MBP: Yet another one shot I got stuck in my head… IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE A TRAGEDY!
Rini: Yeah yeah… you've complained about that since you wrote it…
MBP: I blame Chem., because that's when I wrote it, and that's when it took a turn for depressing!
Rini: Sure… She doesn't own S.A! Please enjoy!
Warmth of an Angel
Aoi never found anything to be fun, beautiful, or delicious. He always thought in business terms: practical, useful, conductive. His one goal in life was to be near Kei.
Alisa was an idealistic, and hopeless romantic. She hunted down the "best" food she could find, and tried to recreate it in her own cooking. She wanted to have her own fairytale romance with a happy ending with her "Prince Charming".
Aoi wasn't too sure how he ended up in the position as her caretaker. They couldn't be more different; it would only result in problems. He was four years her senior, and experienced; she was young and naïve. They'd never be able to work or co-exist together.
That's what he thought six years ago. Even though he was no longer her caretaker, they still saw each other, and through the years, Alisa had proven herself a strong, smart, caring woman. Aoi began to look forward to the meals they shared, though they had decreased in number. Now, both Alisa and Aoi were busy with work, but Alia made sure they made time to eat together at least once a week.
"Aoi-san!" Alisa greeted him with a grin, waving from the table she'd reserved.
"Alisa-sama." Aoi bowed his head, taking a seat. "How have you been?"
"I've been great! Mother and Father took me to this restaurant that had this amazing cake!" Alisa gushed. "I'm going to find out the recipe, so you'll have to try some!"
Alisa blabbered on for a minute before pausing. "Enough about me though, how have you been?"
"Well enough," Aoi replied. He still didn't talk much. He'd been really busy in the past week, though his workload wasn't as bad as when he'd been her caretaker.
"You look pale. Have you been eating okay?" Alisa was a firm believer that good food could cure anything: sickness, work issues, and broken hearts.
"Enough," Aoi muttered, slightly touched by her concern.
"Take some breaks Aoi san, you work too hard!" Alisa scolded gently.
Aoi promised, and after eating, went on his way, feeling content. The process went on for another few weeks, until…
"I've been invited to work in Germany!" Alisa gushed, putting the food on the table. She'd offered to cook for him, since Aoi hadn't felt like being crowded in public that day.
"Really?" Aoi couldn't' seem to be able to be happy for her. It was a great opportunity for her, but…
"Yeah! At my own restaurant!" Alisa beamed, plopping down next to him on the couch. "I could make my own recipes, and a bunch of famous people will come eat there!"
"That's… great," Aoi muttered. Alisa didn't seem to notice that Aoi was being more quiet than normal.
"You have to come to the opening, and the rest of the S.A," Alisa ordered lightly. "I'll be super nervous and you all need to encourage me!"
"Of course Alisa-sama." What was this feeling? It felt like someone was pressing on his heart painfully. Maybe it was something he ate.
"Aoi-san, are you okay?" Alisa looked concerned.
"I'm fine." Aoi took a bite of the curry. "When do you leave?"
"End of the week." So this was their last meal together… the pain in his heart grew. "Will you come see me off?" Alisa asked quietly.
"Yes." Aoi would finish his duty to her and let her follow her dream. It was the least he could do.
() () () () () () ()
Aoi drove in silence, taking slight glances at the girl next to him. Alisa was fidgeting, checking her watch nervously, afraid of missing the plan.
"Alisa-sama, we won't be late," Aoi noted, causing her to frown.
"I know that! I'm not nervous! Not at all…" Alisa protested.
"Whatever you say Alisa-sama." The rest of the trip was conducted in comfortable silence. He'd often driven her places and he rarely spoke during those car rides, so Alisa was used to it.
"Alisa!" The moment they entered the airport, Hikari called out, alerting the rest of the S.A, and causing noise.
"Send me some recipes!"
"We'll all visit you!"
"Keep in touch! And send us food!"
"Idiot, it'll go bad before it gets here!" (A/N: Can you guess who was saying everything? ._. I had a hard time thinking of them…)
Alisa laughed at the noise, addressing each person individually before sending them off. Soon, it was only Alisa and Aoi left.
"I'm going to miss them," Alisa mused.
"It's not like you're never going to see each other again," Aoi noted, almost to himself. "You'll stay friends."
"I know; you're probably right," Alisa murmured, standing quietly, which was unusual for her.
Aoi watched her for a moment. She looked grown-up and proud of herself, like a capable adult taking a step. She looked scared and nervous enough to remind him of the girl who'd had a crush on Ryuu.
It stunned him to realize he'd never known how much he'd miss her.
"Oh, time to head off!" Alisa hugged Aoi, something she so rarely did. "Visit me soon, okay?" Alisa ran off, waving cheerfully until she got out of sight.
Aoi touched his chest, right over his heart as her plane left. It felt like all the light had left it, and that someone had shattered it into a million little pieces and left them trampled on the ground.
But he didn't know what he was feeling until he saw the pictures in his apartment. And by then… she was gone.
() () () () () () ()
Aoi stared at scrapbook listlessly. In it were pictures of the parties the S.A had thrown over the years.
Hikari and Kei in a competition. Akira beating Tadashi to a pulp. Ryuu dancing with Finn while Sakura chased Jun. Megumi singing. Yahiro teasing the entire group. Himself sitting at his laptop, working. And Alisa.
Alisa dancing at a karaoke parlor. Alisa holding up a birthday cake. Alisa laughing at some joke. Alisa forcing him to pose for a picture with her.
Aoi blinked back the sudden tears. Tears weren't productive. They couldn't improve anything.
Alisa was gone. Just two hours ago, Aoi had gotten the call. Her plane crashed with another while arriving in Germany. Two hundred and sixteen people on the plane. Eighty-two injured. Seventeen in extensive emergency surgery. One casualty.
Alisa would never open her own restaurant. Would never create a dish everyone would love and want the recipe for. Would never marry her true love and have a family.
Aoi would never see her smile at him, laugh, or scold him for net getting enough rest. He'd never eat dinner with her, or help her with work. He'd never again feel his closed heart warm with her gentle kindness or her open nature.
He'd never tell her how he felt, what he'd realized the day she left his life. He'd never feel the same about another again. But even so…
"I love you Alisa…" he said quietly to himself. "And I always will."
And before he started crying, he felt arms wrap around him, comforting him, feeling just like her. In his empty apartment, he felt the cold of death when he lost his love…
And found hope in the warmth of an angel.
MBP: SOB SOB SOB!
Rini: Oh stop crying you baby! You wrote it!
MBP: I know, but…
Rini: Oh god, you wimp! You managed having your brother read this and you cry that you wrote a tragedy!
MBP: I know… but it's just… so… SAD!
Rini: OH MOVE ON! Review please!