This oneshot fic was inspired by Wonderful, which is a song by Everclear. A very good song, except I must admit that I can no longer listen to it. I spent the last four days listening to it while I wrote this and am quite tired of hearing the same song over and over and over and overa nd ouver again. oO;

Spoilers: Not many, though there are slight references.

This story is written in first person (and in that present tense) format; it marks a first for me, since I rarely try this style. In addition, I wrote it from Aya/Ran's point of view, when my specialty is actually Omi.

That covers my not-so-standard comments, so I'll let you read and (hopefully) enjoy. Constructive reviews are always appreciated, so that I may work further on being a better writer. Thanks for your time. ^^

Wonderful

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Exactly one year has passed, down to the hour, yet nothing seemed to have changed. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that, but the world is still as dark as place as it was fifty-two weeks past. Maybe even a little darker, without that oddly snobbish cheer brightening it. It seems as though not even a single leaf has moved from the grounds where she was killed, the shadows still haunting it exactly as they head. Even the rain is falling as it had been, coating everything in a soaking layer of moisture that could chill to the bone.

Odd that nothing has changed. There should have been some slight detail different, some hint of time's passing, but nothing calls out to me as that. There is no question as to if I am perhaps missing a detail; many times have others termed me the most observant of WeiƟ, and too often that is true. No detail escapes me when I chose to observe closely, it is inevitable that I will find every last and most insignificant or invisible of clues. Unlike others, this hardly affects the 'ego' a man is supposed to hold about himself, I merely accept this ability to observe. I do not show it off or feel better for it, I only know it helps to achieve the end. Observation is merely a means to that.

Speaking of observation, there is something more than my surroundings that I am keeping track of. There, only twenty feet away, is the object of my attention, the young man who knew the murdered girl. Kneeling on the ground and tracing his fingers over the faint bloodstains that remain still, he is silent, subdued. Odd, considering how his sapphire eyes should have been full of life, his lips turned up in a smile instead of the sad curve that was touching them. The youngest assassin should not have been so sad, but life can be unfair like that. He knows it, I know it.

Sighing softly, I watch him from the shadows, concealed in them from his eyes. He knows not of my presence, else he would doubtlessly smile and be the cheerful, respecting youth we all are supposed to know him as. Supposed to indeed, but I know that there is more beneath that genki mask than any other could guess. The pain of lost memories, the hurt of a hating family, and anguish of seeing that family murdered. There's more than just that, of course, but the teen hides it well, even from me. That alone is almost admirable, this odd ability to conceal something from me when I wish to know it. I may not be as dedicated or persistent as the boy when it comes to finding information, but I can see with my eyes and hear with my ears. Enough, with him, to know that there is more than just his past haunting him. But not enough to know what it is.

Sometimes that frustrates me, not knowing or being able to know why or what it is that lays underneath that false happiness. I know that it is false, though; no one can hold true innocence when they are raised an assassin, as he was. No white assassin can know true happiness either. It is impossible, and has been proven so. Each time there stands a chance of some meaning or feeling to our existence, it is taken away. Life too often fades with it, such as with the blue-haired girl he was mourning the death of, even now. She lost her life due to her ability to make him happy.

Standing there, silent and still, it seems as though I can still hear the echo of his screams twelve months past, when he held her body as the life drained from it. It's chilling to think of those cries, so choked and broken as they were. And the words he said, when his voice grew too hoarse to be more than a whisper. Words of why she had died, how he had cursed her to this, just by knowing her and being near her. How impossible it would be to smile when her death was caused by her ability to make him smile. No one believed I had heard them, especially not the boy, but I had. Those were my first hints as to what lay behind that false happiness, the smile that existed only to please others.

Unfortunately, those were among the last hints as well. As much as I was and am aware that there is more to the boy than the genki nature he seems to hold, even I can be fooled by his act and smile. So complete is it that anyone could be fooled, and everyone seems to be. When I see that smile, any thoughts of questioning the falsehood of it filter away, a momentary belief taking hold that he is happy, not cursed. That belief fades with the smile, but damned I am if I can find a way to avoid falling for it every time.

Still silent in my observation, I sigh again, hearing the soft patter of the raindrops increasing in speed and decreasing in interval. It's raining harder now, making me thankful for the jacket I brought and the cover of the tree grown so tall above me to protect me from the cool water. However, the sapphire-eyed youth has no protection against the chilling elements, his arms bare of jacket, his hand free of any sort of umbrella. One would think he did not even notice the rain. Then again, given his silence in contemplation, such could too easily be true. His tendencies run along being too intense and devoted to single things, and merely ignoring the rest of the world at the time. Such as now, sitting in the rain and clearly thinking about her, without giving notice or ware to the rain soaking his clothing and honeyed hair. That is not acceptable.

