The Desire to be Noticed
A Story About Yoko; DaYo's Original Character
by Aegis Runestone
Winter had arrived in Coldpeak Valley, and it was the usual biting cold that would kill a human. But for the arctic foxes of the valley, they had grown their coats and made their kimonos of wool to withstand the freezing weather.
The valley was overshadowed by the enormous and beautiful Mount Diamond. It was called such because it shimmered in the sunlight by day, and sparkled in the moonlight by night. Every arctic fox dreamed of seeing the valley from the Crystal Cliff, yet only a few had done so. The climb was steep and dangerous, but those who returned said it was worth every step.
It was that time of year for many arctic foxes, male and female, to become of age. One young female fox named Yoko had just reached her sixteenth birthday the previous day before the ceremonies.
The ceremony would took place in the valley square; females would be chosen by the males that had watched them, and noticed them to be tried out to be their companion.
Yoko already had someone in mind whose attention she had hoped for.
His name was Kenshi, and he was very popular among the female foxes. He had a handsome white coat, deep green eyes, and an air of confidence that was unmatched by any other.
Yoko, herself, was a pretty fox with lovely snowy blue hair that curled like the wind, glistening blue eyes, and a light-colored fur coat. She wore a white kimono, which was deep white like the snow, and had blue and violet trappings to go along with.
That day; on which the ceremonies commenced, Yoko was in the valley, away from the square. Nearby, Kenshi was spending time with friends, and Yoko watched from a distance while sitting next to a tree with branches covered in snow.
She let out a sigh. Kenshi... she thought, her mind swimming in dreams of what could be, or could not be. Yoko saw his green kimono become white as he was pelted by snowballs from his friends. Why won't you notice me?
“Oh, look! It's Yoko,” said a female voice from behind her. Yoko turned her head to see Marisa and group of other female foxes. Some were paying attention to Yoko, others were most likely staring at Kenshi from the blush on their faces.
She giggled. “Watching Kenshi again?”
“Yes,” she said, biting her lip. She shot a glare at Marisa. “Why do you ask?”
Marisa snorted. “You're day-dreaming again, aren't you?” she said. “I suppose you're wishing that he's been watching you? That he's noticed you?”
“Wishing?” Yoko said. She stood up and looked Marisa in the face. “No, I'm not wishing. I know he has...” her voice trailed off.
“Oh please,” Marisa said. “You're lying; I can tell because you sound so in-confident.” She put her hand on her breast. “As for me, well... I've seen him glancing here and there whenever I'm around.” She giggled again. “Have you even talked to him? How do you think he'll notice you if you don't say a word to him?”
Yoko frowned, taking a step back. “Well... I was going to ask him—”
“Ask? You realize that would break the tradition,” Marisa interrupted. “Don't you?”
Yoko's face felt warm. “No! I wouldn't ask him about trying me! I was going to—”
“Uh-huh, sure.” Marisa rolled her eyes and folded her arms. “Look, you're not going to get Kenshi as a companion. Face it, all you do is dance. Do you even know anything about caring for a cub?” There was a pause, and Yoko swallowed. “I thought so.”
She gritted her teeth, almost baring her fangs. “How can you be so cruel to me?”
“It's not cruelty,” Marisa said in a matter-of-fact voice. “It's just the truth. You need to know how to nurture your young. You just dance. That's all you do. So, go dance and have fun. I'm going to see Kenshi.”
Marisa ran a hand through her bangs and walked away. The other girls had already left and Yoko could already see them fawning over Kenshi.
With rage, Yoko buried her hands into her face, feeling cold tears slide own her cheeks. You know you're cruel, Marisa. Then she felt a hand pat her back. She looked up slowly to see her friend, Sakura.
She smiled with gentleness. “Don't worry, Yoko,” she said. “I'm sure you'll get noticed one day. Don't cry, and don't let Marisa get to you.”
