Pairing: Kamui/Subaru, Seishirou/Subaru, Keiichi/Kamui
Summary: Would you believe a typical day in the (mad)house?
Timeline: X12 going waaay AU
Disclaimer: Not mine, Clamp's. Just playing.
Dedicated to: T-chan
Home And Heart
Chapter 5: Buildings burn, people die
The fate of the world... is not decided yet
He recalled the words, almost hearing them in the cries of seagulls. The foam on the waves was as white as her dress and the sunlight as golden as her hair. He remembered how the feathers had fallen when she left.
Before that, she had asked him to save her special person. He had, but it brought new tragedies and set a terrible fate in motion.
Now he was being asked to make a similar choice. It was no choice at all.
"I'll help you in every way I can," he said simply.
Guileless blue eyes stared into his catlike ones. "Thank you."
As his visitor woke and left the dreamscape, Kakyou mused on how similar they both were, the past and future victims of fate.
The leaves on the trees of Clamp campus were red and gold, like the most beautiful of mosaics. Kamui slowed his walk; he was in no hurry to face his fellow Seals.
"Shirou-kun!" a voice called.
The blond boy bounced up to him and laughed gleefully.
"I'm glad you're okay! I was worried after that earthquake at Ikebukuro - I've even been having nightmares about it the last few days, really weird dreams like you wouldn't believe..."
Kamui realized he hadn't even thought of that kekkai they had defended only a few days ago. "Did many people die there?"
"Not even one! When I came home, mother told me our building shook a bit, but that was all. I do hope that's a sign for the better - there's been far too many earthquakes lately, and it's weird how all the buildings are falling in them. I know that Tokyo architecture has always been designed with earthquakes in mind-"
-and that is why all architects always made sure to tie their buildings' structure into the neighborhood kekkai, Kamui added in his thoughts. Then he realized he had tuned out Keiichi's voice.
"Sorry, what did you say?"
"I've been going through last year's entrance examinations to Tokyo University, and I think I'll apply there next year. There's also Hosei and Waseda, but those are private and now that my mother's alone I don't think we'll be able to afford the fees."
"Why don't you stay in Clamp University?" Kamui asked.
"The architecture department isn't that good," Keiichi explained. "I want to learn how to build even better buildings that won't fall down in any earthquake."
"Do you... think that'll help?"
Keiichi shrugged. "It's not as I can single-handedly stop them, so I have to do my best. I believe one should mourn those dead, and then make life all the better for those who are alive!"
Kamui felt a chill go through him.
"Come on, we'll be late for class!" the blond boy urged. "You've already missed Friday's - I'll fill you in on the homework-"
Lunch was sandwiches and orange juice, the best he'd been able to make in the kitchen while Seishirou and Subaru had slept soundly.
"Swap one with me for onigiri?" Keiichi offered. "You like traditional food better, right?"
Kamui nodded and made the exchange.
"You're quiet today," the blond boy said. "I mean, more so than usual."
"It's complicated," Kamui muttered.
"Maybe I can help?" Blue eyes stared imploringly. "I'd like to..."
"Remember Subaru - I mean Sumeragi-san?"
"He was hurt in the earthquake, and now I'm staying with him and a... friend of his."
"And it's the friend who's the problem."
"How did you-"
"It's written all over your face." Keiichi grinned disarmingly.
"Oh." Kamui shook his head. "Well, that's part of the problem. He's not a good person, and I know he's not good for Subaru, but he can be very nice. And somehow... we understand each other. I can't really explain it..."
"He's a lot like you?"
The dark-haired boy flinched. "Not at all! He's totally different. But I know I should do something about this situation, and I don't know what."
Keiichi lay a hand on Kamui's shoulder. "Whatever you do, it'll be the right decision."
"You think so?"
"I know you," Keiichi explained. "You always do the right things." He blushed slightly under Kamui's surprised look. "Well, you do! And by the way, invite me sometime. I want to meet this guy."