Stepping out from the cover of shadows and leaves I move towards the youth, shrugging off my long jacket and draping it over his shoulders before he even registers my presence. The rain falling to drench my exposed clothing is shrugged off as I watch him, his sapphire eyes blinking in surprise at the sudden appearance of a jacket on his form and me by his side. "You'll get sick if you stand out here too long." Spoken smoothly, the words carry easily through the sound of the weather, reaching the boy too clearly along with the sight of my simple shrug.

"Aya-kun..." Whispered softly, his voice trails off uncertainly, clear confusion evident in those pools of blue. Why I'm here, on the anniversary of her death and in the midst of his remembrance of that, eludes him. Then again, how could he know the answer to that question I fail to know? Why I am present is an unknown, I just knew that I could not let him go out along tonight, of all nights. I do not bother to question that, as he should not as well.

There is a silence that follows, a given to this sort of situation. Whatever words could be spoken hang in our minds, no doubt. I merely shrug them off, being a creature of little words, but he likely pours over what he should say in response to my action, or in explanation to his presence here. He thinks too much about that sort of thing, though. Angsting over a given silence is unhealthy, but I know he is doing it anyways. It shows in those sapphire eyes of his, which are the window to his very soul. "Omi..." Oddly, I pause, uncertain of why I even spoke his name without clear intention of saying anything else. Shaking my head softly at the slip, I continue. "You should be in bed, you have class tomorrow."

The youth blinks, surprised and offbeat by this unexpected path of conversation. He probably expected me in inquire why he is out and about, and why this particular location. But I already know all those details, so hardly need to ask about them. A certain sadness passes across the deep zaffer tones, perhaps a reminder that his life must continue in the morning when hers was ended bringing up those hints of depression. Unconsciously he fidgets, toying with the clasp of the jacket draped over his shoulders before standing to face me. "Daijoubu, Aya-kun... I just needed some air."

An admirable attempt to divert my attention. Well, perhaps not quite so, but it is admirable that he would attempt that at all. I can see in his eyes that he realizes full well why I am here, just as I realize why he is here. Before I can respond though, he turns away, shoulders slumped sadly, uncharacteristic to his usual spunk. Biting the inside of my lip, and action made in thought rather than hesitation, I watch him as he casts his eyes towards the ground. He thinks still, and mourns. Unhealthy as it is, for his youth and energy. "Omi, come back to Koneko and sleep before you fall ill from the rain," I said, keeping my voice soft and even. Ordering the youth about in my normal harsh tones would be fruitless, it was always better to suggest a matter and speak with him about it.

Startled by the sudden words, he seems to tense a bit before turning back to me. There, sitting on his lips, is the false smile... Tonight it seems even weaker than usual, hastily put in place to divert my worry, as odd as it is, to something else. Always thinking about others, in a sense; he was the kind to rather die a slow death in favour of letting a doctor tend another's minor wounds instead of his own. That life and mindset, though, brought him nothing but pain in the end... Pain that he masked all too well behind that smile. "I'm fine, Aya-kun. Nothing wrong with a bit of rain, ne?"

No, perhaps not. That did not mean I would back away quite yet. The boy was clearly sad and alone, and I could not just walk away from a teammate in that state. As cold a bastard as others spoke of me as, I do feel sometimes. Omi is a member of my team, perhaps a friend or something more. Not something I can just walk away from in the middle of a rainstorm at midnight. "You're not here for the air though, Omi." Spoken suddenly, I think it's quite clear that there is no questioning tone or action behind it. It was a statement, something he could not or should not defy in any form. "And you're not fine..."

Soft blue eyes widen slightly at my words, a predictable enough reaction to my sudden statement. I can see a momentary hesitation in those sapphire pools, uncertainty of how to react clear in them. At least he appears to know that he cannot just deny the words, not when such truth rings in them. However, beyond that he seems lost, his mouth hanging half open with partially worded responses that keep getting changed, replaced for better statements again and again. "Ano... I am though, Aya-kun," he finally manages, a somewhat sheepish undertone in his voice to accompany the lie. He's not fine, I can see it in his eyes, a begging look that prays for me to notice and help.

"Don't lie to me, Omi." This time the more customary cold tones are added to my words, giving the boy clear warning that I would not tolerate the stories he was concocting to excuse himself. I've heard them all before anyways, either spoken to me or the others. None of them are believable any longer, especially not when they are spoken in that half-cheered voice. A voice meant to distract, but not persuade. False, just like his words of reassurance; lies to calm the worry of others, and hardly of any help to him or the situation.

