I used to be Lovely May—who wrote Three Words I Long to Hear (which, IMO, was a very crappy story now that I look back) way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. :P YESH, I’m back into writing SatoHaru fanfics. I have improved since then… Well, I like to think so, even though it isn’t very much. XD

    This story is…different. It is AU [Alternate Universe], so the characters are put in different situations. It also has somewhat of a complex plot (but not too complex). Funny how this came into my mind. XD Rated PG-13 just to be safe. Anyways, I hope you enjoy.

    --

    .:.:.Chapters.:.:.

    Chapter 1: The Girl in the Rain
    Chapter 2: The Boy with the Sword
    Chapter 3: A Bewildering Night
    Chapter 4: Slipping Like Silk
    Chapter 5: An Inescapable Proposal
    Chapter 6: It's You
    Chapter 7: Bittersweet Conclusions
    Chapter 8: Untold Memories
    Chapter 9: Her Unwavering Resolve
    Chapter 10: Disregarding the Past [Part 1 posted only]

    »»» «««

    Learning to Smile

    Chapter 1: The Girl in the Rain

    Even the tiniest smile can break through the strongest and most durable mental barriers and open one into a vibrant world where happiness and love is not restrained; where compassion protects the boundaries from the horrifying outside world; and where it is possible to spread your wings and glide into the limitless sky.

    --

    Satoshi was meant to be a strong man, with not one cell of emotional vulnerability in his body. He was supposed to be so intimidating that one simple glance could leave terrorizing nightmares for weeks, perhaps even months. His hard black eyes could pierce the barriers and core of anyone's soul, leaving them to merely fear and whimper. There was something about his presence; it made a person's blood run cold and send shivers down his spine. He was trained to be this way ever since his father died. He was brought up to be the strong male in the family. Harsh elderly family dictated his life, giving him the impression that he could never achieve his own free will. The way they treated him...freedom to live his own life was just a mere illusion, a feeling that he would never possess. So he never smiled. No trace of happiness or excitement reached his eyes. His countenance was unfathomable, though sometimes it gave people the impression of hostility. But on the inside, he was not like that at all. Inside, emotions of love and desperation for liberty flowed forever, trying to grasp the freedom that could never allow itself within reach. Yet all his feelings were kept inside, never to be revealed to anyone. Until, that is, a vivacious woman entered into his life and was able to turn his frown upside down...

    --

    Cold beads of sweat poured all over his face. Satoshi clenched the heavy sword in his hands and swished it rapidly around him. No matter how much he tried, he could not be able to master the complex moves his older relatives taught--or rather, forced--him to learn.

    As Satoshi drove his weapon to his left and right, he tried to have his hand move smoothly and balance with it. He leaped into the air, carrying and slinging the weapon through the bright green blades of grass and into the soft soil below. Satoshi grumbled with frustration. He could never do it right.

    He observed his surroundings, his eyes passing through the serene park at which he practiced. Not a soul was seen, and not even the tweet of a passing bird could be heard. It was so quiet and tranquil, just how he liked it.

    Sighing, Satoshi sat at the root of a nearby tree, feeling the roughness and durability of its bark on his back. Right above him, the leaves rustled with the wind, dancing around as they bumped slightly into each other. Centering his vision on the infinite sky, Satoshi watched as humungous, gray clouds scattered slowly with the wind. Running his slender fingers through his raven black hair, Satoshi frowned. It was going to rain, and pretty hard by the looks of it. Like he predicted, tiny raindrops fell from the heavens, following the brisk wind diagonally until they reached the earth's soil.

    Satoshi felt like whacking himself in the head for not bringing an umbrella. Shaking his head, he quickly stood up and grabbed his sword. He returned it to the sheath tied tightly by his waist and walked hurriedly towards his house.

    Soon the droplets of water increased and poured down more rapidly. Large puddles began to form on the cement. The rain dampened the outer strands of his hair until they dropped on his skin; the sudden cold contact on his skin gave Satoshi a small tingling sensation. Ignoring it, Satoshi tried his best to hurry home before he was entirely drenched. Why was there rain when it was nearing summer? He hated the weather for doing this to him.

