Author's Notes: Long bus rides through China with nothing to look at but mist and depressingly grey countryside gives a lot of room for imagination. I didn't start actually penning this down until Kualar Lumpar and church service with Mask-chan a week before Christmas. This is for you, o queen of genkiness ^^ a short, bitter-sweet Subaru+Seishirou fic to your favorite Christmas Carol.


Silent Night, Lonely Night

By Leareth

       

"So how Ďbout it?"

Subaru looked hazily up Ė up, at the heavyset man in front of him, looked at the drunken parody of a suggestive smile, and quickly lowered his eyes. Keep walking. Pretend you didnít hear

He tried to step past the man, to get through the door to join the snow-covered blurs on the street outside Ė

pretend you want to escape

Ė and a thick arm was thrust out across the doorway, stopping the onmyouji in his tracks.

"Itís not nice to offer something then take it back."

Offer? What had he offered? What was he doing here? Subaru turned away from the drunkard and looked blearily back at the dingy bar he had somehow stumbled into Ė

gone into with eyes open

Ė the last place on earth the head of the Sumeragi should be, where the misfits and outcasts of the city gathered to drown themselves in drink to the point where they no longer seemed human Ė

easier like this. Not your fault, you canít be blamed

Subaru cringed from the too-near truth, and tried to exit the bar again. "Iím sorry, I think you have the wrong ideaĖ"

His mumblings were choked off as fingers locked around his throat Ė

please, make it quick

Ė and shoved him into the wall.

Warm, alcohol-laced breath brushed his face. It made his head reel.

"I donít think so."

Some part if Subaruís brain mentally noted the way the other patrons barely spared them a glance. It seemed that incidents like this happened all the time. One would have thought that tonight of all nights people would act differently (goodwill to all men, after all) but no.

 

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear saviourís birth

 

Somehow Subaru managed to summon enough strength to kick the man away. The drunkard stumbled backwards into a table, scattering drinks and people. Subaru paid no attention to the outraged yelling and stumbled out of the bar into the snow-and-tinsel covered street.

He hadnít gotten more than a dozen meters before a meaty hand grabbed his coat-collar. Before Subaru could react he was hauled off-balance backwards into an alley and thrown to the ground. It was cold and hard, leeching the warmth out of him. Not that he had much left anyway.

"Yíknow, a pretty face like yours really shouldnít be alone." Subaru felt himself being grabbed under the arms and icy air seeped into his woollen turtle-neck as his coat was pulled away. He tried feebly to push the man away but the man was so much bigger than him Ö "Most guys have some family or girl to go home to Ė but you and me? Weíre by ourselves. Us lonely guys got tíkeep each other company. Especially on this night when everyoneís haviní fun with everyone else."

Cold, so cold in the snow . . . it seemed to creep upon him, spreading through his veins so that he couldnít feel anything. Even when his turtle-neck was stripped off and icy air hit his bare skin he didnít feel any pain.

"Oh yeah, youíre a pretty one . . ."

Then there was pain as the man settled himself over him, his breath hot against Subaruís neck and weight crushing his lungs Ė

Donít fight, make things easier for yourself Ö

Ė Subaru tried to cry out, but he didnít have any air.

"Címon, man, keep me warm." The hand that had grabbed him before was fumbling at his pants now. Subaru tried to kick the man, but panic locked his limbs so he could do nothing but move feebly Ė "Donít fight me now, donít tell me yídonít want company this night of nights Ė oh yeah, here we go." Something was happening; Subaru felt himself betray himself, shivering in the cold as he was touched, for the first time in a very long time feeling wanted Ė

"Hey, what the Ė shit!"

Subaru gasped as the warmth was pulled away and ice-cold wind struck him. Somewhere nearby there was a scuffle as someone was thrown to the ground.

"Son of a bitch!"

Subaru closed his eyes.

 

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices . . .

 

Listen to the music fall through the snow.

"Hey man, what díya think youíre doing, huh?? Think youíre a cop or some shit wearing that black coat wrecking a guyís fun? Or what, you want some as well? Too bad, pretty faces are hard to come by, this oneís mine, go fuck yourself if you want a screw Ė oi, whatíre yídoing, get yer hands off Ė h-hey, lemme go, pleaseĖ!"

A wet snap, then silence. Subaru kept his eyes shut. Even with the thick snow, he could still hear the body fall. He had to strain to hear the footsteps, though; slow, even, and coming closer towards him. Subaru knew those footsteps should alarm him, but he was too cold and weary to care at the moment.

"Just when I think you can sink no lower, you surprise me with this." The voice that spoke seemed to be half-amused, half-irritated Ė irritated? Could that voice ever be irritated? "The head of the Sumeragi allowing himself to be even touched by such filth? What would Hokuto-chan say?"

