Umbrella Memories

By: Witch Baby

A/N: I think there are one or two fics out there that mention Kanou and Ayase's first meeting. I've read a few though none I can exactly remember at the moment. Anyway, here is my version... well, I guess it's really not the first meeting, but more a flashback... oh well, just read the damn thing...And remember to review too! :3

There was no argument in the fact that Ayase loved to clean. Kanou would hire a whole legion of maids should Ayase ask it of him, but even after four years the blond was happiest when down on his hands and knees, scrubbing floors. Kanou couldn't understand it, but if it made Ayase happy, then Kanou had no room to complain.

For Ayase, it was a mental thing. Cleaning ones physical space equaled cleaning out ones mental space as well. He did his best thinking washing pots or folding laundry. Making sense of the chaos that a messy bedroom could be, it made him proud of himself.

Today was one of those heavy cleaning days. Kanou, having neglected his duties the day before to stay home and 'spend quality time with Ayase', was now having an extended afternoon at the office. Likewise, due to such 'quality time', the kitchen had been neglected and Ayase hated having dirty dishes left in the sink. And once he was on a roll, he couldn't stop himself. That was why he currently found himself deep within the confines of his and Kanou's shared closet, throwing out unnecessary things that they both had gathered over the last year.

Kanou always teased Ayase about keeping things. The blond knew that he maybe put a little too much sentimental value in a lot of his belongings, but at least he could be organized. Kanou never could get through with cleaning, getting distracted by old papers or photographs. Ayase had ceased asking for his help long ago and instead waited for afternoons much like this one, where he could do it himself.

Though, as he stood on the tips of his toes to reach a box on the top closet shelf, he wished Kanou was there, just so that he could take advantage of the mans tall stature. It was so difficult to get things done when half the things that he needed to go through where just out of his reach. Huffing in irritation, he struggled to reach the box, fingertips barely brushing the side. 'Just...a little...more...'

"Ah!" Ayase tumbled backwards off the chair, the box falling behind and dumping on top of him and the floor. The blond hissed in pain as the clutter bounced off his head, as well as the sting in his backside that was sure to receive disapproving looks from Kanou once he caught sight of the bruises. Standing, he stretched out his protesting muscles, rubbing at the abused skin with a slight wince. Sighing, he bent to retrieve the spilled contents of the box.

All of it seemed to be Kanou's things. Some scattered papers, a few books and magazines. Nothing too important that Ayase had to worry about prying into something he shouldn't. He tried to stay far away from Kanou's other life, for more his own sake then anything else. Things had calmed down in the years following their first encounter. The threats had stopped, their enemies defeated. Understanding was something that Ayase would always be thankful for. The day that Kanou had given in and forgiven his debts, was the day Ayase had promised he would stay with the man. It was also the first time Kanou had ever said he loved him.

Ayase's chest warmed at the thought. It had been a rough road to get to where they were now, but Ayase couldn't picture himself anywhere else.

Smiling, he organized the papers as neatly as he could, put a paperclip on them, and set them back into the box. Kanou could look through it himself later and decide what was junk and what was not. He gathered the books and magazines, sorting them out and putting them away as well, before looking around for anything he missed.

Ah, there was something, half tucked under the bed where it had rolled after it had fallen. Bending down, he picked it up from its hiding spot. He quizzically looked at the object, confused by why it would be tucked away with Kanou's things. An umbrella? Really?

It was a small thing, light blue in color. Faded now by being tucked away for such a long time. There was a few rips in the fabric too, the handle worn and splintering. Why would Kanou keep such an old, useless thing? Turning it in his hand, he eyes widened in surprise at some very familiar handwriting on the handle.

'Property of Yukiya Ayase'

This umbrella... was his? He didn't remember owning such a thing recently. However, it did look pretty old. But then, why would Kanou have it? Ayase sat down cross legged on the the bed, the umbrella clutched in his hand as he tried to remember. When had this old thing been his? And how had Kanou gotten a hold of it?

The convince store. The memory suddenly popped in his head. The little corner store a few blocks away from his old apartment had been having a sale. He had stopped in for dinner groceries, and had purchased it. He had remembered because he was relieved to find a blue one, all the others had been a bright pink, and the forecast had threatened for rain all that afternoon. Sure enough, as he had stepped outside, the sky had opened up and began to pour out mercilessly into the world.

But... that still didn't explain why Kanou had it...

He closed his eyes, mouth setting into a thin line as he struggled to remember...

It had been cold, so very cold that night. And the rain, while beautiful, was doing funny things to his mood. There was something sad about walking in the rain and going home to an empty house. He had tried to distract himself with thoughts of the delicious dinner he would make, or exams coming up in school. A friend had invited him out tonight, but he'd had to decline, again. He knew a 14 year old should be able to go out and have fun. But those 14 year old kids had families.

At the time, Ayase hadn't had anyone.

A noise from the ally had distracted him. For a second, he thought it might be one of the stray cats that hung around the neighborhood. But it sounded too big, the growl too deep, to be an ordinary cat. A dog then? Peeking behind the dumpster in the alleyway way, he saw a person.

Panic screamed to life. Was this person dead? Had he stumbled upon a murder of some sort?

Then he remembered the groan, the pain in that animistic sound. The person wasn't dead (thank the Gods), but he could be seriously hurt. Stepping forward, he shifted his umbrella to shield the stranger from the pouring rain."Excuse me? Are you all right?"