    Satoshi stopped when he heard a sweet voice lingering in the air.

    When the world weighs down on you

    When you don't know what to do

    When your problems won't go away

    And you feel you've gone astray...

    Lift your head up and smile

    And you'll see it's worth your while.

    Then it will be known

    That you are not alone

    So show me that genuine smile...


    Satoshi let the beautiful, enchanting voice echo within his ears. The way the sounds flowed wonderfully into the air and how it was able to engross him fully...it was simply amazing. Curious, Satoshi followed the sound. He walked a few meters, where he stopped behind a bush.

    In front of him, a young teenage girl about his age stood under a cherry blossom tree with white umbrella. She held out her hand, feeling the cold drops of rain fall and slide on her warm skin. She wore a yukata* dyed in a soft, light pink so similar to the cherry blossoms that she could blend in their petals with ease. She had a peculiar hairstyle compared to most girls. Two long locks of brunette hair fell around the sides of her small face, brushing gently off her peachy skin. On the backside of her head, smaller strands covered her head. She had beautiful cerulean eyes. Just by casting a glance at her eyes, Satoshi felt himself drown in a sea of cerulean.

    She faced sideways to him. It appeared as if she did not notice his presence, and if she did, she did not show it. She merely continued to sing.

    Why give me frowns when you can give smiles?

    Why do you walk when you can run miles?

    Why stab yourself with a sharp knife

    When you can sit back and enjoy your life?

    Show me that smile that sparkles with gleam

    That shoots me up to follow my dream

    I want to see that genuine smile…


    The girl began to hum, dancing around in the rain and twirling her umbrella. Satoshi watched her smile widen as the raindrops spun off the rotating umbrella. She fascinated Satoshi in many ways. Her carefree nature shone within her eyes. She revealed to Satoshi the independent, cheerful emancipation he longed for. Satoshi wished that he could smile so freely like her. She had a certain exuberance that Satoshi never experienced.

    After awhile, she ceased her dancing but kept humming that melodious tune. She walked slowly onto the cement with the unchanging smile still plastered on her face. Suddenly a voice interrupted her peacefulness.

    “Onee-chan*!”

    Satoshi observed the girl as she jerked her head up in surprise. She looked back, seeing a small boy a little younger than herself running towards her. The boy had dark blue hair with glasses framing around his big eyes. He talked for a few minutes with his sister; they talked so quietly Satoshi could not hear a word of their conversation. But Satoshi saw a worried look overtake her face, leaving no traces of the blissfulness he saw before. An abrupt sorrow filled her once exquisitely radiant eyes. With a poignant nod from the girl, the two walked away quickly from the park.

    With curiosity, Satoshi watched them leave hurriedly, but he saw something silvery slip away from the girl. When both of them were at a fair enough distance away, Satoshi left from his spot. He walked to where the girl stood, ignoring the rainwater that seeped through his clothing. Satoshi bent down and picked up a thin, silver chain. Attached to the chain was a silver pendant shaped like a raindrop. As Satoshi closely scrutinized the necklace, he found one of the small rings broken off. Satoshi clenched the necklace within his hand.

    He could still see her from afar, scrambling her feet in haste. He stared after her as she crossed the street and disappeared in a crowd of people. The last Satoshi saw of her was the sleeve of her yukata, fluttering in the breeze.

    That would be the last he saw of her that day, but not the last time he would ever see her again.

    Fate would soon bind them together, like marionettes controlled by invisible strings.

    Together, they would find love and learn from each other how to smile in happiness once again…


    --

    **Japanese Terms:

    Yukata- lighter type of kimono, usually worn in the summertime (sometimes worn to summer events)
    Onee-chan- older sister

    (( Please correct me if the terms are wrong; I have crappy Japanese =___________x;; ))

    First chapter is completed. Phew… glad that part is over. Weird story—I know—so feel free to poke fun at it. This plot came from my annoying fanfiction muses, and they kept bothering me to write this. XO! Since I wrote it, I might as well share it to people who are interested. Plus I have to show my support for advanceshipping ne? I guess I’ll continue this, as long as my muses hang around. XD But updates will be slow, because I have many other fanfics to update on ff.net and school is a nuisance that tortures me by keeping me constantly busy. Yap, I DO have a life, you know. :P

