Moon Mist & Autumn Puppets

Deena


I watch him. Like rippling shadows hiding from the sun, I watch him. Watching always, my heart seems to bleed. Bleed with love that never flows. Empty like the dark coast of the ocean. Watching him now is not enough, not as it once had been. When my emotions were strewn in confusion and disarray, I had simply looked. I knew nothing else then, had never felt such flaming intensity. Now is different. Now brings with it acceptance. For without him I cannot live. This I know. My reason keeps quiet, though it remains tattered. The salvation I seek can come only from his hands as everything I had ever known falls apart into the cold ice of chaos.

The time to watch and remain silent has passed over me. I want to tell him, to spill the words that echo inside of me so persistently. The need to make him want me, to let him know that he is mine overwhelms me. These feelings erupt within me, filling broken spaces so completely that I believe I could shatter into fragments. Thousands of them, shining like frozen glass. I've never been so scared before. I'm unable to let him go but unable to make him stay. And still, even as I think it, I break, enveloped in inability.

Concealed in the folds of the night, his beauty beckons me. Thoughts melt. I can't tear my gaze from his body, don't want to. I hear the velvet softness of his breath as he sleeps, oblivious to my presence, to my pain. His dreams are sweet, without the burden of what I am. And yet...my arms ache to hold him, to crush his soul into mine. Molten desire washes over me as I watch this dark haired boy. With eyes like liquid hope and a smile of strawberry coated candy. I want to eat him. Never have I seen anything so close to perfection. Everything that is he burns inside of me. My caution dissolves. I can't bear it.

He moans quietly as he turns over and buries his face into his pillow. The dark blue blanket that covers him slides away from his body. Perfection. His chest is bare in the streaming moonlight. Pure perfection. Thin, but smooth and slightly tanned. His chocolate locks fall lightly over his angelic face.

Time stands still, lonely and quiescent. I forget everything in that one moment. Forget that he is not mine to have, that he doesn't love me. Revenge is gone, melting like broken ice, with my hatred and everything. Until this star kissed night, I was able to kill all my emotions. Under control, I was frozen. But tonight, watching him bathed in the moonlight, something inside of me snaps. I know this can never be enough. Only passion remains, submerging my senses. The world falls away leaving behind only this stolen moment and my love. I dissolve as reality smiles on swirls of shattered colors. So long I've waited.

I find myself sitting on his bed before I have time to stop myself. I shall not return now. I will risk everything for these few stolen moments. My hand touches his cheek, smoothing away those soft, brown locks from his exquisite face. He feels like liquid heaven. I watch, transfixed as long, white fingers trace his lips. He sighs. My heart pounds rapidly.

He is my precious. It's all worth it. I love him.


Ken was having the oddest dream. He couldn't distinguish illusion from reality, if one was the other. Stark strands of color shrouded him, dancing like waving ribbons. This world felt vivid, as a crisp wind caressed his cheek. A gesture so light, as though real fingers were touching him. He could see violet. Violet shadows against a red sky. Brilliant and scorching like raving flames. And yet, violet and...red? There was something hauntingly familiar about those colors. He couldn't quite place it.

Airy fingertips touched his chest. It felt like liquid silk. He sighed. And now...a quiet voice was speaking to him, as if against his lips. The words weren't comprehensible but there was something infinitely soothing about the voice. Soft and serene. Like the hands touching him. Everything felt beautiful. The red sky sparkled as the violet shadows danced.

"My precious."

The familiar voice, in a familiar world. Like sleeping on a silken bed of dj vu.

And yet, when he awoke, the room was achingly empty, wispy curtains jerking against the wind.


The shop was filled with stupid schoolgirls. Again. Their high-pitched, annoying voices grated on my nerves.

"Oh Ken kun! You're so kawaii!!!" one blond girl gushed. Two more tittered in agreement.

I wanted to smash those girls. They were fawning and simpering all over Ken and I didn't like it one bit. What made them think that they were worthy of Ken's affection? They knew absolutely nothing about him. Not like I knew him. They didn't know that Ken liked to talk to himself when he was alone or that he twisted his sleeves and shuffled his feet when he was nervous or that he loved to buy candies for children. They hadn't seen Ken bare-chested and bleeding like I had. They hadn't worked by his side, killed by his side. They hadn't silently watched his every move, dreamed of him every night.

