Demanding calls of dusty seagulls echoed across the air accentuated by the whispering sound of the waves reaching the shore.
Which is why, to those who listened, it came as a surprise as an exasperated voice that sounded like a bee to the ears, interrupted the calm of the ocean.
"Honestly! You sure are persistent, huh? There's no way something like that can make your wish come true,"
The bland comment reached the back of the boy who was ankle deep into the ocean, gazing away at the fiery sky as the sun set, illuminating the waters.
"Would my lady like to try it too?" He replied with a cerulean glance.
She snorted, her golden hair, lightly touched by the suns fingers, flying as she turned her head with a humph. "Something that trivial doesn't even need me to try it," She opened her eyes to meet his, revealing an exact match for her brothers eyes as well as a smile dancing within. "Because," she teased. "Isn't everything I wish for going to be made true by you, Len?"
Her smile and her words hit him in the heart, taking him aback. Abruptly, he began to chuckle. Len breathed in the moist, salt-like air deeply and gave a small smile to his sister. "That's true…Rin,"
He waded out of the water. The sun, setting behind his back, decided to run its clever fingers through his hair, giving it a copper glow.
Len reached her side and offered a hand in her direction. "Shall we head back, my lady?"
"It's Rin," she said halfheartedly, taking his hand.
Her brother only answered with a soft smile, and together the two made their way back, away from their shore.
Only one of them returned alone, with a wish in a glass bottle to tell the story of regret.
A small memory flitted through her thoughts, breaking the ache in her heart only to be replaced by haunting pain.
"Have you heard this story?" He would implore with a secretive smile and a twinkle in his light blue eyes.
"A secret legend," he had said.
Each day, religiously faithful, he had went out. Only this time, he brought her with him. But only because he asked if she would try it, of course.
"Put a parchment with a wish written on it into a small bottle,"
At that time, he had brought with him two bottles, one filled with an already written letter and the other with unwritten paper. "And if it's washed away by the sea, then someday, the thought will bear fruit."
Following his instructions closely she had filled out her wish, and together, the two siblings threw their bottles as hard as they could out to the sea, laughing and happy.
Holding the glass bottle- which was filled with her wish, close to her heart- she let the painful sound of the ocean shower her ears as his voice echoed in her heart. Rin closed her eyes and surrendered to that happy memory before it had changed. She became still.
Her voice called across the water to his back, asking, "Hey, what are you always so honestly wishing for everyday?"
He turned with a grin, seeing his sister all wrapped up in layers. "I'm wishing for Miss Rin's chest to grow very big!"
He laughed at her shocked expression.
She had run into the water to stand with him, and along the way she had shed her heavy blanket and coat to avoid the water. Although, with his blatant comment she felt that it certainly had not been worth the effort.
Len gave her a smile as she gripped his shirt in flushed anger. Just as she opened her mouth he said, "I'm kidding!"
Her cheeks flushed even redder and he let out another laugh. Cutting her retort quickly with a gently hand, he answered truthfully, "It's to always have my lady smile and that she always be happy,"
She turned away, holding her hands behind her back in utter sureness. "Then always stay by my side," Her eyes suddenly took on a small hint of shyness as she continued, "Because the times when Len is near me is when I'm the happiest!"
Len's cheeks were dusted in pink as her words lifted his heart. He turned his blue eyes to the setting sun, his golden hair splaying wildly against his neck despite it being tied up, "I see. If that could happen then I would be relieved,"
Together the twins gazed at the sun in solemn silence.
She always was happiest when he was by her side. She remembered each and every cheerful smile he would give her in the morning. She remembered the kind hands that held her when she was injured.
The same gentle hands that served her food each day, only to be covered in blood by the next.
He always did anything for her sake. Anything to make her happy. Even if it meant breaking his own heart to do so.
Every selfish wish she asked, he would answer.
Somehow, someway, it was always done, always completed to make her happy.
But now those selfish wishes can not be complete because he is no longer here. Hence was the reason why she is standing in the salty water, with a wish in her hand, alone.
The light had left his eyes, leaving them a dark and murky blue.
Rin gave a startled gasp, her hand moving to her mouth in silent horror.
He walked into the house with blood trailing his steps as it dripped from his hands. Red marred his face, and she noticed that it too marred his white shirt.
All of this was for her. Always.
Her brother gave her an empty smile. "I'm sorry for startling you,"
Her hands gripped her heart fearfully. What had she done? "…Len?"
He walked by her and went out back to wash off the blood, still keeping that gentle smile of his fixed firmly upon his face.
She fled down the hall, chasing after him. When she she reached his room she hid. With her back against the wall of the cold hall she listened in guilty silence to his anguished tears as he cried behind his pillow in attempt to stifle them.
She was the cause of his grief.
