Music of My Soul

BY : ReadtoEscape
Category: Wei▀ Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1187
Disclaimer: I dont own Weiss kreuz, Ran, Yohji, or any of the guys. I write/post for my own enjoyment. No profit is made. Well, except the stress relief of writing it, & the warm fuzzies I get if you like it. But as those are intangibles,


CHAPTER 22



 



Christmas dinner was a riotous, warm, affair. Ran and Aya’s elf impersonations aside, the group decided to do the drawing of names to exchange gifts. Of course, none could resist one small gift for the rest too, but the agreement had been to make this - - their first Christmas when all were together as a true family in so long - - to make it a true old fashioned, family holiday. To keep the commercialism factor to a minimum. One person (significant others aside) to focus on, to buy or make a gift for. Something uniquely suited to that person. Thus, the gifts were well thought out, warming hearts and minds:

 



Jei received a set of custom made Japanese knives for his cooking fascination from his “elf” Brad. Brad was gifted with an antique pistol and case from a shy, nervous Nagi who’d noticed Brad’s pre-occupation with firearms: “to start, or add to, your collection.” Nagi mumbled, and Brad smiled. A slow, amazed smile that quiet Nagi had picked up on his hobby unnoticed by the rest, except for Schuldig.



 



Nagi in turn received a slew of wireless or remotely controlled interface equipment to his wide-eyed amazement, from a smug, grinning Schuldig. A Schuldig, who in turn, was stunned to open Jei’s gift of new video equipment and software. At first puzzled, Schu turned to Jei “Well, I had a few thoughts there Schu.” He said, rubbing the back of his neck. “First, of course you love taking pictures. We all know that. But, you’re gonna be traveling a lot with Brad. And, you have a once in a lifetime Union ceremony coming up next week. Gonna be making some memories. Then, there’s the tutoring thing. Make some discs of some lessons, then you can keep your kids on track when you have to travel with Brad maybe.”



 



Jei leered then, flashing a quick grin, “Besides, I saw Brad’s face when gave Thanks at Thanksgiving dinner for the invention of the web cam. Maybe this can come in just as handy when he has to travel without you, hmm?” The raucous laughter of the group drowned out Schu’s indignant squawk, and only Ran caught Brad’s muttered “Oh I hope so.”



 



Omi grinned with delight at the gaming set he found in his gift box, and turned in bouncing excitement to Yohji. “Happy Omitchi?” Yohji asked, “not too impersonal?”



 



“No Yohji. It’s perfect” Omi beamed, “now I can set Nagi up with a character in each realm. I- “ Yohji held up a hand, “I’m glad you like it bishounen. But you know I have no clue about that stuff, and you know it. Just have fun with it. Merry Christmas.” He grinned and rested back against the sofa, leaning into Ran.



 



A Ran who stiffened slightly with eyes widening with shock as Yuushi came to kneel in front of him. “Yuushi? What -?”



 



“Ran.” Yuushi solemly intoned after watching him quietly for a moment. He then slightly lifted the long, narrow gift box he carried and laid in lightly on Ran’s lap, keeping one hand on the box to balance it. A quiet fell over the group at the formal moment as Yuushi sat there at Ran’s feet, waiting.



 



Ran’s eyes flicked to Yohji but found only confusion, and a hint of... what?..... there. Then he glanced at Aya. She smiled warmly and gave a slight nod. Taking a slow breath, Ran turned back to Yuushi. He carefully took possession of the box and slowly unwrapped it. Lifting the lid he gasped, eyes flying to Yuushi’s. Laying cushioned in a bed of foam there lay a katana encased in a carved black teakwood sheath. The Japanese characters carved into the sheath read ‘honor, strength, truth’



 



Shaking hands carefully lifted the sword from the box, then wide eyes flew to Yuushi again. “Yuushi, .... is this?...” Ran rasped. At Yuushi’s nod Ran carefully eased the blade from it’s casing revealing a sakabato – a rare sword with the blade edge reversed to the inside of the blade. A sword carried by those who’d given up the death and dishonor of war, those sworn to defend the weak, to uphold peace and honor without bloodshed, to bring others to understand self-acceptance and trust.



