A ficlet by Gossamer

He stepped out of the main school compound, the rolled certificate clasped in one hand, a small smile on his face. Following the raucous shouts of jubilation that could be heard, he made his way slowly to the gym, something in his heart unsure of whether or not to be overjoyed, or instead hesitant. As he walked under a large tree, the dappling shadows flickered on his skin.


He whirled to face the familiar face, his heart thudding, but didn't have time to do any more than that as strong, basketball-callused hands crushed him to the tree. Out of breath, the certificate slipped from his fingers.

The kiss came, but unlike the forceful push to privacy, the touch was unsure, hopeful, sad and a million other different emotions at once, a tentative tasting of sweetness, of something deeper and darker. They were not ones to publicize a feeling they could not even put a name to. Yet this … this feeling---it was sufficient to drive him mad, sometimes.

He reached up and pulled the taller man tentatively to him, burying his head in his shoulder as laughter and shouts bubbled across the lawn. "We should end this now," he whispered finally. However, nestled in the warmth of protective arms, the words didn't come out as convincing as he would have liked.


He didn't stop to hear what the younger man would say. He had thought things over. And he knew what he would have to do.

"I graduate today," he finally managed. I'll be leaving. "I don't want to drag this anywhere, Kaede." The last part came as a whisper, even as he hated himself for saying it. Rationality won out over emotions though, even as it had always done so.

Rukawa bowed his head, silent.

I want to preserve this memory of us, together, laughing, talking, sharing, and---dare he think it, let alone say it? ---loving. I found something I would never have guessed I could find, especially not within you, Kaede.

"I'll miss you." The words of admission tore unwillingly from his throat, even though he knew it would only make the parting more difficult. And it's the truth. By god, I really will miss you, Kaede.

He leaned in one last time, slowly, tremblingly darting forward to capture the first-year's lips in a kiss, hoping that all his feelings could be felt, sensed. It had been, at best, only imagined. It was the most passionate they had ever dared venture, and it would be the last of stolen embraces.

After a few moments, he gently pushed the boy away, stepping past him to bend and retrieve the certificate. And then Kogure Kiminobu walked away, leaving the silent figure looking after him. As his shoes scuffled slightly in the dust, a bittersweet smile curved his lips.