Legal Stuff: This story is intended to express one fan's genuine appreciation of Weiss Kreuz and its characters. It was written for fun and not at all for profit. If you have any rights in the anime described here and find the posting of this fanfiction offensive or harmful, please contact me, and I will be happy to remove it.
A/N: Yet another one written in first person POV, with Omi kicking it off this time. I blame this one on the bird. Yeah, you heard right, the little, feathery guy we adopted recently. My sister named him Omi, and shortly thereafter I had a chibi assassin in my brain, poking at me for air time. Which, of course, I just couldn't say "no" to. (Those darts are sharp, after all! o.o') This little ficlet is a byproduct of that.
This is shaping up to be one of those days where you begin to doubt how wise it was to roll out of bed in the morning. Cold, overcast... just a really miserable looking day. One of those days where everything looks gray, from the sky to the looks on people's faces. Like the guy at the corner who just spilled coffee all over his nice dress suit and pressed slacks. He's cursing up a storm now. Or the woman in the paisley shawl who just missed her bus. I feel kinda bad for that one. It's Fall, but getting cooler by the day.
So I let the papers I was carrying scatter. They weren't that important, and I always keep things backed up on my hard drive anyhow, so I really don't think twice about doing it. The wind picks them up and makes them dance along the sidewalk, and into the street. And I make like I'm gonna chase after some. You know… into the street, in front of the departing bus. That stops the driver but quick. He shouts at me out of the side window, but that doesn't matter. He's stopped long enough that the older lady in the shawl got to beg her way on board. And that was all I really wanted, anyway. I see her smile at me as the bus gets going again, and mouth the words, "take care," even as the angry curses of the driver are still ringing in my ears.
I should probably take her advice. You know, take more care with stuff; in the way that I live my life and all. Kind of hard to with my night job. But then again, stepping out into oncoming traffic isn't what you'd call very "safe" either. I snicker at what the implications of this could mean. It's the kind of angst and disregard for self that you'd find in a shojo manga or something. You know the kind that I mean. The ones where the hero is some big eyed, grin and bear it kind of teenager who's just two steps and a short fall away from a shallow grave.
Damn but that's depressing. And funny, too… in a twisted kind of way. Because everybody thinks I'm just this happy, downright cheerful person. And, I'm really not. I mean, I try to look for a brighter side to things, but I'm not always happy. I go to school, and sure people like me well enough. They all think I'm smart, and the girls say I'm "cute." And I just know that, if I really tried, I could become good friends with everyone there. But I don't try. If anything, I try to do the opposite. I'm polite, and friendly, but I never really make friends, if that makes any sense.
I guess sometimes it's just tiring. Feeling as though I always need to smile and be the happy one for all of the people around me. Because if I wasn't, they'd start to worry. And I don't need anybody worrying over me.
Though, if that's really the case, then I probably shouldn't have skipped classes today. Work, either. People are sure to think something's off with me. But it shouldn't be too hard to explain away, right? I mean, I can always say I wasn't feeling well, and so that's why I didn't go to class. Work… will be a little harder though. Because the guys know me better than that. I may be "just a kid" to the rest of the world, but those guys… they'll know something's up, being that, just short of Aya, I'm the "responsible" one.
I really don't know what made me decide to shirk my duties today. I think I decided it before I'd even opened my eyes this morning. While I was lying there, with my eyes closed, just listening to my alarm clock buzzing. And I just felt so strung-out tired, you know? The kind of tired that seems to sink down into your bones, so you don't even wanna move. And with a migraine and a half to boot; for which there was no aspirin or anything, of course.
I didn't even want to roll out of bed, truth be told. Everything just seemed to irritate me. The pitch of my alarm clock, which I ripped out of the wall and threw into the closet… the fact that there was no toilet paper in the bathroom, again, because I always have to be the one to change the roll. The way there was no coffee, even though I could have sworn it was on the grocery list last week. Yohji pissed me off something awful too, though he didn't really do much that was out of the ordinary. Well, for him, anyway.