His grief for her selfish wish.
From then on, he continued to grant her wishes with nothing but an empty and haunted smile.
Raising her head to the heavens she opened her mouth, "I am getting the sea to deliver my thoughts,"
'I don't care,' was what her hands said. But inside, her heart cried bitter tears of overflowing regret.
The bottle drifted slowly away from her.
She straightened and let out a sigh as the salty wind whipped by her, vainly trying to tuck a stubborn stray of wheat-colored hair behind her ear.
The wind had its own desires and soon she gave up, settling on watching her wish fly away from her.
The farther away it drifted the more she watched in pained stillness as the waves pushed past her ankles, bringing with them the saddest of her memories.
They had ordered that she be killed for her selfish acts. Acts that were a crime soaked in blood.
He had grabbed her hand and together they fled, running far away from the house and into the streets.
When they had reached the darkest corner they could find the elder of the two stopped.
He faced her with the saddest smile she had ever seen and slowly, he let down his hair. The sun giving way to shadows.
She gasped as he gathered her in a hug, her heart pounding. "What are you doing?" His arms tightened in answer.
In a few more moments he leaned back and began to loosen the bow in her hair. He then gathered her hair in a low ponytail- much like his hair had been in- and tied it it with his hair string.
"Give me your dress,"
She started. "What? What is going on?"
His shirts were already off and tears gathered in her eyes as she pleaded against his chest.
His empty smile softened and he gently pushed her back. "Rin," he said quietly and offered his shirts to her.
Like being hit by a bag of bricks it dawned on her what he was doing. She wiped her arm across her eyes and he turned around.
Once they had switched he fixed her bow into his hair, setting the final piece.
They turned as they heard the angered shouts of the villagers, and they could hear the hatred that laced those voices.
Len turned to her with a small smile. "Rin, this is good bye,"
"What? No, Len, please!" She gripped the front of the dress, pleading with her eyes as she realized what he was about to do.
"I will do anything for your sake," he said and determinedly walked to where the soldiers and the revenge-filled villagers were. With a final whisper he said, "Be happy, Rin."
And with that she numbly let her hands drop to her side, the tears falling faster and faster, soaking the ground on which she knelt.
How could she be happy if he was the only one that could make her happy?
She was within the crowd on that dark, cloudy day dressed in a dark traveling garb as a disguise, trying to make her way forward to where her brother was being held. Trying to reach the gallows.
He was already fitted. His hands and his head were the only things the crowd could see.
"Len!" She had cried, tears gathering at her eyes as the hands of cold fear entered her entire being, squeezing her heart.
His dull blue eyes slowly reached hers. Always, no matter where she was, he always knew where to find her. His eyes still held a hint of determination and, to her surprise, love. He gave her one last empty smile as if to say, "Don't worry, this is nothing. It'll be alright."
She watched in horror as the blade flew down and ended his smile in an instant.
How could he still love her? Even towards the end?
Her tears had never ceased that day.
The clouds that hid the sun darkened quickly.
The wind blew strongly, whipping her hair and the blanket around her shoulders- to which she held onto tightly- this way and that. The water against her ankles crashed higher than her knees, soaking her dress.
The glass bottle that held her deepest wish had already disappeared from her sight, and slowly, a salt crystal joined the ocean beneath.
Her tears fell faster than the rain that was pouring.
She dropped to her knees, her hands clenching her chest as sorrowful cries tore out of her.
The waves were crashing and moving all around her, but the only thing she could do was say, "I'm sorry,"
The wind was heavy and the air was thick. By now she was already soaked and the blanket, useless.
"I'm sorry," she cried brokenly.
On that day did she finally realize her sins. On that day did she finally begin to regret her selfishness. For it had only caused the darkest days for her brother, and the beginnings of her sleepless nights.
"I'm sorry," she sobbed.
If only she could go back. Go back to the happy times that were. Like the time when they both enjoyed the rare treat of watermelon, or the time when he told her of the ocean's secret legends, or the time when they gazed at the setting sun by the shore.
"I'm so sorry!" she gasped. Her cry swept away by the rest of the noise.
Her tears fell, filled with regret.
"God," she cried to the heavens. "Please!"
Deep racking sobs escaped her and she grasped at the sand beneath.
If I can be reborn again…"
The hours passed by and the waves moved with a lazy calm. The wind had stilled and the sharp cries of the gulls could be heard again. Before she knew it, the sun had already peaked behind the clouds.
"It'd be nice…" whispered a voice within the ocean. "If we could be twins again,"
Her eyes snapped open, heart pounding. Rin stood up quickly, desperately searching. But only the sight of the setting sun, that was lighting the blue afire, met her eyes.
She closed her eyes. "That's right," she turned her head and let the breeze dry her face. "Isn't it?"