I seem to be writing from inside of Kamui's head more and more... don't worry, during this series I'll be back to both Seishirou and Subaru's minds, as well as remaining just an outside observer for a while.
Pairing: Kamui/Subaru, Seishirou/Subaru
Summary: Kamui has gone with Seishirou to keep an eye on Subaru.
Timeline: X12 going waaay AU
Disclaimer: Not mine, Clamp's. Just playing.
Warning: Shounen-ai, sappiness, OOC
shoji - paper screen used as doors and walls in traditional Japanese buildings
Home And Heart
Chapter 2: For I'll stand by your side
Kamui did not notice much about Seishirou's house as they came in. His decision to accompany the Dragon of Earth had left him in a daze, and it was all he could do to open doors when asked and carry the suitcase with Subaru's clothes. Pochi sat on his arm, her golden eyes flashing as she gazed around curiously.
"This way," Seishirou directed the boy.
A door from the corridor of the house led them into a spacious bedroom. The Sakurazukamori lay Subaru down on the wide bed, then took out some things Kamui recognized as magical paraphernalia - a roll of cloth containing two black ceremonial daggers, various ofuda, and a censer.
"Bring some water from the kitchen," he ordered.
Kamui wondered absently how he would find it, but once in the corridor, he noticed the door-less kitchen, illuminated by a streetlight's glow coming through the large window. When he got back with the water, Seishirou had already lit the censer and placed the ofuda both around the bed and over the Sumeragi's body. The shoji separating the room from the garden had been opened, letting in the full moonlight. The silver shadows wrapped the bed in a spell as mysterious as the one that had hold of the unconscious man's heart.
"This will take some time," the onmyouji said. "Go upstairs and get some sleep. There should be some blankets in the guest room wardrobe."
The boy realized he was swaying and trembling from lack of sleep. He found the stairs between the bedroom and the kitchen, and made his way up. The guest room was not as large as the bedroom, but at the moment all he wanted was a bed. He didn't even bother to take off his clothes and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
Kamui was sitting on the grass in a forest full of pine trees. There was a small pool of water in front of him, and he watched the sunlight reflect off the slight waves the wind caused. In his mind, he ran through the events of the past few days, despairing on his helplessness, furious and bitter about the only person capable of aid being the Sakurazukamori. He wanted to get Subaru out of that man's influence, not further into it!
Bang! A volleyball bounced off his head. He caught the offending object reflexively.
"Please pardon me," a pleasant female voice said from behind him. The girl had long black hair and was wearing an old-fashioned pale purple kimono. "I did not know anyone was here." She bowed apologetically.
"It's nothing," Kamui said. "Here you go-"
Another voice made itself heard from among the trees long before its owner could be seen. "Heeeey, grim faces! What's this, a mah-jongg club meeting?? C'mon guys, where's the fun in this?" The second girl shook her short black hair in apparent disgust over their behavior. "Who're you anyway?"
It took Kamui a few moments to realize that he had been asked a question. "I'm Kamui-"
"And what do you think you're doing, sitting here all gloomy?" she demanded. "This never solves anything! If you've got trouble, don't mope around, take care of it! Ne, Tomoe-san??"
"Yes," Tomoe agreed. "I find that it helps to take each moment as it comes." Her black eyes were gazing far into the past. "And smile, too. I've been much happier since someone taught me how to smile."
"Riiight, so buckle up, Kamui-kun!" The girl crooked her head for a moment and regarded him thoughtfully. "Y'know, sitting all let down like this, you look just like my brother!" She grinned.
Kamui frowned. "Is that a compliment or an insult?" he asked.
"Pick the one you like," she shrugged. "But I'm sure you won't get as devilishly handsome a boyfriend as Su-chan did!"
"Tomoe-san!" another voice called. "Did you find the ball?"
"Coming, Rei-chan!" the short-haired girl called. "See you round, Kamui-kun!"
As they left, Tomoe smiled at him. He smiled back.
The front door slamming below him woke him up. He stared around the room for a moment, gathering his thoughts. Then he realized it hadn't been all a dream. He was in Seishirou Sakurazuka's house. And Subaru was downstairs, at the Sakurazukamori's mercy.
He didn't even bother to straighten the clothes he'd slept in before rushing downstairs, only to bump into Seishirou coming out of the bedroom.
"Is he-?" Despite himself, Kamui let a measure of desperation show in his voice.
"He's asleep now. Do you want breakfast?" Seishirou smiled.
"Uh - sure..."
Breakfast was a strange affair, with the Sakurazukamori acting as if making scrambled eggs for the savior/destroyer of the Earth was something he did every day. Kamui did not add much to the conversation, instead settling on watching his surroundings. Which only incidentally included the assassin. At least with his attention thus directed, he was able to dodge when Seishirou attempted to ruffle his hair.
Of course, the Sakurazukamori only smiled at Kamui's glare and went on eating. The boy decided that if Subaru wasn't in the next room, he wouldn't mind blowing the whole place up.
He wouldn't mind at all.
