A Scent of Magic

No one could have said he wasn't a looker. Even on her deathbed Miaka would have admitted it still; Taka Sakanumi was nothing if not gorgeous. Dark, slate teal hair, violet eyes that could kill or resurrect with a look… he had it all. Miaka remembered how she used to dream about him, his lean, beautiful body and his strong arms and his to-die-for smile. It was all she thought of when she fell into sleep, and the first thing that came to her when she awoke. She had lived each day to see him, to breathe the air around him. The way he looked at her made every second of time spent in his presence heaven beyond all rational imagining.

But there were other beautiful men in the world. Miaka knew this. Just as she knew that the chances of her being with another one as perfect and real Taka was too astronomical to contemplate.

"Why are you doing this to yourself?" She asked aloud, jamming the register closed and locking it fiercely. She was supposed to see him tonight, and torturing her own heart beforehand would not put her in the proper mindset. Frowning slightly, Miaka calmed herself, and gently placed a chic crystal vase overflowing with gladiolas, lilies, and widow's lace on the floor in a corner, out of site of the shop window. She briefly perused her other produce, checking for appropriate water levels in the living flower bushels and any damage in the dried ones. Somewhat satisfied at finding nothing out of place, she flipped the light switch, wrenched the glass door shut, and waited for the automatic lock to slip into place. As soon as the click reached her ears she was turning away and already nearing her car.

She pulled out of the plaza's driveway, glancing at the clock on the dash as she signaled her right blinker. Five thirty-seven. No good, she thought. Two and a half hours left. Two and a half hours till my heart gets broken.

The drive home, like any other day, was nondescript and pleasant, a repetition of small, cute apartments and little shops not unlike her own. Her flower shop. How she loved that place—it was hers. Entirely hers and no one else's. It wasn't part Keisuke's, or Yui's, or her mother's, or even Taka's. A Scent of Magic ~ Flowers and Decorative Nursery was the sole proprietary business of Miaka Yuuki, 23 year old brunette woman, fiancée (for another hour or two anyway) to longtime boyfriend of seven years, college business graduate, and all around happy person.

My god, Miaka thought as she pushed open the door to her apartment, have I really been in love with Taka that long?

Thinking back, the young woman couldn't remember a time since her sixteenth birthday when she hadn't been in love with him. He was so easy to fall in love with—kind, protective, affectionate, humorous, shy, passionate, and deep. There was nothing Taka felt that he didn't feel completely, to the center of his soul. Miaka had blissfully been included in that deepness for longer than most marriages lasted.

Was she still in love with him? Did knowing that in mere hours the future she'd spent so many nights dreaming of was due to be ripped apart and thrown at her feet by the one that had been its sole focus make her love him less? The center of her universe was going to deliberately disengage itself from its position there and run off where it would, someday, somewhere, be the center of another girl's fantasy. She'd seen it approaching for weeks now. Could she still love him knowing that?

Yes. Absolutely. No question of it.

Welcome to the world of the lovelorn, she reflected bitterly. After all, she was given seven years of joy. Asking any more was undoubtedly asking too much.

Her emerald eyes traveled down to the ring on her left finger, the diamond there. But he promised me more… she wanted to protest. It wasn't asking too much to want more when she' been promised forever, was it?

Flopping on her couch, she threw her head back, chocolate hair spilling over the padded backing as she felt the words rise up in her. She whispered them, singing with barely any sound, and far too much soul.

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…"

Images of them pranced through her vision, scenes of parks and walks at night and loving arms and warm bodies and deep, violet eyes that went on forever.

"Now its looks as thought they're here to stay… Oh I believe in yesterday…"

She let the tears come as well, and drained herself of her pain until she was too weak from it to do anything but slip into the dreamless, soul-saving sleep of the lonely hearted.

When Miaka woke her watch said she had twenty minutes till she had to be at Taka's. There was no denying it, no escaping it. She had to go face the music. Face the fact that the one she worshipped no longer worshipped her, and wanted out of the most beautiful thing she'd ever been a part of.

She began the ritual of cleaning up, washing her face, straightening her clothing, combing the sleep-tangles out of her thick hair. When she felt the closest thing to almost ready that she ever could feel, she stepped out of her door and into the world outside.

"Okay Miaka. First step complete. That's good. Now, girl, let's see if you can make it to the car."

She did, somehow. She even made it all the way through steps four and five, until she was standing at Taka's door, staring at the wood and not moving.

"Raise your hand, Miaka," she ordered herself. "Raise your hand and knock on the damned door. You've done it nine thousand times before."

She still didn't move. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. She was supposed to go through this part with ease, and only have trouble later, around steps twelve or thirteen, when she walked away from him. She wasn't supposed to stall at step six. It was just a door.

Taka solved the problem for her, and opened it wide, kindly gesturing her inside. No dammit, Miaka thought. He couldn't do this. She had to get through all the steps on her own, or she'd never make it through. Now she'd missed step six. She wasn't prepared to handle what was coming. She was doomed.

Taka's apartment glowed with warm wood furnishing and soft colors in deep brown, muted desert blue, dusty orange and all gentle shades of tan and red. She'd always felt welcomed with that warmth, now she just felt stifled. She wanted to lose herself in his atmosphere, but no longer could.

He made her coffee, and they talked. Miaka mentioned that her young nephew was getting over his cold, and that she'd finally gotten the insurance bastards to replace her greenhouse, so she wouldn't have to refinance the loan on her shop after all. Taka nodded and smiled, even seemed generally happy for her. But it wasn't long until they'd fallen into silence, and nothing more was said for many minutes as each person in the kitchen sipped their coffee and delayed the inevitable.

