Gingetsu and Ran, one moment.
Clover © CLAMP
fic © Meg
Gingetsu unlocked the door and came in to a wall of sound, all-consuming and simply, completely loud. It took him a minute to realize it was music, at ear-shattering volume. It felt like a living thing, pushing against him, testing him and then letting him be. He took a cautious step in and realized the source of the music was in the living room.
Not Oruha, not the other woman who Ran listened to all the time, the one with the harsh honeyed voice like a wail of fury. Just the beat of drums and a voice that Gingetsu couldn't place.
He opened the living room door and saw Ran dancing, an agony of movement. He wasn't aware of anything, Gingetsu saw, but the music pounding in his ears and driving him on. When had he gotten that tall? thought Gingetsu. And then, He isn't a child any more. Three or four years, they'd said. So much of that had already gone.
The mirrors, Gingetsu saw, were turned to the wall, as if Ran didn't want them watching him dance. He remembered A coming through the mirror, wondered if Ran still worried about his brother. Maybe he'd never danced in the cage, maybe he'd been scared to dance.
He closed his eyes for a second, and then opened them when the music stopped. For a second he felt unbalanced, as if the music had been propping him up. Ran stood in the middle of the room, looking wary and embarrassed, as if he thought Gingetsu would laugh at him.
"Um," said Ran, ducking his head so his hair fell over his eyes. "Sorry. I didn't know you were back."
Gingetsu looked at Ran, still breathing a little hard, cheeks crimson with exertion. "You'll ruin your hearing," he said.
"Sorry," said Ran, again. "I won't put it up so loud."
"Do as you please," said Gingetsu. A drop of sweat was running down Ran's cheek, and for a second he wanted to wipe it away. He remembered reading about dancers, how people had always said they were like butterflies, flowers, birds, impermanent things of beauty. Not a butterfly, he thought, not a flower, not a bird. Just Ran. Always just Ran. "What do you want for supper?"
Ran went to bed early that night, tired even if he didn't want to admit it. Gingetsu stayed up for a while, doing paperwork, and then went to Ran's room. He looked in to see Ran curled up, his hand tucked under his chin. Gingetsu went to his bed and pulled the covers up, smoothed them down over Ran's shoulder. Ran shifted, and then cuddled into his pillow, smiling a little in his sleep.