Afterwards, they went into the bedroom again. Kamui's heart fell when he saw Subaru laying immobile. During the night, the onmyouji's previous clothes had been changed for white satin which only accentuated the paleness of his skin.
"I thought that what you did, worked..." the boy whispered.
"It did," Seishirou assured him. "He should wake up this evening." The assassin muffled a yawn. "So will I, if you'll excuse me."
Kamui stared uncomprehending as Seishirou headed for one of the bedroom walls, the one that he only now noted was lined with mirrors. He realized the man's intent when the middle segment slid to the side under the lightest pressure, revealing a glimpse of a white-tiled bathroom. The Sakurazukamori took care to close it from the inside once he was past the threshold.
The boy decided not to think about where he was, what he had done the previous evening or how rumpled he looked like in yesterday's clothes. Instead, he crossed the room and opened the shoji. Behind it was a garden, small enough that he could easily see the high stone walls surrounding it, but full of trees and bushes, still verdant despite the season. He stepped out onto the porch and inhaled the scent of damp ground and - pine needles? Yes, there was a pine tree just to the right of him...
"Do you like the garden?" Seishirou asked, coming up silently to stand beside Kamui.
"It's - nice," he admitted finally. "Traditional."
"My mother remodeled it. She planted the camellia trees - they'll start blooming in a month or so."
"Did she like them?" the boy asked absently.
"Very much." Seishirou smiled slightly, lost in memories. Then he blinked and turned towards his companion. "I believe I'll go to sleep now - I'm sure you'll find a way to occupy your time. Please wake me in eight hours."
Kamui only nodded. His sudden speechlessness might have had something to do with the fact Seishirou was wearing black satin pajamas with a discreet pattern of cherry blossoms around the cuffs. The shirt was button-less, designed to be held together by laces on the sides and probably a sash. The Sakurazukamori had foregone any of those.
Kamui was out of the room and closing the door before he wondered where, exactly, the assassin would sleep. Turning on his heel, he saw Seishirou sitting on the bed, one elegant hand tracing Subaru's cheekbone. There was a strange shimmering glow in the man's good eye, almost as if the dim morning light filtering through the now-closed shoji was reflected by-
The boy closed the door completely without a sound.
An hour later, Kamui hesitated in the middle of Seishirou's living-room. On one hand, he promised to call his friends. On the other... that book in his hand looked really tempting. He could bet the grass in the garden had dried by now, and he could lie there in the scent of pine needles, working on his English skills as he read...
Wait a minute. At this hour, all the Seals would be at school or work. If he was lucky, he'd get the answering machine.
"Nokoru Imonoyama here."
Then, he had quite a record with his luck, didn't he?
"Shirou-san? Where are you?"
"Long story. I'm okay, Subaru's not, we're with someone who can help him. I don't know when we'll be back. I'll call."
"Who is it?"
The slightest moment of hesitation, before he remembered this was a man who, without any obligation, helped them and sheltered them in the heat of battle. A friend of his family.
"Imonoyama-san, please calm down! He's not blackmailing me, and you're not supposed to try and find me. Tell that to the Seals, too. I'll call tomorrow. Good-"
"Wait." Nokoru's voice was calmer. "You're doing this for Sumeragi-san, yes?"
Kamui bristled. "It's not like I can leave him all alone with that amoral, bloodthirsty, perverted-" He heard a chuckle on the other end of the phone line, and grinned himself. "I owe Subaru a lot, that's all."
"I... understand, Shirou-san. I'll straighten things up with your teammates. Is there a way for me to contact you if your... assistance is needed?"
If the Angels decide to take down another kekkai, kill another thousand people.
"Subaru's cellphone. And - thank you."
"You're welcome. Good luck."
Kamui stood still for several minutes, listening to the dial tone. Behind the violet eyes, thoughts were whirling frantically. The most prominent one being, 'What the fuck am I doing here???'
Then he felt warm fur brush his ankle. He looked down and saw a pair of golden eyes. Pochi nudged him again and mewled plaintively, then walked off towards the kitchen. She paused on the doorstep, clearly waiting for him.
He wondered whether Seishirou had remembered to buy cat food.
Seishirou drifted up from a dreamless sleep, barely acknowledging the return of consciousness. Then an unfamiliar sensation brought him to full lucidity, though he did not open his eyes.
There was someone's head resting on his shoulder, and a slender foot tangled with his own. He could smell a faint scent of strawberry shampoo and-
He grinned, extricating himself from under the younger onmyouji. He checked his companion's aura and nodded, satisfied that his wards held. The Sumeragi was looking healthier already, his skin not as deathly white and his breathing easy and untroubled. The white satin pajama top had slipped from the belt that held it, and he could see the other man's chest as it rose and fell, the way the skin stretched over the bone and flesh - too tight, but not unappealing.
Fifteen minutes later, Seishirou was dressed and refreshed. He was also rather surprised at having found Kamui neither upstairs, in the kitchen or living-room. He hoped the boy did not choose to run to the other Seals for help; he wouldn't quite miss the company, but the house had belonged to his family for years and it would be troublesome to have to abandon it.
