Two years and three days.
Omi had counted them up on the flight, tallying the numbers in his head. It surprised him that there were so many; it surprised him that there were so few. He wasn't sure what to think of it and in the end decided to just accept it at face value.
Two years and three days since he'd last stepped foot in Japan, and longer still since he'd last seen any of Weiss.
He watched out the window as the plane touched down, considering the blur of the runway. It took a few minutes more before it had stopped at their gate and he stood, reaching down his carryon luggage from the overhead compartment. It was a while more before he could get off, as the aisle was blocked by other passengers, and he thought ahead to what would be waiting for him here.
At last the aisle cleared and he reached out, tangling the fingers of one hand in his companion's pocket. He let Farfarello lead the way down the aisle and anyone else who was thinking about getting their luggage situated decided to wait when they caught sight of him. The pair ignored the stares and made their way to the exit, and Omi managed to keep a hold of Farfarello until they'd made it inside the terminal.
The airport was as busy as it had been the day they'd left Japan, as busy as Omi supposed it always was. Even still, it was almost too easy to spot the flame red hair among the darker shades where visitors waited to greet the new arrivals. Omi tugged lightly at Farfarello's pocket but there wasn't really any way his lover had missed Fujimiya Aya, and Omi stood up on his tiptoes to press a kiss to Farfarello's jaw.
"This shouldn't take that long," he said, and Farfarello just nodded. They split up then, Farfarello off to amuse himself until Omi was ready to leave and Omi heading for Aya.
The redhead stepped out of the crowd as Omi drew close and they stood a few feet apart, searching for changes and something familiar in each other. Omi thought Aya looked pretty much the same as he had when he'd left, and he knew he couldn't say the same about himself. His light hair had been dyed dark and hung rather long around his face, and a bandana kept his bangs pulled out of his eyes. He wore ripped jeans and a jacket over his tee, and the bulge in his jacket pocket was from a pack of cigarettes.
"Omi," Aya said at last.
"Aya," Omi greeted. "It's been a while. Let's have tea." He offered the redhead a small smile and started towards the cafes that lined the airport. Aya fell in step alongside him easily and they picked their way through the crowd to a café that still had empty tables. Omi picked one and let his bag slide to the floor, and they'd just sat when a waitress came over with menus. Neither bothered to examine the menus yet, content instead to consider each other yet again.
Two years and three days…
Omi and Farfarello had stayed in Japan for only two weeks after Schuldich's death. After that the Irishman had had Omi pack up and they'd both left, heading to America. Omi had never asked why that had been their destination, but he supposed it had something to do with the fact that Farfarello's first language was English. Either way, they'd spent the last two years trying to adjust to each other and life in the so-called land of opportunity, and only now were they finally ready to look back towards Japan and see what was left of it.
Omi had written Aya once before he left, leaving the letter on his doorstep when Weiss was out for the night. He'd informed the redhead that he was alive and well and leaving the country, and that if fate decided it, they'd see each other again. When he and Farfarello had finally started to talk about Japan again, Omi had waited until they had their tickets finalized before writing Aya again to let him know they were coming. He'd mentioned that he wasn't interested in seeing Yohji and Ken, and Aya had been good enough to not tell them of Omi's return. Omi thought maybe it had to do with the fact that Omi had mentioned that he'd be coming back with Farfarello.
"You haven't changed much," Omi decided, pulling out his cigarettes. He lit one and tugged the ash tray closer to himself, fiddling with the pack with his free hand. Aya said nothing about the acquired habit.
"You have," Aya pointed out quietly.
"Evolution," Omi decided, flicking ash from his cigarette and eyeing the glowing in. "Survival tactic."
Aya glanced past him, gazing towards the crowd that swirled around them. "Are you happy, then?" he wanted to know.
Omi was rather impressed that he managed to word it so neutrally when he'd found out a few weeks ago that Omi and Farfarello were lovers and had been in America together. Omi was pretty sure Aya had not taken the news well, but Aya had always known best how to approach Omi. Always… Omi remembered hating him for it once and looking back he wondered how he had ever gotten so confused. He offered Aya a smile and watched the redhead judge the sincerity of it.
