Extreme spoilers for Tokyo Babylon Chapter 1: Babel.
One major scene has been borrowed from Leareth's "Crucify" with permission.
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: Leareth for being so patient with me; also ShiNeko, because she needs it
Home And Heart
Chapter 6: Without you I'm nothing
He stood under the sakura, on grass covered with pink petals. There was no wind to ruffle his robes or hair, and no petals falling from the dark sky, but still the dream was as familiar and comforting as the sight of his own hands... as the touch of Seishirou's arms.
Then wind appeared, though it did not bring soft petals. Instead sharp shards of glass fell over him, cutting his skin shallowly. He winced and heard the sakura stir uneasily. The pain was somehow distant in a dreamlike way. He realized his wrists were bleeding from perfect pentagram cuts, but sakura branches crept across them, pressing the edges of skin together-
I'm the only one who can do that
-leaving unblemished skin in their wake.
A cry of anger, a flash of red in the dark sky, and the shards were growing, banding together into scalpel-sharp spears. But the sakura was ready-
-and shattered them. But not without taking damage; bark split into pieces and blossoms fell to the ground.
He was unsurprised to see the sakura bleeding bright red blood, but the pain that pierced his heart startled him.
He stumbled; his foot met something hard and metallic hidden in the petals on the ground. He reached for it, and found his hand around the black ebony hilt of a sword. The bright blade was awash in blood that dripped on his hands. It brought out the Sakurazukamori pentagrams, and the identical markings on the sword hilt.
The shards of glass came together again, forming faceless fighters with raised swords, ideograms of a lidless eye on each one's forehead. He raised his own sword, the practiced moves of kendo and kenjutsu coming back to him.
He cut the first one in two with a deceptively slow strike, and parried a vicious attack from another. As he disposed of his attacker, the sakura's branches wrapped around a third, crushing the figure into powder. Then it turned into a dance, he attacking or defending himself, the bloodthirsty tree protecting his back, until finally the glass fragments vanished with another angry scream. He went down to one knee and let go of the sword; the weapon disappeared among the petals.
His hands trembled, and he sobbed dryly. He was about to fall to the ground when strong arms held him up, turning him, lying him gently on the petal-covered grass. Lips were on his, and heat - all-pervading, burning him to distraction, making his limbs take on a life of their own, and he wrapped himself around the other body shamelessly, taking the weight gladly-
-Subaru woke abruptly as something nudged his nose sharply.
Green stared into green for a moment. In the end Subaru realized that he wouldn't outstare the cat and got out of bed. He followed a delighted Pochi into the kitchen.
"Oh, so she decided to wake you up instead of harassing me?" Seishirou remarked, setting out another breakfast setting. "I've got no idea what she wants now; I've already fed her." The assassin was already dressed in a perfectly-tailored suit.
Subaru muttered something noncommittally, forcing himself to adopt the same cold attitude he'd directed towards the Sakurazukamori since Monday's incident. While he filled Pochi's bowl with cream - 22%, she'd take no other - he forced himself to remember that no matter how domestic and nice Seishirou behaved, he was still the same cold bastard who'd ripped his heart to shreds too many times to count. This wasn't what he wanted. This was something he could definitely do without.
He realized Seishirou was saying something.
"-Kamui-chan will be back earlier today, so you won't be alone for long. Anyway, I'm sure Pochi-chan will be happy to keep you company. Though I still can't imagine what drove you to call her that..."
Subaru caught on finally. "You're going out?" His heart twisted, and he leaned against the wall next to the fridge. There could only be one reason.
"Of course, I've got work to do." Seishirou placed a hand next to Subaru's head, making the younger man's breath quicken. "It's no-one you know... I don't think it'll take me too long, but don't wait up." An amused smile. "I do have to make money... now that I've got more mouths to feed."
Subaru's eyes narrowed, and he reached for the ofuda that weren't there. Seishirou watched him with amusement in his eyes.
"Do you really think you can fight me, Subaru-kun?" he asked. "I think you forgot who - and what - I am. Again."
"I won't let you kill innocents."
"If it'll ease your conscience, he isn't one."
Green eyes squeezed shut in torment, and when he opened them, the other man was gone.
Kamui backed into a rosebush in the Clamp Campus gardens, inwardly grateful that it was Saturday and he'd soon have a day's respite from his current predicament.