 



Running a reverent hand over the blade, Ran whispered, “Yu... How, where?” Yuushi smiled, patted Ran’s knee and stood. “You are also a man of honor Ran Fujimiya. A man of conviction, more than any I have known. I am honored to call you friend and family” Yuushi bowed a formal bow and left a still blinking Ran holding the sword close as he went to Aya leaning against the wall. He kissed her lightly, then took her drink to refill it.



 



Nagi stood and followed with his own and a few others. By the time they returned, Ran was more composed and used the lull in conversation to catch Ken’s attention. “Ken” he said quietly, as he presented an elegantly wrapped box from under the tree. “Merry Christmas Ken.” Ran smiled and laughed as Ken’s face was split by an eager smile and he dropped to his knees right there by the tree to rip into the box.



 



The silence that followed as Ken stared into the torn open box  lasted so long that Ran began to worry. He glanced at Yohji with a vulnerable, “I’ve done something wrong” look in his eyes, that Yohji just hated. Pulling Ran in close beside him Yohji turned to Ken. “well Hidaka? What the hell is it?”



 



Ken’s head shot up, wide eyes searching out Ran’s own. “Ran” Ken whispered, obviously awed, “how?” he trailed off and the group reacted to the building tension, bursting out almost in sync” WHAT Ken?”



 



Ken shook himself, then looked around. He reached into the box and pulled out a soccer ball encased in acrylic. It was covered in squiggles all over in shades of blue and gold, team colors of Ken’s beloved LA Galaxy. Shaking slightly, Ken sat the case down gently and lifted out a padded envelope. He turned to Jei after opening it and staring for another long moment. “Season starts soon lover. Think you can keep up with me?”



 



His grin then blossomed to cover his face, eyes sparkling. He dropped the envelope into the box and launched himself at a shocked Ran to glomp him in a fast hug to take in the impossibly wide eyes. “THANK you Ran. Thank you SO much. After we’re done, please PLEASE, tell me how you did this.”



 



Ran blinked and smiled. He patted Ken on the shoulder. “I’ll tell you now Ken, it’s ok. A player, a goalie I think, actually was a customer at the gallery. Bought a landscape painting.” Ken’s eyes began to bug out as Ran went on. “I overheard him talking to the young lady with him and figured out he was a player. I offered him a discount if he’d help me out with a gift for a friend.” Ken sputtered, “A... a ...player? Goalie? Do.... do you mean Saunders?” His voice squeaked at the end, his excitement getting the better of him.



 



“Yes, I believe that was his name.” Ran answered, eyes twinkling. “He’s picking up another painting later this week, Wednesday I think....” He smiled at Ken. “So, I take it you like the present?”



 



“LIKE It??!!” Ken squealed, “Ran! You have no idea –“



 



Yohji cut him off, “Oh contrare Ken Ken.” Yohji drawled, “I think we ALL have exactly the idea how happy you are.”



 



The group laughed and Ken blushed, returning to Jei’s embrace, only to bounce up again, “Oh! Wait!” he turned back to Ran “I will definitely be at the gallery Wednesday, you just tell me what time. I promise not to glomp him.” Then he turned to the tree and reached under it to pull out an oversized package. Turning to Yuushi he presented the box to him. “Merry Christmas Yu.” He said, then returned to Jei’s side on the sofa.



 



Yuushi grinned and tore into the package. A puzzled  expression crossed his face as he took in the contents of the box. Glancing at Ken, he lifted out a small powder blue life vest, followed by a tacklebox overflowing with goodies, and several smaller bags containing CDs, two bottles of red wine, and strawberries and cheese packed in dry ice, and a bag of puzzle books and markers. Taped to the tacklebox was a printed photo with the words, “I’m in the truck.” The photo was of two surfboards, skiis. Yu looked from the photo to Ken, then to the rest of the group.