    The song Haruka sings was written by me. Yap, that’s why it’s so crappy. =___________= It was all randomness; I just put a bunch of words together and—BAM! There you go. :P

    I’m still not sure if Pokemon will still be in this story. If they will be, it’ll just be a small part. Anything’s possible at this point. =D

    Ignore any mistakes; I know there are some because I’m a lazy person who rarely proofreads her work (and when she does, her eyesight tends to give up on her). But if it irks you that much, go ahead and point it out and make me feel like a retarded loser. Just kidding, I won’t be offended, but you can point them out if you like. There’s nothing like constructive criticism ne?

    I know the characters are a bit OOC (out of character), even though I try not to make them OOC. But it seems sort of inevitable, considering the odd situations I’ve put them in. (smiles evilly) But I’ve kept Satoshi’s ambitious spirit and Haruka’s usual cheerfulness. Sturdy characterization seems to be a difficult attribute for an author to insert; I myself am no exception. Knowing my usual self, I’ll probably fail miserably once again. XD It would be nice to know how I’m doing in that department…(HINT HINT) XD

    Anyways, to end this very, very long authoress’ note, please review! Let me know what you think of it so far. Reviews will also decide whether or not I should really concentrate on this story, since this is one of those sporadic fanfics that pop into my mind. :P Thanks for reading! =]
    Last edited by Sakura-chan; 22nd March 2007 at 6:08 AM.

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    that was great,I loved the song too! I'll be looking forward to the next chapter!

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    Thank youuu all for your comments!~~ I appreciate them. :]

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    Ooh! I don't usually linger too much in the fanfiction section but you caught my interest! I like AU's and I like stories that are a bit more serious.

    I must say you have such a beautiful poetic way to your writing. I absolutely love that. Since I've always felt I lacked the ability to do that well I admire those who can. But...wow. Your style just blows me away, I absolutely love it! (did I mention I love it?) Your descriptions and emotions are written wonderfully!

    There is only one thing that confused me a bit. You mention Satoshi with a sword which gives me the impression that this takes place in an older time. Middle ages maybe or during the samurai time even, since it seems this takes place in Japan. But then you mention streets and concrete so the time frame has be a bit confused. But that's my only complaint.

    Other than that...wow, so beautifully written. I shall be checking back everytime you update.

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    Aw, I like how this story sounds so far.
    And the song wasnt crappy, it was nice :]

    I like the setting a lot. With the swords and such, and I liked how you described Ash practicing.

    So, descriptions were good, you captured the emotions nicely, and I'm looking forward to the next chapter also :]

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    This is a very well written fic - you seem to have a good way of describing people's emotions and their surroundings. You're obviously too hard on yourself in those author's notes!

    I enjoyed this, though it was rather short and left a lot to the imagination in terms of what has happened to Satoshi and just why he's carrying around a big sword in a park, but I'm sure you'll clarify this later on.

    I would recommend adding Pokemon to the mix, even if you don't give them that much screentime. The world just seems a bit... Barren without them, really. And AU or not, I find it difficult to imagine Ash without Pikachu, heh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raevell
    There is only one thing that confused me a bit. You mention Satoshi with a sword which gives me the impression that this takes place in an older time. Middle ages maybe or during the samurai time even, since it seems this takes place in Japan. But then you mention streets and concrete so the time frame has be a bit confused. But that's my only complaint.
    I'd have to agree with that. I got confused on the time period this fic takes place in, so any clarification on that would be appreciated. Other than that, it seems like a promising fic, so good luck with it!
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    Raevell-- Wow...thank you so much, even though I don't consider my writing style worthy of your praise.

    Sara*Beara-- Thank you!~ I'm glad you like the song and the setting! ^-^

    Gazmof-- Thanks! Eh, I don't think I'm being too hard on myself. I've seen lots of good writers way better than me. Not to mention I still have MUCH to improve on. XD I know it was short, but I'm just really busy ((or sometimes lazy)) to write out a big chapter with 2500+ words. :P And I'll take your opinion of adding Pokemon to mind; I'm still considering it.