He was standing in front of the closet where the washer and dryer are. Just, you know, standing there, sipping the last cup of coffee and staring into space. So, I choked back some choice remarks about how some of us really need that steaming cup to wake up in the morning, and asked what he was looking at. And all he told me was, "the wash is finished." And I rolled my eyes and told him, "so switch loads." But, here's the kicker. As I'm walking away I hear him yell down the hall, "Aya! The wash is finished!" Lazy bastard. I mean, are his thumbs fucking broken or something, so he can't change the wash?
Burns me up just thinking about it. I mean, really, how hard is it to switch out the laundry? Or replace the toilet paper roll, or buy coffee when it's your week to do the groceries? Sometimes it just feels like I have to do everything around that place. It makes me wish, every now and then, that I was a little more like Aya. I know it sounds pretty weird, like hero worship or something, but it isn't. It's just that… when he gets pissed about something, people know. And, when he's had it up to here with you, you run and duck for cover. So for the most part, people really don't mess with him. And sometimes, just sometimes… I wish I could be a little more like that. So that maybe people might take me a little more seriously, and remember I'm only one person, and not everybody's work horse.
It probably sounds like I'm complaining a whole lot, and I doubt anyone who thinks that they know me would ever expect it, but… well, I've been under a whole lot of stress recently. Not that there's anything abnormal about that. We all get run ragged sometimes with back to back missions and all of the planning and recon that goes along with them. But I do a lot of that. I stay up nights hacking into different systems, digging up the info we'll need in order to perform the hit. And then there's school, and work at the shop, and some of the extracurricular activities that I try to stay involved with. So sometimes it gets to be a lot, even a bit too much, for me to handle.
Maybe I bring some of it upon myself that way, by taking on so much. It's not like I ever really tell anyone that I can't do something, after all. I actually try, really hard, to make it seem like it's all nothing to me. Like I can handle anything that comes my way, even if I know that I can't. Just like one of those birds on the nature channel. They'll pretend that everything's alright even when they're sick, so well that none of the other animals can tell until they really just can't take anymore. Because they're afraid that if they seem weak some larger animal will come along and eat them, so they tough it out and put up a brave front. Something like that… I didn't watch the entire program.
You'd think I'd be into that sort of thing, the discovery channel and all that kind of stuff, but I'm not, really. It's not that I don't think it would be interesting, either. I just don't have much time for TV. And the only reason a show like that was on to begin with was because Ken forgot to pay the cable bill, and I ended up staying behind to do some things around the house while he went out in the rain to get things all squared away. Which was a good thing, because I dunno what that channel would have done to everybody. I mean, they may tease me about being a total nerd from time to time, but hearing a grown man yell, "Look! Kitties!" is just… well, a little too weird. Even for someone like me.
Although… I guess walking around aimlessly for a couple of hours talking to yourself could be considered weird, too. Not as weird as the "kitties" thing, but up there, I'm sure. Same with running off to school, knowing the entire way that you want to skip, are probably going to skip, and not having the good sense to remember to grab your jacket before dashing out the front door. My wallet was in the coat pocket, too. What a pain. But that seems to be the theme for today, doesn't it?
I stop on this little bridge that looks out over a park and lean against the railing. There are people down below, and I find myself watching them while I catch my breath.
A little boy chases a ball across the grass and then into the sandbox, where he promptly loses interest in favor of the swings. It's kinda cute, the way he can't quite reach, and ends up trying to swing back and forth on his belly with his arms and legs hanging off of either side. But no worries… his dad comes over and scoops him up, whirls him around, deposits him onto the swing properly, and gives it a push.
The kid looks so happy. I can almost hear him yelling for his dad to make the swing go higher. And suddenly I feel that I'm not smiling anymore. I'm not smiling at all, even though those people down there look happy. And, I don't feel happy for them, like I think I should. Because it's the right thing to feel, isn't it? Happy for others who have good lives, safe lives, families. It's not like I'm a jealous person…
But if that's true, then why do I feel so bad all of a sudden? Why do I wish that it would rain so that dad and his kid would have to pack things up and go home? That they would just leave, so that I wouldn't have to look at them anymore and feel this way, like I'm a bad person; a person who doesn't care about the happiness of others.
I feel droplets on my hand and look up in a panic, but it isn't raining. I turn and look at the street around me, but there are no puddles; everything's dry. I look at my hand, which kind of hurts from being clenched around the railing so long. Yeah, it's wet. I didn't imagine it. So where'd that damn water come from?
