A Little Slice of Heaven

Genre- Angst, Reflection
Character Focus- Aoshi, Misao

Summary- Aoshi remembers Misao Makimachi as she once was… In his reflections, he sees her energetic smile, and her playful attitude… and asks himself… Who- and what- was she?

...oXo…

And if Heaven was a pie, it would be cherry,
So cool and sweet, and heavy on the top…
And just one bite, would satisfy your hunger;
And there'd always be enough for everyone…
"If Heaven"
-Andy Griggs

...oXo…

It is truly a hard thing to accept age. They all say, 'With age comes wisdom', but there is always a price to pay for that wisdom.

'You make mistakes, so that you can learn from them.'

She had told him that, long ago. 'Sometimes, when you screw something up, it takes you awhile to realize it…but once you do…it's too late to go back and fix it. The clock can be rewound, but time can't be reversed… especially not for one person. But then you push that mistakeinto your mind permanently, 'cause you know that you don't want to ever make the same mistake again!'

He had certainly learned from his mistakes…but for what price? People had gone to their graves because of things that he had messed up. Or worse…

He looked over to the bed sitting only a few feet away. A western bed, only because it was really more of a home for its single inhabitant. The fifty-four year old woman had lain in that bed for nearly thirty years…

Even has he saw her silver-streaked head turn in his direction, he pictured her as she was…before she had started her life as a- he sighed- paralyzed person. He saw her dark hair glistening as she turned towards him, her smile wide, her eyes bright. She giggled, in his memory.

"Aoshi-sama? What do you suppose life will be like after we die?"

He had been startled. Death was not something that Misao Makimachi often talked about… In fact, it seemed to him as if she had avoided it since he had returned to the Aoiya at the age of twenty-six.

His memory seemed to burst before him, and again, he was looking into the eyes of the same woman…though her eyes were crinkled in a curious manner, her face aged by time and worry.

"What are you remembering, Aoshi-sama?" she asked, her once-energetic voice soft and slightly cracked from years of use.

"You." A simple answer, really…requiring no explanation, no… thought.

"Always me," she chuckled, her voice sounding strange in the room. She moved her right hand- her only usable one- over to where he sat beside her bed, letting it rest on his larger one. "Why not you? You're starting to look like…" her voice trailed off, the lines on her forehead deepening. "Like Gramps did…" she began again, looking him in the eye. "When I was a little girl…"

Aoshi let a hand roam unconsciously to his head, his dark hair was now streaked grey, giving him a salt-and-pepper look. He felt like sighing when he looked at her…They were both old… though her eyes were still the same. A vibrant, ocean-sprayed sea-foam.

Eyes were the windows to your soul…and her soul was still the same as it had been the day he had returned to her…

"I was remembering us all…"

"The Himura's, too?" she question him gently. "It seems like just…last week when Kenji was born…"

"And just yesterday, that we attended their funerals…" he finished for her.

"Yes." She sighed, fiddling with her loosely braided graying hair. "But at least they are together, now…and not in any pain…"

When he didn't answer, she looked over at him, noticing that he seemed to be in another galaxy. Lowering her head, she closed her eyes, allowing a tear to fall, unbidden, down the side of her face. "Oh, Aoshi-sama…" she sobbed into her hand. "Can't you see? It was only a mistake…"

But Aoshi was in his own world. A world where he and Misao were younger again… The memories flashed through his mind like a movie of their lives… The good, the bad…it was all there. She had saved him from his guilt… she had taken his burden alongside him, and had worked with him to help himself…

His own angel, he had decided…those years ago. God had given him an angel… an angel of his own Kingdom… His own little slice of Heaven.

He saw her again…but this time, she was falling… and he couldn't catch her. No matter how fast he moved, he could not have gotten there. But he should have been there earlier! God's angel was falling, and there was nobody there to help…

He remembered holding her, screaming out her name as her eyelashes fluttered open, only to stutter the unthinkable.

'A-Aoshi…sama… I can't feel…my body."

He had tried to tell her it was all right… tried to assure her that she would be okay…

But he was the one who'd left her on the rooftop… and only to bring them lunch, at that.

His little slice of Heaven was still on earth… And she would never fly again…

In a perfect world, she would still be okay. They would probably be together… an old, happy couple…grandchildren, even.

His memories started over again from the beginning, replaying their lives… over and over again…

Every day, he did it. Every day, he pretended that she was something she was not. It made her heart weep- though he never noticed it- to see her Aoshi-sama that way… To see him only remembering her… She was still alive! Still there… She could talk…

But he was too busy remembering her… to see her.

...oXo…

Author's Ramblings: I love depressing things. Maybe it's because it makes my life look better in comparison. Either way, Aoshi is in a state of denial- believing that it is his fault that Misao is paralyzed, but wanting to go back in time to change it…So he retreats to his mind when he realizes that things are not perfect. And Misao weeps, because he refuses to see and accept her for who she is.

Please let me know how you feel after reading this. What are your thoughts? Did this bring any certain emotions to mind?

Criticism accepted! Please review!