# 11 Gardenia
Pairing: Karen Kasumi and Aoki Seichiirou
Theme: # 11 Gardenia
Note: Rough draft.
Disclaimer: Copyright CLAMP and Kadokawa Shoten Publishing
Gardenia (Karen and Aoki [X])
He prefers the scent of white sheets bleached by the sun, the smell of a sudden rain on baked pavement. He breathes deep the sharp smoke of autumn, the dusty honey of drying locust trees in summer.
He tells her this while he waits with her in the chapel before confession. She notes the heavy plumes of incense swaying in the air and smiles.
Simple but subtle, she remarks as she withdraws her rosary beads from her purse. She loops them carelessly around her wrist, the ebony strands sliding loose about her knuckles.
I suppose, he replies. They pause to watch a woman slip into the stall.
And you? he asks at last, turning to her.
She admits she has never thought about it. But, she adds, I’ll think of it tonight and tell you when we next meet. Suddenly she smiles. Her eyes are sad.
He understands. They are both matter-of-fact and a little cynical.
The confessional door opens. She rises abruptly. Her rosary slithers off and clatters to the floor. They both stoop to retrieve it. Her shoulder grazes his cheek, the large flower on her jacket brushes against his mouth. For a few moments, he cannot sense anything but the silk of the petals, their sharp perfume.
He finds the rosary first. He offers it, the strands lacing his open palm. She mutely takes it and nods in thanks.
She begins to walk to the booth. He bends to pick up his coat. When he straightens, he sees her standing only a few paces away, her hand still clutching her beads.
I like the smell of gardenias, she says. She points to her lapel and smiles. Then she moves on and steps into the booth.