I can hear crying now. I look back down at the park and find that the boy isn't on the swing anymore. He's in the sand now, below it, holding his knee and crying. Must have fallen and landed on a rock or something. I wonder if he's hurt bad, but it doesn't seem like it. His dad's making a fuss over him, heading away, toward a car. And the kid's screaming louder than ever now. You ignorant bastard, don't leave him! Can't you see he wants you there?? And I feel droplets on my hands again, more of them this time. I slam my fist against the railing. Where the fuck is all of this water coming from?
I touch a hand to my cheek and find the source of the water. I've been crying all this time, and I didn't even know. How the hell did that happen? I mean, I'm always the happy one, always calm, ready to take control of a situation, and yet here I am, crying about as hard as that kid is down there. But why? What do I have to cry about? Sure my day started out bad, but that's no reason to cry. What's the matter with me? I'm the smart one, I'm not supposed to lose control, not supposed to let things like this happen… I-
-feel a hand on my shoulder.
My heart's beating fast now, and I'm almost afraid to turn around. I'm supposed to be an expert assassin… that means no fear… so why…
"You okay?" a deep voice says from behind me.
I know that voice… but I don't relax much. It's Aya. He probably got a call from school about how I wasn't in class, and then I didn't show up for work at the shop… I'll bet he's pissed.
"You okay?" he says again.
His voice is soft, almost like he's worried. But, that can't be right. Aya doesn't get worried, ever. Does he? But just in case he is, I figure I'd better speak up.
"Yeah… um… I'm fine," I mumble, bringing my arm up to wipe at my nose furiously.
It's so gross for me to wipe my face off that way, tears and snot soaking into the sleeves of my sweater, but I can't let him see me this way. I mean, what would he think? What would any of the guys think?
He's not saying anything… I turn around and he's just standing there, staring. I wanna say something, but there's a lump in my throat that I can't quite talk around. I wonder what he thinks of me now. Does he think I'm just some kid, like everybody else? Will he ever rely on me again, after having seen me the way I am now? Damnit, say something you asshole. If you're going to bitch at me, just do it. Just say something.
"Doesn't look like he's hurt bad," he finally says.
That came out of nowhere. What's he talking about?
"The kid. His dad brought out a first aid kit. Looks like everything's better now."
So he wasn't staring at me…
"How long have you been here?" I ask aloud.
Typical Aya answer. Alright, how about we cut to the chase then.
"You wanna know why I skipped classes and work today, right?"
He looks past me again, to the park down below. Can he really just not care? I mean, then why did he come at all?
"Yohji pitched a bitch-fit when I left to come find you. Ken has soccer, so he wasn't home. He's probably swamped with customers right about now."
The Guilt Card. Nice one. Works every time…
"You skipping work and classes is your own business. I don't care about that…"
Why would you, it's not like I'm-
"You wanna tell me if you're really okay though? I mean…"
He pauses and shifts from one foot to the other, like he's nervous. I don't remember the last time I saw Aya nervous. I dunno if I've ever seen him that way at all.
"If something's up… you can tell somebody, you know? You're not…"
He stops and coughs, looks down at his shoes… I can hardly believe what I'm hearing. Is this really Aya? Our Aya? This is getting creepy…
"You're not alone here, you know? If… if something's up…"
Just stop it. I can't take this anymore. We can't both be like this on the same day. So I tell him just that. Or… well, something like it.
"Stop. I'm… I'm fine really, I just… needed a day off…"
It's like his face has gone blank at that, and it takes him a minute before he says anything.
"Oh," is his only audible reply before he looks away from me again.
I can't tell whether he's surprised, disappointed, or… relieved. Was he really worried about me?
"I uh… I'm sorry," I tell him. "I didn't mean to worry anybody. Or screw up anybody's day. We should probably get back."
I turn to start heading in the direction of the shop but feel this… well, this kind of "fwap" feeling, on my head. That's the only way I can think to describe it. Softer than a smack, but enough for me to stop and take notice. And then something's hanging over my shoulder. As I reach up a hand to see what the "fwapping-device" is, Aya starts talking again.
"Clean yourself up and I'll get you a coffee," he says.
