somariel: Ferio from Magic Knight Rayearth (Ferio)
Title: Sleepless
Rating: K+/PG
Fandom: Magic Knight Rayearth
Chapters: Two
Characters: Hououji Fuu, Ferio
Summary: On the Magic Knights' first night back in Cephiro, Fuu can't sleep and neither can Ferio.
Notes: Set in the manga universe

A/N: Many thanks to FFN's Antoinette Veronica for beta'ing both chapters for me.
All recognizable dialogue and thoughts are taken from Tokyopop's 10th anniversary edition of Magic Knight Rayearth. Alternative wordings are taken from the resources on the Magic Knight Rayearth fansite Definitely Not Tokyo.

After spending what seemed like several hours lying in bed staring at the ceiling after the weirdest day I’d had since I learned of my sister’s death, the reasons behind it, and the truth of the legend of the Magic Knights, I gave up on trying to sleep. Getting out of bed, I got dressed and left my room to wander the halls of the castle like I had many times before.

As I wandered, my thoughts turned to the reason for my current sleeplessness—the return of the Magic Knights. I hadn’t expected that I would ever see them again after they had fulfilled their purpose in Cephiro—especially once I had learned what their real purpose was—but they had appeared without warning late this afternoon, during the daily meeting I had with Clef, Presea, and Lafarga to discuss the running of the castle. And as if their return wasn’t enough of a surprise, they had declared—and then proven, in a battle with someone from Autozam—their willingness to fight for Cephiro.

Looking up from the floor as I turned the corner into an exterior corridor, I saw someone ahead of me, looking out the window. Green clothing, short blonde hair… “Fuu?” I said.

The person turned to look at me. It was Fuu. What was she doing up at this hour? “What’s up?” I asked. “Is something wrong?”

She shook her head.

If nothing was wrong, then maybe… “Did you have a bad dream?” I moved closer, stopping a foot or two away from her.

“No,” she said, “I just couldn’t sleep.”

“Me neither,” I said, looking out the window. She was part of what was keeping me up. Was I part of what was keeping her up? I decided to probe gently. “I was with you guys only for a short time, but that didn’t stop me from worrying about the three of you.”

“Ferio-san…” Her voice was suffused with warm thanks. Then she said, “I’m sorry for being so selfish in the Forest of Silence.”

I turned to look at her in surprise. Why did she think she needed to apologize for that? “You were just doing what you had to do to stay alive. Don’t worry about it.”

This close to her, I could really see the physical changes in her since she had killed Emeraude. Stepping even closer to her, I brushed a hand against her cheek. It felt almost hollow. “You’ve lost weight,” I said. “In the Legendary Battle, you girls were the ones hurt the most, you Magic Knights.”

As I turned my head, the brush of one of the rings in my ears against my jawbone reminded me of something I had been thinking of earlier. Reaching up to my right ear, I took the ring out and held it out between my thumb and forefinger.

“That’s…!” Fuu gasped, her eyes widening in surprise.

“It’s the ring I gave you,” I said.

“I remember putting it in my pocket,” she said, “but when we got back to Tokyo, I couldn’t find it anywhere.”

“You mean you actually looked for it?” I asked. I could feel a smile on my face as I spoke. I hadn’t expected she would do that.

At my comment, she looked down, her face flushing bright red. I hadn’t meant to embarrass her. To save her from further embarrassment, I moved the conversation on, saying, “For some reason, it returned to me.” I had found it in my pocket as I got ready for bed the evening following the Legendary Battle.

“I wonder if it was because we went back to our world…” she said.

I had wondered the same thing, but I couldn’t think of any way to find out for sure. Even if that was the case, she could still have the ring while she was in Cephiro.

I gently picked up her right hand and, to her clear surprise, placed the ring in her palm and closed her fingers over it. Giving her hand a gentle squeeze, I said, “I want you to have it again.” And I was certain that Emeraude would want her to have it as well, if my sister were still here.

Thinking of that, I realized I should tell Fuu about it. “My sister gave me these rings,” I said.

“I can’t accept something so precious!” Fuu cried.

“When she gave them to me,” I continued, ignoring Fuu’s outburst, “she told me, ‘If you ever find a special person, give one ring to her.’ My sister…knew well that she and her own beloved would never be together in Cephiro.” At the time she had given them to me, though, that knowledge probably hadn’t been as bitter as it would later become. She had given me the rings during her third year as Pillar and Clef had said that he was quite certain that Emeraude and Zagato had both thought their love was unrequited until late in her fifth year as Pillar. “So…she probably gave me these rings in the hope that at least I could be in love.” The more I thought about it, the more I appreciated her ability to wish for me to have something she never could.

Then I noticed that Fuu had started crying. I hadn’t meant to make her do that! I wrapped an arm around her back and drew her close, tucking her head against my chest. “Please don’t cry,” I said. “I wasn’t trying to make you sad.” I held her like that for a few minutes and, gradually, she stopped crying.

When she had stopped even sniffling, I placed my hands on her shoulders and drew her back so I could see her face. “I don’t remember my sister ever smiling from the depths of her heart,” I said, looking straight at Fuu. “Her smile was always gentle, yet she always had sad eyes.” I felt a gentle smile appear on my own face as I continued speaking. “I want you…to stay smiling. So that when I remember you, you will always be smiling…” I treasured my memories of my sister, but I had very few of her smiling and, as I had just told Fuu, I had none of her smiling like she was completely happy.

“Ferio-san…” Fuu said, looking up at me.

There she went with the “-san” again. I had realized that it was a respectful honorific of some sort, given that she appended it to everyone’s name—even Umi’s and Hikaru’s—but I wished she would drop it from mine. To me, its use implied a certain distance and formality and I didn’t want things to be distant and formal between us. Although…could she be waiting for permission to drop it?

Grasping her left hand and drawing it up to my cheek, I said, “Just call me Ferio.”

It seemed that she had been waiting for permission, since she then said my name without the honorific suffix.
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