He was standing in the living-room when he noticed a flash of white in the half-open garden door. The cat gave him a pointed look, evidently waiting to be picked up and petted.
"I dare not disappoint you, of course," he murmured, picking up the animal and scratching her ears. He wondered what name Subaru had chosen for his gift.
The cat's entrance gave him another idea. He entered the garden, and sure enough there was Kamui, sitting on a bench and reading. Seishirou came up silently and snatched the book out of the boy's hands.
"Hey!" Kamui protested.
The assassin smirked. "Kamui-chan, you do know this is perverted literature?"
"It's not! It's tragic and romantic and sad and give that back!"
The man avoided his lunge. "I don't think nice boys are supposed to read... this kind of romance."
"You're the one to talk," Kamui sneered.
"I thought that was one of the things you hated me for?" He noted absently that Kamui's blush did not look as fetching as his Subaru-kun's.
"Anyway, it's not perverted," the boy grumbled, finally snatching the book back. "And I like the main character."
"There's two more in the series," Seishirou remarked. "I'll show you the fantasy shelf after we eat."
Kamui's eyes lit up as he followed the older man to the kitchen, pausing only to place a bookmark carefully in Mercedes Lackey's "Magic's Pawn".
Seishirou looked up from his food, only to find a pair of violet eyes staring intently at him.
"Have I grown horns, Kamui-chan?"
"No," the boy muttered. "I was just wondering - how's Subaru?"
"Why don't you go and see for yourself?" the Sakurazukamori suggested. "You're not eating anyway."
A small shrug met this suggestion, but Kamui still got up and headed to the bedroom. He walked in quietly, noting that Subaru's sleep seemed easier now than in the morning. The Sumeragi had turned to his side, one arm stretched out across the bed - where Seishirou had been sleeping not so long ago.
The boy looked towards the door, straight into an amused pair of eyes; one golden and the other gray.
"Did I mention that you're looking awfully cute today?" Seishirou said softly.
Kamui decided on prudently changing the topic. "What exactly happened... at Ikeburo?"
The older man's gaze turned serious. "I was too far away to notice the exact details, but all signs indicate that somehow /Kamui/ managed to trigger Subaru-kun's hate, in a rather spectacular manner." Seishirou sat on the edge of the bed and picked up Subaru's hand, his fingers absent-mindedly stroking the almost invisible pentagram on its back. "The blood activated my markings and served as a conduit. I am afraid that my Subaru-kun wasn't thinking very clearly at that moment - however impressive the effects, he should have realized that his wards would not protect him from the sakanagi."
"Magical backlash. The energy of any spell returns to the caster, and has to be taken care of in the proper way. I can only guess that Subaru-kun," the deep voice almost purred the name, "was too shaken to think about it afterwards. Blood magic has a tendency to leave one... light-headed, and he's always been somewhat careless of himself. Rather like you, Kamui-chan."
"I'm nothing like him," the violet-eyed boy protested.
"Oh, not as he is now - though the similarity's still there, only buried more deeply. But when he was your age - he had the same fire, the same determination. And-" the golden eye twinkled with amusement "-the same sweetness."
Seishirou chuckled as Kamui spluttered. "But," he continued, "I do admit you're a lot less polite and rasher. Almost like a combination of Subaru-kun and-"
"And yourself?" a soft voice asked.
Kamui and Seishirou's heads snapped around to stare into a pair of tired but smiling green eyes.
"What a silly idea, Subaru-kun!" Seishirou laughed. "But I'm glad you've decided to rejoin the world of the living."
Designing Sei's house wasn't easy, and since I'm not an architect, I probably made some basic mistakes and the whole thing should just fold up like a house of cards. I'm trying very hard not to accidentally move furniture, windows or whole rooms even, but accidents happen.
Kamui's dream was inspired partly by C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, the best children's literature ever (and a serious contestant for best overall). Tomoe Yukishiro-Himura property of Watsuki Nobuhiro. Rei property of Gainax (I know, she didn't really appear...)
I know the dream's a cheap-shot way of getting Kamui out of his funk when he could have been angsting poetically over the next twenty chapters, but I had a nagging feeling Seishirou would just say 'to hell with it' and punch the boy through the chest long before that. That, or indulge his taste for beautiful angsty bishounen ^_~
I'm not sure if I got the camellia stuff right - I'm no gardener, but I did some research and came upon photos of outdoor camellias in Japan, blooming in December. My timeline here is October-ish.
I couldn't find any instance of Kamui and Nokoru addressing each other, so I decided to go with last names and -san, based on the way Nokoru addresses Sorata.
"Magic's Pawn" by Mercedes Lackey is a very cute shonen-ai fantasy book that introduced me to the genre (and made sure I wasn't that shocked when I started reading yaoi and slash). I think it might appeal to Kamui, especially considering what happens between Vanyel and Tylendel. The sequels are called "Magic's Promise" and "Magic's Price"
In the next chapter: Now that Subaru's awake, the trio has to work out a modus operandi between Seishirou's unvrevealed motivation, Subaru's unresolved issues and Kamui's distrustfulness. But have hope - "In the midst of death, we find life"
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