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Title: Disappointments
Author: sybilrowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: No pairings, all the Weiss guys featured.
Rating: PG
Summary: The Weiss teammates all receive letters that remind them of painful times in their lives. Some disappointments are hard to accept; they only become reality when read in black and white.
Warnings: None.
Author’s Notes: I used the ‘Dramatic Precious’ radio drama for Aya’s background. Just in case... 1826 yen is about 20 dollars and Go is a Asian game played with black and white stones where you attempt to gain territory over a board.
Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz, its names and characters belong to Koyasu Takehito, Project Weiss, Marine Entertainment and Animate Film. All the businesses in this piece, along with their addresses, are authentic Japanese businesses. I made up the soccer mom, lawyer, and doctor.
Beta: My totally awesome, and totally picky, husband who goes by WingedPanther73; he’s the man who introduced me to Go.
December 12, 2008/ Word Count= 5,839

The Four Letters:

“Mail,” Omi called from the door of the flower shop. He thumbed through it while the others halted their activities. Omi’s sky blue eyes caught sight of the return address on the second envelope in the stack: Japan Professional Football League: Disciplinary Committee, JFA HOUSE 9F, 3-10-15, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033. Omi had a moment of anxiety hit his stomach. He didn’t even bother looking to see who it was addressed to.

“Ken, you have a letter,” Omi said barely above a whisper. Ken’s face lit up and then fell once he read the address. “Not to pry or anything, but it seems odd to get a letter from them after two years.”

“Not really,” Ken said. His face flushed slightly. He looked around to see the shop was only occupied by his three teammates. Youji started to look curious as he sipped on a soda, Aya went back to his sweeping. “I’ve been writing them every six months. I’ve been hoping to convince them to look at my case again.”

“Really? What’s the point?” Youji asked, rolling his eyes. Ken shot him a dirty look and crammed the stark white envelope into his apron.

“The point is I can’t do anything in sports except volunteer as a kids’ coach. If I ever want to try to get back in, even as a professional trainer, I have to have their verdict vacated. This may comes as a shock to you, but I don’t want to sell flowers for the rest of my life,” Ken said with rancor directed at the tall playboy. He then whispered, “or that other thing.”

“Here, Youji! One for you too,” Omi shouted out, just as Youji’s jaw swung open with a tart reply. It was also to keep Aya from chiding Ken’s innuendo at their night work. Youji took the creamy white envelope with coal black lettering. Omi watched Youji’s emerald eyes scan the envelope and grow stormy. “Are you okay, Youji?”

“Fine,” Youji mumbled. He tore open the envelope and tossed it in a trash can beside the cash register.

Omi couldn’t help but peek at the return address while Youji was distracted by the creamy colored stationary. The coal lettering read: Hijikata Law & Accounting Office, Higashi Ginza Bldg. 501, 3-9-18 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061. Omi jerked his eyes to the rest of the envelopes still in his hand. It was really none of his business, but this was the third letter Youji had received from that law firm over the last month.

His eyes caught sight of the name Fujimiya Ran printed in neat, pitch colored katakana characters. He shook his head slightly when he remembered it was Aya’s actual given name. The return address read: Tokyo Women's Medical University, Neurological Institute, 8-1, Kawada-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-8666.

“Aya, a letter came for you,” Omi said, holding out the envelope. Aya stopped sweeping long enough to take the letter. He glanced at it, crammed it in his jeans’ pocket, and continued to sweep. Omi was surprised at how impassive Aya had seemed.

“Omi, you need to count down the register and make the deposit,” Aya said over his left shoulder. Omi turned to the register with the last three envelope in his hands. The top one was the electricity bill for the flower shop and the second one was an invoice for their last orchid shipment. Omi would go pay each of them on Monday.

The third envelope caught his attention. It was addressed to ‘The Parents of Tsukiyono Omi.’ He set the other envelopes aside and made sure the others were engrossed in other flower shop closing duties.

He opened it to see it was from his school. It was an announcement that he had won a city-wide writing contest on behalf of the school. The essay’s topic had been about the future direction of Japanese foreign policy.

He was going to receive an award and some scholarship money with it. He would be honored at an awards ceremony next Friday evening; his family was cordially invited to attend the ceremony and banquet afterwards.