    Shatoshi-- Thank you! =]

    --

    **For those wondering about the setting and time frame::

    Yes, it takes place in Japan--about some years after World War II. Yap, we're going back in time a bit. About why Satoshi has a sword...well, I suppose I can give some semi-spoilers.

    I've given Satoshi a very strict, old fashioned family. They are very conservative, and since Satoshi is the only young male (he has no cousins or anything like that), they force him to train in stuff like the martial arts, kendo, etc. As for why Satoshi practices in a park, well...let's just say he likes it better to train where his elderly relatives won't criticize him so much. XD

    I hope this clears up some stuff, and if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. =]

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    Not all of Japan was damaged at the end of the war. But what I meant was around 15 or so years afterwards. Sorry if I was so vague. ^^;

    Btw, does Satoshi and Haruka have a last name in Japanese? o.O I need it for the next chapter.
    Last edited by Sakura-chan; 18th March 2006 at 4:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakura-chan
    Not all of Japan was damaged at the end of the war. But what I meant was around 15 or so years afterwards. Sorry if I was so vague. ^^;

    Btw, does Satoshi and Haruka have a last name in Japanese? o.O I need it for the next chapter.
    Nope, they are one of the few anime characters that don't, I believe. But we've never heard any metion of it and I'm afraid I can't give any suggestions of what you could use. (I don't think the English fandom has given them last names either) So you might have to create your own. ^^;

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    Yeah, I know they gave Ash a last name in English, but I've never heard anything in Japanese. Ah well, I guess I can make some up. But beware; I might come up with some crazy name. Might as well give them the first name that comes to mind. o.o ...Boy, that's scary since my mind isn't entirely sane. XD

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    Lol! You could do that or here is a nice reference for Japanese surnames.

    http://www.kurotokage.org/Kurotokage/Surnames.html

    Eagerly awaiting the next chapter! ^_^

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    Oh thank you for the link! That can help. =] And I'll try to update as soon as I can.

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    I liked this first chapter a lot.

    Like Raevell pointed, your writing style is very poetic, which is good. I can tell you can become a great writer.

    The chapter was rather short, but I understand, because it was the introduction chapter (that, and the small font). The description is very complete as far I can see.

    My only complaint could be about the very small font, but luckily my eyes got used to it later.

    So, as I usually say, I'll wait for more.

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    Wow! This fic... I can't wait for more. XD

    This is probably one of the most unique plots used for an Advanceshipping fanfiction I have ever seen. :] The description is great and I loved the song; it was really in character for Haruka. I loved how you described Satoshi's personality, and Haruka under the cherry blossom tree. ^^ You really incorporated the title into the fic, too, which also caught my eye. Making the necklace have a rain drop pendent was creative, and... just total awesomness. *rates 5 stars*

    I can't wait for the next chapter! ^_^
    Currently a little busy. I'll respond to all messages when I can.

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    Sikamikanico-- Thank you very much! Though there's a very small chance I'll become a writer when I grow up. I'd feel too lazy and my grammar is absolutely horrible. XD; Sorry for the teeny tiny font. XO It's just that I'm so used to having my stories in a smaller font. You should see my real writing. My letters are smaller than a speck of dust. XD

    Chelc-- Thank you so much for your comments! *glomps* They gave me a such goofy smile I looked like an idiot. XD Yap, I really emphasize the title in the story for my own reasons. =] Thanks again for reviewing!

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    for some reason my post are gone....oh well....looking foward to the next chapter^^

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    o.O Yeah...weird. But anyways, I'm still working on the next chapter. Sorry it's taking so long. ;-;

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    well I can wait^^

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    This is a good story. You're too hard on yourself, this is good. We need more advanceshipping stories around here. I wish you luck on your next chapter.

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    crisiscore-- thank you very much!~ =]

    Next chapter! WOO!~~ XD Sorry for like a week’s wait people! Just consider yourselves lucky since I rarely update my stories even within two to three weeks…or months. XO! Enjoy the chapter!

