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Burnt Sienna: One

He ran into her on the street, and the first thing he noticed about her was that she smelled like rain and possibly crushed rose petals, which was what he remembered his mother to smell like. He'd been endlessly jealous of Takeru during the first three months of the divorce, because Takeru got to live with that comforting, familiar smell, while he only had his father, who didn't smell like anything, and a house piled with unpacked cardboard boxes.

He should have been paying attention to where he was going, but he had just gotten out of a meeting with his manager, which had consisted of her yelling at him for getting headlines for another scandal and him protesting that he didn't know that the girl was a prostitute, and her throwing a pencil at him. He had the bruise at his temple to show for it, and she'd dismissed him a few minutes later, rubbing the bridge of her nose and muttering about insufferable rock stars and ignorance.

He'd been engrossed in zipping up his jacket and getting his sunglasses on, and he hadn't noticed that he was walking in the wrong direction. Wrong direction meant that he was walking against the crowd, to the left of the sidewalk, instead of walking on the right like everyone else going in his direction was doing. Tokyo Times Square was crowded at any time of the day, but there was always a certain order to the commotion. People rarely bumped into each other, almost never made eye contact, and walked with a purpose that covered up the fact that they really didn't have anywhere to go.

He'd been obliviously brushing past people for about five minutes, and he figured his shoulders and upper arms were rather desensitized from the sudden barrage of impersonal contact, so he hadn't noticed when a girl's shoulder collided with his, and the girl fell to the pavement in a mess of coffee, papers, and long strings of swears.

"Kuso-kuso-kuso-kuso," the girl muttered steadily, adjusting the white newsboy cap perched on her head, and Yamato scrambled to help her, reaching for a leather portfolio that had fallen open and grabbing the papers and sketches scattered on the sidewalk around them. He silently thanked any and all higher powers that people in Tokyo were neat-freaks, because the snow-white papers were still pristine.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, stacking the papers neatly and tucking them into the folder. His eyes downcast (though she couldn't see them, because of the sunglasses), he held out the portfolio, and a few seconds later, the weight lifted from his hands.

"Aigoo, watch where you're going, baka," she said, and Yamato could see her glaring at him, faintly, through the dark lenses of her black, oversized sunglasses.

She dusted the front of her shirt off hurriedly and angling her head to check her pants and shoes. As she did, Yamato checked her out.

She was pretty, despite her obvious temper. She was young, probably his age or younger, petite and slender in denim flares, stiletto boots, and a white shirt with a swirling vintage looking black design creeping from her left shoulder to her right hip. Her features were extremely attractive and slightly tanned, set in an oval-shaped face. Yamato thought that she looked one hundred percent Japanese, even though her eyes were obscured and her hair was an odd auburn color, falling to the middle of her back in thick, straight, feathery layers.

"Stop staring at me," she snapped, and he started.

"Sorry." He bowed, and she sniffed, picking her tattered messenger bag off the ground and pushing the portfolio in roughly.

"So rude," she continued muttering, and Yamato wondered if maybe she thought that he couldn't hear her. "Making me spill my coffee and my papers, and still staring at me. I'm sick of people looking at me, it's not as if I'm an alien, ne…"

"I'm sorry," he muttered, bowing again, and she looked at the back of his neck.

"Ne…blond hair?"

He unfolded and put his hands in his pockets, immediately uncomfortable.

"Never mind, sorry," and for the first time, the redhead seemed as uncomfortable as him. He heard her exhale hugely, and then say, "I'm sorry that I wasn't looking where I was going either, and I'm sorry that I yelled at you when this incident was half my fault."

"S'all right," Yamato muttered.

"All right." There was a click of heel against pavement, and she stepped back once, hesitantly. "Thank you for helping me up and such." There was another click, then another, and she walked off hurriedly, not looking back.

X

"Did I tell you?" Yagami Taichi queried lazily, a bottle of beer in his hand and a small grin on his face.

Yamato was silent as Taichi's girlfriend, Tachikawa Mimi, turned away from the stove and looked at her half-drunk boyfriend with mild curiosity on her pretty face.

"What, Taichi?"

"Sora is moving back."

Yamato's curiosity peaked when Mimi dropped her spatula and gasped, her mouth forming a perfect 'o' of surprise.

"Are you serious?"

Taichi leaned back in his chair, tipping on its back legs, and pushed his fingers through his impossibly bushy russet brown hair. "She sent me an email last night."

The small smile on Mimi's face split into a huge, genuine grin, and the brunette shrieked happily and clapped her hands.

"Did she say whether she was moving back to…?"

"Shibuya," Taichi confirmed. "But she was considering Aoyama."

"She would," Mimi said, rolling her eyes and turning back to the stove, stirring the contents of a pot with a different spatula.

"Who's Sora?" Yamato asked.

