Hokuto had provided dinner, which was set out on a table that hadnít been in the room when Seishirou had left it. Where the food had come from he couldnít guess. It looked like real food, it smelled like real food and it certainly tasted like real food. The spirit had obviously tried to make it a romantic dinner for two, but the effect of it was lost soon after Seishirou and Subaru sat down to eat, as Hokuto decided that tonight her brotherís health was more important than his love life.
"Eat it all, Subaru!" ordered Hokuto, levitating behind her brother arms folded and glaring down at him. The young onmyouji sat hunched over his plate, not looking at Seishirou seated on the opposite side of the candles in the middle of the table. The scented wax smelled like sakura blossoms. "I know youíve been skipping at least two meals a day and when you do eat you eat hardly anything, so now I am going to make sure you eat properly if I have to force feed you!" she said, emphasising the ultimatum with a pointed finger.
"Yes, Hokuto-chan," sighed Subaru.
The Sakurazukamori hid a smile as he watched the younger man obediently take a miniscule helping of the dish before him and gingerly lift it to his mouth. He had to admit just watching the younger Sumeragi twin was a pleasure in itself. With an unconscious, almost sensual grace, Subaru closed his lips around the mouthful, a tiny smile on his lips. Seishirou had the distinct feeling that he was being stubborn on purpose, enjoying his sisterís fussing.
"Subaruuuuuu . . ." sighed Hokuto, rolling her eyes as her brother chewed slowly. "Itís not poisoned, you know."
Subaruís emerald eyes narrowed and he raised his head.
"Donít look at me like that, Subaru-kun," chided Seishirou, taking another bite.
Subaru lowered his gaze and returned them to his plate. Reluctantly he lifted his fork, but decided not to complete the utensilís journey and instead used it to play absently with his food. The sound of metal clicking on porcelain tinkled musically.
If Hokuto had been solid, the sound of her grinding her teeth in frustration would have been clearly audible. Since she was a discorporate ghost, all Seishirou could hear when she spun around to confront him was a wailed lament.
"Seiiiiiiiii-chaaaaaaaaan, I thought I asked you to watch over Subaru!" she scolded as if the conflicts and events of the past nine years had never happened, and all three of them were in Subaruís apartment having dinner like they used to. The only difference this time (apart from Hokuto not being seated to eat because she was dead and the room and Subaru having gotten older and a haircut and his absent gloves and Seishirouís lack of glasses and blind right eye) the Sumeragi twins knew exactly who he was.
"I do watch Subaru," protested Seishirou.
Subaru looked up, his green eyes widening.
"I keep an eye on him quite regularly, actually," the assassin continued to Hokuto, ignoring Subaruís growing expression of shock, or it could have been pain at the pun. "I watch him when heís having dinner, when heís with his friends, sometimes when heís working, when heís at home . . ."
Subaru looked as if he had eaten a live fish.
" . . . when heís asleep, getting dressed . . ."
Some food must have gone down the wrong way, because Subaru had his hand to his throat and was gasping for air.
" . . . in the shower . . ."
There was a violent outburst of choking and coughing from the other side of the table. The elder Sumeragi sibling grinned wickedly, standing with her hands on her hips, an almost perfect imitation of a shocked expression on her face as she tried to glare at Seishirou.
"Sei-chaaaaahahahahahaha!" she wailed Ė or tried to, since she broke into laughter before her lecture had even begun properly. "I knew you had something perverted going on in that head of yours! And about my brother too! Itís dis . . . haha . . . disgust . . . hahohoho . . . disgust . . . " In the end she lost control completely and collapsed. It was rather disconcerting to see her floating a meter or so above the carpet, clutching her stomach with tears streaming down her face as her silvery laugh echoed around the room.
Seishirou looked at Subaru with an innocent expression. "She did ask me to."
Subaruís chair had been flung back as he stood up, glaring through the flames dancing on the candles. The demonic effect didnít really work on him and just served to make Hokuto laugh even harder at Subaruís face. The living Sumeragi sibling shot the dead one a betrayed look, then spun on one heel and went to lie on the bed, closing the curtains around him.
Hokuto stopped laughing.
