Title: Love at First Ayakashi Extermination

Characters: Sumiko, Madarao, Shuji

Pairings: slight Shuji/Sumiko

Spoilers: only if you don't know who Sumiko is, or who Shuji worked with in the past

Summary: the story of how Shuji and Sumiko met for the first time

Word count: 1139

Disclaimer: I don't own Kekkaishi and make no money from writing this.

Sumiko irritably wiped her forehead. She was actually starting to sweat, unbelievable. There was just no end to ayakashi that night, and even with her abilities it was getting difficult to dispatch of them. She almost wished that Yukimura was there, but then snorted at the idea.

'That inept man would only get in the way,' she muttered and metsu'd a bug-eyed ayakashi. Let the Yukimura gallivant around with his date. 'Metsu!' Probably stargazing or something. 'Metsu!' Holding hands, as sure as not. 'Metsu!'

And at that moment Sumiko felt a breach in the kekkai around Karasumori. An intruder! And a rather large one, at that. 'Something's coming!' Madarao called. Sumiko frowned – as if the night was not bad enough already. Maybe she should send a shikigami to get Father?

She shook her head. No way she would do that, she was now the kekkaishi of Karasumori, and would take care of the job herself. 'Wait, that's not...' Madarao began, but she already saw the intruder. It was a human!

Sumiko could not help but exclaim: 'What?' And then she immediately berated herself for such an inelegant reaction. The human (male, young, bespectacled, dressed in an odd robe, quickly noted Sumiko) said: 'Umm, Sumimura-san, I presume? I'm Matsudo Heisuke's assistant...'

The man faltered under Sumiko's stern, disapproving gaze. Matsudo-san, the odd little man, Father's acquaintance, who sometimes visited them and insisted on calling her 'Sumiko-chan'. What exactly was his assistant doing in Karasumori?

She didn't try to be polite: 'It's a pleasure to meet you, but I must ask you to leave – it's very dangerous here tonight.' Karasumori was always dangerous, she added mentally. Especially for naive fools who like to dabble in the occult – she had noticed the talismans the man was wearing. He did not even have psychic abilities!

The man stammered: 'But, but, Sumimura-san... Your honourable Father allowed me to conduct a little investigation here.'

Sumiko repressed the urge to groan. Fantastic – her father allowed this half-baked exorcist to poke around Karasumori. 'Investigation of what?' she asked.

'Investigation whether my abilities are useful in ayakashi extermination,' the man explained. 'Also, I'm actually writing a book about...'

'Duck!' interrupted him Sumiko, and metsu'd an ayakashi that was about to slice the man's head off with its claw. 'A book, you were saying?' sweetly inquired Sumiko, while the man was sitting on the ground and gaping like a stranded fish.

'I almost got killed!' the man exclaimed. 'So you did. Maybe you should really leave?' suggested Sumiko. But the man got up from the ground, dusted off his clothes and said: 'I see this place is dangerous, it will be a good test to my abilities. Thank you for saving me, Sumimura-san, and allow me to help you and Yukimura-san exterminate these creatures.'

Sumiko shrugged. If he wanted to endanger himself, she was in no position to judge. 'Yukimura isn't here tonight,' she said. 'But you may stay, if you wish. I trust you to keep out of unnecessary danger.' With that, she made a couple of kekkai in the air, jumped on them and left the man to his own devices.

'Sumiko, is this really OK to leave him like that?' wondered Madarao. 'You heard him, didn't you? Father allowed him to come here, and he wants to test his abilities,' Sumiko made the word 'abilities' sound like an insult. 'If he gets in trouble, it will be his fault.'

For the next twenty or so minutes Sumiko had absolutely forgotten Matsudo's assistant. The ayakashi kept coming, pesky little quick ones that were difficult to ketsu. But finally there was a quiet moment, and Madarao asked: 'Maybe you should go take a look at how's that guy doing?' Sumiko sighed: 'I suppose I should.'

She quietly crept closer to the location where she had left that guy, and cautiously peered around the corner, ready to see a scene of carnage, and ayakashi feasting on the hapless assistant's bloody carcass. But what she saw there was quite a surprise.

The man was not only still alive, he was successfully fighting ayakashi. Even as she watched, he executed quite a complicated spell and threw a talisman on the attacking monster. The talisman struck the ayakashi, briefly glowed red, and the ayakashi turned to dust. 'Not bad,' muttered Sumiko. But the ayakashi could still regenerate from the dust, she had to use tenketsu.

She approached the man, and called out: 'You seem to be doing well!' He turned to look at her, and she was surprised to see how changed he was – his eyes behind the glasses sparkled with excitement, and his hair was in disarray.

'Quite well, Sumimura-san! This certainly is exciting! I'm getting so much material for my book,' the man enthused. Sumiko shook her head. Sure, exciting, if it was a one-off thing. For her, this was what happened every night. Still, the man's attitude somehow brought back her own feelings she thought she had forgotten – the pride in the job, the will to test her strength and speed, the triumph of her abilities over the dumb brute force of ayakashi... 'Let's see if we can get more materials for you, then,' she answered almost playfully, and metsu'd several approaching ayakashi at once.

The rest of the night was spent in a blur – the kekkai creation, the explosions, the whirlwinds of tenketsu sucking the remains of ayakashi into another dimension, the spells, the flying talismans, and brief periods of peace and quiet. Then dawn came, and it was time for them to leave.

'Thank you very much, Sumimura-san! Your kekkaishi abilities are amazing, I hope I was not much of a burden to you,' the man said. Sumiko almost wanted to blush at the praise and silently cursed herself for acting like a girl. Still, she could not help answering: 'Thank you for your hard work tonight, you certainly helped me a lot.'

'Will I ever see you again?' the man asked and looked shocked at his own daring. Sumiko could not help but smile – that was such a dramatic line. 'I don't see why not,' she playfully answered. The man nodded, going rather red in the face. He turned away to leave, when it occurred to Sumiko to ask: 'What is your name?' The man looked back at her, gave her a wide smile and said: 'Shuji! Just call me Shuji!' So that was his name, thought Sumiko. Quite appropriate.

And that was the beginning of their friendship.


'So, Yukimura, how was your date?' Sumiko asked next night. The sour expression on Yukimura's face said it all. 'By the way, now you owe me – there were lots of ayakashi here last night,' she added. 'Well, what do you want?' asked Yukimura.

Sumiko grinned: 'I want a night off. I'm going on a date, you see.'