They knew nothing about him.

They couldn't possibly love him like I did.

The yellow tulip in my hand crumpled. I hated them all. Almost as much as I hated myself. For thinking the impossible. For being such a damn fool.

"Maybe you'd like to come with us for ice cream sometimes?"

Ken rubbed at the back of his head sheepishly, his cheeks red. "Well I - "

I couldn't stand it, even though every reasonable part inside of me shouted to keep quiet. But hadn't someone, somewhere, once say that love made a person reckless? Indeed. Propriety be damned. Ken was mine, not theirs.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had tossed the tulips aside and was stalking over to them, scowling. "If you aren't going to buy anything than leave!"

My threatening tone and dark mood was enough to empty the shop of all girls in an instant.

"Stupid girls," I muttered, resisting the urge to smirk.

"Is that any way to treat our most esteemed clientele?" Yohji teased, snickering. He always got a kick out of me throwing out all those dumb girls. "You wouldn't want us to get a bad reputation, would you?"

I ignored him and went back to my tulips. It wasn't as though Yohji would understand. How could he possibly grasp what I was going through; know what I was feeling? He probably had never been rejected in his life. He only knew confidence, not fear. Anyone he wanted, he got. Male or female. No one could resist him. I wondered briefly if Ken would want Yohji.

"All those girls are too young for you anyways Yohji kun," Omi pointed out. He smiled shyly at me. "Besides, we have lots of work to do. Those lily displays aren't going to make themselves."

Yohji groaned as he began to help the younger boy with the display, complaining all the while.

I looked away from them and over to Ken. The sight of him shocked me. I'm such a fool. I live near him, work near him, fight near him. I see him everyday. And still, everytime I lay eyes on him, I'm not prepared for how beautiful he is. How sweet and cute and utterly huggable he is. The way his shiny locks fall into his dark eyes. The warmth of his smile as he hums softly under his breath. He's wearing the same dark blue mechanist's jumpsuit he wore that second day when I met him in the shop. Without the bandana covering his hair this time. The black apron was too long on him. It took every ounce of resolve within me to keep from grabbing him and never letting him go. I was going crazy. I had to stop. I couldn't just ravish him in the bloody shop, as much as the idea appealed to me.

I took a deep breath and watched him quietly, trying to control myself.

He was staring intently at the bougainvillea plant he was watering. "I can't believe they asked me," he muttered quietly to himself.

I felt a pain tighten in my chest at the sound of those quiet words. Was it that Ken actually wanted one of those idiot schoolgirls? That was a thought that hadn't occurred to me. Though, upon reflection, why should it have surprised me? He liked girls. I thought I had too. Why shouldn't he want one of them?

"Are you disappointed that they're gone?" I asked tightly, trying to control my urge to head off and attack those idiot girls.

He blinked up at me, flushing slightly at being caught talking to himself. "Well no, not precisely. It's just, you know..." he trailed off, tugging at his bangs.

"What?" I demanded, my hand absently crushing another tulip. I braced myself for the harsh rejection that was to follow. The searing hurt that he would unconsciously but inevitably cause me. He wanted one of those girls. He was in love with one of them. He was angry with me for making them go away. He hated me.

"Well, it's just that, um, not too many girls would choose me when they could have any of you guys." He fiddled with his apron strings. "I'm just sorta, you know, the common one of the group."

I stared at him, my rage and paranoia diminishing. I certainly hadn't expected him to say that. "What do you mean 'the common one'?" I asked, puzzled. "Who told you that?"

