Autumn Aya/Yohji. 15
Bara no Hana Aya/Yohji. Birthday sap. 15
Rain Aya/Yohji. Angst? 15

I always loved autumn. The resplendent colors of the leaves provided a perfect prelude to the cold snows of winter and a welcome respite from summer's torturous heat.

I loved going to the markets in autumn, with their apples - they always taste better in season - and the last of the summer's melons.

I loved looking at the mountains, all the trees turning scarlet and gold. Yes, the sakura are beautiful, but my love was always for the autumn.

"Aya," I asked, "won't you come walk with me in the park?"

He smiled, an odd expression for his face, but one I have grown fond of. He closed the book he was reading, put it on the table, and stood up. It was all the assurance I needed.

I handed him his jacket - it was getting toward evening, and a chill was in the air - and put mine on.

In the park, children played - climbing the nearly-naked trees with reckless abandon, gathering piles of leaves and jumping in - and young couples walked arm-in-arm or sat on blankets in the grass. We chose a spot under a tree that was set away from the rest of the people.

"Isn't it wonderful? I love seeing the foliage chang in autumn," I said.

"Yes, but the bare trees in winter look so sad," he replied.

"But when it snows, the trees become like ice sculptures. And there are still the evergreens."

"I prefer spring," he said. "After the flowers blossom and fade, the leaves are still green."

Just then, a leaf fell from the tree and landed in his hair. I smirked, and he reached up to remove the offending object. The crimson leaf was no match for the deep crimson of his hair.

Before he could discard the leaf, I plucked it from his fingers and held it up. "I always loved autumn because the colors of the leaves were so magnificent. But this leaf is not as magnificently colored as you."

A faint blush rose in his cheeks, accenting the fairness of his skin, and he smiled. "I love spring because it rekindles life, but even the oldest sakura tree is not as vibrant as you."

I had the feeling that I could learn to enjoy spring, and he could enjoy autumn.

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