Giving The Moon

Kazuo has a present for Usagi. Usagi's present for Kazuo is probably more impressive, though!

Date: 2018-04-30
Pose Count: 5
Kunzite 2018-04-30 10:58:22 91003
It is, indeed, not Usagi's birthday. But Kazuo has a present for her all the same.

(It isn't the first thing he has for her. The first thing he has for her is ever and always food -- when she visits, dinner in the evenings, breakfast in the mornings, ice cream if it's right after school, baked goods to see her through the rest of the time, ideally Makoto's but he'll fill in with something Naru made if he can, or something he made if he has to; when the two of them are out somewhere, he keeps an eye out for likely places or likely street vendors, having long since worked out that while she may leap off after shiny things on a regular basis, her being hungry makes her sudden detours less merely regular and more nearly constant. If he wants Usagi to be able to focus for more than three seconds, he knows he needs to feed her. And engage her heart at least as much as her brain, ever and always -- but her stomach claims first place on a regular basis.)

(That said -- the present.)

The wrapping is not paper, but a pair of filmy scarves in a soft pink and a pale blue, plain enough but shades she's been fond of over the last two years. Once she has those off -- it's framed; the frame is plain black, not large, won't take up much space on a wall or a surface, or tucked into a drawer for that matter.

In the frame is a geometric painting, a clear deep blue patterned with a dull gold and rich red in rhythms that suggest ribbons or flowers. The painting is itself a second frame, around a wide pair of circles, the smaller offset against the larger to create a crescent.

The smaller circle is not painted; it is burnished silver leaf, in suggestion of the Moon, with a tiny black shape perched on its lower edge -- the black silhouette of a tiny cat, its tail trailing down.

The larger circle's crescent is left unpainted, too, just paper, on which eight lines of calligraphy lie. The four on the left-hand side of the crescent are in something not Japanese and not English; clearly they are meant just to be fluid and pretty, or something. The four on the right-hand side of the crescent are actually legible to Usagi. They read:

    "At every instant and from every side, resounds the call of Love:
    We are going to the sky, who wants to come with us?
    We have gone to heaven, we have been the friends of the angels,
    And now we will go back there, for there is our country."
Kunzite 2018-04-30 10:59:06 91004
The food is happily tucked away into her tummy. It's been a teenager's eternity since lunch and her backup candy bar had been eaten between classes.

(It's nice that now she can eat and eat without being judged. Well, not by those who matter. Her mother worries, on occasion, muttering to her husband about tapeworms. Kenji, trying to keep his beloved wife as blissfully unaware for as long as possible, is always quick to reassure that this is normal, this is teenage girl. But it takes a lot of energy being the guardian of a crystal that holds, well, a lot of energy.)

The only thing Usagi has for Kunzite is a paper he'd helped her write, a red 92 circled in the upper corner. She does much better at these now, especially when he helps, and part of her suspects part of the eight missing points is mostly due to the teacher moving on autopilot when reaching hers and had forgotten to go back to correct what he'd marked wrong by mistake. So she feels a little bad that it's all she has for him, but considering she hadn't been warned of the gift, she tries to assure herself not to feel too bad. Though if she still had her emergency candy bar, she could have given that to him.

The scarves are pretty and of course they're immediately tied onto an odango each. He gets a beaming smile and a bit of a preen as she shows off her hair styling handiwork, scarf ends tickling along her cheeks.

She's never known much about art. Most of what she knows has been learned through Naru over the years, picking up bits and pieces about pointalism and Dadaism and other isms. The only thing she really knows is good pieces produce emotion. And this one produced quite a bit of those.

And of course, she can't comment on composition or tonality or any other sorts of words she's heard Naru use. "It's pretty," is about all she can offer, and even if its done so with a smile, she feels bad again that she doesn't know how to use those words to say why it's pretty. But she knows the place for it, holding it up and squinting an eye, trying to picture it among the other things on her wall. "Yes. It'll fit by my mirror."

She hugs it to her, because that's something she can do well, but her shoulders fall a little. "It's really pretty. But...I don't get it."

It's times like these she thinks maybe he should give things like this to someone smart enough to get it. Then it could be appreciated the right way without it being explained.
Kunzite 2018-04-30 11:00:17 91005
The only thing. The only thing. There were times, not so long ago, when the only way that Usagi got papers back with a 9 starting their grade is if the grade were a single digit. And it's April. That means it's just past March. That means that Kazuo is undoubtedly still thinking, off and on, about the things Usagi's given him in the past. Like 'the world existing' or 'the ability to think without someone else telling him what he can't think about.' Not that Usagi ever considers those, after all.

But the past miracles can be set aside. For right now, that grade is miracle enough.