He caste me a brief, fleeting look and then quickly went back to watering the plants. "No one told me that Aya. It's the truth. I'm not complaining or anything. It's just that I've got nothing special about me. I'm just your stereotypical good ol' boy-next-door, you know. Not like you guys anyways. I mean girls like you because you're mysterious and quiet and intelligent. They like Yohji because he's charming and sexy and knows how to treat a lady. And they like Omi because he's cute and caring and shy. Me? I'm pretty much like most other guys. Just a clumsy soccer player." He shrugged, adding some more potting soil to a trailing English ivy. "Not that I'm complaining or anything but it's kinda nice to be wanted." He flushed and then laughed, a hollow sound that said nothing and everything. "You must think that I'm such a moron."

His tone was casual and dismissive but his hands told a different story. They were tightly gripped around the lacquered pot. I wanted to be the one to comfort him, to hold him tight against me. He was so special, so perfect. Not wanted...if only he knew just how much I did want him. Hell, I couldn't even recall a time when I hadn't not wanted him. My every moment, my every resolve, falling into scattered turmoil. This is what he had done, with the innocence of his smile, his being. The one with eyes so bright and a pure soul. I wanted him so badly. If only he knew...

"That isn't true," I said, struggling to keep my voice impassive and casual. I couldn't let him know now, if ever.

He looked at me sharply. "I'm not fishing for compliments Aya. I like myself just fine. You don't have to pity me."

"I want you."

Who was more stunned by that sudden outburst, he or I? Mentally I cursed myself. How could I simply blurt out what I felt like that? He had inadvertently reduced me to a bumbling fool, an emotional wreck. "You said that no one wanted you," I hastily amended. We all want you. You're very important to Weiss."

There was a smile in his voice. "You don't have to do this Aya. I appreciate it but I know where I stand." He shrugged as he poured water into a spider plant. "It doesn't matter."

Oh but it did matter. He was perfect in my eyes. Why couldn't he see it? More than anything, I wanted to enfold him into my arms and show him just how special he was. "I admire you Ken."

Chocolate eyes widened as he turned about to face me. "What?"

Feigning interest in a pot of azaleas, I nonchalantly repeated, "I admire you."

"But why?" Ken boggled, making adorable saucer-eyes at me.

I said the first thing that came to my mind. "Because you're good with children." I pulled out a stray brown leaf from the pink azaleas, attempting to look busy. And because you're so selfless and caring and sweet and beautiful and I love you.

"Uh yeah," Ken said slowly, watching me intently. He continued to stare at me for a few minutes.

"What?" I demanded finally, hiding my unease at his gaze behind gruffness.

Ken set down his watering pot and grinned a huge, toothy grin. "I have a good idea."

God I wanted to kiss that grinning mouth. "What is it?"

"Take off your apron and come with me." He wiped his hands on a cloth and then tossed off his apron.

I blinked in surprised but obeyed. "Why?"

"Because we're going to do something fun!" He beamed up at me.

"Ken," I warned weakly. How could I possibly deny him anything when he looked up at me with those enormous eyes and smiling face?

A shiver raced into my bones when he grabbed my hand. His skin was soft and warm against my own. "Just trust me, okay?"

"Hey where do you guys think you're going?" Yohji demanded as Ken dragged me unceremoniously towards the door.

"Aya and I have some business to take care of," Ken declared, winking at me.

"You can't just leave right now," Yohji complained, thumping down a vase of hyacinths in protest. "The afternoon rush will - "

"You leave all the time during the afternoon rush," Ken retorted.

"Just let them leave," Omi told Yohji gently. "We'll be fine without them."

"Knew you'd see it our way Omittachi, " Ken announced quickly, pulling me out the door. "Ja!"

Omi smiled and waved at me. "Have fun," he called out.

Behind me I could hear Yohji grumbling. Inwardly, I smiled.

The day was incredibly bright and I squinted, unused to the dazzling sunshine. It was also windy, making it just a little bit cold. I felt goosebumps sprouting onto my bare arms.

Looking down I could see Ken's hand holding my own. My fingers were white poles of bone beneath his tanned, sturdy fingers. Ken holding my hand on a crisp autumn day was probably the best feeling in the world.

"Where are we going?" I asked over the hustle and bustle of the busy street.

Much to my disappointment, he let go of my hand and instead fell into step beside me. "Patience is a virtue," he quoted, shaking a finger at me.

"Aa."