 



Ken chuckled. “well Yu, I know how much time you spend on that boat of yours. And right now it may be cold, and the novelty with Aya is taking precedence, but sooner or later you’re gonna miss it. Don’t lose this part of you. Make it part of her too. Take her out. Show her this side of you. Now she’s got her own life jacket, some goodies to keep her busy while you cast off, and wine and strawberries for under the stars. The surfboards and skiis are for later obviously, his and her sizes, Ran gave me your show size Aya. You gotta teach her to surf and ski man. Bonding time, right?” Ken grinned again.



 



Yuushi cleared his throat “this is an amazing, thoughtful gift Ken. Just incredible. Really. Thank you.” Ken nodded, looking Yuushi in the eye for a moment, before turning to Manx who’d cleared her throat to break the spell. “Well Aya” She said, “My turn roomie.” Manx pulled out a small shoebox sized gift and presented it to Aya.



 



Aya smiled and carefully, with as little tearing as possible. Opened the wrapping. Ran groaned at the snail’s pace and Yohji grinned. “paper saver huh?” he whispered into Ran’s ear. “You have NO idea” Ran moaned. “She’s always been this way. It’s enough to make you crazy. Even when,” Ran swallowed hard, but quickly went on, “even when she woke up and I brought her all the gifts I’d collected while she slept, she opened them all this way. It took two days.”



 



Aya’s laughter chimed from across the room. “Yes Ran. It took a while. But, it served it’s purpose at the time, to distract you for a few hours from Yohji’s absence at the time.” She smiled a soft smile at Ran and reached over to pat his thigh. “And, it made a good memory for that day.”



 



Ran swallowed, and covered her hand with his own. “Go on silly,” he nudged her, “open this one. Everyone is waiting.” Giggiling she did so, then gasped with delight as she sat the tissue paper from inside the box to one side. “Oh! Manx. This is wonderful!” She lifted from the box a handful of gift cards. “This is... too much Manx!”



 



“No it’s not.” Manx said “Trust me. The guys pay me well. And with as busy as they get, you will have lots of down time. And with the move, you NEED it. Replenish yourself, spend some time on you.”



 



“What?” Omi asked, craning around to try to see the cards Aya held. “What is it Manx?” Laughing, shaking her head, aya held the cards so all could see. “Certificates for several shops and salons & the relaxation spa. A girls dream, pampering and shopping. Wonderful.” She smiled at Manx, missing Omi’s ogle then look of dismay.



 



He shook his head, “Well. Damn.” He said quietly, but just at a lull, causing it to sound out loudly among the group. “What omittchi?” Yohji asked, leaning forward, “something wrong?”



 



“Well, I hope not.” Omi said mysteriously as he reached for a gift bag next to him, “Every girl’s dream, huh?” Omi handed the bag to a mystified Manx who laughed as she lifted out her own set of cards, almost a match for Aya’s. “Well roomie, looks like we’ll have our own bonding time” She laughed and hugged Omi. “This is perfect Omi. I would never buy this for me, really, I’ve given these as gifts, but.... well....it’s a bit much to do for yourself.  This is perfect. Thank you, really”



 



She beamed, and Omi’s relief was obvious. “Well. You spend so much time taking care of us, it’s time you took care of you. And now, you have a friend to do it with too.” She laughed and hugged him again. “Thanks Omi.” Omi grinned a bit wider and shook his finger at Manx. “I also know how much you enjoyed the CrabShack. Masato gave me quite the deal when I mentioned who those cards were for.... hmmm, I think he may just be looking forward to them being cashed in.” Manx blushed warmly and quickly out the box away, clearing her throat. “Well. Aya, we’ll have to go over calendars this weekend and plan out some girl time.”



 



“Oh, that would be great Manx, wonderful” Aya gushed as she put away her own bag. Straightening, she turned to Yohji. “well, I guess we saved the best for last, huh?” she giggled as Yohji primped outrageously and batted his eyes at her “what did you get me Princess, what is it?” he leaned forward eagerly. Aya watched him for a bit, smiling at his antics, then stepped over to the hall closet.