In front of him, a war council of three was in motion.
"I still think you should let the doctor examine you," Akira insisted. "I'm sure it's some simple psychological problem."
"You have a duty to your team!" Nokoru cried dramatically, 'fate' on his fan. "And Kishuu-san cried for you; I can't allow that." Now the fan read 'no more tears'.
"The solution is simple," Suoh stated. "Let me lead a commando team, we'll disable the Sakurazukamori and retrieve Sumeragi-san inside fifteen minutes."
Kamui was starting to panic when he saw a light of hope in the form of Keiichi.
"Toda-san says Shirou-kun has to come to the extra football practice now," the blond boy said quickly, grabbing Kamui's hand, "so if you'll excuse us, Rijichou, we have to go!"
They took off at once and didn't stop until they were safely hidden from the three.
"Thanks!" Kamui smiled with relief. "I guess Toda-san doesn't actually want us to play football?"
"No, he's hung over and giving everyone the rest of the day off," Keiichi explained. "So we can just head home."
"Great. Before Imonoyama-san catches me again."
"What is it all about? I've had to save you four times now."
"It's complicated. Something with my new living arrangements."
"Speaking of that, how about I visit you tomorrow evening and we'll go to see that new American movie, the one about computers?"
"The Matrix? Sure... but there's no need to come to my house. We can meet in front of the cinema," Kamui offered quickly.
"No way, I want to see that guy you live with."
"Oh, alright..." Kamui reluctantly gave his friend the directions and hoped Seishirou wouldn't mind.
The first thing Kamui noticed when he opened the door was the silence. Over the past week he'd got used to coming home to Seishirou making dinner and directing cheerful banter at a sulking Subaru. Now all that welcomed him was Pochi, also subdued and dragging her tail on the ground.
"Where's Sei-san?" he asked, setting his bag on the floor.
She just stared at him with a feline equivalent of a shrug.
"And Subaru? Where is he?"
Reluctantly she led him to the master bedroom and through the open shoji door. Subaru was sitting on the floor of the shaded porch, his head hidden in his arms.
Kamui sank to his knees next to him.
"What happened?" he asked softly.
"Nothing," Subaru said. His voice was completely devoid of emotion.
"Out." Subaru raised his head, his face as pale and motionless as a china doll's. "Do you want me to make you something to eat?"
The boy shook his head. "... I'll get my own."
Subaru was left alone again, alone with his thoughts that revolved around only one thing.
One person. One twisted, cold, cruel, madly beloved person.
Why do you seem to like to hurt me so much? I know you can be heart-wrenchingly nice, heartbreakingly affectionate. But every time I fall in love with you again, you turn around and make me see your other side. Why?
Why am I so stupid to forget every time that you're a monster?
Or do I? It's always been part of your appeal - the way your eyes changed sometimes, that and the faint scent of blood.
What does it say about me, that I am drawn to you like a moth to a blazing torch? My mind is so sick now that I can think about nothing but you. You define me, much more than my destiny or heritage does.
He recalled a dream of a few days before, a dream which had been so perfectly wrong-
without him you're nothing
-and yet so terribly right.
Subaru choked down a sob.
Can one get more pathetic than being so dependant on someone who considers you nothing but a trinket? Than being so desperate to get some sort of recognition - any recognition - from someone who has judged you and found you wanting?
Then again, he does go to some lengths for me - saving me, fighting me when he can crush me with one spell. There's words-
But you're mine.
-and things he does-
waking up to soft chanting, words half-remembered from ancient texts, as the murderous sakanagi left his body
-it's like he doesn't want this game to end-
No, I can't deceive myself so. The game has ended nine years ago, and I lost.
Then why do we still dance like this, forgetting all that we are - Sumeragi, Sakurazukamori, Seal, Angel - but for ourselves? Why do you seem to like to hurt me so much?
Above him, the pine trees rustled, and a single sakura petal floated down to rest in his hair.
Kamui sighed over his English homework. His recent forays into Seishirou's library had already improved his language skills, but he couldn't concentrate. The last time he'd looked, Subaru's form had been barely visible in the rapidly falling twilight, still unmoving. Damn, how long could someone sit so still?
Then the book was taken out of his hand.
"I think you've had enough studying for today." There was a shadow of a smile on Subaru's face.
Kamui jerked violently. "You scared me!"