We weaved our way through the busy streets. Ken watched Tokyo with avid chocolate eyes. I only watched him.

"Don't you just love this?" he asked me, gazing around at everything and anything.

I blinked bemused. "Nani?"

His face broke into a smile. "You know, the world around us." He gestured to the shop-lined sidewalks and traffic-filled roads and all the people actively bustling to various destinations. "It makes me feel so alive. So many people doing so many different things. Everyone is so busy and I could just stand back and watch it al. There's so much to see. It's like the whole world is alive and waiting for us to explore it. Know what I mean?"

I nodded, wanting to tell him that I didn't care about the whole world, I only cared about him. He was my world, so alive and brimming with life. I wanted to stand back and watch him. "It's beautiful," I replied, my voice sounding raspy.

Ken didn't notice. "It is beautiful," he agreed, not realizing that I was talking about him. "Fall is my favorite time of the year. It's not too hot and it's not too cold. I think it's the most vibrant time of the year."

A memory of Aya chan dumping multicolored leaves on me flitted into my mind at that moment. She and I used to rake up big piles of leaves and then jump into them when we'd been young. I remembered the scrapbook we'd make of all the most unique and prettiest leaves we'd been able to find. At one time I think that autumn had been my favorite time of the year too.

Ken continued to talk cheerfully as he lead me through the crowded streets. I loved to watch him as he spoke of things that interested him. He become so animated, his eyes gleaming as he gestured with his hands to emphasize a point. The brisk autumn wind had tinted his cheeks pink, tousling those jagged bangs.

Suddenly Ken grabbed hold of my hand again, pulling me into a different direction. "Look an ice cream shop!" he shouted straight into my ear.

I winced.

"Let's go! Right now is the perfect time for ice cream!" He hauled me towards the shop.

I had to smile at his enthusiasm even if his overzealous voice had done a number on my ear. "Isn't it a bit cold for ice cream?"

He gave me a look of pure disbelief as we entered the shop. "What, are you kidding me? It's always time for ice cream Aya!" he proclaimed with great authority. He nodded at the lineup ahead of us. "Would all these people lie?"

"You're the expert."

"So what kind of ice cream are you gonna get?" he asked, standing on his tiptoes to see the menu board over the heads of the people in front of us.

As I studied the menu board, filled with flavors I'd never heard before, I realized just how long it had been since I'd last eaten an ice cream cone. "I don't know. What about you?"

"Moon mist." He smacked his lips. "It's yellow and purple and white and it's ssssooooooooo good! You should try it."

"Alright." If Ken liked it then I wanted it.

"You won't regret it!" he enthused happily.

About ten minutes later, we walked out of the shop with our ice cream cones.

"Isn't it good?"

I nodded. It had a unique taste, sweet and cold and delicious. Like Ken.

"I think ice cream always tastes better in the cold," Ken continued between licks.

I could feel my lips quirking upwards. He had ice cream on his nose. "Wait," I said, unwrapping the napkin from my cone. "You've got ice cream on your nose."

His eyes crossed as I wiped at his nose. "I always make a mess eating ice cream," he confessed, flushing slightly.

I smiled gently at him. "My imouto chan used to tell me that there wasn't any point in eating ice cream unless you made a mess."

Ken blinked, looking shocked. Whether it was from me smiling or from me talking about Aya chan, I couldn't tell. "Maybe that's why I love ice cream so much," he responded after a few seconds of silence. "But of course there's always the taste."

I licked my cone, content. This was perfect. Walking and talking with Ken as though we were normal. For this out-of-time instant, we weren't assassins, we weren't Weiss. We were just two ordinary people eating ice cream on a cool early October afternoon. I wished this moment could last forever.

We crossed a busy intersection, part of a large crowd.

"We're here," Ken announced as we stepped onto the sidewalk.

I blinked as I finished the last bit of my ice cream. "We're going to Court?"

Ken rolled his eyes as he tossed his crumpled ice cream stained napkin into a nearby garbage can. "Look beside the Courthouse stupid!"

I looked. "You want to go into that lingerie shop?" I inquired, raising an eyebrow.

