|Acqua e Cielo: Water and Sky
Author: Gentle Breezes PM
A series of small vignettes about Akari and Akatsuki, and the relationship that they share. Contains almost alarming amounts of fluff and absolutely no dirt. Undergoing some minor touch-ups, pay them no mind.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Romance - Chapters: 30 - Words: 34,045 - Reviews: 100 - Favs: 56 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 12-28-10 - Published: 09-14-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6324619
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Kozue Amano made the lovely series "Aria". We are eternally grateful for such beautiful artwork and stories.
CXII. Favorite Room
The house Akari and Akatsuki share has a layout very much like Aria Company, albeit just a little bigger. At first, they had lived in Aria Company (much to Akatsuki's chagrin) so that Akari could handle the business and keep looking after Ai, gently guiding her through her first months as a Prima. It was only after they decided to try having kids that they moved out.
The house is 20 minutes from Aria Company, and roomy enough for three people. In the living room there is a wonderful view of the sea front. Of all places in the house, it seems to be Akatsuki's favorite. He does paperwork there more than in his office, which is just down the hall. The office itself is and roomy, but more professional-looking than the rest of the house. It is the most untouched, and therefore the cleanest room. Then, there's the kitchen and dining room, where she and Akatsuki have cooked many meals and shared many cups of coffee. It's also where her son has pestered her to teach him how to cook because, according to him, he doesn't "want to be as bad as dad at cooking". Every time she recalls that statement, she giggles.
Upstairs on the second floor, there is the room she shares with her husband, where she talks with him about the day and they share their most personal secrets. There is also her son's room, toys scattered here and there and bed always undone. It's been a place where she's told him bedtime stories, helped Akatsuki comfort him because of nightmares, and played with him. This would naturally be her son's favorite room, although he seems to favor the outside more than anything. There's also the attic on the third floor, but it's just a room full of boxes and a few pieces of really old furniture. It's the place her son and his friends favor the most when they play hide-and-go-seek in the house.
But her absolute, most favorite place in the whole house is the third room on the second floor, which serves as a library of sorts. It faces the sea, and has a large sliding door that leads out to a small balcony. It has the same great view as the living room, and if opened at just the right time of day there is the most delightful breeze. She often goes to the library to go through her letters or read books, as well as to do paperwork for Aria Company. All their photo albums are kept there, out in the open for the viewing. When her friends visit, they will sit and chat in that room about how things were and how things are. It is the place where her family always congregates at the end of the day, sharing in wholesome conversation or quiet reassurance of each other's presence. She and Akatsuki will go there if they must discuss about an important decision, or they sometimes sit in each other's arms and talk. On more than one occasion, she has come home to find Akatsuki and their son making giant pillow forts there. Her special night light chime hangs off the edge of the roof outside the room.
It is their "memory room" as their son once called it. That in itself explains why she has, and will always, love that room most of all.
CXIII. Coffee Candy
He seems to have it with him every time she sees him. It's a special coffee candy that is only sold on Ukijima, made by a handful of people in small shops right near the large factory where all the Salamanders work. He's eaten it for as long as he can remember, and so have the people around him.
And that is perhaps why he's very surprised when Akari says she's never even tried coffee candy before.
He proceeds to look at her in disbelief, stopping dead in his tracks and eyeing her strangely. Then he states that this is practically a crime and gives her a piece of candy before resuming their walk. It takes a few minutes of pestering her on his part, but she finally concedes and eats one of the candies.
At first, it tastes a little bitter, and she can see he wants to laugh at how she squints her eyes because of the taste. It is promptly followed by a sweet, almost aromatic flavor that dips into her system and has an almost calming effect. She exclaims that it's very good, and he tells her of course it's good, but not to swallow it immediately and ask for more. Savor the flavor, he explains, because that's the only way to appreciate it.
So she does. Whenever the candy in her mouth finally disappears, Akatsuki hands her another. He starts telling her about how his family had known a local coffee candy maker ever since before he was born. It was made by an elderly couple whose grandsons were his constant playmates, and whenever he visited they would give him a large bag filled to bursting with the delicious candy, along with kindly smiles. Each time his family celebrated something, the coffee candy was somewhere in the mix. Apparently his mother had gotten a small bag of the candy made with different coffees soon after he had been born. When his exams to become a Salamander trainee rolled around, the old couple sent him a bag every week with a good luck note attached to it.
