Split in Two
Authoress' Notes: Mostly a yammering chapter. I love writing these, even if nobody likes to read them! As always, C&C would be very much appreciated.
Magic Knight Rayearth is property of CLAMP. I am naught but a lowly fangirl.
Chapter 2 - How Things Went
For the first few weeks, it was easy for the trio to follow Clef's advice and make sure Nova did not leave Hikaru's side, exempting the daily showers and trips to the bathroom. Lots of soul-searching was going on, and Fuu in particular, went all out in making Nova feel she was wanted, keeping Umi from blowing her stack in frustration.
But as time wore on, even Fuu and Hikaru found their resolve tested in more ways than one. Nova was getting more and more temperamental, and getting even harder to pacify. The little shadow had the unpredictable mood swings and hormonal madness that so characterized adolescents, and was found to be quite intelligent. That was a fatal trait when mixed with her natural skill of manipulation. It didn't take long before she realized that Umi and Fuu, along with the other residents of Cephiro castle were forbidden to speak roughly with her. She didn't know why they were such pushovers, and didn't care to find out. All she knew was that she now had the upper hand over Hikaru's friends and could pretty much get them to do whatever she wanted.
It didn't take long for the residents of Cephiro castle to start feeling the strain. Caldina was the first to crack. After finding her room full of precious gems, vases, and other knick-knacks from Chizeta in shambles from Hurricane Nova and one of her Hurricane Tantrums, she and Lafarga decided to take a nice, long, trip BACK to Chizeta, and to visit her distant cousins, Princesses Tatra and Tarta. There had been no sign of them for over two weeks now.
Ascot didn't leave with the couple, although he was sorely tempted. His beastly friends were quite scared of the girl-clone, and were refusing to be summoned. (c'mon, don't tell me that you never heard of animals getting disturbed by paranormal activity...) Only the lure of Umi staying in Cephiro kept him from going, and he spent most of his time either trying to get her attention, or soothing his poor beasts.
Prince Ferio was still lurking as well, but only to be supportive of Fuu, as Umi was just as hard to deal with as Nova these days. Many a time, Umi had aired her views to Fuu quite frequently, wholeheartedly convinced that the shadow took every one of Hikaru's negative traits and made it three times worse than it already was! And since it was not in Fuu's nature to just tell Umi off (especially when Umi really didn't mean to be so rude), she wound up being a personal venting booth. It was up to Ferio to soothe her down, and he did it gladly, hoping that this incident would bring himself and Fuu closer together. After all, he planned to propose to her after this whole mess got resolved.
Lantis was his usual, unruffled self. Maybe it was because his little shoulder companion, Primera was extremely vain and silly, and could get quite worked up over the most insignificant things. Perhaps it was because he missed his brother. Perhaps because his best friend had recently died. Or maybe, it could be the fact that he had just been through too much to take anymore, but whatever the reason, hysterics never bothered him. Hikaru was still alive and, from the looks of it, doing fairly well. And that was worth one of Nova's many tantrums any day.
But despite all these inconveniences, it was not surprising that Hikaru bore most of the brunt regarding her shadow's explosions. Her mirror seemed to be very moody, and Hikaru couldn't blame her, and in fact, felt sorry for her negative self. She knew it was her own fault that Nova couldn't merge with her, but her heart wouldn't let her accept the dark fact she had hidden from everyone. Perhaps it was this that allowed the fire knight to tolerate Nova's overly affectionate embraces and gropings, especially at when asleep. Several times she had woken up in the middle of the night only to find Nova's long limbs and digits in places they shouldn't be. It was almost as if Nova herself was trying to merge...
"But Clef!" Umi exclaimed for roughly the fifteenth time. "Both Hikaru and Nova are really getting tired of each other, and quite frankly, I'm getting tired of Nova too! I can't see how they could merge if they start hating each other."
Clef put his head in his hands, his temper near the breaking point. He fought to keep his voice controlled. "Umi, I can see your point, but we can't take any chances. Both Hikaru and Nova are very willful, and like to do things their own way. It's really tough, as I thought for sure that the two would be one by now."
Fuu listened patiently as both Umi and Clef fought to control their gunpowder tempers, and used the moment of silence to offer her thoughts.
"Clef-san, this is all in theory right?" Fuu quietly asked. When Clef didn't respond, she continued. "If this is only a theory, then it isn't fact. Ever heard of the phrase, absence makes the heart grow fonder?"
The Master Mage eyed her intently. Fuu, feeling a bit encouraged, went on. "Well...I'm thinking that the more they stay together, the more they'll get sick of each other and split. If you simply let them have their own lives, they would eventually merge with each other."
"So in other words, it's basically reverse psychology." said Clef. Fuu nodded.
Umi however, with an unusual display of pessimism, put a damper on their spirits. "Even if this works, it may not work in the way we'd like it too. Clef had said earlier that there's the risk that if they separated, Nova might become more dominant, and would absorb Hikaru into her."
"I think it's a risk worth taking. Both of them are utterly miserable. And anything that makes them BOTH unhappy isn't the way to go." replied Fuu. Both Umi and Clef looked at her surprised. Neither of them had ever seen Fuu as a risk-taker...
Meanwhile, Nova had been wandering aimlessly throughout the castle. Hikaru had left her again to see that dork Lantis. What did she see in him anyway? The guy had about as much personality as a brick. It was not unusual for her to feel this jealous, as her emotions were an ongoing roller coaster, but this wave seemed much stronger. For a moment, she was literally scared shitless. Then the pang fell away again, replaced with thoughts of Hikaru. Promptly, she slumped onto a couch on the other side of the throne room, ruby eyes closing as she tried to match her own pulse with that of her positive mirror.
What was Hikaru hiding? Nova thought for sure her other self wanted to be united, wanted to have Nova a part of her heart again. The meeting outside Cephiro castle was proof of that. Hikaru didn't strike her, didn't even yell or lecture at her. She just listened to her story, and then opened her arms, apologizing for her thoughtlessness.
The image of Hikaru's radiant, welcoming face had etched itself permanately onto Nova's heart, mind, and soul. Nova knew that Hikaru loved her for what she was, didn't hold anything against her. She knew that Hikaru wanted her to be a part of her life again...
A part of her life? Nova's sleepy form tensed and she felt herself wide awake, pulse racing in surprise.
Where did that come from? What brought that up? Nova knew she belonged in Hikaru's heart, not in her life. Finding no answers to this, Nova eventually settled down again, tucking her herself into a ball and burrowing her face into the couch cushions.
End of Chapter 2