"Ne, Subaru," she said, "I didnít know you had gotten so touchy." She looked at Seishirou, who was staring at the closed curtains with an intent gaze. "Were you serious when you said you watched him in the shower?"
The assassin blinked, as if only just realising she was there, then turned his mismatched eyes on her. Hokuto shivered, just slightly. Seishirouís eyes had been disconcerting enough when he had a matched set Ė now they were just plain scary. However she was not about to let him get the upper hand Ė it wasnít as if he could do anything to her, since he had already killed her.
Suddenly he smiled. "No, I was just joking," he admitted. "I do watch Subaru-kun, but not like that. Though I have been tempted."
"Oh. I think weíve hurt his feelings. He doesnít respond so cutely to teasing as he used to."
"I can hear you two, you know," came Subaruís muffled voice.
Hokuto sighed as Seishirou stood up. She waved one hand absently and the table, still with dishes less than half eaten, disappeared with a pop and shower of golden sparkles. At the same time, the lights in the room turned themselves on and the candles went out as Hokuto flitted over to the bed and through the curtains.
The crimson cloth wasnít heavy or thick, so the space inside them was given a light red glow rather than the light being blocked out completely. Hokuto willed herself to Ďsití on the covers next to her brother, who was curled up on the edge of the bed, one hand under the pillow.
"Are you mad at me, Subaru-kun?" asked Hokuto gently, wishing she was solid so that she could take her brother into her arms.
A small sigh, then Subaru rolled over to look at her with those wonderful expressive eyes.
"No," he replied. "Just a bit . . ." He groped for the word unsuccessfully.
"Startled by Sei-chan?"
"Shocked would be better." The onmyouji sat up, the rubbing of silk and cloth making a soft hissing sound. He sighed again, and hunched over, arms circled around his knees. "I donít know, Nee-san," he said quietly. "Do you know what you are doing?"
Hokuto grinned as she caused her shape to shimmer from where she Ďsatí at Subaruís side to flow and reform in front of his face.
"I know exactly what Iím doing," she said with that smile of hers. "After itís not just your wish Iím fulfilling Ė itís his wish as well."
Subaru looked up, a confused expression on his face. "His wish?"
Hokutoís smile grew wider and she lifted a hand and waved goodbye as she faded. Her name died on Subaruís lips as he reached out towards her with the inevitable question. Letting his hand fall, Subaru closed his eyes and sighed.
The rose-coloured light turned to the normal white as the curtains rustled and opened.
"I hope I didnít hurt your feelings too much, Subaru-kun," said Seishirou as he sat on the edge of the bed, a bit too close for Subaruís comfort. He wore an expression of concern that would have tricked a younger Subaru, now Subaru just looked at him and sighed.
"Donít bother, Seishirou-san," he said tiredly.
The Sakurazukamoriís face was hurt. Subaru glanced up and gave him a patient look. Seishirou chuckled and resumed his more natural intent predatorís gaze. The onmyouji ignored it and rolled off the bed, heading for the wardrobe on the other side of the room.
"Changing already, Subaru-kun?" asked Seishirou as Subaru opened the wardrobe and began carefully rummaging through its contents.
"Uh huh," replied Subaru, finding a pair of white satin pajamas decorated with tiny red hearts courtesy of Hokuto. He sighed but threw them over his shoulder and went into the bathroom. "I want to get some sleep."
When he came out again after changing, he found Seishirou lying languidly on the bed in a deep midnight blue version of his own night-clothes. Subaru thought that perhaps Seishirou was already asleep, but the moment he shut the bathroom door the good eye opened and stared at him. Then the eyebrow above the eye was raised as the eye looked suggestively at the empty side of the large bed.
Subaru tensed, unwilling and yet willing to accept the invitation. He blinked then his brain took a hold of the situation. Setting his lips in a determined line, he went over the wardrobe again and looked for a spare blanket.
There wasnít one.
Subaru sighed. Letting his eyes drift over the clothes inside, they rested on Seishirouís long trench coat.
"Can I use this?"
There was an almost audible frown. "What for?"
"Because -" Subaru looked at the assassin. "Iíll need it. You can sleep on the bed."