"Soon," Kamui promised.
Kamui saw them waiting for him after school. He quickly said goodbye to Keiichi, who seemed to have made himself his guardian angel and hadn't left his side throughout the day.
As soon as they were alone, Yuzuriha launched herself at him and hugged him.
"How could you do that to us!" she scolded him while hiding her face in his shoulder. "We were so worried - and then those calls!"
"Shirou-san." Arashi's voice was cold. "Please explain your behavior."
Sorata just looked at him. He had the same expression he'd had a few months before, when he apologized for not being able to protect him from his fate.
Kamui considered the benefits of running for it, then realized he'd still have to go to school with all of them every day.
"Can we take it from the beginning?" he asked.
"Good idea," Yuzuriha agreed, freeing herself from his arms. Her eyes were shining, and she buried her hands in Inuki's fur. He couldn't tell if her hands were shaking.
"Subaru used a dark onmyoujitsu spell at Sunshine 60. He didn't know how to, or didn't think about protecting himself from the backlash. Sei- the Sakurazukamori felt it and came to the Imonoyama mansion in the night. He didn't count on me being there. He told me he could help Subaru, and I agreed, providing he took me with him. He's been true to his word, so far, and Subaru is feeling better."
"That's good!" Yuzuriha's smile could light up the entire catacombs of Rome. "I'm glad Subaru-san is okay! But it must be horrible for you, staying with the Sakurazukamori."
You've no idea, Kamui agreed mentally. Out loud he said, "I manage."
"You're disregarding your duty." Arashi's voice was cold like the late autumn wind. "You're our leader. It's your duty to fight the Dragons of Earth, at every and all opportunity." Her eyes were blank, as if she was reciting a line from a script. "This situation is detrimental to our fight. You are far more important than Subaru-san, and both we and Hinoto think you should be here, where you can help us and lead us in the fight." Her fingers were clenched into fists. "The fight is all that matters."
He flinched involuntarily, drawing away from them. "I'm not disregarding anything. You have my number... Subaru's number. Just call if I'm needed... if Hinoto Dreams something. I'll come at once."
"The princess's dreams have been blank for the last few days," Sorata said suddenly, breaking his silence. "From what Saiki said, I gather she didn't expect what Subaru-san did at Ikebukuro."
"No-one expected that," Kamui agreed. "And the Dragons of Earth?"
"Not a peep from any of them."
The violet-eyed boy sighed with relief. "Let me know if they make any more trouble."
He turned to go, but a hand on his arm stopped him.
"Shirou-san..." Arashi tried again. "Kamui."
Momentarily he was at a loss for words. Then he smiled slightly, tossing his hair. "I'm alright. Really, Arashi, you don't have to worry - you should smile more! See you soon."
She nodded and let go, watching him walk away. And he wondered at himself, at the ease with which he had pulled the mask of a smile over his feelings, at the source from which he had learned that little trick. He made the right connection quite quickly, just like he'd done before in the case of others.
you have a very high opinion of your intelligence, Kamui-chan
The can bounced off the wall of a building and skittered back down the street, coming to a stop not far from Kamui. He walked up to it and kicked it again. This time it bounced into the air and was caught in Sorata's hand.
"Can I talk to you?" the young monk asked quietly.
Kamui shrugged. "Sure."
"I'm supposed to protect you, remember. Are you okay?"
A sigh. "Why not?"
Sorata dropped the can and waved his arms around. "Well, you just moved from the company of a gorgeous girl, a cute kid and the most handsome guy from here to Okinawa, to the company of two onmyouji, of which at least one is certifiably obsessed."
"The second one's certifiably psychotic."
"Which just proves how bad a deal you made!" Sorata laughed.
"His jokes are better than yours."
"I don't believe it. Anyway, we're all worried, especially Neechan, no mater what she said to you - she spent half a day crying her eyes out before your first call. I didn't know she cared so much about you!"