"I thought you were still down there - thinking, or whatever you were doing."
"I've thought something up."
Subaru side-stepped the question. "Do you want dinner? I'm not as good a cook as Seishirou-san, but I think I can manage something eatable."
Kamui considered demanding an answer to his original question, but instead decided to follow the onmyouji downstairs to the kitchen. They spent the next hour making and eating dinner, talking about a hundred inconsequential things, and evading Pochi's attempts to inspect their work up close.
"You won't like it anyway, Pochi-dono," Subaru explained for the fifth time as he pushed the cat's inquisitive paws off the table. "It's only vegetables."
Pochi meowed plaintively until Subaru's resolve crumbled and he went to get a new tin of Whiskas.
"You spoil her," Kamui pointed out with a laugh.
"I guess my heart's too soft."
After dinner Kamui decided he'd had enough excitement for one day and headed upstairs. When he came out of the bathroom, he noticed that the light from the kitchen still shone out into the staircase.
"Are you going to sleep?" he called out.
"Not yet," Subaru said as he came out into the corridor. "What is it - do you want a bedtime story?" he teased gently.
"Oooh, would you?" Kamui opened his eyes wide and assumed a plaintive voice. "Pretty please with sugar on it??"
Subaru smiled slightly. "Then go to bed, otherwise it won't be a proper bedtime story."
Kamui did so in record time. Subaru sat in the chair by the desk.
"So, what do you want to hear?" he asked.
The boy thought for a moment. "One of your cases, when you were my age."
There was a strange expression on Subaru's face - half nostalgia, half pain. Then he started to speak.
"There was one incident at the Tokyo Tower. The tower normally shakes with even the slightest earthquake - it's built that way - but the reason they called me there was that this time, only the middle platform was shaking, not the special viewing platform a hundred meters higher. I felt something as soon as I entered the middle platform, but to make sure, I decided to do the job the same night, after all visitors had left the tower. I - I usually did my assignments alone, but not this time - he came with me to keep me company." No question of who 'he' was.
Subaru sighed and continued. "The ghost seemed quite dangerous as it attacked us, but once I managed to calm her, it turned out she was just unhappy. Kazue-san was just a girl who had come to Tokyo to pursue her dream of becoming an actress, but the city turned out different than she'd imagined. She had to struggle to survive, but to see the real Tokyo she came to the Tower often. She said she didn't see the sky from there, but she did see the city.
"Then she was offered a part in a movie. She'd only appeared in bit parts on television before, so this was a great opportunity. She decided it was make-or-break this time. But the movie was cancelled when the lead actress quit on the first day of shooting. Kazue-san had already told everyone about her big break, and she didn't want to face them now. So she killed herself.
"She was so consumed by her hate and love for Tokyo that she was drawn to the Tower. She was bound to it. I couldn't find words to console her - he did it instead. He told her that to be responsible, to not be like that actress who caused her grief, Kazue-san had to forgive the city for hurting her heart. And she did. I sent her onwards. She said that now, she was going even higher than the special viewing platform that she hadn't been able to afford in life..."
Subaru seemed lost in thought for a moment, then stood up and looked at the boy on the bed. "Goodnight, Kamui. I hope you liked the story."
Kamui nodded sleepily. Violet eyes trailed Subaru out of the room, then closed for good.
Subaru heard the clock strike one and idly wondered how much longer he would wait like this - half-sitting on the large bed, dressed in white satin pajamas that flowed around him smoothly. His mind was strangely lucid, had been so ever since he had reached the conclusion of his dilemmas.
Yes, Seishirou defines me. But I define him as well. I know we're dancing together here. He just doesn't want to admit it. And I want to see something apart from a bleak wall behind his eyes.
This isn't a bet. It's a dance.
In his mind he heard the faint rustling of flowered branches. It sounded like a murmur of approval and encouragement.
The soft click of a key in a lock brought him out of his musings. He got up soundlessly.
Seishirou was taking off his coat gingerly. The younger man saw why when the assassin turned around.
His victim's blood was still on his hand.
The Sakurazukamori froze when he noticed Subaru. He smiled ruefully.
"I thought I told you not to wait up for me."
Subaru came up to him slowly, white satin rustling. Gold and grey eyes were on him, calm and appreciative.
"I was thinking about what you said."
