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By Aja



Disclaimer: I think I’ve said it often enough; I do not own Gravitation. It would be a lot less silly if I did.


Author’s Note: This drabble is my response silver magess’ Winter holiday fic challenge at Gravi_Muse_Meet.  It was indeed challenging to hold myself to the 500 word limit… and I still went over a little. I hope it’s enjoyable.




This morning, Mika had dressed in houmongi; an appropriately respectful kimono for ikebana. When she had learned the art of flower arranging, Mika had worn a maiden’s furisode with long, beautiful sleeves. A small, melancholy smile turned the corners of her lips; she was no longer a maiden. In her thirties, now, she was no longer considered ‘young’. Mika wasn’t a mother yet, either. Like the cold, sleeping nature of winter, she remained barren.


With those bitter thoughts in her mind, she looked over the collection of flowers, branches, and plants she had gathered yesterday. The camellia had been purchased and the branches of red and orange Japanese winter berries were collected from the yard. They had set in water overnight. It would have been better to make the arrangement while everything was at its freshest, but all preparations for the holidays fell to Mika and last night, she had had too much to do. She hadn’t been able to approach the flowers with a calm mind or to consider them without haste. She had decided to take this morning for herself and selfishly perform her tradition of arranging a winter bouquet for the upcoming rounds of parties and visitors.


She had chosen a tall, black ceramic vase, preferring the nageire style over the shallow-vased moribana style. She fingered a winter berry, remembering how she had learned the messages and seasons of the flowers while she stood at her mother’s knee. Her perfect, graceful mother had a way with flowers that made her arrangements unique and eye-catching in a flattering way. She had loved the flowers of each and every season and Mika had loved them because of her mother. This was one of the few ways they had spent time together. When her brothers had come along, this ritual between mother and daughter had become twice as cherished.


Mother used to say to her, “Uesugi males have their duty to the temple and Uesugi females have their duty to the home.” Then she would wink and say, “One of those duties is to make the home a beautiful place. Aren’t we lucky?”


Lucky, Mika mused. Wasn’t she lucky? She had much to be thankful for— family, a nice home, virtually any material goods she wanted . . . she had married well. Much like her mother, Mika was the product of a well-born woman’s classical education. She could play koto, [1] write flowing calligraphy and poetry, arrange flowers, flawlessly perform tea ceremony, cook, and host dinners or parties for large gatherings. Why didn’t these accomplishments— these skills— make her happy?


Mika selected branches of the winter berries and teased them into sweeping forms. The camellia were small white buds now, but over the holidays, they would bloom. Mika carefully placed them opposite the branch of winter berries, creating balance. She judiciously plucked a couple of thick, dark green leaves off the camellia’s branch and tucked a smaller branch of winter berry into the fore of the vase’s lip. Looking on it, she saw the complex beauty of the plants and empathized with them. 


Mika would be seen to bloom over the holidays, too, a surface-perfect social light. The holidays would pass. Mika would toss the flowers out with the trash and she would . . .  return to her routines. She would take care of her duties to house and to family; beautiful but ignored.





[1] A traditional Japanese musical instrument; the koto is a thirteen-stringed zither, about 2 meters long and made of Paulownia wood. It is plucked using picks on the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand, while the left hand can be used to modify pitch and tone.




Author’s end note: I have been experimenting more with secondary and tertiary Gravi characters. I hope you enjoyed Mika’s POV and that you will leave me a comment. :D