Disclaimer: Weiss is Takahito Koyasu & co, and the lyrics to the song are by Bette Midler from the song "The Rose"-a very beautiful song, I might add.
Author's Notes: Sorry about the delay in posting. I had to take a leave of absence from writing. The rest of this story will actually be done fairly quickly now that the leave is over.
Dying Is Easy
Chapter 3 - The Rose
Ken laughed, tickling Omi as revenge for the smaller boy pushing him off the couch. They were on the floor laughing as Aya looked on, apparently unfazed. Of course, I could see in his face, that slight quirk of the lip that said he was trying not to smile. A warm smile came to my face seeing this. It was Christmas Eve, all of us were together like a family, and some of us were finally together as lovers, and I had never felt better in my life. Not with Asuka, not with my family-never.
"Oi, Ken-kun!" Omi protested, trying to scramble away from Ken, though he was laughing too hard to really move efficiently. Eventually, he ended up just tackled to the ground beneath Ken, their eyes locking from the closer proximity. Ken was smiling like he had a card up his sleeve, and Omi was looking back with a smile that could rival an angel. "Ken-kun, who put mistletoe in the mission room?"
I followed Omi's gaze to the mistletoe that was in fact hanging over where the two boys had stopped wrestling. My smile broadened. Leave it to Ken to go through a plan like that. "I guess you have to kiss," I heard Aya say; though he sounded more passive than anything else. I glanced back at him, and I could see the humor in his face that was barely contained. Aya... was going to enjoy this. His violet eyes took at moment to swing over to mine, and finally a smile broke out on his face.
"Is that okay?" Ken asked, sounding worried. He looked down at Omi. "I mean, sure, tradition is tradition, but I don't want to...." Ken backed his head away just a little as Omi put a hand to his cheek. The look on his face said that it was not going to be a problem. Ken didn't need any more than that. He bent down, kissing Omi firmly, though briefly. Just to be a pain, I cat-called.
"Hey, guys, get a room!" I yelled teasingly. Omi blushed as he drew back, and Ken just laughed, moving away from the formerly pinned boy. On the one hand, it was a wonderful sight-two young people in love, cuddled on the floor like they were, but it also made me immeasurably sad. I really hoped Ken would say something soon. If he was going to tell Omi he loved him, then would have been a great time.
Somehow, Omi beat him to it.
"Ken-kun... there's something I need to tell you," Omi said suddenly, looking at the floor. Ken blinked in surprise, his laughter dying instantly, and targeted Omi with his most intense gaze. I saw Aya shift out of the corner of my eye, and could now see him looking on intently. Curious myself, I also fixed my eyes on Omi. The small blonde was shaking furiously, and I knew he couldn't possibly be cold. "I... just give me a moment. I wasn't going to say this in front of Aya and Yohji...."
Ken glanced back at us for a moment, then put a hand on Omi's head, gently ruffling blonde hair. "If you don't want to say it in front of everyone, we can go somewhere more private," Ken suggested, sounding sincerely worried for Omi's sake.
"No... I want them to hear," Omi insisted. He looked up into Ken's eyes, blue eyes filled with tears, and bit his lip hard enough to maybe even draw blood. With a sound that was akin to a choked back sob, he flung himself into Ken's arms, much to the surprise of my fellow florist. Ken just held him, gently whispering condolences. If I wasn't sure of what Omi was going to say, I would be very worried for him. He was acting like he'd come to the end of the world as he knew it.
"Omi, what is it? You know you can tell me anything. I'll always be here for you...." Ken's voice was starting to waver. I had to wonder if he was catching on to what Omi was about to say, and therefore faltering, or if he was just finally losing composure a little himself.
"Ken-kun, that's just it," Omi stated simply, his voice unsteady but none the less matter of fact. "I'm drowning in your affection, Ken-kun." Ken's face became visibly confused, and Omi clung to him a little tighter. "I've fallen in love with you, Ken-kun... I just can't keep it in any longer. You show me so much affection... it is so painful that I'm not with you when....."
"O-Omi...." Ken was clearly stunned. He froze up entirely for a long moment, but then suddenly embraced Omi tighter, his face hiding in Omi's shoulder. "God, Omi, I love you, too!" Before I knew how to react they were both crying. I blinked at them for a long moment, wanting to open my mouth, but not sure I could trust what would come out. Then, I felt cool skin against my hand. I glanced over to see Aya standing up, his hand dragging me up with him.
Of course, he had the courtesy to leave them alone after their confessions. Why hadn't I thought of that?