It seemed like forever before the man had lifted his head, bruises and cuts on his cheek, the water from the rain running pink with blood. Ayase shivered in fear, though he did his best to smile in reassurance. "Do you need some help? You look like you're wounded."

"W-who...are you?" the man asked, a note of awe in his voice as his eyes, slightly glazed, looked up at Ayase.

"My name is Yukiya Ayase. What is yours?"

The stranger shook his head. "Doesn't matter..." he mumbled quietly, leaning back against the wall tiredly.

Ayase bit his lip, indecisive about what to do. At least the man didn't seem mortally wounded, but he was still pretty beat up and bleeding. His attitude said he wanted to be left alone, but Ayase would feel bad for leaving him. "My apartment is only a little ways away, I have a medical kit there. If you would like, I could bandage up your wounds."

The strangers eyes opened, looking a little clearer then before. His gaze was intense, calculating, and guarded. "What do you want?"

Ayase frowned in confusion. "Want? Nothing. You're hurt and it would be wrong of me to just leave you. And it's pouring outside, you could get sick and... and worse..."

The stranger smirked. "I could be some crazy person kid, are you sure you wanna invite me to your house? What would your parents think?"

Ayase's eyes flashed sadness for a moment. "I live alone," he said quietly. "And... if you were a bad person, you wouldn't warn me now, would you?"

He smiled softly at the stranger, extending his hand. "If you want to, how about it? No one should be walking around alone tonight. Especially if they're hurting."

The man continued to gaze at him for a moment more, before something in his eyes softened. Ayase released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "All right," he agreed softly, struggling to get to his feet, "I think I'd like that..."

The stranger hadn't said much else for the rest of the night. Ayase had filled the silence with idled chatter about his life and hobbies as he had patched up the mans wounds and cooked them dinner. His mood had brightened at having the company, as quiet as he was. Especially when the man had asked for a second, then third helping of his stew. He loved to cook and have others enjoy his food.

The man too, had seemed to relax, eyes following Ayase silently as the younger male bustled around the apartment. Ayase had offered the stranger a place to sleep for the night, but he had declined. The blond was a little sad to see him go, but handed him a coat, and then the light blue umbrella he'd been holding before. "The coat might be a little small for you, it was my fathers. But it's warm and should keep you dry."

"Thank you." he responded softly, taking the umbrella and holding it carefully.

For the tiniest of moments, Ayase felt as if the large male before him looked competently lost. Maybe even sad too. "I'm sorry if I sound forward but...if you need help again you can stop by anytime..."

The stranger smiled, almost bitterly. "I'll keep that in mind."

They stood in the doorway, neither of them moving. The suddenly, the man's hand reached out to softly brush his fingers against Ayase's cheek. The blond was surprised, though stopped himself from flinching under the sudden touch. "Good night then, Ayase." he said softly, turning away.

Ayase stood in the doorway, watching the stranger quickly disappear into the night. "Goodbye..." he answered softly into the empty dark.

Ayase sat on the bed, clutching the umbrella, simply staring at it for the longest time. Only one man could say his name in such a way that it left him shivering. Why hadn't he remembered this before? That was the moment that Kanou wouldn't tell him about. Their first meeting.

The moment Kanou fell in love.

It didn't seem so important. It was just an offer of aid to an injured man. Nothing more then a dime store umbrella, now falling apart and no longer useful. But Kanou had kept it. For eight years he'd carried it with him, had attached it to a memory of Ayase at 14, who had extended a warm hand to a complete stranger. He knew Kanou enough now to realize how precious that moment must have been. He knew such acts of selflessness where rare for Kanou, and looking back it must have been hard for Kanou to push away his distrust, and allow another person to help him.

He had let Ayase in and allowed the younger male to see him at his worst. He hadn't known it at the time, and it had taken him four more years after they had met again, for Ayase to realize how precious that trust was. It didn't make all of Kanou's decisions right, but for a moment, Ayase felt like he could understand them a little bit better.

When Kanou arrived home that night, it was to an unusually quiet Ayase. Kanou was practically squirming at the dinner table as Ayase silently contemplated his soup. His angel was rarely this subdued anymore, and it worried him. "Ayase? Is something wrong? Did something happen?"

Eyes that had refused to meet his suddenly looked up, pinning him with an intense gaze. Kanou had the sudden urge to run, but pushed it down to equally stare back. Ayase wasn't hurt or angry, the older male could see that. Mostly he seemed thoughtful, as if he was trying to figure something out.

When Ayase finally looked away, Kanou relaxed slightly, uncomfortable under such scrutiny from his angel. "Will you please tell me whats wrong?" Kanou huffed. He always tried his best to be patient with Ayase, but he hated secrets.

Ayase smiled softly, shaking his head. "I'm sorry Kanou, I was just thinking."

"About what?"

Ayase stood and leaned over the table to give Kanou a soft kiss on his cheek. "Nothing important." he assured, "At least, not anymore."

As Kanou's control snapped at such a display of affection, and he dragged Ayase to their bedroom, the blond couldn't help but smile. The man could be so predictable in his relentlessness to have his way , but that was okay. It was that predictability, that Ayase secretly loved best. "I never took you for the sentimental type." he murmured softly.


"Nothing." Ayase said with a smile, letting himself be lost in Kanou's kisses.

If Kanou wanted to stubbornly cling to something as simple as an umbrella, who was Ayase to stop him? Someday, he'd tell Kanou he remembered, but for now, he had better things to do.

The End

A/N: I have no idea what I just wrote. I'm not ever sure it's any good. What the hell?

Read and review people! It's how the plot bunnies are fed!