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07 January 2007 @ 05:10 pm
Monday August 14, 2006  
Place: Tokyo University
Date: Monday August 14, 2006

There was a sadist somewhere in this university, Omi had decided very early in the semester, who wholeheartedly enjoyed scheduling Physics first thing in the morning. He suspected it was the professor, actually, but most days was too busy scribbling notes to glower at the man properly while out of view behind one of the taller students he always made sure to sit behind, crouching down low enough to be unnoticable even in the slightly tiered seating of the lecture hall.

Koiichi, next to him, was the one to initially break Omi out of the kind of entranced stupor only taking Physics notes can induce, an elbow to the ribs and an attention-drawing motion of his hand, under the desk, folded notebook paper caught between his fingers. Omi rolled his eyes, not like they were still in high school, passing notes in class. Shook his head a little but Koiichi nudged him again and he grabbed the paper, unfolding it silently under the desk.

[Sayaka thinks you're cute.]

Oh, god, they really were still in high school.

Omi blinked at the paper, noted Koiichi's grin and flash of fingers in a "V" for victory sign. The girl in question, small and cute with a ubiquitously rebellious streak of blonde in her short hair, was sitting at the end of the row two down from them, habitually chewing on a spare pencil while taking notes. Nice enough girl. Not bad to look at, either, but...

She noticed him staring, the way that girls do, the way that only girls notice that kind of thing, like an ingrained genetic instinct. If she had smiled, maybe, given him a coy look, lowered her eyes demurely, he might have dismissed her immediately. Been there. Seen that. Still did on a daily basis while trying to clip rosebuds.

She didn't, though. Dropped the pencil out of her mouth ungracefully, blushed even less gracefully and faced forward with a stiffness to her spine like she'd left the hanger in her shirt. All note taking forgotten in the moment of flustered embarassment.

Cute.

Omi shook his head slightly, drawing attention back to his notes and half-expected Koiichi to elbow him in the ribs again and continue whatever silent discussion he thought they were having, but instead--

Buzz.

He kept the phone in his bag, kept the bag close enough always to notice the vibration. Felt it from the pocket pressed against his thigh, where the bag was wedged between himself and Koiichi.

Omi gave the professor a cursory glance, noted that the man was still in the middle of his lecture with no notice to the bit of non-note-taking-related movement ten rows up in the gallery. Omi slipped the phone out, flipped it open under the desk.

Turned it on immediately and held it to his ear, inconspicuous as possible without any kind of greeting. Yohji would know to just talk.

Not five seconds later Omi was stuffing his notebook away rattling paper and banging his bag against the desk with no further thought to propriety or dodging the professor's gaze. All but climbing over Koiichi to get to the aisle and out the door.

"Is there a problem, Tsukiyono?"

How the man kept track of every name in his massive lecture classes was a wonder unto itself. That hawk-like stare would pin down any student where he stood, but not the one student who happened to have Omi's night job. He balked anyway, for show--so many things he did these days, all for show, all to feign just enough normalcy--and bowed deferentially. "I'm very sorry, sensei, it's an emergency. My..." My dead assassin teammate's formerly comatose sister? Either laughable or insane. "...sister collapsed. She's being taken to the hospital. Please excuse me, sensei. I'm very sorry." More bowing, more apologizing, more show...

The professor finally jerked his chin towards the door and gave him no further attention. Omi sighed internally and started running--out the door, out the building, across campus to the moped parking spaces and on, barely buckling his helmet before speeding off, arms still exposed, bag banging against his hip.

And only then did the wondering "Why now?" thought pop into his head.

Three years. Broken collarbone, arm, leg, ribs, swam to the beach with all of that and Nagi in tow by the wrist--still no explaining that. Something had hit him in the head in the midst of all the falling building but still, no explaining why he grabbed the wrist of the boy he'd been trying to kill (and who'd been returning the favor) seconds before and saving his life. Trickles of blood on Nagi's face and an unnatural angle to his arm, never knew just what had happened to him, falling masonry or the hard surface of the water or whatever else in the middle of all that chaos. Aya was dead, and the other Aya, now...

She's the little bit you have left, right? Omi liked to think that, but found more solace in Ouka's headstone or the rocks sticking out of the harbor that were the closest thing Aya the assassin would ever get to a grave marker. No one could be replaced, not even by their own memory or a familiar stand-in.

Three years, and Aya the girl was a person unto herself, affixed to the routine of daily life. Present, if not necessarily more than that.

He parked the moped at an awkward angle in the first stall he saw, fumbling with the strap to his helmet even while walking inside and barely getting it off when Nagi grabbed his arm. Calm in the waiting room and separate, wrapped in that ever-efficient aura of stay-the-fuck-away.

It was clear, then, that this picture was much bigger than anyone, including himself, could have anticipated.