Notes and Disclaimers: The following is an original work by me, freely using the creative genius of Tachiwaka Megumi, to whom I am indebted. The characters of Saint Tail, Asuka Jr., et al are owned by Kodansha and TMS.
This story is my favorite of the one shot deals and I never get tired of reading it. I sincerely hope you enjoy it half as much as I do. May we all find a love like Asuka Jr. and Meimi.
By Stirling Twilight
Hanging up the phone, Meimi turned to the pile of books she had collected. She heaved a sigh and, picking them up, went in search of a table. Her mother had understood her need to stay late at the library, even if Meimi was unhappy with the thought. The only bright spot in the problem was the library was open late tonight. She walked though the stacks, glancing about for a quiet spot. The library was practically empty and Meimi felt conspicuous as she angled toward the relative privacy of the back of the building.
She was lost in thoughts of flowers and snow when a strange sound reached her ears. That she had heard it before immediately sprang to mind, but what it was she couldnt quite place. Rounding a corner, she located the source of the noise and smiled.
Asuka Jr. sat, softly snoring, at a table with piles of books around him like castle walls.
Meimi placed her pile amid his and settled in a chair, being careful to not make to much noise. Once in place, she rearranged the books so that anyone coming around the corner would not see her classmate so easily. There was no reason for them to both get thrown out she mused. Besides, it made her happy to think she was protecting him, even if it was only from the librarians. Opening a book, she turned to the index, pulled a pile of blank cards from her bag and began taking notes.
It was fitting that Asuka Jr. should be here, she reflected with a warm smile, for it was he who had introduced the subject to her.
The story was a branch of the creation myth regarding snow and how it became white. Meimi searched for differences in the basic story, made notes of variations and became so immersed in her work that she didnt notice that time was passing rapidly. The soft snoring from across the table faded from her mind, and then from her hearing. After a time she rose, stretched and went in search of water. After several long drinks she got a fresh cup, filled it, and placed it near the sleeping young man. Opening another book, Meimi began looking for parallel myths, and once again became absorbed.
Asuka Jr. opened his eyes and sleepily looked around himself, getting his bearings. That he was still in the library was his first thought, and that Haneoka Meimi was asleep across the table from him was the next. She sat with her arms crossed on an open book, her face, softly wrapped in a blanket of sleep, turned toward him. With a smile, the young detective pushed some books toward the edge of the table, to block her from casual view, and returned to his report.
After several minutes, Asuka Jr. found himself unconsciously watching his sleeping classmate. Her skin, he observed, had a soft, warm, rosy look. Her lips were slightly parted and her breath stirred wisps of hair that lay across her cheek. She was truly the picture of innocence. Suddenly, he became aware of the fact that he felt very comfortable, sitting there with her. Glancing down at the book she lay on, he saw pictures of snowdrops displayed there. Their conversation about the flowers flashed across his mind and he concluded her report was on that topic. Picking up her note cards, he saw she had gotten a lot done and with that thought let her sleep while he returned to his own work.
When the librarian came over to tell them it was closing time, Asuka Jr. quickly motioned that he would wake the still sleeping redhead. The librarian smiled and moved on. Asuka Jr. silently rose and knelt beside Meimi. He hated to disturb her, but was happy he would be the one to wake her...gently. Reaching up, he lifted an errant strand of hair from her face.
"Haneoka," he whispered. She made a soft, contented sound and her eyes fluttered open. She looked at him and a smile spread across her lips, but then she seemed to recall herself and sat up in alarm.
"Did I ?" she began, looking around wildly.
The young detective laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Dont worry, everythings fine. You fell asleep, thats all. Its closing time, my father will be waiting outside. Can I offer you a ride home?"
Meimi smiled her acceptance and began putting her books in order. Asuka Jr. did the same, picking up her pile as well as his own and carrying them to the charge desk. When they reached the desk, he turned to her, took her card, and presented it to the librarian, sorting his books from hers. Meimi watched all of this with a happy air. He was always so polite, so correct. She wondered about his free time. Did he let himself relax? Or was this politeness so much a part of him that there was no down time? She thought of his quick temper, and her smile grew. He definitely embarrassed easily she concluded. Asuka Jr. stowed his books, scooped hers up and carried them to the door.
Meimi silently followed.