“Sakura, I wish I was confident like you,” she said. Yoko wiped her eyes on her kimono sleeve.
Her friend took out a handkerchief and wiped Yoko's cheeks. “Don't worry,” she repeated. “If you need anything, I'll be here for you.”
Yoko smiled kindly. “Thank you, Sakura,” she said, embracing her friend. “But...” she let go. “I want to be alone right now.”
She nodded. “I understand,” she said with a wink. The pink-coated arctic fox stood up and walked away from Yoko. She stopped, paused for a second and looked back; there was a gentle smile on her face. “I hope it cheers you up.” Then, she left.
Sighing, Yoko turned around and walked deep into the valley. She stopped at her 'spot,' which was behind a small hill, secluded from the eyes of others.
She took a step forward and raised her arms until they were aligned with her shoulders. Yoko raised herself onto her toes and then began to twirl her body around, standing on one toe. After three twirls, she shifted her weight onto her other foot and with elegance she slowly wheeled her arms around vertically while moving backward.
During the entire dance, Yoko had her eyes closed. Nothing bothered her now; only peace filled her breast as she continued her movements. Only the dance mattered now and nothing else in the world did.
“That is beautiful,” a male voice said.
Yoko opened her eyes, and stumbled over her feet from the surprise. A hand grabbed her arm and steadied her before she could fall. She looked toward the person who had supported her—it was a male arctic fox.
He wasn't handsome, yet he was plain and comely. He had a thick brown coat with an orange kimono to go with it. Yoko noticed that one of his ears was limp instead of straight, and it made her wince a little. Yet, his presence was one of gentleness, shared by his smile. He let go of her arm.
“You're quite the skilled dancer,” he said, his smile never weakening.
“Who are you?” Yoko asked, blinking. “And how did you find this place?”
“My name is Daiki,” the male said. “I found this place when I noticed some footsteps in the snow. I followed them, and saw you dancing. And... I've been watching you, Yoko, for some time now.”
Her jaw dropped. “Watching me?” How... do I react? “Why were you...? I know the answer to that,” she added, biting her lip. “You're interested.”
“Yes, I am,” he said. “It took me awhile, but I wanted to ask you to be part of the ritual with me. Will you?”
“You... want to try me?” Yoko asked very slowly. She put a finger to her lip and inclined her head. “Why? All I can do is dance. I don't know how to rear a child or...” her voice trailed off.
Daiki took a step toward her. Yoko's heart began to beat faster as she looked at him; he didn't look particularly strong like Kenshi, but she could tell that he was not afraid.
“It doesn't matter to me,” he said. Yoko's face felt warm. “I love the way you dance. I think that's enough for me. Besides, I'm sure you'll learn how to be a good mother some day. Let me take you to the ritual.”
She was speechless. What do I say? A male has noticed me! He's not Kenshi... but... Yoko recalled Sakura's words. He's so confident... almost... more than... A smile spread over her face. “You really would pick me over all the other girls?”
He nodded, his smile still there. He moved closer to her and whispered into her ear. “None of them can dance like you. None of them are pretty like you. Come with me.”
Yoko wondered where her breath went. “I... I...” Daiki didn't say anything, instead Yoko saw that he was waiting patiently for her to respond. Finally, she caught her breath and said, “yes... I'll come with you, Daiki. I never thought anyone would notice me.”
Daiki smiled again. “I noticed you.”
Yoko blushed. “You did. I... will let you try me to see if I can be your companion.”
“Then what are we waiting for? The ceremony's about to start!” he said eagerly. “After the ceremony,” he added. “I want to climb Mount Diamond with you to Crystal Cliff.”
At the mere mention of Crystal Cliff, Yoko felt her heart grow warm. “I would love to do that, Daiki.” He took her by the hand, and she did not resist. Daiki glanced at her and Yoko nodded, allowing him to lead her to the valley square.
NOTE: See Author's Notes for explanation of certain things in the description!