A/N: Alright, so I'm not good at updating. I'm not much good at drabbles either, but Re-Ane has been threatening me with severe bodily harm and since she actually knows who I am (oh noes, my secret identity revealed! D:) here you go.

Oh, right. This one is AU, btw.

Disclaimer: Aoshi and Misao not mine! If they were, that little semi-half smile Aoshi makes at the end of the manga would have appeared sooner. (burbleburbleomgsoCUTE DX)

10/29/06

-

The first time he saw her she had been new. It wasn't a meeting, since she was going somewhere purposefully and he… He had a purpose too, but that was just the excuse.

Her hands had been so full at the time. When before he might have left her alone and continued walking, he wanted now to reach out and take something from her, make it easier somehow. He couldn't read anything from those eyes of hers. He wanted something clear and bright and vibrant and not disappointing.

Disappointment wasn't something she seemed to be able to take, though. She had everything balanced. Didn't stop for help and didn't need it, everything tucked and stacked and arranged so neatly. It looked heavy and wrist-angling in a way completely uncomfortable, but she bore the weight with her small arms tucked up, a chin here, an elbow there, and sometimes when she really needed to restrain the haphazard pile, a knee.

He continued walking, but found a reason to stay in the hall and not look suspicious doing so. Normally he got attention when he didn't want it, so now he was trying his best to be as inconspicuous as possible. She walked back and then he saw her again, this time with an impossible stack of books. But after that the next load was lighter, and he could see she wouldn't be going back again, so he made his way back to where he was going.

If he'd actually had a purposeful purpose like she did at that time, he would have been late and it would have been on purpose. But what struck him so much about the encounter—if he could be permitted to call it that—literally struck him, was that he nearly ran into a wall at the next corner.

He wished he'd attracted attention at that moment. Almost.

The next time he'd seen her it had been in that room. The one where everyone gathered since there were too many purposes there. Once one gathered it made sure to tell a friend and bring them. It wasn't a party, but a crowd and he couldn't fathom why he was there, of all people. But her eyes were there and he could see her. This time he'd been thinking. He wanted to attract that attention. It was something he'd decided for himself.

It wasn't some conscious act of willpower that got him to stand in front of her, more like a mechanical working of his limbs as if someone held a remote control to his legs in their hands. And when he got there, he knew what he wanted, but his mind must have completely blanked out from where he'd first started moving. His lips had moved, but he wasn't sure what he'd said.

She'd looked up at him consideringly, and her eyes had pierced a section of air over one shoulder. There was a group of girls there, and their feathers were most certainly ruffled. The words they mouthed and the way they bristled had her look back up. Then it struck her what they were trying not to say with what they were saying. She smiled and nodded up at him.

When she had smiled, he probably didn't realize it, but he had smiled a little in return. In response, her smile widened in and of itself, until it was a whole chain of smiles. But crap he'd forgotten something. His mouth had said there was a purpose, but his ears hadn't been listening, so he didn't know what it was. Unsure and unaware of the way she could somehow see the nervousness in his eyes, he'd led her back to his room.

She stepped through the door and glanced around, at him as if to compare, then at the room. She sat on his bed and he was at a loss for words. Temporary lapses in consciousness were probably unhealthy in the long run. He didn't know, but life was suddenly so very confusing.

"I… Have you had dinner yet?" Small talk seemed safe, normal. Then he had to consider his words. Was that small talk? Really? Why hadn't he thought before he spoke? What?

"No. I don't know anything around here yet." She was watching him with those eyes that made it hard for him to know what she was finding. It was too distracting to look at them and just want to keep thinking about what she might be thinking about instead of what she was thinking about. There was something about the present and the future in there, but he couldn't untangle it right now.

"I'd like to cook you dinner." That hadn't sounded very much like small talk at all.

"Ok."

She watched as he blundered about, then frowned, not at all sure what to do with the grocery items he'd bought and stocked the small kitchen with.

She watched at his back, reading his movements and with no small wonder to herself. Then she'd realized something and stood up, coming to stand beside him.