It's… a handkerchief. Why the hell is Aya carrying one of those? And what does he mean with the coffee?
"Um… But I thought… uh… What about Yohji?" I ask.
"He deserves to do a little work once in a while. We've been run ragged with all of these missions recently, and I don't know about you, but I need a break. And plus, it's freaking cold out here."
As he finishes he shoves something into my hands – my jacket; he'd had it crooked over his arm the entire time. And then, he turns to go, heading in the direction of this little café a couple blocks away from the shop. And I shrug into my jacket and get ready to follow him, though I can't stop myself from stealing one last glance at the park down below.
The boy seems to be okay now. Apparently his dad had rushed off to the car to grab band-aids and stuff. I guess sometimes, you need to be alone for a little while, before help can come and find you. And you just… have to be brave, and cry if you need to, and… let people know that you need them around.
"Hey, you coming?" Aya's voice calls out from behind me.
"Yeah, hold on!" I answer.
We're a pretty messed up, rag-tag bunch, us guys. But… we're kind of like a family, aren't we? Though Aya'd make one pretty scary dad. The thought of him in a work shirt and tie, with a briefcase and suit jacket in hand, makes me laugh.
"What's so funny?" he asks, giving me this quirked eyebrow look.
"Nothin' really. Just uh… Yohji's gonna be pissed as hell, isn't he?"
Yeah, that's Aya for you.
"So… nothing," I shrug. "Let's get that coffee, I'm freezing!"
Aya nods and we both turn our backs on the overpass, and the little park, and the happy family below. And I think the both of us are happy for them, even if Aya just looks irritated about the cold. So maybe… we're not such bad people after all. Maybe it's not quite time to pack it all in. At least, that's what I'd like to believe.
"Okay, not to steal my buddy's line here, but please, for the love of God, if you aren't buying anything, get the hell out!"
"—hope that maybe we'll find, better days."
"Yohji-kun! Your phone is ringing! What ring tone is that? Is it foreign?"
"Crap. Uh… yeah, yeah it is. Could you hold on a second, doll? I've gotta check that. Thanks."
I dunno where the hell Aya gets off leaving me in the shop alone. And on a busy day, no less. This text message had better be from him, saying he's hauling his scrawny ass back here with the kid in tow.
'I found Omi. We're getting coffee. I'll bring you some.'
He's stopping… for coffee…
"I'm gonna kill that little shit!"
Ken. About freaking time he got back.
"Maybe both. They're stopping for coffee before coming home."
"Oooh, cool! I hope they bring me some hot chocolate!"
Sometimes I wonder… just how old this guy really is…
"The shop's pretty busy, huh?"
Yeah, no shit Sherlock.
"Lemmie just drop my gear inside and I'll give you a hand."
"Great. Hurry it up, will ya? You get the ones under 18 and I'll do the rest."
That is such a bad pun on my part, but… heheh. I wink at the nearest cutie, since she seemed to get it, too.
"Alright, just gimmie a sec—Hey! Wait a minnit!"
"Too slow, soccer boy, too slow! So, sweetheart, what can I do you for?"
"Hmm, I dunno, maybe you should tell me?" she says with a wink of her own.
I like this gal already. So maybe this day wasn't all shit. I mean, we found Omi, and Ken got back early so I can get back to my usual routine; girls over 18 only, please. Plus, I'm getting coffee and probably a date out of the deal. Not too shabby. Those two needed a day off anyhow.
I guess sometimes when you have a bad day, you've just gotta tough it out for a while until help gets there; because it always does, somehow or another. Or at least, that's what I like to believe.
A/N: For those who are still with me at this point, "Wow!" and many, many "thank-yous!" still can't believe this is fic number three. o.o() I really hope this one was worth the time it took to read! Some parts were a little strange for me to write, but it was really enjoyable on the whole.
Special thanks to Tex-chan, for beta-reading for me and suggesting such a perfectly wonderful (in my opinion, anyway) title. Yohji's ring tone is a snippet of the song "Better Days" by the Goo Goo Dolls, and my silly little way of thanking her.
As always, comments,
questions, and constructive criticism are not only welcome but so
very appreciated. I truly hope you all enjoyed! ) :)