"And?" Seishirou's voice was perhaps a little hoarser that he'd like to admit.
Slim, pale fingers closed around his bloody hand. Green eyes seemed riveted by the thickening crimson liquid as their hands rose until they rested against Subaru's cheek.
"I know who you are." Subaru moved Seishirou's fingers down his own face, leaving bloody smears in their wake. Then he kissed the stained hand.
Seishirou let out a breath that he hadn't realized he was holding.
Subaru brushed a shy kiss over the other man's lips, and it was returned in not quite so chaste a fashion. When they broke away, their hands still clenched between them, Seishirou was smiling.
"So forward, Subaru-kun?" he asked. "Not that-"
Whatever he wanted to say was lost as Subaru kissed him again, letting go of his hand in order to loosen his tie. The younger man's other hand slipped hesitantly around Seishirou's neck, fingers ghosting gently over the collar of his shirt.
The Sakurazukamori grinned into the kiss and decided that while forwardness was quite refreshing, it was also certainly faked. It took him only a few seconds to push Subaru into the bedroom, throw him on the bed and close the door behind him, plunging the room into moonlit darkness. He turned back to the bed, expecting to see a flustered, angered creature he was used to.
Instead, his eyes were riveted to the way the open satin shirt was slowly sliding off one ivory shoulder. Subaru let it fall to the bed and met Seishirou's look head on. The bedsprings didn't creak when the young onmyouji got up and slowly approached Seishirou, unmindful of his own state of undress.
Stalling for time, the older man took his jacket off and threw it on an armchair. But to do so he had to face the mirror-lined closet doors, which were reflecting the room perfectly.
He stood motionless as hands wrapped around him from behind, the buttons of his shirt seemingly all too willing to part under the shy touch. Then he whirled around and pinned the slender body to the door.
For a moment, he was filled with a thousand questions, but they faded as soon as he looked at the breathlessly parted lips and flushed skin. The smears of blood on Subaru's cheek took him back in time, to a different room and a different them, but the contrast between white and crimson was the same. Now he did what he'd been prevented from doing then, bringing Subaru's hand to his lips and kissing and nipping at the pentagram on its back. Then he lowered his head to the younger man's throat, and felt fingers twisting in his hair, trying to draw him even closer as teeth hesitantly nibbled on his ear.
He was all too happy to oblige.
Their clothes slipped to the floor like an afterthought, and neither could tell how they'd ended up on the bed. All that mattered was the touch of skin on skin, heat all-encompassing. Seishirou's hand dipped between Subaru's thighs and the younger man clutched Seishirou's shoulders hard enough for his nails to draw blood while the assassin kissed him deeply. As they separated briefly, a moan cut through the air; neither of them cared who had released it.
Finally Seishirou raised himself on his elbows and for a single moment, gold-and-grey eyes caught green ones.
"This'll hurt." But there was no worry on his face, just the delighted smile of a predator who had finally caught his prey.
"Yes," Subaru choked out, his hands tangling in the older man's hair and tugging him closer. Just before their lips met, a whisper. "Hurt me..."
And then there were no words, only pain and fire and a continuous low keening from the younger onmyouji's throat. Hands clenched and tore at each other's flesh. Faster and faster, and finally they were there, swallowing each other's moans, for a moment so together that inner boundaries blurred and it could not be told where one ended and the other began.
without you I'm nothing
and without me you don't exist
Then there was silence.
Finally Seishirou came to his senses. He realized he was delighted by Subaru's sudden aggression and responsiveness. Then it came to him that there was no sound in the bedroom apart from his own breathing.
Subaru's head was bent back on the pillow, his eyes closed, and Seishirou's heart skipped a beat. Then he registered the slow, steady heartbeat and almost imperceptible, shallow breath, and relaxed. Surely the sensations had simply been too much for his Subaru-kun?
But Subaru wasn't waking.
Seishirou allowed his fingers to stray into the younger man's hair. He wondered idly if he could persuade his dear prey to grow it out again. It had looked so wonderfully tousleable, all those years ago. Then he got tired of waiting.
"Wake up, Subaru-kun. Now."
Nothing. Not a sound.
"I'm getting tired of this," he said softly, with a cruel smile.
His fingers tightened suddenly in Subaru's hair, drawing the head back painfully, revealing an arched throat. His other hand brushed across the delicately defined Adam's apple, drawing no reaction. He frowned, considering his options. Finally he put his hand against the other's heart, briefly reaching into the younger man's soul.