"Here, I'll cook." He glanced down at her and she was pleased at the flitting of something in his eyes. For all that he was confused staring at her now, she'd bet he'd be far more confused if he could stare at a mirror and see his eyes as they currently looked.

"Y'know," she began, though he was still standing there and it was his kitchen, "You never did ask me my name."

"'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'" He'd blinked and she had to turn back so he wouldn't see the small smile on her face.

"Misao."

"Aoshi."

She had cooked him dinner in his own room and they had eaten together. Somewhere along the way he found he couldn't regret whatever misguided purpose his mouth had in whatever it was it had said. Somewhere along the way she realized that she had seen him before this too, and that made her want to laugh. Everything about him made her want to laugh and smile too—to catch that small smile on his lips and the spark in his eyes that he couldn't see directly himself.

It must have been two o'clock in the morning. Some rather pointedly disagreeable hour, but Aoshi got up and left his room, bed unmade but ruffled from having his back resting against it for hours now. He found her room easily enough, but couldn't understand why Misao would have just told him like that.

At 2am, he didn't expect to see Misao open the door and greet him, looking perfectly awake, if a little tired.

"Morning, Aoshi."

"Good morning."

As surprising as it should have been that she trusted him enough to simply let him in, it was more surprising that what was apparently keeping her awake was homework, all stacked in one corner. What, did he expect that she kept smiling constantly, even while asleep? Actually, if he could conduct an experiment on that he was fairly sure he'd have very favorable results.

She scribbled away at her desk with a comfortable looking blanket draped about her knees. It was something warm and tender looking, without being completely worn or threadbare. He sat on the bed before feeling the necessary urge and getting up to investigate.

"X should equal fifty-four, not thirty-nine."

"Really? Thanks, Aoshi."

They'd found themselves on her bed, Aoshi leaning over her shoulder trying to coach her through anything he knew enough about to teach. When his eyes began to get heavy and he was leaning more fully on Misao's shoulder she didn't complain.

Finally, when he was all but asleep, she'd tugged him gently onto her bed, carefully placing his head on the pillow. Then the blanket had been tucked around his shoulders. He had felt the need to protest, move, or get up to leave and not use her bed instead of his, but something odd and tingly had pressed to the bangs on his forehead and he'd been too half-shocked, half-sleepy to move.

Misao leaned forward and whispered something that suspiciously sounded like "Sweet dreams" before he'd drifted.

When he'd woken up, he couldn't move because he was warm and didn't want to. He reflected that there was a difference between couldn't and wouldn't, but Misao's head was on his arm and he wasn't really sure what to do.

Misao woke up feeling content and warm. She'd been right all along. But Aoshi still didn't know, did he?

"Good morning."

All at once, he had something to say. His mouth and mind were in agreement over the purpose and it came out, if not exactly right, then maybe, hopefully, conveying what it was supposed to anyway.

"Forgive me, Misao. A rose by any other name isn't as sweet and I…"

Misao smiled and cut him off.

"Aoshi, I understood. I understand. But do you understand?"

Maybe it was because they were so close, sharing body heat, and because understanding had come into the picture and that had somehow clicked with his thoughts up to that point. Whatever reason, he could clearly see what Misao was seeing now, the image of himself reflected in her eyes and the way he looked, what he could see.

Aoshi raised his hands to his face, then stared at Misao and his hands tugged her face forward and he kissed her between their two smiles.

"Yes, I do."

"Aa."

-

Original Note: What?! I completely flipped the Aoshi/Misao stereotype on its heaaad. Aoshi is in love with Misao but doesn't know it while she can see it and reciprocates? Scandal! Awww, but aren't university!Misao&Aoshi cute? Misao says "Aa." :3

End A/N: Uhh. Well, this is the first of three, and since I kept the original date, you can see when I first wrote it. Anyways, I think some people might not get the Shakespearian rose bit, but, uh I wouldn't want to explain it and ruin it for you!

Well, drop a review if you really want to know anyways.

Or just read the other ones! Yeah, this one is the oldest and I don't like it as much hence… 'Cuz I'm picky. XP

And, yaay, random titles. Oh gosh, I'm just not good at them…