Story: Blue-Haired Gray Eyes, Blue-Haired Brown Ones (chapter 2)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 2

"Besides representing Miator to the other schools within Astraea Hill, the Miator Student Council President also represents the school's student body to all external stakeholders, including parents, teachers and visitors from other schools..."

Miyuki and Tamao are in the Student Council Room of Miator: Miyuki at the blackboard chalking key words and phrases, Tamao at the Council table taking notes. They have been meeting after school for several days now, with Miyuki explaining the various roles and responsibilities of the Student Council. Their regular interactions have only served to reinforce their mutual respect. Tamao suspects that Miyuki has not only carried out her many duties as Student Council President, but has discreetly performed several of the former Etoile's duties as well. On her part, Miyuki finds herself impressed time and again by Tamao's intelligence and insight: the younger woman had a photographic memory for facts that was surprisingly complemented by a keen understanding of politics. Today, feeling especially pleased with her pupil's progress, Miyuki decides to call for an uncharacteristic break.

"Tamao-san, why don't we go out for a walk? The weather looks exceptionally fine today."

Tamao glances up from her notes, surprised by her mentor's spontaneous good cheer. She has grown accustomed to Miyuki's seriousness and reserve, and is therefore pleasantly surprised to see this unexpected side to the older woman. Also, she misses the Astraean scenery. Since Nagisa and Shizuma have started going out together, she has lost a favorite walking companion and has abandoned the pastime altogether. For the first time in a long while, a genuine smile of pleasure lights up the younger girl's face.

"That would be lovely, Rokujō-sama."


They walk in silence for a good while, simply enjoying the weather, the landscape, and the undemanding presence of the other. Tamao pauses on occasion to admire bits of scenery: an icicle, a snowflake, the remains of a snowman.

Miyuki marvels at the younger girl's quiet pleasure, a fact made more touching by her awareness of Tamao's private grief. It is this quality, Miyuki decides, that Tamao has in common with Nagisa. Both girls had the uncanny ability to delight in the simplest things despite the most painful circumstances - and to transmit that joy to others. Such a contrast, Miyuki muses, to how she and Shizumi had dealt with their own tragedies in the past or continued to deal with them in the present...

A sudden stinging sensation on her right shoulder jolts Miyuki out of her thoughts. Startled, she looks around and finds Tamao staring intently at a bush on the far side of the path, drops of melted snow clinging to her right glove. Miyuki's eyes narrow...


"Rokujō-sama!" Tamao gives a yelp of surprise and rubs the side of her head. "You didn't have to hit me back on the head!"

To her own surprise, Miyuki finds herself laughing openly at Tamao's shock. "Punishment for insubordinate behavior, Tamao-san. And, yes, I have a really good aim with snowballs."

In that one careless moment, with Miyuki's guard down and a smile on her face, Tamao thinks to herself with surprise, Why, Rokujō-sama, you're beautiful.


They are strolling by the woods, their breaths steaming in the wintry air. Their afternoon lectures have slowly given way to afternoon walks. Miyuki still talks occasionally about the Student Council, to explain odd bits of fact or procedure. Tamao has noticed that whenever the older woman mentions the former Etoile, her hand reaches for her neck in what appears to be an unconscious gesture.

They are near the edge of the woods when they first hear the voices: the first a low, musical drawl; the second a bright, chirpy staccato. They look involuntarily at each other, and turn away just as quickly. Neither has anticipated the look of concern and sympathy on the other's face. By the time Shizuma and Nagisa come into view, they are both preoccupied with other thoughts.

"Tamao-chan! Rojukō-sama!" Nagisa waves cheerfully at her best friend. It does not escape Miyuki's notice that the red-haired girl has moved slightly away from Shizuma's figure upon seeing Tamao.

Tamao smiles warmly at her closest friend and bows slightly towards the former Etoile. "Nagisa-chan, Shizuma-sama. Have you been busy at the greenhouse?"

Nagisa nods and shakes her head ruefully. "Amane-san and Hikari-san aren't used to caring for flowers, so we've been helping them out a bit."

Miyuki lifts an eyebrow at Shizuma. "You didn't use to be so helpful, Shizuma. It must be Nagisa-san's influence."

Shizuma gives a lazy grin. "I can be diligent when properly motivated, Miyuki."

The tension between the two older women does not escape their younger charges. Tamao hesitates, then speaks.

"I'm sure you and Nagisa-chan are eager to clean up after your work, Shizuma-sama, so we won't keep you any longer."

Tamao bows again to the silver-haired woman, gives Nagisa a small smile and continues down the path. To her relief, Miyuki has followed her lead. The older woman has a brooding expression on her face, and once again her hand is at her neck.  


It is nearly midnight but Miyuki cannot sleep. She stands by her window, her right hand absently rubbing the space below her collarbone. She remembers the key she carried for two years. I gave her back her heart after carrying it all these years - and she didn't even have the decency to give me back mine. But tonight, for some reason, she cannot muster her anger or her hate. She tries to recall all the times when Shizuma had twisted the knife-like edge of pain into her heart. But the only image that comes to mind is the look of concern on a blue-haired girl's face. Sighing, Miyuki goes to bed and closes her eyes. Dawn is a long way from coming.

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