He quickly tucked the invitation in the deposit ledger and started to count down the register to avoid thinking about the situation that already elicited embarrassment. He would have to work out an excuse for why he couldn’t attend.

Omi tried, but found himself unable, to put his family from his mind. A cold lump settled into his stomach as he finished making the entries in the ledger. Thoughts about Ouka and the rest of his family distracted him; his thoughts pushed him into his own world, far away from the three other people moving around the closed flower shop on a Friday night.

A Soccer Ball:

Ken reread the letter he had received last night for the third time. His request to have his records reexamined for the fourth time had been rejected. He was behind the flower shop in the alleyway, so he kicked the large metal dumpster in frustration. It was so early on a Saturday morning that Ken heard no other sounds except the dull echo of the dumpster.

He wadded up the letter from the J-League disciplinary committee and threw it in the dumpster. He confessed to himself he wasn’t surprised. He shouldn’t have expected anything except the brusque, formal refusal he got.

After all, unless Kase was willing to go in front of them and confess what he had done, Ken had no chance. Unfortunately, Kase was now dead at Ken’s own hand. He clenched his fists and thought about how much hatred he now held in his heart towards the man who had claimed to be his best friend.

It wasn’t fair that Kase ruined his life out of petty jealousy. Ken wondered if all close friendships were doomed to sour and rot. He shook these thoughts off and grabbed a net bag that held seven black and white soccer balls.

He paused, shaking off the flash of white, hot anger that shot through his stomach. All that was left was a dull, dark ache; a longing for something he loved dearly. He would trade anything to play professional sports again. He took a deep breath, hoisted the net bag over his shoulder, and walked towards the practice park.

He arrived, seeing that all twelve of the children he coached were already running around the park. Akira, Ken’s star goalie, spotted Ken and ran towards him. The other eleven followed.

“Hey, Hidaka-san! You’re late,” Akira shouted through puffs of heavy breathing.

“Are you okay, Hidaka-san?” Hitoshi asked, equally winded. Ken looked up to the gray autumn sky and scowled.

“It looks like rain,” Ken said. He slung the net bag on the damp, browning grass. He sighed, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this today. He prayed the sky would mercifully pour down rain, but no such luck.

“Aw... it won’t,” Akira insisted.

“Fine. Run some drills,” Ken said, dumping out the soccer balls on the ground. The nine-year-olds all groaned. “Come on, guys, don’t give me a hard time today. I don’t feel good.”

All the children gave him petulant glares. They gathered up the soccer balls and started running them up and down the field. Ken took a seat on a wooden bench that had chipped, smoky colored paint. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees while he kept a careful eye on the children.

His mind drifted off, his eyes only registered the blurring black and white swirls of the soccer balls, after a while.

“Hidaka-san?” Ken started and looked behind him.

“Hello, Yamaguchi-san,” Ken greeted Akira’s mother.

“You look very troubled,” she said, sitting beside him.

“I’m fine. I just had some bad news in the mail,” Ken said.

“Well, I hope it isn’t too serious. Akira and the others would be devastated if you couldn’t coach them any more,” Yamaguchi said, giving Ken a bright smile. “They really depend on you.”

“I know. That’s why I showed up rather than cancel. They do need me,” Ken said.

“Well then... why not really be here instead of sulking on a bench? You may as well have cancelled for all you’re doing now. Coaching requires you to be out there directing them and correcting their mistakes,” Yamaguchi chided Ken gently.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be here unless my heart is in this,” Ken agreed. He took a deep breath and rose off the bench. He wasn’t sure if his heart was in coaching today, but he knew going back the flower shop to brood wouldn’t get him closer to the one thing he desperately missed: soccer.

He jogged out to the middle of the field and gathered them around. It wasn’t long before he had the children organized in a six-against-six game while he acted as their referee. The kids all lost their scowls and grew jovial when Ken actually joined them. It was infectious. Ken’s mind got drawn into the game. Halfway through the game, Ken doubled over and laughed when Hitoshi skidded in a muddy spot face first.

“Don’t laugh at me, Hidaka-san,” the child wailed as he hopped up. The other children laughed. Ken walked over to the kid and ruffled his hair.

