By Hexes

- - -

"Do you want me to order for you?" He asked, seeing her face mixed with confusion. "I spent some time here on a shoot a while back, and the food in this country is pretty good. You just have to like that stuff, you know?" Azusa leaned forward, starring down to her.

Hatsumi nodded, smiling back at him. "I'm sure whatever you pick out will be fine." Brushing her hand against her water glass, she picked it up, experimentally taking a sip. "I hope it's okay to drink the water here," she added.

Azusa laughed, amused by her knowledge. "That's Mexico silly." He reached across the table, grabbing her hand. Slowly he rubbed his thumb against her palm; passion laced in his eyes. He bore a sensual gaze at her, entwining his hand in hers. "I'm glad you came, Hatsu. I wasn't sure you would." He was very surprised, he recalled, when he'd asked her. This of course, was the city of broken engagements. He'd wanted to be with her now though, this day was special.

"I wanted to come," she said softly, looking down. "Why should I stay away? I wanted to be with you." She brought her other hand over, seeking out his in need. "Don't think about that when we're here. I don't want it to be about that. We're here for your shoot, and I want it to be a happy trip," she looked optimistic--as if she herself could fix the world.

That's his Hatsumi, he thought absentmindedly. She was always thinking of others, growing more mature, more kind-hearted everyday. There was a time when he'd thought he'd never have her, a time when he wasn't even sure he wanted her, but here they were.

- - -

He'd saved her, she'd tell him later on in life. They were walking out in a park, the sky dark and the air crisp. Their hands were linked, more of a friendship hold, rather then a lovers. Back then they'd come to terms with themselves. She'd told him things as they'd kept walking, private things she never thought she could say. But she told him, whispered to him in secrecy. She had just wanted to get out, she cried, practically bawling within seconds. She wanted to be comfortable, loved, safe.

She was to be married, he'd remembered, the following day. He wasn't going to go, even though invited. It really wasn't the kind of function he wanted to be at. His newly known half-brother was going to get hitched to the girl he'd grown up with. A woman he'd once tired to have raped, destroyed. He'd been a stupid kid.

They had a talk the night before, the two of them, Hatsumi and Azusa. The pair's names together had a certain ring you couldn't quite get rid of. 'Azusa,' she said, as if talking to the wind, 'I'm going to run away. I love him, but--' She couldn't continue and she looked over to him in downcast, unhappy. 'I want more.'

He'd nodded, understanding exactly what she meant. She wanted to live, experience, leave Japan, explore. See the world that was beyond Ryoki Tachibana. And she knew what she was doing, breaking his heart, but she needed to. She wasn't going to settle, be pushed around, or ignored. She wasn't going to attend her own wedding, one she herself had not even been allowed to plan.

No, she was going to leave, leave it all behind, and then in that one second things came crashing. They crashed into a beautiful accident. 'I'll come with you,' Azusa had replied, surprised that the words had left his dry, over-used lips. He'd been shocked by the statement, so quick to come out.

She turned, starring at him with longing, an unsure feeling. 'Really?' She'd asked, hopeful.

And he nodded, seeing her so pleased, she deserved to be happy. He had a new woman to take care of.

- - -

They hadn't flown into the whirlwind romance at first, not at all. In fact, it was months before Azusa himself even started to think of her in that way. Of course he'd admired the female species, but that was an everyday thing. A hobby, if you will.

Then one day, in France, they'd been walking about in a large city; Paris. There had been pigeons in the square, hundreds, maybe thousands; and Hatsumi had thought it an amazing sight. He remembered the glint in her eyes as she bent down like a child. Smirking at the thought of what she was about the do. And with a jump start she ran, past the statues, past the people, all about. Holding her arms out at length, moving them slowly up and down. She was pretending to be a bird, playing about with the mass of them. The smile held on her face was priceless. One only a tormented gem could hold. And then he held her.

She'd almost tripped, ready to crash down on the pavement street, face-planting. But a hand had swooped down, pulling her up. He'd saved her once again. 'Azusa,' she said, out of air. Her breath's harbored. She looked up at him with the most joyous filled eyes, 'thank-you.' And then she'd leaned up and kissed him on the cheek, innocently.

After regaining her balance, using him to leverage herself up, she started again, breathing hard. 'Com'on,' she started, egging him on, 'come chase the pigeons with me!'

He didn't follow when she called, asking him to join her in her fun. No, he'd just stayed put in his spot, watching with amazement. Her hair, eyes, everything shown brightly in the sun. And she was the most radiant thing he'd ever seen. 'Maybe,' he told himself, 'It was the wine I had earlier.' He continued thinking, trying to rationalize his sudden lust. 'Maybe I just haven't been having enough sex…' Her body moved, in her own way, almost like a dance. She twisted as he watched, contorted moments as she tried to catch a bird. 'No,' he finally thought. 'I'm really gone.'

- - -

It was their anniversary now, three years later. But Hatsumi didn't know it. Today was the anniversary of the day he'd fallen in love, crazy with intent, crazy for her. The girl who'd befriended him no matter what. Despite his horrible doings and adolescent mishaps. And now, as he considered himself somewhat more mature, she still stayed, loving him more everyday.

He looked over at the table next to them, delicate patterns made into the wood, cherubs and such danced with a piece of fabric. "Hatsumi," he started, looking back. Starring at a pearl; "Happy anniversary."

She looked dumbfounded, as if at first she'd forgotten something precious, important. "Oh god, Azusa…" She blanched, thinking to herself. "It's not any of ours, are you mistaken?" She asked, moving back to her docile, silly state. "Because I don't think--"

"No," Azusa replied, cutting her off. "This is one you don't know about." He flashed a toothy grin, picking up his newly appearing drink. "But I'll tell you about it later," he winked, returning to his normal niche, playful and mysterious. 'Happy anniversary, babe.'

- - -


A/N: This is a short one-shot. Even though Azusa was portrayed as a wannabe-rapist bastard in the manga, a part of me still loves him.