    Learning to Smile

    Chapter 2: The Boy with the Sword

    Sakamoto Haruka. It was just another name, another human occupying the earth. The name was not special in any way, at least at a first glance. It sounded like an average girl, plain and simple. She looked normal as well. Her chocolate colored hair was in a peculiar hairstyle, but it wasn't too noticeable. Her skin was a normal creamy color, though it was soft as newly woven silk. She had pale pink lips, like a blooming pink rose. But her eyes—eyes that went beyond beauty, majesty, and awe. Her azure-tinted eyes glistened in the sun's luminous rays; it was like an abyss of the ocean waters filled her eyes. There is a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and it was certainly true with her. Her orbs portrayed her emotions and revealed her inner thoughts—or at least it used to. Haruka was known to be very optimistic whenever she desired. But tragedies happen and can never leave one smiling for too long. There is a point in life where friends and family pass away from the earth, leaving nothing but memories—good or bad. But not too many deaths occur because of a fault of someone close to you, someone you trusted fully and looked up to as a role model for life. When the sands of time fall, the pain and guilt of that person tend to grow inside if it has not been properly released. It is like a poorly treated wound; it is only a matter of time before something tears it open again, with the blood of forgotten remorse and hurt flowing out. It is then one will find it was worse than before. When this happens, all traces of a smile vanish, withering away and slipping into oblivion. But only when someone special comes along will the smile resurface and shine like never before.

    --

    Haruka slowly lifted her eyes before her. A bearded man in his mid-forties stood in front of her with an empty expression on his face. The poorly electrified building in which they were in had its lights haphazardly flashing, giving the gray hairs on the older man slight, silvery tints reflecting off the diminutive beams of illumination. The man slowly outstretched his hand to Haruka to hand her a small bottle.

    “Here you go, Sakamoto-san*.” He said in a soft but raspy tone.

    Haruka’s hands took the bottle without hurry, feeling the faint warmth of the man’s hands fade away on its plastic surface. With a slight bow, she expressed her gratitude.

    “Arigatou*, Doctor Mikihira.”

    The doctor stared at her for a second, stroking the small, pointy hairs of his beard. He seemed to be engrossed in contemplation, but told her quietly, “I hope she gets well.”

    Haruka merely nodded. “Hai*, me too.”

    After a brief goodbye, Haruka headed out the building. She breathed a relieved sigh, realizing that she had been holding her breath.

    She walked along the paved roads in silence. Her mind questioned her with unanswerable inquiries and wandered into the deepest depths of rumination. Her feet subconsciously continued to step in front of the other, going in no intentional direction at the moment. Haruka was too consumed in her thoughts to notice the events around her.

    Haruka held up the small plastic bottle that the doctor had given her. Her eyes closely observed the object. She watched as the viscous purple medicine slightly move across the inside. Haruka read the tiny label stuck onto its exterior. One word caught her eye: painkiller.

    The tight frown on her lips grew larger. Her small hands clutched the fabric of her plain jade kimono. More than anything, she wanted to crush apart the bottle, smash it to the ground, and cry bitterly. However, she refrained herself from doing so, bottling up her frustration. But she could not help but ask herself mentally: why was this happening to her?

    --

    Haruka stood with her umbrella, watching the raindrops drift gracefully onto the ground. It felt so nice to be at the park and see the clear water cleanse the earth. It gave Haruka the feeling that it was also rinsing out her stress and giving her time to relax a bit. Haruka inhaled the fresh, chilly air.

    “I want to see that genuine smile…”

    She wasn’t sure why she chose to sing that particular song, but it made her smile the best she could. The only smiles she let out were usually a false and forced smile, used to create a delusion for people to see and to mask her genuine emotions. She could not remember the last time she beamed like this, for it was such a long time ago. For this temporary moment, she gained her charming, naďve smile back, the very same one she used to show everyday before everything went wrong.

    Haruka danced and twirled around joyously, enjoying this rare moment. She loved to let loose the feelings since no one was watching her—or so she thought. But she had to release her all her tensions. She was always working hard for her family, leaving her with very few spare times to herself. She always made sure to treasure these moments while they lasted, especially since her leisure times were gradually diminishing over time.