“Please forgive me. I did need a laugh today. Thanks for cheering me up,” Ken said. Hitoshi beamed and crossed his arms proudly.

“I did a good thing,” Hitoshi gloated over to Akira. The goalie shook his head.

“Yeah, but at least my mom isn’t going to yell at me for getting all dirty,” Akira said.

“I’d think she’d be use to it by now,” Ken teased. It started to sprinkle little droplets from the sky. The children all groaned giving noise to Ken’s disappointment. “Let’s meet tomorrow afternoon.”

They all bid Ken hasty goodbyes and left him standing alone in the drab, drenched soccer field. He quickly grabbed up the net bag and tossed six balls in it. The seventh and last one was across the field. He took a couple of quick steps and kicked it far down the field towards the other goal.

It swished against the net in a confusing grayish blur and thunked to the ground. Black and white had sorted themselves out and rested side-by-side in hexagonal patterns on the spherical surface once again. He grabbed up the bag with the other six balls and jogged back to the flower shop before the slate colored clouds poured down more rain.


A Bottle of Jack Daniel’s:

“Glad to see you, Kudou-san,” Yoshida Koji said, standing to greet Youji. He nodded to the thin, graying lawyer in a slate suit. After the requisite talk about the weather, Yoshida waved Youji towards a chair.

“What kind of situation am I in now? Your last letter said that a settlement has been reached,” Youji said.

“I was able to reach a settlement with all your creditors and Auska’s. Between both debts from closing your detective agency it will cost 1,276,892 yen. I was able to collect a total of 223,743 yen from all your old clients. That leaves you a owing 1,053,149 yen to your creditors,” Yoshida said, looking at Youji over the top of his reading glasses.

“Well, I’m a florist now and it doesn’t pay well,” Youji said dryly. He started hoping Persia would come up with a job pretty soon.

“I’m sure this is pretty hard on you, Kudou-san. It’s never pleasant dealing with closing a business that’s in this much debt,” Yoshida said sympathetically.

“It not the money that’s made this hard; it’s just that...” Youji paused and furrowed his brow. Words were gone. Yoshida took off his glasses and nodded.

“It’s the end of your dream that’s the hardest to deal with. Especially under such tragic circumstances like the untimely death of your partner,” Yoshida said, giving voice to Youji’s enigma. The blond playboy gave him a wry smirk and nodded.

“Yes, that is the hardest part. Auska and I had a lot of big dreams for our agency. I guess you’ve seen a lot of people lose their dreams,” Youji said, glancing around the stark office.

“I’m sorry to say I have, but none I’ve had more sympathy for than you. That’s why I did a little extra research into your deceased partner’s assets,” Yoshida said. “I don’t know if you knew this, but Auska took out a life insurance policy with Mitsui Life Insurance Company Limited. It would seem that the company owed you quite a lot of money,” Yoshida said. He consulted a paper in a folder. “Yes, I settled with them for 1,054,975 yen.”

“What? I don’t understand? Auska never said anything about insurance,” Youji said baffled.

“She took out a policy on herself naming you as the beneficiary. They weren’t aware of her death since you didn’t file a claim. I negotiated a settlement. You see, it’s been four years since she passed away, and they were reluctant to pay out on such an old claim worth 4,566,200. I told them we would sue for the full amount if we couldn’t reach a settlement. Of course that was a bluff; we would have never won a court case, so we were lucky they decided to give you this settlement. I was able to negotiate enough to cover your debts, which was the good news. The bad part is that it was only a fifth of what you were owed four years ago,” Yoshida said.

“I should have known Auska would have thought ahead. She always talked about planning for the future, but I was always so stubborn,” Youji said. He shook his head, thinking if only he would have had that money four years ago, he could have still made a go of being a private investigator.

“Well, my work is done, Kudou-san. I’ll have you sign all of these so that I can collect and release the funds to the appropriate parties,” Yoshida said, moving a stack of crisp white forms towards Youji.

He took a proffered fountain pen from the lawyer. He quickly scrawled his named in dark ink five times. It was the last form that gave him pause. It was the form that would dissolve his and Auska’s business and release him from all legal claims to and from it. It was the last legal tie to her. It was also the last tangible piece to their dream together. Youji felt a hesitation to sever it.