"No!" Ken gasped, flushing at the scantily clad mannequins the display window. "I meant the other side dammit!"

I hid a smirk. "Oh you mean the library," I clarified innocently.

"You knew what I meant!" he accused, glaring.

"It was an easy mistake to make," I countered. He looked adorable when he was all riled up. It was endearing. "You told me to look on the other side of the Courthouse and I did."

"Oh shut up," Ken grumbled. "Now c'mon otherwise we're gonna be late."

I followed him up the granite steps of the Tokyo City library. "What are we going to be late for?"

"You'll see," he told me secretively.

He led me downstairs to the children's section of the library. We passed a play room with a bunch of children playing with blocks, a librarian reading to a group of wide-eyed children, children playing board games on small tables and children with their parents searching for various books. At last we came to a yellow door plastered with reading posters and cute cartoon pictures.

"We're just in time," Ken declared, opening the door.

It was a fairly large room with thick green carpet and small beanbag chairs that lined the back and side walls. The walls were brightly painted with scenes from fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Along the length of the front wall ran a high ledge with swaths of crimson material sewn to the edge that fell neatly to the floor. Matching crimson curtains were tied with yellow braided tassel on either side of the ledge. Above the ledge hung ruffled red material.

The room was occupied with about fifteen or so young children ranging from about three years old to eleven years old. Some were wriggling excitedly on the beanbag chairs, others were sitting on the floor chatting and playing loudly.

A little blond boy was the first to notice us. He jumped up from his spot on the floor screaming, "Ken niichan! Ken niichan! You came!!!"

Instantly Ken was surrounded with little squirming bodies all vying for his attention.

"Maa maa, one at a time," he said laughing.

None of them quieted down, instead their voices got louder and louder as they all tried to get Ken's attention

Leaning against the doorframe, I smiled as I watched the children hug him and tug on his arms and tell him stories of things that had happened to them that day.

A boy of about eight broke away from Ken and approached me. "Who are you?" he demanded, peeking out at me from underneath the brim of his baseball hat.

"A friend of Ken's," I answered, feeling uncomfortable. I'd never been good with kids. They made me uneasy.

He stared up at me for a few minutes. "Your hair looks like ketchup," he said at last.

"How kind of you to notice," I said dryly.

"Who do you like better, Carnage or Venom?"

"Excuse me?"

"Carnage or Venom?" he repeated, shifting impatiently. "You know, from Spiderman?"

I thought for a moment, having no clue what he was talking about since I'd never watched or read Spiderman when I'd been younger. "Well Carnage obviously," I claimed authoritatively as though I was an expert on the subject.

He grinned at me, revealing two missing front teeth. "That's what I always say! Ken niichan says that Venom is better but no way! Carnage may be smaller but he's way faster and crazier too. He's the coolest!"

"Yes, that's what I always say," I agreed.

He turned back to look at Ken. "Oi Ken niichan!!" he hollered at the top of his little lungs. "Your friend says Carnage is better! I told you so!!"

Instantly I was the center of attention as everyone turned to see their Ken niichan's friend. Ken raised an eyebrow at me and I felt my cheeks grow warm. He grinned.

"See this is my friend Aya," he announced to the group.

Choruses of 'hellos' rang throughout the room.

It was mere seconds before I was bombarded with questions and comments.

"Why do you have a girl's name?"

"How old are you?"

"I can touch my nose with my tongue. Can you do that?"

"Why is your hair funny like that?"

"I got 100% on my spelling test today."

"He hit me!"

"Did you see the leaves falling down?"

"I got out five books today and they're all chapter books!"

"Wanna see my new Gundam Deathscythe Hell?"

"Carnage is so much better than Venom!"

"See this scratch? I got it when I fell off my bike yesterday. It hurt and I cried."

"Are you married?"

"How come you don't talk?"

Helplessly I looked over at Ken. He was laughing at me.

Fortunately I was saved by the arrival of a young librarian who looked to be about twenty or so.

She clapped her hands loudly to get everyone's attention. "Is everyone ready for today's puppet show?" she bellowed.