~ some say love
it is a river
the tender reed ~
Love had kicked me in the butt so many times that I had been delirious with joy seeing Omi and Ken finally get together. It wasn't until the next morning, when Ken and I were preparing to open the shop, that I really was able to recognize just how abused I had bee in my relationships in the past. "I haven't been in love with anyone since Kase... and Omi... I was just so happy last night. I'm glad that you and Aya have been pushing us so much, Yohji. Otherwise, I don't think we would have ever gotten together."
"You and Kase were actually an item then? I knew it! Yurika was a rebound, then!" I laughed, seeing Ken's fairly cross expression, and handed Ken a bundle of baby's breath that needed to be put in the arrangements he was working on. "I just can't imagine it, though. I mean, who was seme?"
"Yohji!" Ken turned bright red. I think he was trying to glare at me too, but his embarrassment was too great to allow him to look serious when he was "glaring". Oh, the fun I could have with this....
"I suppose that you're seme now anyway, so it doesn't matter." At my statement, Ken choked.
"Yohji, don't you...." Ken trailed off, looking over my shoulder at someone walking in behind me. The light step indicated to me that it had to be Omi. I would not have heard Aya come in. He didn't believe in making noise when he walked, even when he wasn't on duty. "Morning, Omi."
"Good morning Ken," I could absolutely hear Omi's smile when he was speaking to Ken. What was I? Chopped liver? I turned to face him, and could see that he was dressed for school, and his backpack was full of books. Maybe he just had a heavier bag than normal and was therefore just a little more preoccupied? Well, okay, that was bullshit and I knew it.
"Thanks for breakfast, Yohji-kun," Omi said, finally acknowledging me. I knew he was referring to the bacon, eggs, and toast I had made for everyone that morning. He must've eaten what I had left for Aya and him when Ken and I were done. I could only assume he knew I had made it because Aya was asleep and Ken was a terrible cook.
"Going to school early today, Omi?" Ken asked with a light tone of voice. He went over to Omi, abandoning the baby's breath I'd just handed him in my arms, and took Omi in a hug. "You should have told me you were getting up early. I would have waited to have breakfast with you." It was a sweet sentiment, at the very least.
And, I knew it was exactly what Ken needed. Like myself, and Aya to and extent, I think Ken had come to believe that the ones he loved always ended up hurt, dead, or in Australia, though, I don't think he ever really liked Yurika that much. Ken had been hurt in love so often, that his pure love for Omi that was so fully returned, was like the bandage that would hold his wounded heart together. It made me wonder if Aya could ever be the same for me.
~ some say love
it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed ~
"Sorry, Ken-kun, but I really do have to go in early. I promised to walk with one of my classmates." Omi smiled apologetically at his new lover, looking as cute as ever. "I'll have dinner with you tonight, okay?" Ken nodded reluctantly, making a face that told me that he was just being pouty. "I love you," Omi siad just before kissing Ken quickly, in parting, and heading for the door.
"You too, have a good day at school!" Ken waved to Omi as the other boy went out the door, smiling brightly. As soon as Omi was gone, he sighed heavily. "I think he should stop going to school. Isn't he smart enough already?" Ah, pouty Ken finally rears his adorable head. I laughed sympathetically and handed Ken the baby's breath again.
"We should get back to work, Ken. If you're working, you won't think about it." I expected Ken to agree with this advice entirely, and cheer up instantly as he normally would, given the situation. Instead, he looked at me solemly and sighed again.
"I miss him already, Yohji. I just... wanna be with him forever...."
That, too, was something I had often felt for Aya. Now that we were together, it felt like I had an eternity with him, just because he was now mine. I could take things slow, and never worry about running out of time with him. At the same time, every single moment I spent away from him, my body burned for him to be near again. And, when we were close, I burned to be closer. I could never get enough of Aya. He hurt me as much now as he did when he was acting as though he hated me.
~ some say love
it is a hunger
an endless aching need ~
But, when Aya walked in that morning, about an hour after we opened shop, I all of my previous worries had washed away.
It was a Monday, the 26th of December, and therefore the shop was nearly empty. All of the Christmas flower deals were over, and the kids were all back in school. We got a few orders called in by companies that wanted to plan New Years celebrations, and quite a few unfortunate cases of people to come in to buy flowers for widows. It was, however, the time of the year when suicides were at their peak. Spending as many Christmases alone as I had, I could understand why the statistic was so high completely.
So, what does this all mean? Ken was on phone duty all day, answering the phone and then making the requested arrangements. Aya and I, in the meanwhile, were watching the shop. The completely empty shop, all by ourselves. Well, one thing we learned is that the chair at the cash register really isn't meant for two people, but we really didn't do anything bad. Just sorta flirted way more than was really proper in a work place.