“Hun? Oh yeah,” Youji said, nudging away his hesitation. He plunged the pen on the paper, but neatly, carefully lettered his name.

“Good. I’ll send you a confirmation letter within two weeks just to let you know when everything has been executed,” Yoshida said. Both men rose and nodded towards one another.

“Thank you for all your help, Yoshida-san. I appreciate you going to extra trouble and settling my debts,” Youji said.

“Oh, yes! Wait just a minute,” Yoshida said. The man got out a hard-bound, charcoal colored ledger book. The man opened the book to pages of business checks for the Hijikata Law & Accounting Office. “Your business was left with such a small sum of money that I’ll write you a check for what’s owed now.”

The man wrote out the check with the same inky fountain pen that Youji had used to close his business with. Yoshida tore the check out of the ledger and handed it to Youji. The lawyer said, “I apologize for the small amount of money. It must seem like an insult to walk away with only 1826 yen.”

Youji looked at the inky number on the plain background. This was the paltry amount of money, 1826 yen, that his dream was worth. His lips clenched together to fight down the sour taste in his mouth.

“It’s fine. I should be grateful to not have a huge debt,” Youji said, forcing a carefree smile to his face. “Thanks for everything.”

“Goodby, Kudou-san,” Yoshida said. Youji nodded at the man once again before folding the check and putting it into his jeans.

It wasn’t long before Youji hit the streets. It had rained while he met with his lawyer, but now he was free to walk around aimlessly for an hour. It was a beautiful, brisk autumn Saturday.

He didn’t register the people that walked by or the cars speeding down the street. He passed an electronics store and realized it was almost two in the afternoon. Ken and Youji had the evening shift and would relieve Aya and Omi at three.

He moved towards the direction of the shop. It wasn’t until he was on the flower shop’s block that his feet stopped.

“Hey, Youji. Any good news today?” the paunchy, balding man asked. He didn’t take his eyes from a newspaper. Youji started and looked around. To his chagrin, he was standing in the middle of the local grocery he and the others took turns patronizing. “Ken was just in here on Thursday. Don’t tell me you guys ran out of food already.”

Youji crammed his hands deep in his pockets and shrugged. His right fingertips ran over the sharp edges of the check. He said, “No. Just in here for myself.” Youji walked down the crowded aisles all jammed with food merchandise on metal shelves.

He wound down his third aisle and paused. His eyes were caught by the harsh black label with bright white lettering. The black and white label was on a bottle of dark amber liquid. It read: Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Brand, Tennessee Whiskey.

He picked up the bottle without a thought and took it to the balding man, Mr. Mita. He put it on the counter.

“Don’t you usually go out with hot babes on Saturday nights?” Mita asked after a snicker. The man punched some keys on the register.

“No date tonight. I’m staying in and celebrating,” Youji said in a dour tone.

“Celebrating?” Mita asked.

“I just finished closing my old detective agency. I don’t owe anything, thanks to my partner who was always practical and thought ahead,” Youji said. He pulled out the check.

“Hey that’s great,” Mita said. Youji bit back his reply, knowing the man didn’t know anything about his history. Mita shifted in his chair and got out a brown paper bag. He said, “That kind of work can get a person hurt, you know? You’re better off at the flower shop. A shop is good, steady money rather than that hit an miss stuff.”

“Yeah. I’m much safer now,” Youji mumbled tersely at the irony. “You don’t mind taking this third party check? I didn’t get a chance to take care of it yet.”

“For you, Youji? Of course,” Mita answered with a wave of his hand. Youji unfolded the check and endorsed the back. He handed over the stark white check in exchange for the black label whiskey. “Hey, you have some change coming to you.”

“Keep it,” Youji said. Mita tossed a pack of Youji’s brand of cigarettes in with the bagged whisky.

“Don’t drink it all at once,” Mita half joked. There was something of concern under it; like the man thought that Youji might try to drink himself to death tonight. Youji didn’t understand until he left the small grocery and looked at his expression in the reflective window. He looked as if he just came from a funeral of a beloved spouse.

