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Sunday, February 4th, 2007
11:29 am
Our Legend, Our Story: Chapter 1
Our Legend, Our Story
 
Chapter 1:Starting Point, And We Keep Walking
 
Our kingdom was once peaceful.
The Queen Sumire, the ruler of our kingdom, had five children, two sons and three daughters.
The Queen’s first child was Prince Tezuka. And then came her first daughter, Princess Yoshiko. Then the second daughter, Princess Rinko. After her, came the second son, Prince Inui, and lastly, a daughter, Princess Sayuri.
Each of these sons and daughters are unique on their own, and the Lords and Ladies whom they’re married to, completed them so perfectly.
Prince Tezuka, the Crown Prince of our kingdom, married Lady Ayana, an enchantress and healer who served the Houses of Healing. Princess Yoshiko, who’s a seer, married Lord Fuji, the captain of the West Army. Princess Rinko, the Lady Healer, married Lord Nanjiroh, the captain of East Army. Prince Inui, the master tactician, married Lady Katalya, a healer, botanist, and chemist. Princess Sayuri, the mage, married Lord Inoue, the captain of the Intelligence Army.
For years, there was only peace in the kingdom. But then, darkness started to move, and tried to cover our kingdom with its cold fingers. The first victims were the people, who disappeared without trace. Then, it started to gnaw on the palace walls and its inhabitants.
Prince Tezuka and Lady Ayana, who was pregnant at that time, were attacked on their way home from the Houses of Healing. The Prince didn’t survive, and Lady Ayana was badly injured, thus their son was delivered two months earlier than he’s supposed to, at the cost of his own mother’s life. The baby was Prince Kunimitsu.
The infant prince, though was born safely, was very weak, that Queen Sumire and his uncles and aunts fear for him. A swift decision was taken; Prince Inui and his wife would go to find the Life Crystal in hope that it could help the ailing baby. They left, leaving their four months old son, Prince Sadaharu, in Queen Sumire’s care.
They never returned.
The Queen grieved to no end, having lost both of her two sons and their beloved wives. Their legacies were the baby princes, Prince Sadaharu and Prince Kunimitsu, so their aunts decided to adopt them. Princess Sayuri, who had not had any children of her own, took Prince Sadaharu. Prince Kunimitsu, who’s weaker than Prince Sadaharu, was taken by Princess Rinko, after a careful consideration that she’s a healer and already had a son of her own, Prince Ryoga, three years older than the two baby princes, therefore she and her husband had an experience of handling a baby. Princess Yoshiko would have loved to take one of them if only she hadn’t a baby of her own at that time, a son four months older than Prince Sadaharu. His name’s Prince Shusuke.
For awhile, peace reigned again, and then, Princess Yoshiko, Princess Rinko, and Princess Sayuri all gave birth in the same year, intermittently close to one another, giving Prince Shusuke, Prince Sadaharu, and Prince Kunimitsu baby cousins two years younger than themselves. Princess Yoshiko’s baby was Prince Yuuta, Princess Rinko’s was Prince Ryoma, and Princess Sayuri’s was Princess Sakuno.
Then disaster came again.
There was a sudden massive attack to the palace, that all palace walls were breached and its shields collapsed. Lord Fuji died defending the last gate. Princess Sayuri died while she was trying to keep the women and children safe.
The battle was long, and the victims were uncountable.
Lord Inoue was greatly burdened as neither he nor his intelligence had any warning whatsoever regarding the attack that killed his wife and brother in law. The enemies, the Dark Army, as the people called them, were swift and destructive. He understood that something had to be done, and he couldn’t do it from within the palace grounds, so he begged to leave the palace. That’s the least he could do to protect the future of his children, his nieces, his nephews. Queen Sumire refused, but Princess Yumiko, Princess Yoshiko’s oldest daughter who was ten years older than her first brother, Prince Shusuke, came to her and advised her to let Lord Inoue go. Princess Yumiko was, after all, a seer stronger than her mother even at her young age, so Queen Sumire gave her assent, and Lord Inoue left the next day, leaving Prince Sadaharu and Princess Sakuno in Queen Sumire’s hands, and from then onward only return several times in a year.