Time flew, too. It was mid-afternoon by the time Ken went to soccer practice, and we were left really alone. Aya went and made a cup off coffee to warm up, and I gently arranged the short stem roses for the millionth time. That was when the bell on the door chimed to signify that our first customer in nearly two hours was coming in. I looked up, and was taken by surprise when I saw who it was. "Manx! It's good to see you!"
"Good afternoon, Yohji. I came to drop off some Christmas presents from Kritiker for you guys." Manx lifted one hand to display four small boxes. "Are you the only one working?" Manx was, of course, only saying this to be coy. She knew exactly what our schedules were.
"Ken left for soccer practice and Omi's still at school, so it is just Aya and me right now." I motioned over my shoulder. "If you wanna talk to Mr. Brick wall, he's making himself a cup of coffee." Manx laughed at my comment briefly, but then smiled at me in a way that deeply frightened me. She knew something I didn't know. "Manx, why did you really come?"
"Oh, just to see if what Omi told me was true," Manx replied, grinning madly. This was all very frightening indeed. "I didn't believe it until I saw you make it a whole minute without flirting with me." Things were starting to become clearer. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that Omi saw fit to tell Kritiker about my relationship with Aya. "So, how long have you two been together?"
"Well, it wasn't official until a few days ago." Manx nodded, that damn smile still on her face. "I know I must sound crazy, though. Who in there right mind could fall for Aya?" We shared a laugh at that. On some degree, it was very true. I had to be nuts to actually want to try a relationship with Aya. "But... I love him. I don't know why I love him, but I do. I don't really think there is anything I can do to change it." I paused. "Since Asuka, it's been so hard for me to love... I don't know if I am really ready for this, yet, but it feels so right."
~ I say love
it is a flower
its only seed~
"So, if you were so scared, why did you get together with him?" Manx asked, echoing the question I'd just been facing in my own mind. I wasn't really sure that I had a good answer for her, but I had to at least try. Manx was just as much part of my family as Ken or Omi, and I loved her like a big sister. I knew she would take care of me.
"I didn't want to live my life like that, any longer. I was being a coward, to not go after Aya. I know that by never taking that chance, I may have never been able to again... and I am so worried that I will lose him for good by making some small mistake. I mean, he has admitted that he doesn't love me... or at least, not like I love him... and it isn't very comforting to think that he might just leave my life entirely one of these days. That doesn't mean that it would be safer for me to not try. If I never tried to have a relationship with him, I would never have known how wonderful it is to be with him." I hadn't realized how disjointed my speech was until after I was done speaking. Manx was still seriously contemplating my words, though, so I must have made some sense, at least.
~ it's the heart
afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance
its the dream
afraid of waking
that never takes the chance ~
"Do you ever worry that one of you will die before you get the chance to really be together?" Manx sounded guilty as she asked the question. Sometimes, I wonder if she blames herself for what we go through, despite the fact that she is really only the messenger. "Aya always puts so much energy into missions, though often little thought. So far, that hasn't been a problem, but Aya will get himself killed one of these days if things continue as they are now."
"I'm not worried about Aya dying," I argued, grinning like an idiot. "That moron won't give up-ever. That includes giving up on his own life. He would never fall in battle unless he was honestly unable to keep going." I sighed. "And, it isn't death I'm afraid of-it's life. I think that Aya and I could become a very good couple, if life didn't throw millions of obstacles in our way. I'm a little worried that we will both end up living, but separated. "
Manx gave me a sympathetic smile, and transferred the gifts to my hand, gently clasping her warm hand around mine. "Talk to him about it, Yohji. I think he is starting to understand how you feel more than you think." Manx winked at me, then turned to leave the shop. I blinked, surprised that she would leave so abruptly, and glanced over my shoulder. Aya was standing by the register, sipping his coffee calmly. I had to wonder how much he had heard of the conversation.
~ its the one
who won't be taken
who cannot seem to be
and the soul
afraid of dying
learns to live ~
"I need to talk to you, Yohji." Aya's tone surprised me. He spoke softly, and his eyes were not as cold as normal. He looked almost hurt. I silently prayed that I hadn't said anything that would upset him-though I honestly could not imagine what could have upset him, given what I'd been talking about. Aya closed the space between us, coming to stand right next to me, so that he could look out the shop windows and see the outside just as I saw it. "Last night...."
Oh... so this was about Ken and Omi, then. Well, that was okay. At least I hadn't been the one to hurt him, if he was hurt at all. For all I knew, he was about to draw the conclusion that he was a sap monster because he enjoyed the little scene that had played out in front of us. Though, I couldn't imagine not finding it cute. Maybe I'm just a sucker for happy endings. The latter seemed very likely.