He shook it off and walked four store fronts down to the flower shop. He went inside to see something out of place. Aya waited on a lady who was ordering for a wedding while Omi wiped down the coolers. Usually, it was the other way around when the two worked together since Omi was more congenial than Aya.

“Hey, kiddo. You okay?” Youji asked, sneaking up behind Omi who seemed engrossed in his task. The teenager gasped and spun around with a vexed expression.

“Youji, don’t do that!” Omi snapped. Youji was taken aback by his uncharacteristic demeanor.

“Sorry,” Youji said. “Bad day?”

“No! I’ve got a million things to do today,” Omi said. Youji lightly smacked Omi’s shoulder only to get a glare in response.

“Well... take off then. I’m here and Ken should be here in a minute,” Youji said. Omi nodded and looked abashed.

“Sorry I’m so grouchy. I didn’t mean to snap at you,” Omi said. “I’ve got to go tutor this afternoon.”

“That’s okay. Be home for dinner. I’m cooking tonight,” Youji said.

“What? You? It’s Saturday. You aren’t going to meet a girl?” Omi asked in incredulity.

“Nope. I’m going to cook you guys dinner and go lock myself in my room,” Youji said.

“Well... okay,” Omi said. He tucked his paper bag behind the register and shooed Omi out of the store with his hands. Omi thanked him and left the store. Youji put on his apron and watched Aya finish with the bride-to-be. Ken walked in and put on his own apron.

“I’m going to leave now since it’s slow,” Aya said, taking off his apron. “By the way, Omi didn’t finish the deposit last night. Could you finish it?”

“That isn’t like Omi at all,” Ken said, as he started to sort through some of the order slips on the bench.

“I know. Don’t worry about it, Aya,” Youji said. The tall, cool redhead left the flower shop just as it started to drizzle rain again.

Youji picked up the flower shop’s ledger. A starched, white sheet of paper slid out and fluttered to the floor. Youji bent over and picked it up. He saw that it was addressed to fictitious people, the Tsukiyonos, parents of Omi.

Youji’s emerald eyes darted around to make sure the shop was empty. He called out, “Hey, Ken. Come here. Did you see this?”

Ken walked over and read the invitation over Youji’s shoulder. The ex-soccer player shook his head and said, “I didn’t even know he was in a contest. He didn’t say anything to me.”

A man walked in the shop. Youji jammed the invitation into his apron pocket and went to wait on the customer.


A Game of Go:

Aya brushed back his sister’s raven hair from her ashen forehead. Gentle rain pattered against the window, breaking up the sounds of the machines helping monitor her vital signs. Her glossy, black braids draped across her pure, white pillow. He quickly pressed a kiss to her cool, smooth forehead and left her hospital room.

The drab, light-gray hospital hallways were busier than he was used to. He usually visited Aya-chan on weekdays rather than Saturday afternoons for that very reason. He quickly made his way to the dark parking garage. He slipped into his car and looked over to the passenger’s seat where the letter he had received yesterday rested.

Aya reached over and crumpled it. The letter was from his sister’s fifth neurologist. He had written a formal letter indicating that he had exhausted every avenue for treating Aya-chan. The neurologist, Doctor Yoritomo, had informed Aya that he was now declining any further treatment. To add insult to injury, Yoritomo had included a bill for Aya-chan’s last consultation for 452,485 yen.

Aya would have to ask Manx for an advance on the next Weiss assignment to cover the bill. He tossed the balled up letter aside with a sneer. He wasn’t comfortable with the idea of obligating himself to killing someone before even looking at the Weiss assignment, but he had little choice.

He started his car and drove out into the gloomy Saturday afternoon. Aya drove aimlessly down the busy Tokyo streets. He mechanically turned down smaller and smaller side streets while his sister’s demure smile plagued his mind. His foot stomped the brake before his car drifted into a sharp curb.

His amethyst eyes traveled over to the small, seedy building in front of his car. It was a building he had lived in for a while, the Scarlet Moon Bar. A car horn blared behind him, shocking him into pulling into the alleyway beside the bar. He had no idea why he had made his way here of all places.

Aya got out of his car and walked over to the steel-gray back door. He knocked on the door, only half expecting it to open. It made a loud squeal; the interior was pitch black.