    Haruka stopped moving her a second, catching her breath. She widened her smile even more. All she wanted was to be happy. She did not like feeling sorrowful, even when there were appropriate times. She always tried to cheer herself up, masquerading away all the pain even if it seemed to be too unbearable. It was too unhealthy for her to hide everything inside, and Haruka knew it—even when she denied it.

    “Onee-chan!”

    Haruka snapped her head back in surprise, slowly turning around to see her brother run towards her. As he came closer, Haruka saw the drops of perspiration slide down his temples. He must have been running for a while.

    “Masato?” His name escaped Haruka’s lips in a whisper.

    “Onee-chan.” Masato repeated. He stopped in front of her and panted for a while, wiping off his sweat. He adjusted his glasses a little, and Haruka could swear she saw tints of melancholy flash in his warm brown eyes. His usually neat dark blue hair flew out in all directions with some tresses dampened from the rain. His clothes were wet, sticking to his skin very uncomfortably.

    “Masato, what happened to you?” Haruka asked, blinking at his appearance.

    “Haruka, I’ve been looking all over for you! We have to get home now!” he strongly urged, but with a certain softness added to his voice.

    “Eh? Why?”

    Masato looked down at the ground. His bangs covered his eyes, and his frown deepened a bit. “It’s—it’s Okaa-san*. She’s really sick…and…she m-might die.”

    Haruka stared at her brother in shock. Her lip began to quiver. “Sick? What do you mean sick?”

    Masato shook his head and grabbed her hand. “Come on! I’ll explain later.”

    With that, he jerked Haruka forward to run home with him. Haruka felt his strong pull and started to quicken her pace. She faintly felt something fall from her neck, but she was too occupied with the anxious thoughts swirling around inside her brain. Her mother might die—she might die…

    Haruka felt a tear ready to fall as she ran home. No, not death…not again.


    --
    Haruka clenched her fists at the memory of two days before. Two days ago she found out her mother had an unknown disease—an incurable disease. It was a sickness that was eating away her insides, draining her energy, and thinning her body, leaving her so weak it hurt to breathe.

    In just two days, Haruka watched in horror the changes in her mom. She saw her sleep with a suffering look on her face. Her once peachy skin turned pale. Just a few specks of dust triggered a series of coughs. She wasn’t getting any better, and she had a very high chance of dying. The doctors were helpless to do anything except offer medicines to relieve most of the pain. They said she might only live for two to three more months at the most if given the proper medicine to survive. But the medicine given was a small amount and was getting very expensive, and it was draining their money supply. Haruka often perceived her father flinch at the mention of the price, but one look at his wife convinced him it was worth it.

    Haruka felt so helpless at the times she sat beside her mother’s futon, attempting to nurse her and care for her as much as she could. She could not do anything to alleviate her mother from the torturous aches or to protect her from the unmerciful Death. Haruka was always unable—unable to protect her family from pains and sufferings. Haruka felt she was carrying a heavy burden of guilt on her shoulders. She sensed it was entirely her fault her family was so distraught and unfortunate. After all, that was what happened last time.

    Haruka slowly lifted her head, pulling away from her thoughts and opening herself up again to the world around her. She had no clue where she was, until her vision focused ahead. Gravestones…they were all around her. Haruka did not know why she came this certain place, for she only realized now where her feet had taken her. She must have passed through the cemetery gates subconsciously. Yet there was one gravestone that caught her eye: the one right before her eyes.

    Haruka gave out a choked gasp, feeling the much needed oxygen escape from her lungs. She could not breathe for that moment, for she was too overcome with a numbing shock that spread throughout her body like a dangerous wildfire. Her legs failed to stand any longer, so she fell to the ground. As she widened her eyes, a light breeze swayed past her, causing a few strands of her hair her to lightly caress her soft cheeks. Her hand shivered as it involuntarily reached out to touch the cold stone. Her eyes were adamantly fixed onto the chiseled words in front of her: Sakamoto Hikari.

    Tears spilled from the brim of her eyes. It had been so long ever since the last time she visited the grave. Just seeing it brought back all the hurt, pain, and guilt she tried so hard to forget over all these years. Haruka felt her heart slash open by her unforgiven faults. She did not need this—especially now.

