- Daily Ashes -
Kestrel Sempai: FanFiction
A Shoujo Kakumei Utena/Revolutionary Girl Utena fanfic about those left behind ...

She awoke from a dream she didn't remember again. She thinks it might have been a happy dream, but she's not sure. She slowly rolls over, away from the dawn in the window to stare at the empty place beside her. Reaching out across the sheet, she feels the coolness of the pillow and sheet on that half of the bed, and she wonders if he came home at all last night. Not that it really matters anymore, but something inside of her wants to know.

She rises, draws the bathrobe around her, and goes to the closet. She counts the neatly laundried white shirts hanging on the left side. There is one less than yesterday. He came home. For some reason, she feels a sense of relief. It has been so long since she has actually seen her husband. It seems more like she shares their house with a ghost than with a man. Two ghosts actually, but one was by choice, a choice she still didn't really understand.

Her son and her husband had never really been that close. While his father loved him as much as any parent loves a child, it was she that the boy came to talk about his interests, his friends, his life. And while she dutifully nodded at her husbands's talk of the boy's future as a salary man, she secretly hoped that he would follow his heart and become a scientist, that he would keep his childlike curiosity and wonder of the world, and use it to help people by discovering new medicines or ways to make this reality a little less harsh.

But the gods had other plans.

After their son's death, her husband had stopped smiling. Not that he had always worn a grin, but he was suddenly less whole somehow. He started staying later at work, and when he did finally come home, he didn't say a word to her. She had respected his silence for as long as she could, and had then tried to bring up the subject of having another child. She was still young enough, and healthy, and while it would not be the same, at least there would be more in her life than the silent walls of the house.

It was the first time since the day of the funeral that she had seen her husband display any emotion. His eyes had glistened, and he had shaken his head no. When she tried to speak of it again, he had walked out. She had spent the rest of the day wondering if he would ever return.

And, finally, he did, in a drunken stupor that only let him make it as far as the living room. She had managed to move him onto the couch, remove his shoes, and was covering him with a blanket when he moaned and spoke their son's name. She remembers stopping, standing over him with the blanket, and how the mixture and confusion of emotions inside of her had almost drowned her. She didn't know how long she stood there, but eventually, she tucked the blanket around her husband's shoulders and went upstairs to cry herself to sleep.

When she awoke the next morning, he was gone.

And so it had been these last years. He would come home at some point in the night, and leave some time in the early morning. Sometimes, if she awoke early enough she could feel the warmth of his body still captured in the sheets beside her. Usually she marked his days by the clothing he wore; the shirts and pants that still needed pressing, the underwear and socks that still needed washing.

But today was different. Today she would leave the house for a reason other than to fulfill a household chore. She picked out the dress she would wear, the dress she always wore. After getting ready, she had a simple breakfast and left the house. The walk was pleasant. It was late spring, and while most of the blossoms had left the trees, there was still a freshness in the air that spoke of beginnings.

As always, once she entered the grounds there was a subtle shift in the air; a respectful silence for the dead that was both imposing and peaceful. She passed another couple and bowed to them, without speaking. Their son has shared classes with her own, and their grief was shared by her, and hers by them.

Down past the last tree, she turned to face the small marker of her son's grave. She cleaned the area around it, replacing the old flowers with new, lighting the incense, murmuring the prayers. Once the rights had been observed, she took a step forward and lightly touched the gravestone. She spoke softly to her son, telling him how proud she was of him, telling him not to worry about her, telling him that his father was a good man.

The wind blew lightly, fluttering the edges of her dress and drawing wisps of hair out of her clip to dance around her face. She looked up, seeing the sun glint through the leaves of the tree. She smiled, happy that her son understood, and had given her this beautiful day yet again this year.

Gathering her things together, she touched the gravestone one last time in farewell. She walked to the edge of the cemetary and stopped just inside the gate. Turning around, she bowed deeply, saying a prayer for her son and all of the other students who had died in the fire at Nemuro Hall so many years ago.


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