"Takenouchi Sora," Taichi sighed, clasping his hand together behind his head.

"Taichi's first love," Mimi joked, and Taichi's darkly tanned skin tinged pink. Yamato laughed, and then his jaw dropped.

"Takenouchi Sora—the fashion designer?"

"Who'd have thought?" Mimi mused, as Taichi drank determinedly from his bottle of beer, trying desperately to keep his blush under control.

"Why?" Yamato asked. He'd read one of her interviews in a magazine a few weeks ago, and she had seemed cool, composed, and a bit distant.

"She had no fashion sense whatsoever when we were kids," Mimi laughed, though not cruelly. "She wore the school uniform like the school said, with knee socks and penny loafers and that stupid tie."

Yamato arched an eyebrow when she looked over her shoulder at him, and she rolled her doe-brown eyes.

"She and Taichi and I were friends in junior high," she clarified, lifting a spoon to her mouth and tasting the broth. "She was a complete tomboy, only hung out with her soccer team friends, some of her school friends, and me. I was the only girl of that whole bunch." Mimi turned the stove off, untied her apron strings, and walked to the sink, collecting plates and chopsticks from the dish rack.

"She got accepted to some ritzy art school in Korea and moved before our second year of high school," the brunette continued calmly, kicking the leg of Taichi's chair, and he scrambled to get drinks and bowls for everyone.

"She left right before I moved here," Yamato said, and Taichi shrugged in a you-just-missed-her sort of way. "I thought you said…" Yamato took the plates from her and began to set the table.

"Ne, Yamato. Everyone grows out of his or her twelve-year-old self. Besides, her mom owned a chain of flower shops in Odaiba; it wasn't as if Sora didn't have any exposure to the arts, or girly stuff. She helped her mom there every other day after school."

"Old women loved her," Taichi said, smirking. He set water down in front of each of the place settings, and Mimi bumped her hip gently against his, frowning.

"Let's eat, hmm?" Mimi set small bowls mounded with food and rice down on the table and slid into her chair. Taichi clicked his chopsticks together in response.

X

Yamato wished he could say he was one of those enormously famous rock stars with millions of screaming fans—on par with L'ArcenCiel or Gackt or even Hamasaki Ayumi—and he got drunk every night and actually went to the fabulous nightclubs and bars of Shibuya, but that was as far from the truth as he could get. His band was relatively popular, but still on the rise. He got drunk in the privacy of his too-big apartment, smoked whenever, and avoided fans like they were the plague.

His publicist told him that there was no way his band would ever get famous if he continued with his antisocial, misanthropic behavior (because those were the words she had used), and all the time and money that had been put into the band would be for nothing.

Yamato was only twenty-four, but his manager told him he acted like an old man. He liked quiet, sitting with his guitar, a cup of coffee, and a cigarette and writing lyrics, and being on stage, because the bright lights blinded him. He didn't like signing autographs, doing promotional interviews, or even meeting with directors for PVs and TV shows. Aside from his scandals, Ishida Yamato was almost…boring. And his scandals weren't really all that interesting, in his opinion.

He thought of the girl that smelled like rain and crushed rose petals, the one he'd run into on the street. She'd been quirky, and there had been something about her that seemed fun. She'd cursed at him, but it hadn't been malignantly. Her lips had curved up at the corners before she snapped at him for staring at her, and he could have sworn that he heard her laugh as she was walking off.

She reminded him of his mother more than anything, mostly because of the way she smelled, partly because of the way she had reacted when he knocked her down. Yamato had never known his mother to yell, in any situation. When nine-year-old Yamato had brought a feverish Takeru home at one in the morning, she had bundled Takeru in a bunch of blankets, given them both soup to eat, and called the doctor. His father had been another story all together, though he hadn't been there when Yamato came home (he'd been working).

Takeru had told him about another time, when he'd brought Hikari back to the apartment at midnight, and Natsuko had found asleep on the couch the next morning. She'd sent Hikari home, told Takeru to fix his own breakfast, and she'd walked out of the apartment without a coat.

Yamato told him that he had been lucky, and Takeru had laughed it off.

"She never yelled, Yamato, and you know that."

Takaishi Natsuko died when Yamato was twenty-one, of breast cancer and a cold. Takeru had cried straight through the funeral rites and the cremation, and Hikari had done her best to comfort him, though Yamato knew that whispering meaningless nothings into the ear of a boy who had always been extremely sensitive was useless and counter-productive. Regardless, it seemed to help his little brother. Yamato, on the other hand, hadn't shed a tear, and he knew that his grandmother and aunt and uncle had looked at him more-than-critically for this lapse of sensitivity.

She was a mother that he truly never knew, but he didn't think that he would cry at his father's funeral, either. They had never been close, and their relationship extended to casual hellos when Yamato was leaving the bathroom and his father was entering, or Yamato cooking dinner and keeping a portion aside for his father when he came home (late) from work.