Once in the night air, Asuka Jr. turned to her, a broad grin on his face, "Did you find me asleep? I dont remember you joining me."
Meimis eyes sparkled with delight, "Yes," she confided, leaning toward him. "You were snoring."
He snorted in mock indignation. "I dont snore," he announced with a chuckle. She laughed too and together they sat down on a bench to await his father.
"Is your report on the creation myth I was tell you about?" he asked placing her books on his side away from her so they sat close together.
She nodded. "It was such a nice story, I wanted to learn more about it."
"The snowdrops were very kind," he absently agreed.
"Thats not the story I meant."
He sat forward, "Hmm?"
Meimi shook her head. "Nothing. Whats your report about?"
He didnt seem to hear the question. He was surveying the cars awaiting the few patrons coming from the library and appeared surprised that his fathers car among them.
"Excuse me, Ill be right back," he mumbled, reaching into his pocket and removing a phone card. Meimi watched him go, feeling suddenly very forlorn and exposed. It was not, however, in her nature to be unhappy for long so she cheered herself with the thought of his return.
"Are you alone?"
The voice came from her side and she turned in alarm to see an older man leering at her from the bushes. She looked back toward the library but couldnt see Asuka Jr. anywhere.
"No," she said, hastily standing to collect her books, "Im not." Meimi felt panic beginning to swell within her as he slowly looked her over, a sickening grin on his face.
With an arrogant tone he asked, "Is he your boyfriend?"
"Yes! I am!" was the angry response.
Meimi turned to the voice, weak with relief. "Asuka Jr." she whispered.
Asuka Jr. easily vaulted over the bench they had been sitting on; his hand reaching for the Mayors badge, his body a shield before her. "Move on," he commanded bringing the badge into the light. Meimi heard only the rustle of bushes, but knew his arrival had taken care of the problem. Her classmate turned toward her and she could plainly see he was pale in the lamplight.
"Are you alright?" he demanded, a hand out to support her if needed.
Meimi nodded. "Are you?"
He didnt answer but grabbed her hand and began to lead her away from the bushes, toward the more lighted path. His stride bespoke his temperament and she skipped quickly along, trying to keep up with him. When they reached the library doors, he stopped and turned to her.
"Im sorry, my father was called away and won't be coming. Im sorry, I thought I could--"
"I dont mind," she interjected with a smile, glad for a change of subject and hoping to relieve his discomfort. "I had planned on walking home."
"Ill walk you," he said firmly. "That creep might not have gone far."
She thanked him and together they began walking toward her house.
Meimi was silent, reliving his admission of a relationship. She knew he had said it on the spur of the moment, but it had thrilled her none the less. What she couldnt understand was his reaction to the event. That the incident had shaken him was evident, but why so strongly?
"Im sorry about what happened," he said after a few minutes.
She hugged her books to her chest. "Please dont worry, Im fine...but you--"
"I felt," he interrupted her, coming to a sudden stop, "I felt that if something had happened to you " words failed him. He stood for a moment, his eyes downcast, and then shrugged as if to signal he had nothing more to say.
Meimi moved before him, looking up into his eyes. "Im fine, really...thanks to you, she whispered reassuringly, moving a step closer. He didnt meet her eyes so she reached her hand toward him.
Asuka Jr. caught it and clasped it to his chest. "Haneoka," he murmured. She gasped in surprise and pleasure. "I meant it," he continued softly. "When I said I was your boyfriend, I meant it. I mean," he faltered, "I want to be...I would like to be your boyfriend."
Meimi felt her knees turn to rubber as her internal organs plummeted through her body. She blushed, dropping her gaze. Asuka Jr. took a step toward her, closing the narrow gap between them. His hand rose to cup her chin and gently lift her face to his. Meimi saw the desire in his eyes and could only hope her own longing was as evident.
"I would like very much " he whispered as his eyes closed and he pressed his lips to hers.
Meimi knew then that there were no words that could ever describe being kissed by the object of your desire. A warmth she had never known overflowed her body as a missing piece of her soul fell into place. As Asuka Jr. slowly pulled away, she could clearly see the fear of rejection on his face so she did the only thing she could think of to reassure him. Rising onto her toes, she kissed him back. His arms immediately went around her, steadying her, supporting her, and Meimi felt her world beginning anew.