Gatekeepers 21: Something more: Two
Ayane Isuzu quietly left the office building, slinging her computer case over her shoulder, the long brown coat that she usually wore blowing in the breeze. She stopped and stood there outside for a moment to look it over, studying the familiar structure.
It appeared much the same as when she first saw it years ago, despite being nearly destroyed by Ghost Girl a few months ago. In the aftermath of the activation of the Gate of Restoration it had all been perfectly restored but still... it felt a bit odd. It was exactly the same, they knew that, but they remembered the destruction that had been unleashed here.
'I guess it's the rest of us that have changed,' Ayane mused, 'in so many ways.' She shook her head and laughed softly as she said aloud, "And I'm wasting time." With that she walked for awhile until she went into a store, taking a moment to pick something out.
"You're Miu's friend, aren't you?" the woman behind the counter noted.
Ayane blinked at her in shock then realized that her steps hjad taken her to the shop Miu had worked for a while. "Yes, I am," Ayane found herself answering.
She gave Ayane a piercing look. "Miu was very upset after you came by," she said thoughtfully, "did you two make up?"
"Hmm," Ayane nodded, feeling herself blushing with pure embarassment. She had been a jerk, delivering cutting words to Miu here with the other girl unable to even respond. Ayane was just lucky that Miu had a forgiving nature.
"I'm glad," the woman smiled as she rang up the purchase, "from how often Miu talked about you I think you two would make a lovely couple."
"We're not," Ayane stammered, "I mean I've never..."
She just chuckled warmly, putting Ayane's purchase into a carry box. "Have a nice day," she waved cheerfully as Ayane left.
Walking out with a small cake Ayane headed over to the bus stop, waiting a few moments before climbing aboard. The ride across the city was long, Ayane gazing out at all the people and buildings as she tried very hard not to think about what she was going to do.
Ayane rang the bell when she hit the right neighborhood, climbing off the bus as she looked around at the tightly packed houses. She knew the address despite never having visited, her on-line research on her fellow gatekeeper having been quite extensive. Ayane walked to the door and took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell.
"Coming," the unfamiliar voice called then a few seconds later the door opened. The woman who was standing there had a thoughtful look on her face and bore a remarkable resemblance to Miu. "Yes?" she asked Ayane curiously.
"Hello," Ayane gulped, instantly knowing this was Miu's mother. "My name is Isuzu Ayane," she introduced herself with a bow, "I'm a classmate of Miu's. Is she home?"
"So you're Isuzu-san," Miu's mother smiled slightly as she stepped aside yo let her in, "my daughter talks about you all the time."
"Really?" Ayane gulped.
"Miu," her mother called out cheerfully, "your friend is here!"
"Coming," Miu's voice lead her descent down the stairs, the taller girl's serious expression breaking into a smile as she saw their guest, "Isuzu-san!" With that she slipped, falling forward with a windmilling of arms, "Eeep!"
"Are you all right?" Ayane rushed to her side.
Miu sniffled, a few tears in her eyes as she said sheepishly, "I'm sorry, Izusu-san."
"She always calls you that?" Miu's mother murmured, having walked over to their side. She helped her daughter up with the ease of long practice, her smile fond of her clumsy daughter.
"I'm getting used to it," Ayane answered her softly. With a tentative smile she held up the box in offering, "I come bearing cake."
"You two go on upstairs," Miu's mother smiled as she waved them on towards the stairs, "I've got some cleaning to do."
"Thanks," Miu took Ayane's hand in hers, gently drawing her friend up the stairs. She blushed a bit as she pushed her door open, "It's a bit messy."
In fact the bedroom they entered was remarkably neat, a little desk covered with books and a neatly made bed nearby. The walls were decorated with fantasy posters and the occasional starlet, oddly there were no male idols up on display. Novels filled up a older bookcase, a small TV sitting nearby with a few DVDs to go along with it.
"It looks nice," Ayane smiled, setting the cake box down on top of the desk. She fidgeted under Miu's warm gaze, wondering what she was thinking of, coming here. 'How can I tell her what I want to?' she thought.
"Sit," Miu sat down on the bed, patting the cover beside her.
Ayane gulped softly, sitting down beside her friend as she felt her cheeks color slightly. It was nice, feeling the gentle warmth that radiated from Miu, the unique sensation that the other girl brought out in her. "I hope you don't mind my just showing up," she said softly.
"I've invited you here before," Miu reached out to casually put her hand over Ayane's, "I'm just glad that you decided to come by, Isuzu-san."
Ayane closed her eyes tightly for a moment, just enjoying the feeling of Miu's hand resting on hers. "There was something that I wanted to talk to you about," she said to her quietly, "away from our school work and AEGIS."
"Yes?" Miu looked down at her warmly, the gaze from the other girl so gentle and kind, so different from Ayane's.
Ayane took a deep breath and blurted out the words that she had wanted to say for weeks or maybe even months, "I love you."
"I love you, too," Miu said warmly.
"I know this is a shock," Ayane continued on, obviously not having heard, "but..." She stopped, finally registering what Miu had just said, "What?"
"I love you," Miu squeezed Ayane's hands gently in hers as she continued, "I have for a long time." Her eyes went grave, "I liked you almost as soon as we met, but then we fought and I didn't think you liked me anymore."
Ayane winced at that memory. Once Miu had understood that the Invaders were once fully human she had been shocked, and Ayane hadn't helped. Ayane's own words had driven Miu away, both of them suffering at the parting.
Miu reached out, gently tilting Ayane's face up so they could look into each other's eyes. "Now that we were friends again I didn't want to lose that," she explained, "and I thought that I might drive you away by..."
"I was terrified coming here," Ayane admitted, smiling warmly up at her. With a courage she slid her hands up, taking Miu by the shoulders and drawing her down gently. Miu closed her eyes, her lips pursed then they kissed gently.
Miu sighed happily, her cheeks red. "I've wanted to do that so long," she admitted.
"Me, too," Ayane pulled her into another kiss.
Author's Notes: The ending for Gatekeepers 21 shows Ayane beginning to become a warmer person as well as the friendship growing between her and Miu. The six episodes deal with the ups and downs of their relationship, including possibly a romantic aspect, but there is no real resolution to it. So I decided to write something after the series to tie that aspect up. There are some assumptions in here about the characters' backgrounds, but not much detail is actually included in the anime itself. I'm using name spellings from a GK 21 website, compared with subtitles in the anime. If there's a problem, let me know and I'll correct it.