Another shrug. "Me neither."
"Should I be jealous?"
"Will you cut it out with the monosyllables?"
Sorata laughed again and clapped Kamui on the back. "That's the spirit. You're looking better, you know that? More like when I first met you. All fire and sparks."
"You do know that I promised to protect you from all harm?"
"Yeah." Kamui kicked the can again, sending it right into the path of an oncoming car.
"Good. I'll talk to Karen-san and Aoki-san, straighten things out. Can't promise anything for Nokoru-san though, he still thinks you're crazy."
Sorata felt reassured as Kamui's face remained impassive, with a slight trace of reluctant gratitude. At least that was real.
The bookbag hit the kitchen table with a loud thud.
"I take it that school wasn't much fun?" Seishirou asked amiably.
The assassin sighed. "Subaru-kun is in the garden. Talk all you want, but dinner's in twenty minutes."
Kamui found Subaru sitting on a wrought-iron bench, stroking Pochi and taking in the sun's last autumn rays. The green eyes opened lazily as the boy approached.
"You don't look too well. Did you have a bad day at school?"
"Passable." Kamui shrugged. "But then Sorata, Arashi and Yuzuriha decided to chew me out."
Subaru leaned forward, concerned. "What did they say, exactly?"
"That I'm chickening out by staying here, and I should be with them, killing Angels. Starting with Sei-san."
Green eyes closed in sympathy. "Oh, Kamui, I'm sorry you're in so much trouble because of me..."
"Don't say it," Kamui snapped. "It's my choice, and my fault. No-one forced me, least of all you."
"Come to think of it, you were rather vehement about going with me," Seishirou remarked from where he stood on the terrace.
Pochi extricated herself from Subaru's arms and stalked away into the house, rubbing against the assassin's leg in passing. Kamui shot a look, both at the man and the cat.
"I don't regret it. It's just that some people think they know what being 'Kamui' means, and don't realize I know it best. Must be the hands-on experience."
"Tired of following destiny and doing what you're told?" Seishirou walked down the path to where the boy stood. "Good, you're learning to think for yourself." He cuffed the boy on the arm lightly and reached out to Subaru. "Come on, Subaru-kun, dinner's almost ready. Kamui-chan can set the table."
'Kamui-chan' let out a loud raspberry in the older man's direction as he stalked into the house, unconsciously following in Pochi's footsteps. It turned out that the white-haired kitten also wanted to be fed before getting off the table and allowing him to set it.
It was nearly midnight, and the upper floor of Seishirou's house was quiet and dark. Kamui had given up on "The Werewolf Principle" half an hour before, and was now deep in a quiet, dreamless sleep. His black hair crossed the white pillow with a chaotic net of black lines, and the streetlight shining through the window accentuated the paleness of his skin. In the semi-empty room that still retained its abandoned feel, he seemed a sleeping Endymion, doomed never to wake and spend his life in eternal darkness.
The faint light shone in a single golden eye, and a pair of green ones.
"Do you mind him being here so much?" Subaru asked softly.
"No. He's amusing at times." Seishirou smiled at him from where he was leaning against the other side of the doorframe.
"At times, Seishirou-san?"
"Even when he's moping, he's still cute."
"Seishirou-san!" Subaru looked horrified.
Seishirou smirked. "Don't worry, I've had enough experience with... young innocent things... to last me a lifetime. Besides, in a way, Kamui-chan is more childish than you were then. You were always so mature, even at eight years old."
"I thought a child made a better plaything?"
"No, it's more fun when the prey realizes your intentions."
Subaru glared and opened his mouth to say something, but they were interrupted by the phone ringing downstairs.
Five minutes later Seishirou put the phone down and looked at Subaru, who was standing next to him.
"Come," the Sakurazukamori said. "Let's go out."
"What for?" Subaru asked warily.
"A romantic rooftop stroll?" Seishirou offered with a wink.
