Ai Yori Aoshi" is owned by Kou Fumizuki, Hakusensha, Tokyo Pop, and Geneon/Pioneer, NOT me.
Any implied names were inspired by "9-11: Artists Respond, Volumes 1 and 2," (Dark Horse Comics) a 9-11 artists tribute anthology, and are owned by someone else, most certainly NOT by me.
Please note; this would be considered an AU, since Aoi is still with her family, and Miyabi is still working for Aoi.
On this tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I decided 'Miyabi Remembers,' written on the fifth anniversary of 9-11, deserved, and needed, at least a small follow-up.
Miyabi Remembers: Ten Years After
An 'Ai Yori Aoshi,' 9/11 story.
Flying in to New York's JFK airport was hard for Miyabi Kagurazaki.
Even though the passage of time had softened them to an extent, the intensity of her memories and emotions from that day made it seem as if the events were from something recent, rather than from ten years past…
"Are you okay Miss Miyabi?"
Turning away from the window as their plane touched down, Miyabi faced her employer, Aoi Hanabishi, and nodded.
"Yes, Lady Aoi. Thank you again for giving me time off to make this trip."
Dressed in Western clothing like Miyabi, rather than her normal tsumugi kimono, Aoi waved her hands.
"Please! Think nothing of it. Mayu-san is taking care of Ryuji for us, so it's also a chance for Kaoru and I to take a bit of a vacation! We've never been to New York City, much less America, so I really hope showing us around afterwards won't be a bother to you!"
From the other side of Aoi, Kaoru Hanabishi smiled in agreement with his wife.
"It really isn't a problem Miss Miyabi. You've helped the two of us out so much over the years that we can't thank you enough."
As their plane slowed and began its turn onto the taxiway, Miyabi smiled in thanks before turning to look out the window once more.
("I wonder how everyone I met is doing, after all these years. I tried to contact Clark and Olsen; but neither of them got back to me…")
Security around the National September 11 Memorial at the former World Trade Center site was extremely tight, thanks to a security alert and the current and previous American Presidents attending the anniversary ceremony.
When the two men and their wives, along with the security detail, finally departed, Miyabi lead the way onto the tree-lined plaza.
Following close behind their friend, Aoi and Kaoru watched as Miyabi paused to run a hand across the bronze parapet surrounding the South Memorial Pool. Consulting a small guide told her they were standing near the section for the first responders.
"Michael! Stop running!"
Just a Aoi and Kaoru looked up, a young child coming across the plaza turned to look back at whoever called his name and ran right into Miyabi.
Holding on to the young boy who'd hit her, Miyabi looked up as a couple who were probably his parents came running up.
"Please don't worry, he didn't do any harm."
As his wife took their child in hand and quietly began to scold him, Chris Moore smiled apologetically to the woman he'd run into.
"Sorry about that Miss. Michael's too young to know he shouldn't be running in a place like this,"
Nodding, Miyabi returned the smile before taking a closer look at the man…
"Pardon me; but is it possible you were here back on 9-11?"
His memory stirred by the voice, Chris took a closer look at the woman standing before him. It only took a few seconds before his eyes lit up, and he turned to his wife and child.
"Liz! This is the lady that helped me save you back then!"
A bit slowly, Elizabeth Moore stood up, then came over and held out her hand.
"Forgive me. I don't really remember much from that day, but I've always wanted to meet the person who helped Chris out back then. Miss?"
Taking the offered hand, Miyabi gave it a gentle shake.
"Miyabi; Miyabi Kagurazaki."
As a tear rolled down her cheek, Elizabeth stepped forward and drew Miyabi into a hug.
"Thank you, thank you very much for helping us out Miss Kagurazaki."
As Aoi sniffed back a tear, Kaoru noticed two uniformed men approaching from the direction of the North Memorial Pool. They paused for a moment to examine part of the parapet before the younger of the two looked up and seemed to notice Miyabi and the little group she was with. He grew visibly excited, pointing the four people out to his older companion.