She watches him laugh sheepishly at such a confession, but smiles quietly. This, she thinks, is the real reason why the candy is good. Not just because of its flavor, but also the people surrounding it because it was meant to be shared. This coffee candy, she concludes, tastes of memories.
When they part ways to go home he gives her a handful, reminding her again to savor it. She promises she will. He's given her pieces of his life, after all.
There's no way she wouldn't ever enjoy them.
Each year she receives a small gift of glass beans on New Year's from everyone she knows. She'll start the evening with just a few beans, and then slowly but surely accumulate a small collection until her bag is full of multicolored bits of glass.
At first she thought it unrealistic to be able to gather beans from each of her friends, but it always ended up happening, one way or another. Because of this, she can feel complete as the old year gives way to a new one. This year she's been able to meet every person as she knows at the New Year's festival, as well as receive a few beans from each of them.
Every person except Akatsuki.
He'd said he would be a little late, as he had some bits and pieces of work left to do to prepare for new trainees. She understands of course, knowing the pressures that come with having a kohai all too well.
"Is Akatsuki-san going to make it?" Ai asked, looking up at her mentor.
"I think so," Akari said back with a calm smile, though a little unsure as she looked at the clock. It was already 11:45 at night. It wouldn't be a huge deal that he was absent since this wasn't a birthday or anything, but it was kind of disappointing to think about how he probably wouldn't make it.
She continues to enjoy herself, though checking the clock every now and then, until there's just one minute left before the old year is gone forever. The seconds start ticking away, and Ai clutches her old hat in anticipation as she talks to her own friends. Akari smiles fondly at the young girls, remembering the days when it was her, Aika and Alice still training to be good Primas. But everything has changed now. Everyone she knows has precious little time to spend on things other than the holidays. For some, even less.
30 seconds left, and she takes off her hat. He's still not here. She's known him for three Aquarian years (six years if counting by Earth time), and although she tells herself that she shouldn't be this disappointed about not seeing him, the feeling is still there.
20 seconds. Her friends are smiling beside her, so she decides to do the same, ignoring the slightly light feeling of the bag of glass beans in her right hand.
15 seconds. She gets ready to throw her hat into the air.
14. She takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly.
13. It has been a good year.
12. There have been many good memories.
11. She'll miss this year.
10. She's looking forward to the next.
9. She wishes he could have been here.
8. But at least he'll get to see the fireworks, wherever he is.
7. Maybe she'll invite him to Aria for a belated New Year's celebration.
6. She giggles at the thought of him scowling at his work.
5. The bag that was in her hand is suddenly opened by another, larger hand, a few beans dropped in.
4. She turns to see the Salamander grinning at her.
3. "Sorry I'm late, Momiko!"
2. Her expression is ecstatic. "You made it!"
1. They turn to the sky, smiling as they take in a deep breath. His left hand is clasping her right one tightly.
AUGURI BUON ANNOOOOOO!
FYI: In case you didn't know, although I'm sure you do, "kohai" is Japanese for junior, which is in contrast to "sempai" (senior).
Well guys, this is the very last installment of Acqua e Cielo (Water and Sky). Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how much fun I've had doing these! Getting your suggestions, challenging myself to create things I've never tried to write before. I know that sometimes my writing was a little bit repetitive, and switching gears to Akari-mode was what helped me go a little further on these (Thank you again for the suggestion to do so Dr. Nuskan), but thank you for sticking with me.
Special thanks to ForgottenReveries for your PM review and talkstoangels77 for your review as well. Also, thank you Mooniecat for the suggestion "Beans" for New Years.
Thank you for all your suggestions. I hope you liked these, and have liked reading all the previous ones. If at all possible, I'd love to hear what you think of this very last chapter. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING! *bows* I am forever grateful for all the help you've given me as readers.
Have a wonderful New Years, and may your next year be beautiful! ;D