It was romantic. They were too high to hear more than a gentle purr of the city traffic, and high enough for the air to be free of exhaust fumes. The clouded sky reflected the city lights as a uniform red glow.
"Why did you bring me here?" Subaru asked.
"To see something," Seishirou said enigmatically.
Below them was the city.
Subaru turned towards it and looked with both his eyes and his magic, searching each alley in an expanding circle centered on the building on which they stood. He didn't even notice when strong arms pulled him back to rest against the older man's chest; he simply tilted his head back, leaning fully against Seishirou in an unconscious display that would have mortified him, were he not totally concentrated on his search.
And he would have been even more deeply disturbed by the smile that curved Seishirou's lips, a smile he'd seen before - each time the Sakurazukamori ripped his heart into little shreds.
Ah, found it. There was a catwalk five blocks away where the energies were decidedly disturbed. The disturbances concentrated along lines, as if they were cables or wires... wasn't one of the Chi no Ryu a master of computers? He was sure Imonoyama had mentioned it. And there were other energies there, those centered on moving objects - people walking unawares into the Angel's trap. One flickering on and off like a blaze, the other fleeting and unstable like wind-
-Seiichiro Aoki and Karen Kasumi.
Subaru's eyes snapped open and he attempted to jump from the roof, but Seishirou held him tightly.
"No," the assassin whispered into his ear. "Let's watch how they deal with it."
Subaru struggled again, but then Seishirou let go of his arms abruptly and grabbed one of his hands instead, pulling him towards the Ten no Ryu. They set down on a building overlooking the catwalk, one that had a large TV screen on one wall. A flicker in the air revealed that they were now shielded by a maboroshi.
Subaru freed himself from Seishirou's hold, but found himself trapped by the maboroshi in a space about as large as a telephone booth.
"You can't break it, not in your weakened state," Seishirou told him. "Relax and enjoy the show."
Green eyes filled with hurt, and a slender hand stroke out suddenly, but the Sakurazukamori's fingers were there to catch it.
"Bastard." A soft hiss.
"Did you ever think otherwise, Subaru-kun?"
A bitter smile. "For a moment."
"Then you were wrong."
Subaru was whirled around, caught between the maboroshi wall and Seishirou's body. Helpless, he watched.
Below them, the two Ten no Ryu looked around cautiously, but neither noticed the Sakurazukamori's expertly woven maboroshi. Karen shivered in the warm evening air.
"Are you cold?" Aoki asked, preparing to offer his coat.
"No." She forced herself to laugh briefly. "It was just a strange feeling - as if someone walked over my grave."
"You don't have one." Seiichiro smiled.
Karen's eyes were blank as she stared at the city. "Maybe I never will... maybe none of us won't."
A warm hand rested on her shoulder, and she allowed herself the luxury of leaning against it briefly, supporting herself with his strength. Then she straightened and turned towards him, a ready smile on her face.
"The night is strange, Aoki-san. I'm glad we took over this patrol - Yuzuriha-chan is still very upset about Kamui-kun."
"So are Kishuu-san and Arisugawa-kun," be agreed. "I'm afraid Hinoto-hime fuels their worries - I don't think that his choice is as much a tragedy as she says."
"You can't deny that the Sakurazkamori is evil. He makes my skin crawl," she stated.
"Why thank you," Seishirou purred delightedly. Subaru shot him a withering look and got an innocent smile in return.
"Arisugawa-kun said Kamui-kun looked better," Aoki mentioned. "Stronger, less depressed."
"He sounded well on the phone," Karen nodded. "And he does have Sumeragi-san for back-up. Now there's a pair."
"I wonder what there is between Sumeragi-san and the Sakurazukamori. The connection is far stronger than just the old feud between the two clans."
"I still think it's romantic," Karen grinned. "Arashi-chan told me how those two were looking at each other at Nakano a few months back - not like enemies, that's for sure!"