My eyes widened slightly as the children screamed that they were. A puppet show? I gazed back at the ledge at the front of the room. Of course, that was a stage for the puppets. I looked at Ken who quickly looked away. Why had Ken brought me to a puppet show?

The librarian made her way through the kids and faced us. "Please take your seats everyone."

Writhing little bodies made their way back onto the beanbag chairs and onto the floor. Ken sat down cross-legged on the floor, a little boy settling in his lap while a young girl clung to his arm. I went and sat down beside him.

To my surprise, a little black haired girl sat down next to me. "Sayoko chan wants to sit on Ken niichan's friend lap," she told me shyly, chewing on one of her pigtails.

I hesitated and then slowly nodded. I didn't like kids but this she was cute. She smiled happily and squirmed onto my lap.

"Today we're going to be showing 'Aladdin and the Magical Lamp' followed by 'Rapunzel'. Now let's go over the rules shall we? First of all - "

"Why a puppet show?" I whispered over the head's of the kids in our laps.

Ken shrugged, not looking at me. He was twisting a shock of his bangs around his finger. "I thought it would be fun." I could see his cheeks blushing.

He was embarrassed! For some quirky little reason, that made me smile. Everything that he'd done for me today, all the happiness he'd brought to me today; I loved him even more for it, if that was possible.

My fingers reach out and curved around the arm that was holding the little boy. "Arigatou," I whispered, wishing that I could kiss him.

Surprise marking his features, chocolate eyes locked with mine. His lips curved into a smile as he gazed at me and Sayoko chan. His voice was soft. "Anytime Aya."

I returned the smile as the librarian sat down and the puppet show began.


I think that if anyone would have told me that I'd be going to see a puppet show with Ken and that I'd actually enjoy it, well they'd probably be tasting the sharp side of my katana, to say the least. However, I did enjoy it. The plays were humourous and I found myself smiling while all the kids, Ken included, would laugh hysterically. If you'd seen the tiny cloth puppet of Aladdin trying to lug about the large, brass magical lamp then you'd know what I mean. I can't remember the last time I had such a wonderful, carefree day. Probably before Aya chan's accident, in the days before Weiss. I'll never know how to thank Ken.

The two puppet shows were over now. Most of the kids were standing tiptoed by the ledge, trying to hug the hosts of the shows, a cow puppet and a cute piglet puppet, while the librarian stood guard to make sure that no one pulled the puppets of their respected hands, which appeared to be what some of the older boys were attempting to do.

"Are you coming back tomorrow?" a boy wearing a Gundam Wing T-shirt asked me. "They're playing 'Jack and the Beanstalk' and 'Little Red Riding Hood'."

"I'm not sure," I replied, watching Ken converse with the piglet puppet. "Maybe."

The boy grinned. "I think Carnage rules too!"

I nodded importantly. "Yes he does."

I felt a gentle tug on my pants at that. It was Sayoko chan. "Will niichan read Sayoko chan this?" she asked me, holding up a book entitled 'Little Kitten makes a Mess'.

How could I resist reading aloud such a literary masterpiece? Didn't the title say it all? What's better than a kitten making a mess? I sank down on the floor and made myself comfortable while Sayoko plopped down on my lap. I began to read to her. Soon other children gathered around and were listening avidly.

This of course proved to be a mistake being as the moment I was done 'Little Kitten makes a Mess' another book was thrust in my direction to read out loud. And another and another and another. Then of course there were the incessant stream of questions that just had to be answered. What was little kitten's real name? Did he ever make another mess? Where did the frog live? Why are some of the animals wearing clothes but some aren't? How come Franklin the turtle had a pet fish? Can't the fish talk too? Etc. etc. etc. It was enough to drive anyone crazy.

Ken sat behind all the children, snickering at my plight. The librarian was happy, telling me that I was doing her job. She also laughed everytime someone asked me a question.

Eventually, after he'd had a good enough laugh, Ken came to my rescue telling everyone that we had to go. Good natured whines filled the room and I was hugged by giddy children who demanded to know when I'd be back. I had no idea.