“Ran, come in,” Shion’s gravelly voice called out. Aya flinched back, hearing his given name. Aya stepped into the dim back room. He avoided looking at the older man while he locked the door.

“Sensei,” Aya said, bowing to Shion.

“You’re in time for some afternoon tea. I’m still not able to kick the habit,” Shion said. Aya nodded, still avoiding direct eye contact with his Sensei.

Aya glanced around at the sparsely furnished room. Shion gestured towards the one extravagance, the goban in the corner. Aya walked over, annoyed with Shion; it was always games and indirect lessons with the man. He sat across the game table from the man and met Shion’s dark, amber eyes.

“I hope you still play,” Shion said.

“Sometimes,” Aya said, thinking of the few times he had played with Omi. Ken and Youji could care less for the game. Shion held the brown bowls out for Aya to pick from. He took a bowl and opened it to see smooth, black, shale stones. He was to make the first move.

“Place your three stones,” Shion instructed, giving Aya a three piece handicap. Shion placed his white stone on the remaining 3-4 point. There were several minutes of nothing but the soft clicks of the stones on the goban. Shion paused and served Aya a strong mint tea. Aya placed a black stone at the 4-3 next to Shion’s opening move.

Shion smiled slightly as he moved a white clamshell stone under it. A quick exchange ended with Aya abandoning a corner he had dominated with his black pieces. He spotted a ladder breaker, a stray white piece, blocking his ability to secure another corner.

“How is your sister, Ran?” Shion asked.

“The same,” Aya answered. Aya slammed the slate piece down in a new attack. Shion calmly played a ko-threat, flustering Aya. Yet another exchange turned sour for Aya.

“How about your quest with Weiss?” Shion asked. Aya’s eyes swept over the black and white stones scattered across the grid. Stones that were made of slate and clam shells. Shion cleared his throat; Aya’s eyes jerked up making the pieces a grayish blur.

“I’m closer to finding Takatori,” Aya said. He reclaimed sente, pressing Shion back in multiple territories on the board.

“Still so focused. That’s why you’ll never totally master the katana. Your mind is so concentrated on one single thing that you miss what’s around you,” Shion said. “By the way, you’re stones are too thick.” Shion revealed why he’d accepted the gote position, initiating three successive snapbacks for 20, 13, and 12 point.

“I didn’t come to have my swordsmanship or my Go game criticized,” Aya snapped. Aya boldly advanced into a hole, seeking to divide Shion’s territory.

“That’s what you always seem to seek me out for,” Shion said with a sly smile. Shion calmly played over Aya’s piece, isolating it as he pushed into the final corner. Aya could see but a few bits of black territory. “It’s like life, the light will always beat back the darkness. But it’s your choice to let that happen. You could win if you wanted to and live in light again. Just keep in mind that you have control over your density; you aren’t a victim of some dark event in your past.”

Aya rose, glaring at his Sensei; he nodded to Shion. He left the drab, smoky room and breathed the fresh, rainy afternoon air. Aya jogged over to his car and drove towards the flower shop in the dusk light.

It wasn’t long before he pulled his car up behind the flower shop that was now closed. He got out of his car just as night had finally settled, along with a thick mist. The shop’s windows were all pitch black, but there was a warm glow from the windows above the shop where he lived with the other three Weiss assassins.

He quickly went up the back stairway and opened the door with his key. There was a soft blast of warmth along with a television playing in the background. His nose picked up the scent of cooked shrimp and noodles.

“Aya,” Youji called out from the kitchen. “Just in time for dinner.”

He went into the kitchen where Ken was setting the table for three. Youji was finishing cooking. Aya tried to ignore the strange sight of Youji home on a Saturday night, but it was just too unnatural.

“Omi won’t be home for another two hours, so I thought the three of us could sit down and have a drink before we eat,” Youji said. He put the shrimp and noodles on the table. Aya took off his jacket and sat beside Ken, who looked equally puzzled.

“Okay,” Youji said. He got down three cocktail glasses and poured a small amount of whisky in each of them.

“This smells strong. You know I’m not a drinker,” Ken said. Youji sat down and rubbed his thumb over the black and white label.