Seishirou smiled, but it wasnít the pleasant one the vet had worn so easily. "Are you sure? The bed is big enough and I donít bite."
The Sumeragi gave the Sakurazukamori a patient look. "Seishirou-san," he sighed in a tone of voice that said everything. He unhooked the trench-coat from its hangar and laid it on the red sofa in front of the TV. Then he crossed the room to the bed and reached with his left hand for one of the pillows.
With reflexes honed by years of training and practice, Seishirouís arm flashed out and grabbed Subaruís wrist. The onmyouji tried to pull away, of course without success.
"Please, Seishirou-san," sighed Subaru.
Appealing to the assassinís sense of pity was like wanting the sun to rise in the west or for snow to fall in the desert.
"Are you sure?" Seishirou asked softly. "It might get us out of here faster."
Subaru narrowed his eyes. Then his eyes fixed on the red pillow that he had tried to pick up.
The Sumeragi was no mean martial artist himself. Before Seishirou could react, Subaru had grabbed the pillow in his right hand and bonked Seishirou in the face with it.
Seishirou blinked, dark hair in disarray. Then his eyes narrowed and a white and bronze gaze burned into Subaruís green eyes. He had not let go of Subaruís wrist.
"Subaru-kun," said Seishirou in that deadly, ultra-polite, calm and cold voice of his, the kind he used when in hunting mode. "That was extremely childish."
Subaru gulped. Seishirou smiled. It didnít make Subaru feel much better.
"You do know that this means war, donít you?" asked the Sakurazukamori.
The onmyouji let out a sound that could best be described as a squeak as Seishirou grabbed the other pillow and bonked him in the face. The blow was harder than the one used to initiate the pillow fight as Seishirou pulled the onmyouji towards him as he hit Subaru. The squeak turned into a yelp as Seishirou let Subaru go and the onmyouji fell flat on his stomach, leaving his back open. The assassin took full advantage of this weakness, managing to get in three bonks before the onmyouji rolled over. Instinctively Subaru brought his own weapon up and tried to defend himself, flailing about wildly with his eyes shut against Seishirouís attack. The assassin on the other hand blocked every blow and rained his own down on every part of Subaru that was exposed. In no time at all the onmyouji was forced to give up any attempt at fighting and instead concentrate on protecting himself, bringing the pillow over his head as Seishirou unmercifully bonked him with the pillow again and again.
"Seishirou-sa-oof!" gasped Subaru as one particularly accurate bonk impacted on his chest. The assassin had a smile on his face that signaled no intention of a peace yet. Desperately Subaru squeezed his eyes shut and tackled the surprised assassin who brought his arms up to protect his head as the flustered and vengeful Subaru sat on him and bonked him repeatedly with the pillow.
The Sakurazukamori didnít let him relish in his victory. After getting bonked across the face a dozen times, Seishirou decided to turn the tables. As Subaru lifted the pillow for another hit Seishirou grabbed his arms and between one breath and the next, had flipped Subaru over so that their positions were reversed. Pinning both arms down with his hands and Subaruís legs being immobilised by the assassinís weight, Subaru was quite helpless.
Both men took in several breaths as they stared defiantly at the other.
"Surrender?" asked Seishirou with that predatory smile of his.
Subaru glared up at him, but the effect was lost by the grin he had on his face. "To you? Never." He breathed deeply, the adrenaline draining away and leaving him tired Ė but also purged of a lot of tension.
The assassinís mismatched eyes narrowed as he brought his face close to Subaruís, so close that the trapped onmyouji could feel the soft breeze of his breathing. However it wasnít until he could feel the lightest caress of his lips that Subaru squirmed free.
Seishirou lay where Subaru had pushed him, his midnight blue pajamas eye catching against the blood red. Subaru took in a deep breath or three, arms hanging limply at his side as he looked at the Sakurazukamori.
They held the gaze for several seconds, before Subaru decided to break it. Retrieving one of the pillows that had tumbled off the bed during the pillow fight, he walked over to the sofa and lay down, the black trench-coat serving as a blanket. Being Seishirouís coat, it did cover him like a blanket.
Seishirou shook his head and chuckled softly. Then he turned off the lights.
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