"I'm happy," he promised his ex-teammate. "Surprisingly enough."
Aya didn't seem to know how to react to that, and he was given a chance to think it over when the waitress came back for their orders. They each ordered tea and Omi asked for a plate of biscuits for them to share. As soon as the woman was gone Aya looked back at him. "I won't ask why," he said at last. "I've had a few weeks to think it over and to try and figure it out on my own, and I've failed. But I won't ask why."
Omi reached out, taking Aya's hand and giving it a squeeze. It was his thanks and he knew Aya would interpret it as such. "And Weiss?" he asked.
"The team was given new people to work with to make up for your loss," Aya answered. "We needed a full time strategist and someone to cover your computer skills. There are two of them now." He considered that for a moment and then offered a faint shrug. "Yohji and Ken hated them at first, but they've had two years to work out their differences." He thought a bit longer before adding, "They've had two years to forgive me for being the reason you left."
Omi just stared at him, not really expecting those words. It took him a moment to figure out why the others would blame Aya, and then he remembered their angry accusations that Aya hadn't warned anyone when he'd first watched Omi spiral out of control. "I left because they didn't understand like you did," he said slowly, feeling the need to set things right. Even if Aya could never tell the others, at least Aya would know, and Omi needed that. "I left because I overheard them that day talking about how sick I was and how I needed therapy. You wanted them to give me time; you wanted them to talk to me before shipping me off. They weren't willing do to that. You were the only one that ever understood and I just couldn't see it then."
Aya looked back at him, searching his gaze, and Omi realized he was looking for the truth in those words. It occurred to Omi then that Aya too had blamed himself for Omi's abrupt disappearance, and Omi pushed himself up, leaning over the table to press a kiss to Aya's temple.
"I didn't leave because of you," he promised the other in a low voice. "I left because I knew I needed help and I knew they wouldn't give it to me. I knew I had to find it away from Weiss."
"And you found it with Farfarello?" Aya asked skeptically, but he shook his head to show he wouldn't press the argument. Omi just smiled and sat down again, accepting his tea from the waitress. He pushed the biscuits closer to Aya. They sipped their drinks in silence for a while longer before Aya ventured to say, "Why have you come back to Japan?"
Omi smiled into his cup because Aya understood Omi hadn't come back for Kritiker and Weiss. The thought was laughable.
"We're here to find Crawford and Nagi," Omi answered. "It might take a while; we lost contact with them when we went to America and we're not sure where they are now. But we'll find them."
Omi shrugged. "I'm taking it one day at a time," he answered. "I don't see any reason to do it any other way."
Aya accepted that without argument, and the silence that fell between them was finally comfortable. Maybe Aya wasn't happy about Farfarello and Omi's interest in Schwarz, but he was fine with the fact that Omi was fine at last. The redhead could be okay with that, and Omi reveled in the comfort it was to have someone who understood. They drank their tea in silence and watched the people as they passed, content just to sit there together.
They lingered there for almost forty minutes before Farfarello materialized out of the crowd near them, and Omi pushed his empty mug away and stood. Aya managed to keep his expression calm at the sight of Schwarz's Berserker and he pushed himself to his feet as Farfarello came to a stop beside Omi. The redhead considered them both for a minute in silence before reaching out and offering Omi a small cloth bundle.
Omi unrolled it, curious, and found the knife he'd left on Aya's doorstep years ago. He stared down at the blade in silence for a long minute before carefully rewrapping it, and he held it back out towards the older assassin.
"Keep it for me," he asked of the other man. "Something to remember me by."
Aya took it back in silence and the two stared each other down once more, judging each other and everything that had changed between them. For all that had changed, there were enough things that had stayed the same, and Omi offered Aya a brilliant smile as he turned away.
They left Aya there and headed for the exit with their carryon bags dangling from their shoulders. Omi tugged his sunglasses out of the pocket of his jacket and perched them on his nose as they drew near to the sliding glass doors, and he reached out to catch hold of Farfarello's pocket. He wasn't sure how long it would take them to find Schwarz or where they'd go from there, but that was all right. He'd keep doing what he told Aya would do, and take it one day at a time.
That was good enough for him, and he followed Farfarello out into the bright afternoon sun.
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