“It’s important to me,” Youji said. He held up his glass. Ken and Aya did likewise. They each gulped down their swallows of whisky and cleared their throats. “Hey, Aya. There is something Ken and I want to plan. We want to see if you’ll be in on it.”

“What is it?” Aya asked. Youji slid the crisp, white invitation towards Aya. The cool redhead scanned the black katakana. “What did you two have in mind?”


A New Family:

(Following Friday Afternoon)

Omi’s day was colorless. He woke early to an empty apartment. He got cleaned up and dressed in his school uniform. After packing his backpack, he grabbed a piece of toast. He waited as long as he could, hoping one of the others would show up to open the flower shop.

“Darn them,” Omi finally mumbled and headed off to school. He hoped someone would show up soon. He gritted his teeth and debated if he should just skip school to make sure the shop would be open. No, school always had to come first. The other three were adult men that knew their obligations; he couldn’t spend time fretting over them and the flower shop. There were too many things to deal with today.

His classes were normal. His friends and teachers congratulated him. His friends passed him in the hallway and asked if they would finally meet Omi’s parents at tonight’s banquet. Omi smiled politely and told them his parents had traveled to America on business.

His friends all gave him sympathy and encouraged him to come and get the award anyway. Omi shook his head and told them his boss refused to let him out of work. Of course he neglected to tell his friends he was the one who made the schedules for the flower shop.

Omi found his mind was in a gray fog during all of his classes. He would find his mind drifting towards the few, scant, tangible memories of his family. He sank into a dismal mood as he headed back towards the shop. It was always like this for Omi; he had no family to share his achievements with.

His bleak attitude turned into white, hot rage when he walked in front of the flower shop. It was still closed. Omi couldn’t believe not one of his teammates had come around and opened the shop.

“How irresponsible!” he howled after he saw a paper sign that read, ‘Closed for the day.’

Omi got out his apartment key and bolted around the building to the back stairway. He quickly unlocked the door and flung it open. He drew lungs full of air ready to bellow at anyone he found in the apartment.

“Surprise!” Ken yelled before Omi could say a word. Omi let his breath out and looked at the coffee table in the center of the living room. Aya, Ken, and Youji all stood around the coffee table that had a large cake with the words, ‘Congratulations, Omi.’

“What’s this?” Omi asked in confusion. He shut the door.

“Well, we found out about your essay award tonight. Since you didn’t mention it, we figured you weren’t going,” Youji explained. “We decided to throw you a small party anyway.”

“Wow. You’re kidding,” Omi asked, feeling a smile come to his face. “Thank you so much. All of you. This means a lot to me.”

“Here. We got you something,” Aya said, handing a small package to Omi. The teenager started at it in shock for a silent minute. The square was wrapped in newspaper that’s ink had smeared and stained the dingy paper.

“Sorry we didn’t have proper wrapping paper,” Youji apologized with a smirk. “It was Ken’s fault.”

“Oh it doesn’t matter,” Omi said as Ken was about to say something biting to Youji. Omi opened up the gift. It was an elegant gold watch with a stark black leather band and crisp white dial. “I don’t know what to say, except thank you.”

“Well... all we have is each other,” Ken said. “Don’t forget to share things with us.”

“I could say the same for you three. You can lean on me too,” Omi said.

He sat down on the sofa as he looked over to his three teammates. Youji and Ken started bickering over cutting the cake while Aya poured cola. Aya just shook his head as white frosting was flung onto the coffee table.

Omi took his soda from Aya and chuckled when he realized, just for now, this was his family. These were the people he could share sorrow with, but more importantly, he could share joy with them too.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
I liked the theme of the Weiss boys taking comfort in each other and creating a new family for themselves. I thought you captured Yohji's character particularly well.

I find it kind of hard to believe though that Ken would risk Weiss's security by repeatedly contacting the J-league after his alleged 'death' in the fire. I also don't think it's very likely that Kritiker would have left Yohji with those kind of loose ends connected to his former life when they instated him in Weiss, but that bothered me less than the situation with Ken.

Also, many of the descriptions began to sound forced. I think that it is because they took on a formulaic pattern of every noun being preceded by exactly two adjectives. I’d recommend varying it more, often less will suffice.
(Deleted comment)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )