Author: Sayuri (sayuri_tama@hotmail.com)

Title: Protector
Rating: PG

Pairings: none
Spoilers: none

Warnings: none

Comments: craved and appreciated ^^

Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz belongs to Koyasu Takehito and Project Weiss.

Author's notes: This just sort of came into my head when teasing out a possible past for one of the Weiss members, considering that there aren't many bacground fics out there for him. I'm not sure where this is eventually going (if anywhere) but I might continue it at a later stage.

~~~



My most vivid memories of my early childhood were of the thunderstorms that would come in the humid nights of summer and early autumn. I would lie huddled under the covers, my knees tucked into my chest, my teeth chattering and tiny body shivering. Eventually, my cries would always awaken my mother next to me on the bed, who would smile gently as she peeled away the covers, revealing my tense and frightened form.

As lightening flashed across the sky, she would hold me close to her chest and run her warm hand over my forehead, singing softly and rocking me gently until I fell asleep. She would hold me like that all night, lest I wake before morning and find myself alone again, at the mercies of the storm.

Even when there weren't storms, my mother would tell me stories when I couldn't sleep. She'd weave exciting tales of fantasy and adventure, nourishing my imagination and giving me glimpses of a world untouched by the general state of decay in which we lived.

The dilapidated furniture in our grey one-room apartment was covered in the bright fabrics she had found in some thrift shop or the other, a neat row of potted plants and herbs lined the windowsill. Crayon scribbles I drew were lovingly hung in places of honour such as the fridge and the left wall above the table, while various "treasures" I found on trips to the park joined her many books on the shelves at one end of the room.

Taken all together, with its cockroaches and always near-empty fridge, our tiny flat was a place of light and laughter, somehow removed from the dingy streets below. While it perhaps wasn't the ideal place for a woman who was little more than a child herself to raise a son, she had little choice, and made it work as best she could.

The cancer which slowly ate away at her youthful body was largely unnoticed by me. If her blond hair was thinning, it was because she had decided that it was too long, and besides, wasn't her colourful scarf pretty? Throughout her sickness she didn't leave me for a noticeable instant, not even to stay in the hospital, choosing instead to spend her last days making our tiny home bright and full of life, as if she could somehow know how terrible it would become for me after she had gone.

With a smile on her pain-filled face, she died before I was old enough to really know how much she had sacrificed for me.

***

I think I was maybe five when my "family" tracked me down and brought me to Japan. In her final days, my mother had broken a vow she had made to herself years before, and sent a letter to my biological father telling him of my birth and her death, begging him for help.

She had never been the kind to beg. Even now, in the far-off corners of my mind, I can hear her smooth voice:

"Never beg from anyone, Liam. You've got to be able to depend on yourself in this life. Your name means "protector", and you have to be strong to protect yourself and those weaker than you. Always remember that."

Coming from a woman who had relied only on herself for far too long, they were knowing words of advice.



She had been a near-starved prostitute, walking the streets of Los Angeles at a ridiculously young age for some tragic reason or another. He had been a Japanese businessman of some kind, and not completely without honour, as luck or fortune would have it. The subject of their union was taboo amongst my Japanese relatives, the early details of how a half-gaijin bastard arrived in this world better left to the ghosts. What I have gleaned is that he had taken pity on her, and left her with a sizeable wad of cash and a business card. Even though she was never one to rely on anyone, she had saved the card between her heavy books, even after she had given birth to me and found a decent daytime job.

In the end, it was by saving that card that a small boy with slightly rounded green eyes and silky blond hair eventually arrived in Kyoto, brought by the insistent letter of a dead woman and the honour of a man previously without a son.

***

Arriving at the gate, firmly clutching the hand of the smiling stewardess, I caught the first glimpse of my new family. A man and a woman, standing slightly apart from each other waiting for me. They were neatly dressed and shiny clean, their faces worked into expressions of curiosity and fear, their midnight-black hair impeccably groomed and fascinating to a blonde child who had been raised around an equally blonde-haired mother.

While the woman nervously fidgeted and looked at me as if I were something that might explode at any moment, the man stepped forward and bent down on one knee. I clearly can see him now, how he looked at me that first time, as if he was searching for something in my face, some far-off sense of recognition. He uttered a soft sigh and took my hand from the stewardess, walking me over to meet his new wife. After an awkward moment of silence, he again looked down on me and finally spoke.

While the words were lost on my English-trained ears, the richness of the voice and the musical rhythm of the language imprinted themselves permanently on my memory.

"Welcome home, Kudou Yohji."





~~ Owari