When Elizabeth stepped back, Miyabi looked up and saw two firefighters quickly approaching. When she realized one of them was wearing glasses, she immediately recognized him and his companion.
"Clark, and Olson!"
Turning, Chris recognized the two firemen and immediately pointed them out to Elizabeth as Miyabi ran forward to embrace them.
Crying, Miyabi pulled Clark and Olsen close and hugged them fiercely.
"Thank goodness the two of you are okay! When I didn't hear from you, I started to worry!"
After returning Miyabi's greeting, Clark and Olsen stepped back.
"Sorry about that Miss Kagurazaki. Things have been so hectic getting ready for the memorial, Olsen and I never had time to answer your message."
Wiping at her tears, Miyabi smiled, then stepped back as Chris came forward with Elizabeth and Michael.
"Michael. These two firemen are the ones who helped save your mother's life. Say hello to them."
Looking up, his eyes wide with awe at the sight of the two uniformed firefighters, Michael waved his hand.
Giving a laugh, Clark knelt down and patted Michael on the head.
"What a little trooper! I'm sure he'll grow up and become a great firefighter some day!"
Feeling out of place, Aoi tugged at Kaoru's sleeve and started to walk away,
Seeing what was happening, Miyabi held out a hand.
"Miss Aoi! Please wait!"
Standing back up, Clark noticed the couple standing behind Miyabi.
"Are those friends of yours Miss Kagurazaki?"
Turning, Miyabi held out an introductory hand towards Aoi and Kaoru.
"Everyone; these are my emp… my friends, Aoi and Kaoru Hanabishi."
Coming forward, Aoi gave a polite bow while Kaoru shook everyone's hand.
Liking Kaoru's strong grip, Clark smiled in response to the handshake.
"Well then; this is quite the little reunion! I know a nice place nearby where we can have lunch and talk all we want, How about it?"
Though everyone else seemed agreeable, Aoi held up a hand.
"Are you sure it's okay for Kaoru and I to come along? After all, we weren't here before."
After first glancing at Miyabi, Clark nodded to Aoi.
"Ma'am. Any friend of Miss Kagurazaki is a friend of ours. Beside; after you've come all this way from Japan, it's our duty as New Yorkers to make sure to show you a good time while you're here!"
Responding to Clark's positive attitude, Aoi smiled brightly.
"Thank you very much. Kaoru and I will be counting on you then!"
As the JAL flight took off from JFK, carrying her, Aoi and Kaoru back to Japan, Miyabi sat back in her seat, thinking about her friends and the city below as she did so.
("I'm glad I came back. It's nice to see that everyone's okay and moving ahead with their lives. It's also nice to see the city has recovered. That pall of gray dust and trash didn't suit it at all.")
The couple she'd helped had married and had a child. Clark was now a station chief, and Olson in charge of one of the unit crews at that station.
Allowing her thoughts to take their natural course, Miyabi gave a rueful sigh.
("It seems everyone has moved ahead with their lives except me…")
Eventually, the first in-flight movie started, distracting Miyabi from her thoughts. After it ended, the first in-flight meal was served.
When the plane finally crossed into darkness and the captain announced he was going to dim the cabin lights, Miyabi rose briefly to tuck blankets around an already sleeping Aoi and Kaoru, then returned to her seat.
("I wonder how Miss Miyuki's butler Saionji feels about his life, he is in a similar situation after all.")
Wondering what the future did hold for her, Miyabi Kagurazaki continued looking out the window next to her seat until the sounds of the aircraft's engines finally lulled her to sleep.
A bit of fluff perhaps, but I hope everyone has enjoyed this follow-up to my original Ai Yori Aoshi 9-11 story.
I must admit I have not been to New York City.
However; I would like to think 'Miyabi Remembers' is, in some small way, my personal parallel to Stephen Crane's 'Red Badge of Courage.'
Thanks once more for taking the time to read my story!