"Subaru, címon, call Grandmother! Let her know that sheís not alone, that weíre thinking of her tonight!"

"You really are pathetic."

Look up. See the cold smile and burn.

". . . Subaru-kun."

Seishirou stood before him in the snow.

Subaru said nothing.

 

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices

 

Not far away, the body of his would-be assailant was growing cold. The face stared at him blankly, eyes forever frozen wide in fear on a twisted neck. Somewhere, somehow, Subaru felt a spark of pity for the dead man, feeble as wet ash, but at least it was something.

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

A sigh. Subaru ignored it.

"What are you doing here, Subaru-kun?" Seishirou asked oh-so-condescendingly. "Surely the head of the Sumeragi has better plans for Christmas Eve than this. Or do you?" Subaru imagined the mismatched eyes frowning in mock-concern. "Perhaps you donít have anything better. Another Christmas alone without Hokuto-chan, is that why youíre here?"

A tiny spark of anger began to flicker within him, its heat welcome against the chill. "Donít you have anything better?" he whispered.

"I certainly donít go around asking to be accosted by uncouth drunks." There was click, and the sharp tang of cigarette smoke. It enticed Subaru to get up, and he did, slowly, leaning against the wall for support. Proof of a nicotine addiction.

"Thatís not what I meant." His coat and woollen top were lying thrown on the ground close by. He reached out; finding both clammy and damp he flinched, wrapping his arms around himself for warmth. Snow melted on his cheeks like tears. "Surely the Sakurazukamori has better things to do on Christmas Eve than watch his plaything freeze."

A soft laugh. "Perhaps I enjoy this."

Subaru averted his eyes so the other man wouldnít see the pain. "Go away."

"How rude. What if I want to stay?"

"Then at least do something more than just stand and smoke!"

"Why should I?"

Why.

Why?

Why?!

Fury surged within him at this so simple a word, it made him stand taller, straighter; defiant, he raised his head, sending killing glares at the man so calmly standing there watching, watching Ė he felt himself flying forward, lifting his fist and all the rage it held Ė

 

O night
O holy night

 

Ė felt it strike the otherís face. It was cold.

The sunglasses fell to the snow without a sound. Seishirou lifted a hand to his bruised cheek and stared.

"Why." Subaru bit the word out, still hurting but no longer feeling it. "Why, you ask me. Do you need a reason for everything?!" His voice was raw, harsh even to his own ears Ė he looked at Seishirou, and the man seemed almost taken aback. Was that possible? Or was it merely a play?

Snow falling on the black hair . . .

"You were watching me, werenít you, Seishirou-san." Not a question. "Thatís why youíre here."

Silence.

"You were watching me. I know. You always are."

"Of course." The mismatched eyes stared intently. Warily. "I marked you; I have every right to watch."

"Oh, so you have a right, do you?" He gave a short, mocking laugh. "Of course, Sakurazukamori, you have every right to do what you want with the ones you claim. But why stop at watching? Why not go a little further into my life? After all, you have every right to."

"But you donít want me to."

"Since when did you start caring about what I want?" Ash collected on the end of Seishirouís forgotten cigarette, crumbling to the ground. Subaru took a step closer, spreading his hands open. "Go on, Seishirou-san. I dare you. Do something. Stop watching."

No response.

"Whatís the matter? Scared? Stupid question." Subaru lowered his hands. "If youíre not going to do anything, then go away and leave me alone." Turn away. He picked up his clothes, a difficult task with numb hands. Then he looked back again.

Seishirou was still there.

"I said, if youíre not going to do anything, then leave me alone."

"You canít order me around, Subaru-kun."

"Then damn it, Seishirou-san, do something!"

A hint of a smile. "I am. Iím watching."

The snow fell heavier. It no longer melted on Subaruís skin. He stared at the other man.

"You canít decide, can you," he said finally.

"I beg your pardon?"

"You canít make a decision. You canít stay away from me, and you canít be close to me. Youíre always watching me because thatís the only resolution that you know. Itís safe." One step closer, donít stumble. "Well, Iím here. Youíre here. Are you going to walk away or stay?"

No response. Subaru closed his eyes, wrapping himself in his arms for warmth. "Make a choice, Seishirou-san. I donít care which, I really donít, Iím just sick of you just standing there watching me, make a damned choice!"

Silence. He bowed his head, waiting for the sound of departing footsteps.

Pity the ones who celebrate alone.

Then,

Subaru flinched as something heavy and warm was draped over him. He didnít dare to breathe and break the dream as he looked up. He saw himself twice, two pale faces reflected in two dark mirrors. He couldnít see what lay behind them.

Seishirou smiled and pulled the black trench-coat about Subaruís shoulders closed.

"Letís go then."

 

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear saviourís birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
As yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

 

~owari~


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