"I was thinking," Aya began, his voice soft, "that I wanted you to stay with me. I mean, I wanted you to stay in my room last night after we decided to leave Ken and Omi be...." Aya trailed off. I hope he didn't want me to respond. I was completely speechless. "I... I felt lonely last night after you left. It made me think... you always insisted that no one should be alone on Christmas, and I didn't understand what you meant, but now...."
"I'm sorry, Aya, you should have said something!" I insisted, when my voice decided to work properly. I took him in my arms, the coffee mug warm against my back when he decided to join in the hug.
"It felt like such a waste... to be alone on the one night when I should have had someone. It took so long. I've never had someone to spend the night with before... at least not as my lover. After all this time...." Aya was shaking. Again, I wondered how I had never noticed that he really had two sides. His outer self was the one I most commonly encountered, but deep inside him, was the dear soul named Ran that had all of the emotions of a normal person, and who had suffered greatly over the years.
~ and the night
has been too lonely
and the road
has been to long ~
"Aya, I'll start staying with you at night, then. I won't leave you alone again." I squeezed a little tighter, and kissed his hair behind his ear. "I love you, Aya, I couldn't leave you if I wanted to." Words were coming out of my mouth before they could be stopped, and it was unnerving. Oh well, at least Aya was hearing the truth.
"Thank you, Yohji. I don't know what I did to deserve it, but thank you." My heart clenched at his words. Aya still thought, even after I proved to him countless times that I loved him, that he wasn't worthy of the love I gave him? My stomach twisted at the thought that Aya could be in such turmoil. He was beautiful, intelligent, kind, and very lovable, once one got past his cold exterior.
"You didn't have to do anything, Aya. Anyone would love you just the way you are." I kissed his cheek as I pulled out of the hug to meet his eyes. He was smiling at me, much to my surprise. "Why do I get the feeling you said that intentionally because you like to hear me say I love you?"
"Maybe," Aya said, smirking.
"Oh, am I right?" I smirked back at him, putting our foreheads together, still gazing into his eyes. "I think you love me now, Aya. And I think you just don't want to tell me because you're scared." I was surprised to find that Aya's expression only grew more amused. I expected him to either throw up the cold exterior again or to look surprised and scared by my statement. He was about to do something really evil.
~ did you think
that love is only
for the lucky
and the strong? ~
"Who said I was scared?" Aya tilted his head slightly to meet my lips, and I was stopped dead. Was Aya saying that he loved me? Had all my attempts to get through to him actually worked? I hadn't even been trying anything for the past few days, else than making him be a good boyfriend who would act like he wanted to be in close physical proximity. Granted, we had kissed, and he held me for a good portion of the time we were opening on Christmas, but life was generally normal. That is, until he told me just moments before this kiss that he wanted me to stay with him at night. And now, he was insinuating that he loved me.
The kiss felt like it lasted forever. It was sweet, sincere, and nearly chaste considering some of the kisses we had shared over the past few days. It was warm, and comforting there in his arms, though, so I didn't care if this kiss lasted an eternity. I could deal with an eternity of this pure bliss. When he did pull back, it was slow and deliberate, and only enough so we could focus on each-other's eyes again. "Aya...." I whispered, sure I had something to say to him, but I really couldn't think of what. At least I was still thinking straight at all.
"I love you, Yohji."
Okay, never mind.
~ just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow ~
"Forever and always?"
"Um... I don't know what to say to that...."
"I love you too, Aya!" I kissed him again, a brief and sloppy kiss that was very uncharacteristic of me, but I was a little too happy to really care. I don't know how I'd done it, but I'd made the ice queen-er-king actually change his mind about me. He loved me. The man I'd loved for over two years loved me in return. I could imagine life getting any better. Even if he wasn't sure this would last forever.
Nothing good can last. Isn't that the expression? So, make the best of what you have. Yeah, that's right. I had every intention of doing so, too. I would stay with Aya every night, if that is what he wanted. I would do anything it took to make this last as long as it possibly could.
The door opened, signaling that we had a customer, and we sprung apart. Let me tell you, the poor guy looked confused as hell when he walked in, but Aya just helped him anyway, as though the man hadn't walked in on his confession of love. I had to smile, watching Aya talking with the baffled man as though nothing had happened. When Aya caught my glance, his expression softened for a moment before he ordered, "Yohji, go work the register."
With the man there had been a blast of cold air as the door opened to the bitter winter in full swing in late December. Suddenly, though, the winter air didn't feel quite so cold.
~ lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose... ~
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