“huh?” Yohji watched her confused, as she came back from the closet dragging a rather large box. “Aya?” he asked as she pushed it to a stop at his feet. As he reached for the flap, she cried out, “Wait!” and reached between the tree and the wall. She pulled put a large, flat, wrapped... something. “I confess,” Aya began as she held the flat item just out of reach, “ your gift is actually kind of for you AND Ran. Part of it’s for you, but part is for both of you. But, well, I couldn’t give you your part without giving Ran his, so....”



 



She trailed off as Ran sat a bit straighter, forehead creased with confusion. “Aya? What is it?” 



 



“Shh Ran. You’ll see in a bit. I’m..... sorry, it took so long to get this to you. There just never seemed to be a good time, and – “ she cut off and took a deep breath. “Never mind, you’ll see soon enough.” She turned to Yohji holding out the flat item. “OK. This one first, then the box, together.” She released the gift into Yohji’s hands, then stepped back to lean against Yuushi to watch.



 



Yohji glanced at Ran, then pulled the paper down the middle. As the wrap fell away, he called out, “Aya!” His eyes flew to hers, as did Ran’s, before taking a moment to glance at each other. Their gaze turned back to the item together, and they reached as one to remove the last of the paper. They both just looked for a moment, until Omi burst out “Well? What is it already?”



 



Laughing, Yohji looked up, took a deep breath, and turned the gift around. It was a collage of photos. In the center was a photo of Yohji and Ran together, laughing, from their first Thanksgiving together at Schuldig’s. a blow up of the one Yohji’d carried in his wallet for so long. The love and laughter shining from them both. Surrounding that picture were picture after picture of Yohji and Ran. Some grainy, some clear; many recognized as at Schu’s place, some from the tour bus, some from the park  during that first Labor Day, others more obscure.



 



Ran looked to Aya as Yohji smiled at Schuldig. Both spoke at the same moment “Schu?” “Aya?”  They laughed, and shook their heads. Aya’s tinkling laughter rang out, underscored by Schuldig’s chuckle. “I’ll answer, shall I?” Schuldig asked. Aya smiled and nodded, and Schu went on. “Yeah Yohji, you’re right, I helped out a bit. We’ve exchanged some serious emails these last few weeks. My picture taking obsession is a little more well known than I’d believed. He glanced at Jei who chuckled darkly, and then went on. “Anyway, yeah. Many are from y collection. The box has more. Solos of each of you, several of the group in various combinations, some from school, and-“



 



He was cut off as Yohji squealed out sharply, “School?!” Schu blinked before laughing a full out laugh. “No Yohji. Not THOSE. Later – senior year or so” He shook his head and turned to Ran’s raised brow. “Those pictures I have scanned to a jump drive for you’re  own, alone, separate amusement later Ran.” Finally Schu could hold back no more, and burst out laughing.



 



Shaking his head, Ran turned to Aya as she cleared her throat. “Also in the box, Ran, are photos of... us Ran.” He voice dropped to a whisper, “Even some of mom.” Ran’s eyes flew wider as she froze a moment, before his gaze fell to the box. “mom?” he asked quietly, gaze returning to Aya, searching her face. “How Aya?”



 



She took a breath. “After you freed me, apparently Persia ordered all my belongings left at the mansion to be destroyed. But Mona kept them instead, hoping to find a way to contact me.”



 



“Mona” Ran breathed.



 



“She quit right after she boxed everything up to be “disposed of” and she put them into storage. She found me shortly after you moved here. Her granddaughter was enrolled at the University with me and recognized me one day from some of Mona’s photos. I wanted to surprise you Ran. I’m.... sorry, really, that it took me so long to bring them to you. I didn’t want to mail them....”



 



Ran’s gaze dropped back to the box, and he softly ran a hand along the edge. “Babe,” Yohji asked quietly, “Why don’t you and Aya go through these? Schu can help me get the cake and cocoa together.” Yohji stood and pulled Aya into a big hug. He breathed against her hair, “Thank you Aya. So much.” He kissed her temple and sat her in his place on the sofa. He grabbed Schu by the collar and tugged him up.



 



“Ok you,” he mock growled, about that flash drive,” laughter followed the two out of the room. Then so did Yu and Brad. The rest turned to their own gifts, leaving Ran a Aya some time to themselves.....



 



 



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