"Miaka…" Taka finally began. She didn't move, in fact she made no indication of hearing him at all. Despite the loss of step six she had made it successfully through numbers seven and eight with accepting coffee and then participating in polite conversation. This was step nine: letting Taka speak without interrupting him or throwing herself at him and begging he not say it or trying to stop him with empty kisses.

"Miaka, I can't do this anymore." He raised his lilac eyes, but she was staring resolutely at the floor. He sighed slightly.

"I love you Miaka. I've loved you for so long. I can't stand the thought of hurting you. But I'm not in love the way I was before. I don't know why."
Silence ate at the air between the two young lovers, silence that drove away any hope either had had left of salvaging their relationship.

"I… I hate doing this to you. But I have to. I can't love you the way you want me to any more, and I won't put us both through a lie."

Tears spilling down her cheeks in silent pain, Miaka at length raised her head to look at him. Her verdant stare trembled, and she slowly stepped forward, brushing her body lightly up against Taka's. With pained gaze steady, she reached up and placed her hand on his neck. He shivered under her fingers, and Miaka pushed his head down even as she raised herself up. Her lips met his, hoping to give him all of her love, all of her pain, and all that she had left in one kiss.

She pulled back gently, warm breath echoing between them. Eyes still on his, Miaka blindly took his hand in her own, closed his fingers over a delicate, circular object, and unleashed him from all the ties she held.

Turning, Miaka walked down his hall and stepped out his front door without a pause. She was wrong; leaving had not been the hardest part after all. And with each footfall she took away from Taka's home, Miaka felt a little sadder, a little more heartbroken, and, in a way, a little freer.

~¬~¬~¬~ One Year Later ~¬~¬~¬~

Miaka's attention cracked and split as a loud slam and consequent clatter of glass and plastic and metal hitting more glass, plastic and metal crashed through the atmosphere. The flower shop owner only had the barest moments to turn her head to the shop entrance before two huge, barking and snarling Labradors bowled over her. Knocked on her back and pinned to the floor, Miaka let out the loudest, most horrific scream of her life.

In moments, surely in reply to her life-and-death shriek, the glass shop door banged open again, this time accompanied with an obnoxious male voice.

"Damn fuckin' dogs! Stupid dirty rats never listen! Never fuckin' doin' what you're told! How many times have I told you you dense muts! Why couldn't I have bought fuckin Chihuahuas?! Had to get the stupid fuckin' …."

It was about then that Miaka realized the slobbering and snarling puppy faces above her were not assaulting her with big sharp teeth but actually trying lick her to death with soft, pink tongues instead. Groaning out loud and trying to push away the wet affections that were quickly ruining her hair and blouse, Miaka felt their way suddenly being pulled off her, and the angry voice still ranting.

"Fuckin' dumb animals! Not worth the messes ya cause! Do you know how much trouble you two always get me into you fuckin' sons of…" the young man trailed off as Miaka, leaning on her palms on the floor, hair messed and single brow raised, caught his eyes.

"…of…um…" Mouth stuttering slightly, he absent-mindedly shoved the two dogs behind him, trying without looking to get them to sit. Amazingly, they complied, and the two Black Labs settled on their haunches, tongues sagging and mouths grinning. The stranger's amber eyes stared on at her in astonishment.

Miaka waited patiently, gaze expectant.

"Oh!" the man blurted sheepishly, and immediately held a hand to help her up. Taking it, Miaka stood and began to carefully pick dog hair out of her skirt and brush off her blouse. When a moment of that had passed she finally stopped and turned her head up to face him, smiling slightly.

"Hi. Welcome to A Scent of Magic." And into her life he walked. Or, charged… cursing and yelling. The man with the twin Black Labradors was tall, broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, and wet. Thick, fire-red hair was splaying out in every direction, dripping water in his eyes. Mud covered him up to his knees, and his dark leather bomber jacket looked like it needed a good run-in with a dry-cleaner. Miaka began to suspect that her little shop was the last in a string of mishaps that morning for the poor guy, and she decided to offer him coffee to make up for the treatment his pets and his gods had conspired to put him through.

"You're…Miaka," he stated, pointing at the nametag on her top. He grinned, and Miaka felt herself smiling back. His grin was lovely and infectious. "Name's Genrou. Jet pilot. Cute place you have here."

"Thank you. Coffee? I need some, and I'd say you do too."

In return, Genrou's look was one of pure, unadulterated worship, a look that only the coffee-drinker had truly perfected.

She also noticed, as she made her way to the back room, that the water clung his shirt pleasantly to his stomach and exposed the shape of perfect washboard abs. Sometimes freak occurrences did have their benefits, after all.

As they began to chat, with warm smiles and laughter peaking over steaming ceramic mugs, bright flowers in a myriad of colors surrounding them, Miaka found her heart beginning to feel again. Yes, there were other beautiful men in the world. And this one might bring her as many, perhaps more, smiles than the first.

Author's Note: Miaka's break up with Taka didn't end the way I had intended it to when I began writing it; I had planned for Miaka to break up with him, not the other way around. But things just played out this way, you know? And I'm happier with this, because I don't think its in Miaka's character to dump someone because she doesn't love them anymore, she would never be able to convince herself to do it. But Taka could and would, especially if he felt he was treating Miaka more honestly by stopping their relationship instead of lying to her about love. If Miaka seems slightly OOC, it's because she's 23, not 15, and she's getting over heartbreak so she's not going to be very bouncy. I had actually planned this fic just as a reason to do the final scene, but it did need more substance… and this is what turned out!

The title was chosen because a lot Miaka's major emotion's in this fic begin in her flower shop. I chose flowers because books aren't her style, but flowers would be. And I can see her owning her own business more than anything else she could do in her life.

Disclaimer: These characters belong to Yuu Watase. The lyrics to "Yesterday" belong to the Beatles. Genrou's reborn personality belongs to me, cause I love him in any life, way, shape, or form.