It’s abandoned. It’s a ghostown. It’s a century old and crumbling and certainly not a place that should enchant you.
But you’ve never felt more wonder.
Something colourful flickers in your periphery. And before you know it, you’re already walking, as if each step you take is somehow predetermined. You tell yourself it’s merely on a whim. Because you didn’t see anything. Because certainly, there’s nothing to see in this graveyard of a carnival.
Yet, right before your eyes, the carousel lights up, and the horses begin their slow dance.
It’s seemingly the work of a nearby man. He’s bathed in moonlight and mystery, wand raised, garbed in all the classic finery of a magician. Upon seeing you, the wand in his hand sprouts into a rose, and another flourish later becomes a crumpled slip, which he hands you as casually as someone would a business card.
「 Do you believe in magic? 」
A lunatic? A peddler? A prankster? Or -perhaps the most disquieting possibility of all- the real thing?
Hirunaka no RyuuseiMagician AU » In which Suzume encounters someone she never believed she would, in a place she never believed was real. But, as they say, truth is often stranger than fiction. | Based on (x)
“If you hadn’t started a flower shop, what else would you have wanted to do?”
Shishio toyed with a leaf on the rose’s stem, immersing himself in thought for several long moments.
“A teacher,” he answered finally. “ I would have liked to be a high school teacher.”
Suzume squinted, trying and failing to picture the easygoing man taking charge of a rowdy classroom. “High school teacher?”
“Sure. Kids and plants both need a lot of looking after. And there couldn’t be a bigger satisfaction than watching them grow and finally bloom, knowing you were a part of that… speaking of which, shouldn’t you be in school right now?”
Hirunaka no Ryuuseiflowershop AU » In which Shishio owns a small flower shop while hiding a buried dream, and Suzume is a college student eager to escape classes.
Tsubomi had deeply etched into him the fear of being deserted. So naturally, he hadn’t seen this coming – that this time, he would be the one to walk away. Even so, he understood his position as a teacher, and he understood his position as Yukichi’s friend. Like her uncle, he was also Suzume’s guardian. Teacher. Guardian. Not lover. A familiar pang churned the pit of his stomach, clawing its way upwards to grip his chest. The guilt made it difficult to breathe… but he couldn’t take advantage of her like this. She had her whole youth ahead of her, whereas he was tied down with all the responsibilities of an adult. He couldn’t drag her down with him. Every time he ignored her gaze, answered her tonelessly, or passed her in the hallways without a glance, he felt like screaming at her: —I’m doing this for you, Chun-chun. You have to understand I’m doing this for you. I’m a dirty guy, and I don’t want your ruin on my hands. This was never up to me. I do miss you. I do love you. And I’m sorry— As if she could hear him. As if she had reason to trust him. Shishio took another long drag from his cigarette. He didn’t know how soon he’d be forgotten. After all, Suzume was a headstrong, spirited girl. And he knew Mamura was stealing her away, little by little. He saw it in the ever-changing way she looked at that boy. Each glance they shared stung like a papercut, slowly nicking away whatever hope he had left — that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t too late. But she wasn’t one to hopelessly carry on. He knew it. Then again, sometimes he would notice her out of the corner of his eye at moments she believed no one was looking. Those were the only moments she allowed her easygoing smile to drop. She appeared downcast, lost, and unsure of herself. Often, she would stare unfocusedly at the sky, maybe looking at the past, maybe hoping for another daytime shooting star. A corner of his lips raised despite himself, vindictively glad that he was the one to have left her with those scratches. (x)
Hirunaka no Ryuusei, 5 years later » He wakes up to her peaceful face on his pillow every morning. It still feels surreal. Like she’ll vanish at the slightest motion. Slowly, hesitantly, he reaches out to her. He needs to make sure she’s real, there, sleeping beside him. That he won’t suddenly jerk awake to an empty bed and heavy disappointment like five years ago. She stirs under his touch, her mouth curling into a small smile before her eyes flutter open. And every time he’s gifted with that rare smile before she’s fully awake, he accepts it all over again. She’s there, she’s his, and he’s the luckiest man alive.