The scarf display wins crinkles at the corners of his eyes, and a half-suppressed laugh in his throat, and his bending his head to try to conceal the little smile. This works poorly, given that it just means she has a better view of it. Victory is Usagi's!

"I'm glad enough that you think it's pretty," he answers her worry. "And I think you get the important part. After all, there's only one black cat who should be on anything of yours." Is that teasing? It might be teasing. But not the mean kind. He only really does the mean kind with Neil, and Neil does it right back, so it's not really the mean kind after all, even if it's hard to tell sometimes.

His arm goes around Usagi's shoulder to half-hug her, gentle. "It's a part of a poem by a man usually called Rumi, who lived about eight hundred years ago. He wrote poems about men's relationship with God, but he wrote them so beautifully and with so many images that people use them for other purposes often. When I was growing up, some of his poems were some of the only things that could calm me down for a while. So I share them, now, when they put me in mind of someone. This one put me in mind of you. You and some of your friends ... you are from the sky; you are from the Earth now as well, but you have, in fact, been to the heavens. And ..."

He glances toward the frame, even though he can only see the back for now; glances away from it and Usagi altogether.

"And I hope," he says quietly, "that we will come in your lifetime and mine to a time when it is your choice, and the choice of your friends, and perhaps even the choice of everyone else on Earth --" because how many of Earth's denizens, these days, are unknown even to them children of the Silver Millennium's worlds, reborn? -- "whether or not to return to the sky. Not because you or they have to. Not because of a moment of emergency. But because we may, in time, find a way to give back to the worlds the life they should have had to begin with, and because making a trip to the Moon may be no more difficult a thing than making a trip to Paris is now.

"So that is a gift for you, because it is pretty. And a hope for the future, and a promise to do the small things that I can to make it possible. Even if," and Kazuo meets Usagi's eyes again, and then glances to Mamoru's room with a small and sly smile, "I suspect you have the best of reasons to choose to stay here -- I hope one day you will have the choice."
Kunzite 2018-04-30 11:01:22 91006
For Usagi, it's difficult to think of such things as gifts. They were, after all, things she couldn't help but do. The ability for free thinking is, in her admittedly sometimes typical disgruntled teenager mind, a right everyone should have. So, to her, basic human rights and humanity's survival are not gifts. Gifts come with the option of not giving them, and that isn't an option she sees.

Usagi pretend and beams. The half-supressed laugh and poorly hidden smile is as much a victory with him as a schoolmate falling off her desk in a peel of giggles and snorts.

She's relieved her reaction is enough. However, she nods seriously at the feline observation. "Luna would disown us both if it were another cat." Mutual meanness toward friends is rarely actually mean, unless the two were only pretend friends. This is what she would say, if asked.

Usagi snuggles in to the half hug. Rumi. She repeats it to herself so she might remember it later. She knows about as much of poetry as she does art, but she like this piece. And it's such a lovely piece, and even if she doesn't fully grasp the imagery, she's glad something as pretty as this reminds him of her.

Here eyes widen, though, and they might water a little bit. The moon hasn't been her home in so long, yet a part of her had yearned for it even before she'd known who she was, before she even knew what it was she was yearning for. So she throws her arms around his shoulders, not one for half or quiet hugs. To receive, sure. To give? It would be like expecting a hurricane to only lightly tousle one's hair. Because even if it isn't what she wants forever and always and to never look back, not having it there leaves an unsettled bit at the back of her mind she's grown accustomed to, and he wants to help bring it back.

She might be sniffling when she pulls back, but she's smiling. "It'd be easier to get back with you. And you know, even if I'm old and ancient and thirty before we get that, it will be good." She wonders if he worried that she would want it forever and always and to never look back. "It's okay if I'd just want it as a summer home? Because I really missed color whenever I went back."
Kunzite 2018-04-30 11:09:04 91007
Usagi's hugs are often hurricane-like in many ways, it's true. Kazuo supports this one -- possibly literally; he'll bend down to make her hold on his shoulders easier if he can, but if not, his other arm goes around her to help take some of her own weight off her shoulder-joints. That height discrepancy gets in the way, sometimes. And anything that would make her stop early is clearly a thing that must be opposed.

(He did not tell her who, in his mind, is the Love who in that scrap of poem would be calling. To the poet, after all, the call was divine. To him ... well, anyone who's lived through an Usagi-hug might just have an idea.)

"It's always okay," he confirms to her. "That's the thing about having the choice to do something. If it doesn't include the choice not to do it, or the choice to do just a little of it -- like having a summer home -- then it's not really a choice, is it? Besides. The rest of us here would really miss color whenever you were there for too long."