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Kimono Series I-III

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Kimono I - Purple

'Is it too much?' you ask; your voice soft as the wind in the trees outside the window.

In a rustle of ginkgo leaves and silk you kneel in front of him.

He is silent, as usual, but you can see the colour you wear on your lips and on your body reflect in his eyes. He is silent, always silent. Watching.

The irotomesode pools around you. You sit in a sea of soft purple silk and flowers embroidered so palely they look like silver. You are naked under it, and wear nothing but the silk and the purple lipstick; the exact colour of the antique kimono. You look up at him. 'Will you take me now, like a husband takes his wife?' you ask, and look away. He is so young, still.

He leans forward. He wears nothing on his lips, except a cruel smile. He raises a hand and pushes the irotomesode over your shoulders. 'I like purple, Nagisa-chan,' he says and slides a hand over your chest, tracing the shadow of the bruised marks he left on your body when he took you last time.

Kimono II: Ode to a Black Haori

A flash of blue and grey catches his eye, as if rain and sky mingle for a moment. 'Let me see,' Katou says and stops Iwaki from pulling the haori on.

Iwaki hesitates in the middle of the slow, precise movement, disturbed in his reverence of tradition, of respect for the old, well-preserved piece of clothing.

'It's not exactly Versace,' Katou grins and lets his finger follow the lapel of the black silk. 'I thought Iwaki-san had had enough of this when we were shooting Fuyu no Semi.'

'Heretic.' Iwaki glares at his lover. 'It's not my fault you weren't brought up properly. Italian couture is nothing compared to this.' He lets the haori slide down his kimono-clad arms, taking it off slowly. 'It is a formal occasion.'

'Any occasion that involves your father is formal, Iwaki-san. Your family is quite different from mine.' Katou looks at the black haori, wanting Iwaki to show him its secret. He smiles and looks up at his serious-looking lover. 'Let me see,' he demands, almost childishly.

Iwaki kneels down, carefully turning the haori inside out as he bares the lining. 'It was made for me when I was born,' he says quietly and puts the garment on the low table to let Katou study the painting. 'The black colour itself symbolises winter, water and wisdom.'

'And the motif?' Katou is enchanted. The plain dark silk holds such valuable treasures, both when worn and just as it is. It holds his Iwaki in its smooth embrace, and at the same time it hides a beautiful painting in the silk lining; a secret to everyone but Iwaki. Maybe old traditions aren't entirely without merit. So many layers to peel off; revealing one new surprise after the next, until one reaches the core, the lean sweetness that is Iwaki's naked body. 'It is beautiful. Like you.' Katou slides a hand through Iwaki's hair. It feels as silken-soft as the haori.

Slightly shy, Iwaki looks down. 'A dragon over water. Dragons are creatures of heaven and water, and can live in both places.' Iwaki smoothes out a slight crinkle that makes the waves look odd. 'The Ryujin, the Dragon People, were said to control the tide, ebb and tide.'

'I see,' Katou says quietly, caught in the symbolism and the way a piece of silk has its roots in ancient tradition and lore. 'It fits you very well.' He bends down and catches Iwaki's mouth, brushing his lips over Iwaki's. 'When I'm with you,' he whispers, his lips barely leaving his lover's mouth, 'you create ebb and tide and heaven for me as well.'

Indigo: Blues for a Forgotten Yukata

The sky is turning cobalt. The sun gives up and sinks in an ocean of fox-fur brown maple leaves that cover the streets. He cannot see them. Above him is the sky, darkening as the night devours the light and the moon's wide open mouth sings forth the stars. A lamp reflects in the glass, making its own miniature moon. A leaf has travelled on the wind, upwards, rustling against the cold glass. Autumn is here, outside, and inside too.

The room is dark; only the moon and the lamp cast short shadows on the floor and the bed. Sheets are crumbled like dry leaves. Maybe they, too, will become earth and dust.

Autumn is inside. His heart is withering. The sky and the cold stars are reflected in the fabric of her yukata: blue and white and soft and empty. She left it when she left him; angry, crumbling the fabric as she threw it at him. For once, Miyasaka understands. He never had the sky's depth, never had the clear eye of the stars.

Now he sees it. His hand slides over the blue softness. There is a spot on it, maybe his semen, a dry, scab-like spot. It is true what Iwaki-san said, he understands: like the dried semen on the yukata his desire was nothing but dirt and lies. It was a lie when he whispered Iwaki's name when he took her, leaving that exact stain. It was a lie when he thought he could break what was not meant to be broken; a lie when he betrayed her, betrayed his friends and himself and anything he ever believed in.

His loneliness is deeper than the sky. He buries his face in the fabric. Her scent lingers, reminding him of how he hurt her. Guilt has the colour of the autumn.

Tomorrow, everything will be forgotten. Tomorrow, he will laugh. Empty laughter; like dry leaves silenced on cold earth.