"Karen-san..." Aoki winced. They both laughed.
Then the walkway they were standing on erupted.
Subaru struggled violently as Karen and Aoki barely evaded the wires and falling debris. He cursed Seishirou in three different languages, but the older man held him tightly.
"You won't interfere," the assassin whispered in his ear. "You're not part of this fight, you can never be fully one of them. You're only mine, my prey."
"They're my friends!" Subaru choked out.
"No they're not. They don't know you at all. They can never get close to you." And a soft hiss. "I'm the only one who can do that."
Subaru stiffened, then stilled. He rested limply against Seishirou, watching the battle below.
Karen had stumbled and now kneeled on another nearby walkway, shaking her head to clear it. Aoki was holding off the attacking cables with precise cuts of wind; he allowed none to sneak past him and reach for his companion.
Then Karen stood up and cupped her hands. A luminous cross blossomed from them, engulfing the battleground, the onlookers and several city blocks. The kekkai was flawless.
A video screen on a nearby office building flickered and changed from a Pepsi ad to the impassive face of a Chi no Ryu - Satsuki Yatouji.
"I thought the inugami girl would be here," she said. "Kakyou said she'd be the one. I - had a question for her."
"Ask us," Aoki offered, stalling for time while he desperately searched for an opening in the attack.
"You won't know the answer." Satsuki smiled angelically. "She wouldn't, either, but I wanted to see her face as she realized it."
Wires erupted again, heading for Aoki this time. But now he was ready, and so was Karen. The wind fanned the flames into white heat, and they formed a blade that sliced deeply into the machine.
Beast screamed, a long rusty wail of metallic hurt. It was echoed by the girl on the screen, just before she reached for a switch that shut down all the power to the city quarter. She flickered and disappeared, and the wires fell limp to the ground.
"Is it over?" Karen asked, her voice shaking.
"I think so," Aoki answered carefully.
Karen sighed and unraveled the kekkai, turning the rubble back into a peaceful city street. She gratefully accepted Aoki's arm as they left.
Seishirou smiled inwardly when Subaru made no move to join them. He cupped his prey's chin in a rewarding caress. He wasn't surprised when he encountered trails of tears.
Satsuki took off her helmet with hands that were too carefully controlled to tremble.
"You said the Sakurazukamori would help me," she said quietly.
"I'm sorry!" Yuuto flustered. "I called him, and he said he'd come - I don't know what could have happened-"
Satsuki shook her head angrily and set off to console the wounded Beast. The noises of her powertools clashed with the low moans from the room behind them, where a new inhabitant had joined the extensive medical facility that had before supported only Kakyou and Nataku.
~To Be Continued~
Hosei and Waseda are private universities in Tokyo.
I think I subconsciously stole the "Keiichi as an architect" concept from Ashlea's wonderful fic "Earthquakes" (and have done the same in Case of the Missing Shinken), but it does seem logical from his hate of earthquakes.
I apologize for any mistakes I committed while writing Keiichi - I don't have the volumes where he appears >_<. But anyway, I will be taking more liberties with his character soon... *shudder*
Arashi-wise, do remember who she respects and listens to, before sending any flames my way ^_~
Credits for the "Sei-san" nickname still for Kouri Arashi and Karasu.
"The Werewolf Principle" - a wonderful short book by Clifford D. Simak; classic science-fiction with a great psychology angle.
My Karen's a little depressed (though she covers it well) and yes, she's a S/S fangirl. *Beth looks in mirror* Must be the hair color...
Satsuki's question for Yuzuriha is, of course, "Why is it wrong to kill human beings?", from X volume 13.
Please forgive if the next chapter is angsty to the extreme. Blame Sei-chan, he put Subaru in that major funk...
In the next chapter: Without you, I'm nothing. What happens when Subaru realizes this? And will Seishirou come to the same conclusion? Tune in next time, as two very different and yet similar people become aware of the nature of their dance.
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