Title: Butterflies and Coffee
Characters: Ume-kun, Serapi
Notes: Wrote this in 1999, late summer, maybe early fall. This one was for J.S., who I seem to have offended the shit out of shortly after this. We haven’t spoken since December of the following year, if not before that… Time gets fuzzy as it passes, but it’s been a good many years.
He touched her wings.
"My God…" he said;
"they’re beautiful" he said.
She smiled indulgently and spread her paper thin wings to their full breadth. Light from the candles on the low table behind her spilled through them, bathing him in a soft particoloured glow. She realised she’d forgotten the colour of his eyes. His work had kept them apart so long, she’d forgotten many of the little things…those things one sees every day, and never notices gone ’til one sees them again. In this light, though, his eyes were a dark green — blue if she leaned to the left.
He praised her beauty again. His Japanese was halting at best, but hers was enough to give a native speaker apoplexia. However, this was their time alone. By mutual agreement, it was all they spoke when they were alone; maybe someday they’d speak it well, but not today. The occasional English-sounding words they spoke —kohii, tabako— were necessities rather than indulgences; Japanese contains no native words for coffee or cigarettes.
She thought about the differences between them —joking half arguments that kept their relationship entertaining. She liked hot sake; he didn’t drink. He drank ocha like tomorrow wouldn’t come; her tastes ran to Earl Grey. She hated dogs; he hated cats — that was just as well, pets were as bad as kids, in her opinion, and if she recalled correctly they shared a certain distaste for children.
Thousands of miles apart in the fleshlands, here in this pocket of void, there was barely breathing room between them. He was still kneeling on his zabuton as she reached out to stroke his face. Here, they could be anything they liked; she had only added wings, he, implanted mirrorshades. She thought he looked spectacular in them, puns aside, but she found herself lost for words.
She fell to her knees and threw her arms around him. Maybe here he was just pixels, she admitted to herself, but he was still pixel-perfect. She had dreamed, on the nights she could sleep, of the day when their tiny room would be complete. So many images, so much code, had gone into just this one tiny room. It was so clean it ate an entire server. She shivered at the thought.
"Me or disk space?" he asked her, smiling impishly.
*sigh* He knew her so well.
"Yeah…but isn’t it great to have that kind of storage to just throw around?"
She didn’t deign to answer that one. One raised eyebrow and a split second later, she was kissing him. He toppled backward to the wood floor.
They lay in a tangled heap for a moment. He looked up at her. ‘oh really?’ his expression seemed to say.
"Sensory test?" she offered, with a hugely cheesy sheepish grin. It was one of those looks that in anime is usually accompanied by the appearance of a large cartoonish drop of sweat on the forehead. She realised she could make that happen here if she wanted. The very thought made her toes crackle.
"Hmph." he replied, unceremoniously dumping her on the floor next to him. He reached for his tea. She saw through his faux morality without even looking up, and he knew it.
She took the tea from his hand and replaced it on the table.
She blew out the one candle.
"Tonight…" she whispered to her pixellated lover.
"Yes…" came the reply.