That seems to force him to a pause, his eyes casting to the side uncertainly, as though he cannot decide what to say now. I can see the slight stretch of his lip as his teeth pull on the inside of it, his thoughts consuming him. It can really be quite cute how he looks while in thought, with his brow creased in concentration and ivory teeth pulling at his lower lip unconsciously; however any attraction in that is lost to the seriousness of the moment and his state. For a moment the silence leads on, his mind clearly at work on what to say, my lips held still for whatever reply he might give. Finally he looks back at me, but this time he lacks the genki smile that says he should be okay. Tears line his eyes as he shakes his head, biting his lip still to keep his composure, no matter how lost it seems to be. "I'm not lying, Aya-kun," he whispers in a broken voice. "Everything is perfectly wonderful..."

Standing there and watching him, it feels like my own heart should be breaking at the sight of the cheer suddenly gone. Of all of us, Omi should not be the crying on. He always survives and moves on, hiding the sadness and pretending life is fine. Right now, though, that sadness is utterly apparent on his features. And I find myself willing to give anything to just see the depressed soul staring out at me filter back beneath the cover of joy. Moments ago I wanted nothing but for him to be truthful, but not that I have a glimpse into the truth of his heart, I wish I had never asked of it. To see the pain that lies within those sapphire eyes is like watching my sister be struck down a hundred times; I can hardly understand why it affects me so much, I only know that it tears at my very soul to see that upset so defined.

"Everything is wonderful..." Speaking the words again, he has hardly improved, his tone shakingly taking each syllable and spitting it out with such difficulty, as though talking itself is an impossible feat. "What could be wrong, ne? It's been a year... and we won, Aya-kun, we won... Aya-chan is awake again, SZ is gone... They can't hurt anyone else now, so everything is fine... Just wonderful." The soft shake of his head shouts clear contradiction to those words, telling me something I already know: Every last bit of sorrow and stress has been sitting on this boy's shoulders too long. He needs help to bear it all, I only wish I could have realized it before this night. "The ones we lost... they live in a better place, ne? And they look down on us and are proud that we won, ne? So how can anything be wrong... The innocents are safe no, they don't need saving." Halting, a tear slides down his face as the truth of the matter uncovers itself for him, bringing forth a surge of pain and despair in those lonely sapphire eyes. "I just... wish it could have been done sooner, Aya-kun. I wish I could have saved her... Why couldn't I? Why couldn't I..."

The jacket I had placed upon his shoulders slips to the ground as I move forward, gingerly drawing him close in a reassuring embrace. Perhaps such a thing is odd to me, but how can I stand by and let him stand so alone when he clearly needs help? My fingers curl in the moist strands of honeyed gold, the body of the youth crumbling against me as he allows the tears to break free. I can do nothing but stand there and hold him for the longest time, letting the saltine droplets stain my clothing as a year's worth of sorrow drains from his eyes. "You tried, Omi," I finally say, running my hand through his hair gently, feeling his arms cling around my form as an anchor against the sea of hurt that threatens forever to take him away. "There was nothing you could do though... Don't blame yourself."

Where these words are coming from puzzle me. I've never been known as a consoling figure, or one to be there when others are sad. I should have been content to tell him to cheer up and walk away; to be the cold bastard Aya that everyone knows. But I can't. Something about Omi makes it impossible to walk away as I have too often before. There is something about the boy that draws me in, makes me want to be there for him. I never bother trying to pinpoint what it is that does that, I merely accept it and only worry when it changes me as deeply as it has. Perhaps I care about the boy, as I swore that I would never care about anyone. Shaking my head, I push those thoughts aside. Now is not the time to theorize about the motivation behind my want to make Omi smile again rather than sob as he is. I cannot be selfish and think of myself, not when he clearly needs the help. Matters such as emotion can be puzzled over later, when he is calmer, better than the broken boy in my arms right now.

"Things may not be wonderful, Omi, but they are as they are," I continue softly to the young assassin. "It's okay though, we can fix it. We'll make it wonderful again, ne?" Rubbing my other hand gently across his back, I simply hold him as the heart-racking crying slowly subsides, my words finally reaching him. Now it's merely quiet tears that escape him, though his hold on me hardly loosens. Then again, my arms around him have no intention of moving, not until he feels better again. Then he and I can return home to Koneko and talk of this, outside of the rain that threatens pneumonia with each second spent out in it. However, that can come later, right now I just want to be here for him, while he is vulnerable. I will protect him, and make everything alright for him once more.

Everything will be wonderful once more. I promise him that.

- owari -



Author's Note:
Well, hey, I already noted away in the start, ne?

I admit, I put some weak shounen-ai references in. Not many, just a few towards the end. Thought you might be curious why Aya was thinking in those terms.

Anyways, this is just a oneshot. Hope you enjoyed reading it.