Yamato's emotional investments extended to Taichi, Mimi, and Sakura, a girlfriend who had comforted him one night when his when he cried for reasons he didn't remember. She had been impossibly elegant, well mannered, and sweet. He had broken up with her the next day. His paternal grandmother, who he remembered as soft, wonderful, and everything a grandmother should be, had passed away when he was six or seven. He had never been close with any of his other family members.

In short, Ishida Yamato had never had real human contact.

Deep down inside of him, he hoped that someone would change that.

X

For a world famous fashion designer, she sure didn't look it.

She stepped into the living room in front of Taichi, inclining her head slightly in Mimi's direction and bowing a little lower for Yamato.

"Takenouchi Sora," she said sweetly, turning her head to the side and looking at him through coppery-brown eyes. She held her hand out, and he stood up to shake it, his other hand pushed into the front pocket of his jeans.

"Ishida Yamato," he replied.

"You're in a band," she said, and a half-smile played at the corners of her lips. "Bible Kiss Bible. I've listened to your stuff a couple of times. It's good. You're right on the edge of popularity, aren't you?"

He smiled uncomfortably. "Yes."

"Aigoo, I'm making you uncomfortable, aren't I? Sorry." She bowed briefly and flopped into the armchair behind her, crossing her legs easily and shrugging out of her peacoat as she stuck her tongue out at Taichi, who was yelping about 'his armchair'.

She was pretty in a way that was impossibly alive. She also didn't carry herself in the way he would expect a world famous fashion designer to.

It was the way she was dressed, for one. She was wearing a thick, oversized cream-colored sweater, denim flares with tattered, fraying hems and a hole exposing her right knee, and Yamato could see a pair of black Converse high-tops toppled against each other by the front door. Her eyes were almond-shaped, long and spidery-lashed, and disconcertingly deep. She also looked vaguely familiar.

"Are your eyes really blue?" she asked as she rummaged through her purse.

Yamato coughed. "Yes."

She looked vaguely interested as she pushed her thick hair behind her slim shoulders, and his eyes flickered over the tousled, messy reddish-brown locks as he tried to come up with a color to describe them exactly.

"Ne, Ishida-san?"

He looked at her, making eye contact uncertainly. She half-smiled as she reached behind herself and gathered her hair into a dense pile at the nape of her neck, securing it with a rubber band. "This is the part where you ask a question," she said. She put her bag on the floor, resting it against the side of the armchair, and pulled her legs up so she could rest her chin on her knees.

"Why'd you move back?" he asked.

Something flickered in her eyes, and suddenly they were cool, guarded, darker.

"I've got to get back to my homeland at one point or another," she said, her lips quirking once again before she stood up, pausing awkwardly. "I'm going to go and help Mimi in the kitchen."

And she walked off, the fabric of her sweater shifting loosely over her slight sway of her hips.

"You blew it, man," Taichi said, sitting down and handing him a can of beer.

"How?" Yamato pushed the tab down and winced as the can hissed wetly.

"Just the way she acted. She walked away after two sentences with you; that means she was bored. And she hates helping people in the kitchen."

"Stop talking about me, Taichi!" A yell sounded from the kitchen, and Taichi grimaced.

"You blew it, too, didn't you?" Yamato asked, setting the can down on the table with a knowing smirk.

"We've got too much history," Taichi said confidently. "She'd never do anything to me."

He was mildly shocked when a wooden spoon made contact with the back of his head.

"Sorry, Mimi," Sora called from the kitchen. "I guess I still have lotion on my hands. Why don't you let me chop the vegetables?"

"History, hmm?" Yamato raised an eyebrow as he took a sip of beer, as Taichi paled significantly and Mimi tried and failed to stifle her giggles.

Burnt sienna, Yamato thought, as Sora poked her head out of the kitchen, a huge, genuine grin on her face and hair scattered all over her shoulders and eyes.

The color of her hair was burnt sienna.

A/N: Eh, eh? How is it?

Aha, you all (all you fantastic people) are probably all like, "What the fuck, she isn't finished with her one story and she hasn't updated in a while, and she promised a one-shot in January that never happened, and now she's posting a whole new multi-chapter fic." Or, I could just be acting incredibly self-important. ;)

Yes, yes I am. Because I've been watching so many freaking Korean dramas that rabid plot bunnies have been running around in my head, biting and infecting each other and creating even more rabid baby plot bunnies. It's ridiculous. The Korean wave has hit me hard.

Plus, I've got a writer's block for Symphony of Sound liekwhoa. That story is going to hell in a hand basket. I just don't know.

So bear with the undeniable AU-ish-ness of this fic, because it gets better, I swear. I've got solid ideas (and unlimited resources) for this fic. I kind of know where it's going. Please don't hate me.

Read and review, ne? Tell me what you think! 8D