    Haruka tightened her grip on the medicine bottle and stood up abruptly. She wanted to leave this place. So she ran—ran away from the grave and the remorse chewing up her heart. After all, that was what she did for the past four years.

    Haruka wiped away the salty tears streaking down her heated face. She did not care about the strange looks she received as she sprinted out into the streets with her red eyes and puffed out cheeks. She ran for a while, and it took her some time to calm down again. When she did, Haruka gritted her teeth to prevent any more tears that threatened to fall.

    Leaning against a bricked wall, Haruka heaved a deep sigh. She was exhausted, her chest rising and falling unsteadily. She closed her eyes for a concise minute, seeing the darkness behind her eyelids. Her eyes fluttered open again at the sudden sound of metal clashing.

    Haruka turned around, realizing she was leaning at a fence surrounding a huge mansion. She walked slowly to an end of the iron entrance gate and peeked through the vertical bars. There were two men fighting at the front yard; one was a fairly old man ranging in about his late forties, and the other was merely a little older than she. Haruka watched in awe as both men’s swords collided repeatedly against each other.

    “Exert more force into your moves!” the older man commanded.

    The younger one gritted his teeth. He mustered up more energy and began to concentrate more. He swung at his opponent, but the older man blocked his moves every time.

    Haruka gaped in awe at the young man. It was so rare nowadays to see such imposing combat. She observed the look in his fierce black eyes, and she could almost see a fervent fire filled with determination and attentiveness burn within his irises. The whistling wind played a little with his tousled black hair, giving him a majestic appearance. His strong arms handled the heavy sword with such gracefulness and ease. The way his brows furrowed together and his tight frown were plastered on his face divulged his motivated character. Others might say he had a haunting look in his eyes, but Haruka saw past that. She perceived a strong, protective look in his captivating orbs—a look she always longed to have. Haruka was spellbound by him and found herself envying his valor and strong persona. He had qualities she never had but constantly wished for.

    The young man shifted his eyes towards Haruka for a second. Haruka gasped and hid behind the wall, hoping he did not see her.

    “Oi*! What are you looking at? You should be concentrating on me!” was the remark Haruka heard from the elder man.

    After hearing this, Haruka bit her lip. Her gut desired to continue gazing at their practice, but Haruka did not want to distract him. Haruka took one last peek at him before quickly rushing away.

    Haruka left hurriedly with a hope in her heart to see him once again.

    She would never forget him, for his image was firmly implanted in her mind.

    But she did not know what twisted fate had in store for the both of them…


    --

    **Japanese Terms:

    -san- the most commonly used honorific in Japanese; equivalent to Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc.
    Arigatou- thank you
    Hai- yes
    Okaa-san- mother
    Oi- hey

    I made the chapter longer! Yippee for me! XD Although I doubt other chapters will be as lengthy as this. Sorry for all the angst. I honestly thought there wouldn’t be that much, but my muses forced me to put more. Yap, I’m a total angst sucker. :P There’s just something about angst and descriptions that appeals to me. The two just go together! And I like stories that just tell the truth about reality and are able to portray emotions in such a way that it moves the heart. They’re much better than fluff and its prancing around in the meadows and stuff in my opinion, even though I do read some of that from time to time. XDD But that’s just my crazy, uncanny opinion. :P I just hope I don’t kill you guys with my urges to overload the angst by the end of the story. XD

    This chapter mainly focused on Haruka, since last chapter focused on Satoshi. The two don’t meet face to face…yet. Bwuahahahaha! Fear me and my love for suspense! XD Haruka does have a dark-ish sort of past (wasn’t expecting that, were you? :P); it’s part of the plot. =O This chapter sort of gives an insight on that, but it won’t be fully explained until we go into further chapters. Evil of me, ne?

    Okay, I WAS going to add pokemon to the story, but I realized that the pokemon have a different name in Japanese. (Err...they do right?) I didn’t want to add them anymore because I’d find it a hassle since I didn't know they're names (yes, I know…LAZY ME). So I chucked it. I’m sorry…I hope you guys aren’t too irked at this. ._.;;;

    I hope you at least liked this chapter! Please review and tell me what you think!
    Last edited by Sakura-chan; 30th April 2006 at 3:18 AM.