"I never thought I'd see you sitting around reading out loud to a bunch of kids," Ken commented as we left the library.

"Well I never thought you'd take me to see a puppet show," I responded dryly.

He pinked lightly. "So how come you like Carnage better than Venom?"

"I just do."

"Do you even know who Carnage and Venom are?" he asked me, raising an eyebrow

"Of course I do," I told him with mock indignation.

Ken snorted, not fooled in the least. "That's what I thought."

We walked in a comfortable silence after that, Ken cutting through a small park as a shortcut home.

"Did you have fun today Aya?" he asked me hesitantly, after a few minutes.

"Aa."

"That's good. I thought that maybe you wouldn't have fun or something."

I stopped beside a gorgeous Sakura tree that had littered the ground with pink petals. "Why?"

"Nani?"

"Why?" I repeated. "Why did you take me there? Why today?"

Ken nervously wrung his hands. He studied a nearby orange-leafed bush. "Ida know. When you told me that you, um admired me for liking kids, I guess I just wanted to show you that anyone could get along with them. It really isn't that big a deal." He shrugged, shuffling his feet. "It was really just a spur of the moment thing. You seemed kinda down today and I wanted to cheer you up. I used to watch puppet shows all the time with the kids whenever I felt down. I thought that it would be the perfect thing to maybe make you smile and cheer you up."

He was so selfless, pure charm. That he would care enough for me to do all this for me, it was humbling. He had made a perfect day for me. I couldn't help myself.

I seized his wrist and pulled his up against me.

Dark coffee eyes grew round. "A-Aya? What are you - "

I bent my head and kissed that parted, stuttering mouth. It was a simple exploratory kiss, me brushing my mouth upon his. He tasted like Moon Mist ice cream and the chilled autumn wind. I deepened the kiss, softly tracing the curve of his lips with my tongue. I heard him gasp and I pulled back, afraid that I had sickened him.

His cheeks were bright red, eyes owl-like. "Y-you jus-just...to m-me..."

I cupped his warm face in my hands and kissed him again. I mean, he didn't seem disgusted. And well frankly, I don't think I could have stopped myself even if he was. His embarrassment, those dark eyes, the fact that I had rendered him nearly speechless, it was all too charming. He was my weakness, I knew it. I would have done anything for him.

This kiss was longer and he responded, opening his mouth against mine. I slid my tongue into his moist mouth, tasting and feeling him. It was better than my dreams. He felt like pure emotions, loving into me.

When our kiss ended, both of us were breathing a little more heavily. He lurched against me as though it was too much effort to remain standing on his own

"Aya," he panted, clinging to me. His head fell lightly upon my shoulder. "Why did you do that?"

I kissed the top of his head, those shiny locks like silk touching my lips. I felt his heart racing beneath his T-shirt. "Gomen," I whispered. "I shouldn't have done it."

He lifted his head to meet my eyes. There was no repulsion, no regret in his steady gaze. "I think I dreamed about you," he replied, smiling tentatively.

I groped for his hand. "Today was perfect only because of you."

I couldn't say everything that I felt for him but maybe soon.

He flushed, his fingers squeezing around mine. "I admire you too Aya."

The pink Sakura petals swirled around us as we headed home, Ken's hand warm in mine. Moon mist lingered upon my lips, autumn puppets on my mind.


Notes

Well I originally started this fic way back when I first got into Wei (november '98). It was going to be an "unrequited" love fic all about Aya's love for Ken, who's completely oblivious. I wrote the beginning scene from Aya's POV and then the dream that Ken had and then I stopped, having massive writer's block.

Then last week I was baby-sitting this totally cute boy who's 5 and I took him to the library where they were putting on some puppet shows. So we stayed to watch them and they were so funny! Then afterwards, the little boy asked me to read a book to him and the next thing I know all these other kids were listening and then getting me to read other books and asking me zillions of questions. Phew! And then, just before we went home, we had Moon Mist ice cream and boy is it ever good! So needless to say, I was inspired. This fic came out of my baby-sitting adventure. Well that and the idea of Aya reading outloud to little kids is so cute!

And yes, Carnage is way better than Venom :P


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