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In the Garden, Under the Tree

Title: In the Garden, Under the Tree
Fandom: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Characters/Pairings: Pidge, Shiro, mOC; shidge
Rating: G
Warning: Mentions of death. Takes place in the future, supposedly after the Galra war. Really brief reference to “A Trip to Jishu Shrine.” You don’t need to read it at all to appreciate this story—it’s just a nod to the fic’s existence.
Disclaimer: Voltron: Legendary Defender belongs to Dreamworks, World Events Productions, and Studio Mir. I own the stories I write.
Summary: An old man sees the past made anew. Written for the Shidge Week 2016 Day 1: Future prompt.
Word Count: 1030
Originally Posted: 19 September 2016
Edited: 19 September 2016

ff.net | DA | tumblr | ao3

~

Her pale skin was dappled with sunlight that fell through the leaves of the cherry tree. A warm breeze played with strands of her hair and tugged at the material of her clothes while rustling through the leaves above and the blades of grass below. All the while the woman slept under the tree’s shade with her back slumped against its trunk.

He observed this from his seat some meters away on the wooden terrace leading out into the high walled garden. The shade of the awning did little against the warm weather, but the occasional ringing of the wind chime made the passing waft of air a tad cooler than it really was. Memories of a time before flitted across his mind when he was young watching the love of his life sitting and sleeping amidst the grass and shade, summer blooms framing the picture of beauty that was her.

“Ojii-san?”

The man turned from the garden—from the sleeping woman and his memory of another in her place—to lift his aged gray eyes to the young man standing beside him. The youth bent to carefully place a tray of tea between them, his own gray eyes falling to the woman under the tree.

“How long has she been out?” The younger man questioned, settling down to sit beside his elder.

“Not long.” The grandfather nodded to the woman with a datapad on her lap under the tree. “She reminds me of your grandmother.”

The grandson offered his elder an indulgent smile. “Did she overwork herself, too?”

The older man chuckled and picked up one of the cups from the tray. “That’s not how she would word it. More along the lines of ‘dedicated to getting the job done.’ She would take her work out into the garden and fall asleep, too—sometimes drifting off while gardening with elbows deep in the flowerbeds.”

“I don’t remember her being so …” The younger man gestured his hands uselessly before him.

“Tenacious? She was. You were very young when she died, so I don’t expect you to remember much of her.” It wasn’t like he spoke often of her either. Decades had passed since her passing and still thinking of her, much less bringing her up in conversation, made his heart ache. Now, though, he did so to keep her memory alive and fresh in his mind. It was why the garden still thrived in her absence.

“Any tips for handling someone like her?” The youth took the other cup on the tray and drank deeply.

“You don’t ‘handle’ people like her, not if you have an ounce of respect for her.” He took a drink from his own cup while he watched his grandson look down sheepishly. “And you do—that’s good. You can’t be with someone like her if you don’t acknowledge and respect them. She won’t want anything to do with you otherwise.”

He remembered the thin line of his wife’s lips and the fire in her eyes, how her small frame seemed to contain a hurricane just beneath her skin’s surface. “Your grandmother was a force of nature when it came to the things she was passionate about—her work and family being at the forefront. Heaven help the poor soul who crossed her or stood in her way.”

“That definitely sounds familiar.” His grandson looked back the the woman under the tree, a wary expression in place before melting into one of fondness. “I wouldn’t change that about her, though.”

“Of course not.” He wouldn’t have changed who his wife was either despite the rough patches in their relationship because of how they clashed at times. He loved her because and in spite of her imperfections and perfections—at times they had saved him from his own merits and shortcomings.

“You miss her,” the young man stated, his attention once more on his grandfather.

“I do.” It was a simple fact, one he didn’t shy from. She had been stubborn to the very end, fighting to stay alive even when her body was failing her. There had been so much vitality in her small body that it seemed almost impossible for it to vanish the way it did. It had been so hard to accept that she was gone when the time came. It had been hard for a very long time. “I never stopped and I don’t think I ever will.”

The two men sat in silence for a while, one contemplating the future and the other contemplating the past.

“Takashi?”

Both men looked up to the woman under the tree. She rubbed her eyes and squinted at her datapad. “It’s almost five. Why didn’t you wake me up? I thought we were going to that love shrine.”

The young man stood up and stepped down into the garden, padding softly across the grass to the woman. “Sorry, Katie. I thought I’d let you nap since the jet lag’s been murder on your sleep cycle. Well, more so than usual.”

“Thanks.” Katie took his hand when he offered it, but slapped her datapad into his chest the moment she was upright. “But next time don’t let me oversleep.”

“I can’t guarantee that,” Takashi confessed with a smile.

The elder man watched the exchange with a smile of his own, memories once more coming to mind and superimposing upon the couple before him.

He saw another woman in Katie’s place: jet black hair falling across rosy cheeks instead of chestnut brown and the same overabundance of life exuding from her every errant movement. In Takashi’s place he saw himself: a mop of solid black hair rather than closely cut two-toned locks ruffled as he passed his hand through them in a sheepish gesture and the same soft look hopefully conveying everything words failed to express. Instead of a datapad, a battered notebook was pressed to his chest by ink-stained hands, her other hand freed from his own and gesturing wildly. A fondness between them underlied the mutual exasperation and made the summer blooms all the more vibrant.

If this present was anything like the grandfather’s past, then there would be little to worry about for the future of Takashi and Katie.

~

"Ojii-san" is Japanese for "grandfather."

Author

cherry blossom
sakura_scout
Dauting's inner voice
Dauting

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Status: One-Shot

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