Rescue the White Knight

Summary: Youji finds Aya unconscious from the stab wound inflicted at the end of Gluhen, and takes him home. It's a surprise for him, to find out that Aya is the man who saved his life, over a year ago. Even more surprising when Ken and Mamoru/Omi show up, to look in on their wounded comrade. Working together, with Aya's sister and long ago lover, the former White Cross members work to save Aya's soul from the darkness. But the redemption of such a tortured soul is no easy task, and there are more fates at risk than Aya/Ran Fujimiya's. More questions to be answered. Can Youji withstand the risk of remembering, or bear the weight that once broke him and turned him against his friends? Can Ran truly be saved? Could it be that Ran's salvation is Mamoru's as well?

Chapter One: Chance Encounter

It was cold, and the snow that kept trying to drip down his collar was unpleasant. Youji hunched his shoulders up, pulling his scarf a little tighter around his throat.

He was headed home for the weekend, and he was looking forward to curling up in his apartment with his wife, Asuka. The thought of a day of rest, in her loving arms, helping her in the kitchen and perhaps watching a little TV with hot tea or cocoa sounded heavenly to him. He paused, glancing at the shops. Asuka was working long shifts for the next couple of days. She'd told him he didn't need to bring anything home for dinner, that she'd already set something aside in the fridge that could be easily reheated, but he found himself wondering if he should buy a nice little dessert or something, to show his appreciation. Perhaps something he could cook, as a treat for his loving spouse.

A small smile curved over his lips. He'd barely known her a year. In fact, he'd barely known anything for a year. His life before waking in the hospital bed with her at his side was a blank slate. But still...he was content. Despite hazy dreams that sometimes made him uneasy, he was happy. He enjoyed his job, as a junior assistant at one of the business firms downtown. He liked the house he shared with his wife. He enjoyed mundane little tasks, including gardening oddly enough, growing little plants in window pots for his wife, or to give to neighbors. He sometimes wondered if he'd been a gardener, or something of that nature, earlier in his life.

Something caught his attention from the corner of his eye, breaking his train of thought. He stopped.

The mailbox. There was a man curled up next to the mailbox, leaning against it. From the way the snow was coating his hair and coat, he'd been there a while. And he didn't appear to be moving, curled into a tight crouch against the mailbox frame.

Curious, Youji moved closer. His first thought was that the man was a street bum or a homeless man who had collapsed from hunger or cold. But the gloves and the jacket looked too clean and new to be those of a homeless alley drifter, unless he'd happened to get them from a charity bin or stolen them. His hair, what could be seen of it under the snow fall, was a dark auburn color, neatly trimmed. His face was thin, but lacked the gauntness of a man who was starving. He was rather pale, but then, his lips were nearly blue with cold, and that was likely most of it.

Youji stepped another pace forward. "Sir?" He laid one hand against the man's throat.

At his touch, the man groaned, stirring slightly. Then he groaned again, clinching tighter around his waist.

"Sir? Are you ill? Injured?" Youji set his briefcase down and leaned forward, crouching over the man. "Sir, please answer me." He took the man's shoulders and pushed slightly, trying to get the man to sit up and look him in the face. "Can you tell me your name?"

He pushed the man upright, then gasped. Straightened, he could see what the coat and the arms tucked about the man's middle had been hiding.

The snow beneath him, the inside of the jacket, and his gloves were stained the deep crimson of blood. Youji leaned forward, gasping again as he saw the wound in the man's abdomen, partially covered by his arm, bleeding sluggishly over his wrist.

He didn't stop to think. Asuka always put a handkerchief in his inner pocket. He pulled it out, then peeled the man's arm away from his middle. The man groaned in pain and tried to push him away. Even with massive blood loss, he was stronger than Youji would have expected.

"Hold still. I'm trying to tend your wound." He pushed the man back, and the auburn-haired figure swayed and collapsed to lean back against the mailbox with a gasp.

The man was wearing a shirt and vest. There was a narrow tear in the fabric on his left side, and the edges were soaked with the man's blood.

Youji slapped his handkerchief to the wound, applying pressure as Asuka had taught him. With one hand he began working his tie loose to slip over his head. The wound needed to be bound, but it was small enough that the tie would make an adequate tourniquet until he could get the man to a hospital.

He got the tie loose, undid the knot. His fingers were going numb from the cold, but he couldn't stop. He caught one end of the tie in the hand pressing on the wound, then slipped the other inside the man's coat and behind his back.

There was a hard, thin object in the middle of the man's back. Youji froze. It felt like a knife sheath, and a long one at that.

He frowned. Why would he be carrying a knife? Something about it struck a chord in his mind. Then he shook the thought away. It wasn't his business, and right now staunching the bleeding was his biggest priority.

He slipped the tie around, then switched hands and pulled it the rest of the way forward. His handkerchief was turning slowly crimson. He set his teeth, then made a quick knot and yanked it tight against the wound.

The man groaned, body arching slightly to escape him. One gloved hand caught at his wrist, holding him. Then the man groaned again, and his eyes opened, hazy with pain and hypothermia.

Youji spoke quickly. "Sir? Sir? Can you tell me your name?"

The man blinked at him, then his eyes widened. "Youji?" His voice was low and rough, and in his eyes was an expression of shocked disbelief, as if he'd been punched. "Youji? Why are you...?" is voice trailed off.

Youji swallowed, to surprised to say anything for a moment. Then he recovered. "Sir, I need to take you to a hospital. Can you tell me your name?"

Dark eyes searched his for a moment, looking for something, though he couldn't guess what. Then the man relaxed slightly, hand dropping away as he fell against the mailbox.

Youji twisted his wrist to keep the knot tight, then shook the man slightly. "Sir, I need to know your name."

The eyes cracked open again, glazed with shock. "Fuji...miya...Aya." Then he slumped backward, eyes closing as he went completely limp and unconscious.

Youji grimaced, then cinched the knot tighter, his own stomach tightening with unease when the injured man failed to even groan. Obviously, the man was slipping into shock. He draped his coat over the man, to provide a little more warmth, then pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialed the hospital.

It took him a moment or two to pinpoint his exact address, but within two minutes, he had given out the information, and been told an ambulance was on the way. He pocketed the phone, then settled down beside the wounded figure, studying the pale face.

Fujimiya Aya...why does that name sound familiar? He's not an associate from work. Maybe I met him at the hospital? But then...why does he seem to know me? Is he...someone from my past?

Author's Note: And so it begins...