There was nothing there. Only a bleak plane strewn with sakura petals.
Seishirou's eyes snapped open. Then they narrowed dangerously.
"Not polite, Subaru-kun," he said coldly.
He didn't acknowledge a sudden tightening in his chest. Instead he lowered Subaru's head to the pillow and pressed his fingers against the younger man's temples.
"Wake up," he commanded. "Look at me!"
Again, nothing. He started to wonder if it was some magical cause - an after-effect of the sakanagi that he'd overlooked in his initial examination? The blood magic had wrought havoc with Subaru's body...
Was his prey gone for good?
"No," he whispered. Then louder, "No!"
It was not possible... he couldn't be! Not his Subaru-kun, not like this-
-not when I haven't told him!
In desperation Seishirou reached for the sakura, knowing that in its own way the tree had also taken a liking to his chosen successor. But the ancient spirit remained silent, unresponsive.
For the first time in decades, Seishirou was alone.
He went very still, but in his eyes there was an unprecedented storm. His hands moved to the bedsheets and clenched there, almost tearing the linen.
Gradually he lowered himself to rest with his forehead against Subaru's. He didn't know why there was pain in his chest and in his suddenly clenched throat, but he knew that it hurt, it hurt too much.
Then green eyes opened and looked at him, filled with a brilliant light of a multitude of emotions.
He let out a sound that was half a sob, half a strangled name, but before he could remember which, deceptively slim hands hugged him and dragged him downwards until his head rested on Subaru's shoulder. Over the tremors wrecking him he thought he could hear a soft voice that calmed him, stilling the tempest within.
"It's going to be all right, Seishirou-san. It's going to be all right now."
Sakura petals paled and melted into white morning light. Once again Subaru woke up to Pochi's intent stare and breakfast-making sounds coming from the kitchen. He risked ignoring the cat to take a quick, much-needed shower, then paused in the door to the kitchen.
And odd deja-vu feeling came over him as he watched an inordinately cheerful Seishirou prepare breakfast for two while deftly sidestepping around an increasingly irritated cat. Then he made up his mind.
"Good morning," he said softly.
Without warning he found himself swept up in a gentle hug.
"Slept well?" Seishirou asked.
"Very." Subaru hesitantly rested his head on the older man's shoulder, wondering at how comfortable and natural the gesture felt. "Are you making pancakes? They smell good."
"Not half as good as you." Seishirou grinned and leaned down for a kiss.
After several long moments, Subaru freed himself with a gasp. "Seishirou-san, not here."
"Kamui can walk in."
"It's ten in the morning, the brat's at school."
Subaru smiled angelically and dragged Seishirou down for another kiss.
They jumped apart. Kamui sniggered in the doorway.
"Shouldn't you be at school?" Seishirou asked irritably.
"It's a Sunday, Sei-san." Kamui's grin was entirely too knowing.
~To Be Continued~
The title of this chapter comes from a Placebo song
Yes, there's a point to almost every chapter starting with a dream sequence. This particular dream was partly based on some of my own, and partly on way too much time studying books of dream interpretations. And partly on several characters throwing tantrums in my head, wanting to gut Seishirou, Subaru, Kamui, or all three at once.
The Matrix was released in Japan on September 11th, 1999. Current fic timeline is beginning of October, 1999, so it fits.
Japanese high school on Saturday is around 4 hours, so Kamui's back for around lunch, makes it himself and sits in his room until twilight - around 6-7 PM.
Pochi as always copyrighted by the Right Hon. Lady Panther, with help from Little Kai aka Durin's Bane.
Subaru's bedtime story is Tokyo Babylon chapter 1: Babel.
The semi-flashback Seishirou has is to a certain scene in Annex: Secret, namely the last page of that chapter, which is probably at least partly responsible for a slew of "Seishirou takes Subaru's innocence and wipes out his memory afterwards" fics ^_~
The entire post-lime sequence was ripped off - excuse me, inspired by Leareth's wonderful masterpiece "Crucify" (with permission). The main difference is that my Tree-san's nicer ^_^
In the next chapter: With the help of a friend, Kamui realizes that even if only for one day, "We can be heroes". Apologies to David Bowie included.
Return to Archive | next | previous