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  21. #21
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    Description was beautiful. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I've read a fanfiction that had everything so perfectly described and I could imagine every detail.

    So I finally see the angst-side of Haruka. YES! XD *is also a sappy-angst person* You did a good job with that; I liked the way you described the way she was feeling about her mother's death and the graveyard scene was one of my favourites. Total angst, but then you softened it up by her running off and seeing Satoshi. That was cool, imo. ^^

    I think you made a good choice by not putting pokémon in--they're not really needed, and it might mess things up.

    I love the dark-ishness of this fic. =P Keep up the good work! :]
    Currently a little busy. I'll respond to all messages when I can.

  22. #22
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    Since this is an AU I don't mind the lack of Pokemon. With how you're writing this I agree that it might just distract it. It works the way it is now, IMO. I also enjoy angst... But I'll admit to being a sucker for a happy ending.

    But you are far too hard on yourself! Your descriptions are gorgeous. The explanations about emotional torments and open wounds... Wow, I loved that. You really got the point across well. I also like how Haruka is trying to be happy but there is something weighing her down. I cannot wait to find out who Hikari is.

    I do have a bit of a suggestion, I feel you need to establish the time period within the fic. Although you've told us in a post already that it takes place after the war, I feel there should be a mention of this within the fic.

    Also, you mentioned something about having a FF.net account, right? I would love a link to your other stories. ^_^

  23. #23
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    I liked how you described Haruka's emotions through this chapter. Like when she came across the gravestone, and how she felt about her mother's sickness. To me, it adds some more depth into her character, and that's a really good thing.

    And I also liked the mystery added with the Hikari character. I like how it builds up the anticipation and suspense. I cant wait to find out more about him and Haruka's past in later chapters.

    So yeah, once again, really good job :]

  24. #24
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    Thank you everyone for the reviews! You guys are seriously too kind.~ <3

    Chelc-- Yap, I try to add lots of descriptions since I think it goes well with the story. Though sometimes I tend to add really weird similes and stuff. =X Yaaay! Fellow angst sucker!~~ *waves an angst banner around* XD I'm glad you liked the gravestone scene, 'cause I enjoyed writing it. =D

    Raevell-- Yeah, adding pokemon seemed to distract from the main plot. But some wanted the pokemon to be added, so I kind of got mixed feelings. =/ lol, I like happy endings too! It's just that I prefer if the characters experience a bit pain or struggle in the middle so things would become better in the end. It seems more...realistic that way. But there's definitely going to be a happy ending in the story!

    Nah, most of the time I view my chapters as not good enough and crappy-like. *coughs* I've still got a LOT to learn. I still consider myself to be a beginning authoress, since I can never ever ever finish a multichapter story (oneshots don't count =P). My stupid short attention span keeps getting in the way. >.> Plus it doesn't help when more plots pop into my head and I start to lose interest in all my other stories. Gah, I hate my muses sometimes. =___________=;; As for Hikari? Not telling yet! =X Although you can get a vague idea of who she is with all the hints I threw in the last chappie. o.O

    Actually, I was planning on mentioning the period in a later chapter of the story. But it's still a few chapters later, so we'll see. =]

    Yap, I have a ff.net account, though it's mostly just [incompleted] Cardcaptor Sakura fics in grave need of an update. XD But here's a link if you're still interested.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/~simplysakurachan

    Sara*Beara-- Thank you so much! *huggles* Yes, I wholeheartedly agree on in-depth characters! Especially in stories like this. And Hikari, mysterious as of now is the right word. =D

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  25. #25
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    I liked this chapter too. Sorry for the late review, but I didn't have the time on the week.

    The way you have them, to discover the other one in different moments is great. And they think that the other one has a good life, compared to themselves. Great detail.

    I'm really looking forward to know about both Ash and May's past. Your plot is really interesting.

    Your vocabulary is great, few fic writers, use that kind of language, and those who use it, make usually great stories.

    Looking forward to more .

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