Thus, from Queen Sumire’s five children, only two were left. Princess Yoshiko, and Princess Rinko. Lord Nanjiroh had to deal double duties, as no one was capable of taking over Lord Fuji’s duties.
Years passed, and the children grew older…
Princess Yumiko’s gift of seer grew even more developed as the years went by, as well as her talents in using any long ranged weapons like throwing stars and throwing daggers, her healing ability, and her strong magic.
Prince Ryoga became well acquainted with water magic, and apparently had a lot of adventurer blood in him that he left the palace ground for a few months adventure so often soon after his tenth birthday, the day when he’d gotten his first real sword. 
Prince Shusuke was a boy with closed eyes and an everlasting smile on his face, a trait many mistook as weakness, but he was a genius who sent mentors, tutors and teachers scurrying all over the place to find new things for him to learn, as he absorbed all like sponge; a mage who controlled the wind magic as he’d like; someone who can heal or kill at will.
Prince Sadaharu seemed to follow his father and mother’s footsteps, as he learned to be a tactician, chemist, and healer who also had the power to control the earth magic should he wish it to be.
Prince Kunimitsu, despite earlier misgivings about his physical condition, became very proficient with weapons and many forms of martial arts, and excelled in botany. He also, despite that he’s not the oldest, had his cousins followed him, even without saying a word. Lord Nanjiroh saw the natural leader in his adopted son, and was glad by it.
Prince Yuuta also learned sword mastery well, he’s very good with lance, and like his brother, could also control wind magic.
Prince Ryoma was the other genius; beside his excellent fire magic, he could learn any fighting technique only by seeing it being performed, and he had so many skills up his sleeves that he constantly surprised his elders.
Princess Sakuno was a kind-hearted healer; she controls water magic like her mother; she’s not really good with swords, but she could use twin knives so well that Queen Sumire had a pair of assassin daggers made for her.
Then came the year when Yumiko was 27; Ryoga was 19; Shusuke, Sadaharu, and Kunimitsu were 17; and Yuuta, Ryoma and Sakuno were 15.
***
“He’s late!”
Keigo, Advisor Atobe’s son, was fuming.
“Ore-sama had reminded him to be here at precise noon, and it’s past noon, and he’s not here yet!”
“Calm down, Keigo,” Renji, Advisor Yanagi’s son, smiled, “His Highness probably had to take the long route again the avoid the ladies.”
“Considering that he’d come from the library, that might be 90% correct,” Sadaharu smirked, “He’ll be here at exactly 20 minutes from now should he take the farthest route.”
“Aniki’s not here, too,” Yuuta yawned.
“Shusuke-sama’s probably with Kunimitsu-sama,” Kippei, Advisor Tachibana’s son, thought aloud.
“Then I assume Shuichirou and Eiji are with them,“ Takashi, Advisor Kawamura’s son, nodded to himself, referring to the sons of Advisor Oishi and Advisor Kikumaru.
“It might be so…” Takeshi, Advisor Momoshiro’s son, looked up from where he’s sitting,
“Wouldn’t it be even more dangerous if they four walk together?” asked Kaoru, Advisor Kaidoh’s son.
“You mean, there’ll be more ladies tailing their highnesses?“ asked Genichirou, Advisor Sanada’s son.
Seiichi, Advisor Yukimura’s son, smiled serenely, “If I know Shusuke-sama, his being around Kunimitsu-sama will reduce the stalker number instead.”
Kojirou, Advisor Saeki’s son, chuckled, “Worried much, Yuuta-sama?”
Ryoma snorted, “The day Yuu admits that he’s worried about Shu-niisan will be the day the world ends.”
“Well, then we’d have to make sure Yuuta-sama never says it, right?” Koujirou grinned.
Yuuta rolled his eyes.
“I wonder how many girls must their highnesses avoid today,” Takeshi wondered.
“The last highest count was 35, if I’m not mistaken?” Renji asked Sadaharu, who nodded.
“Girls are annoying,” Ryoma commented.
“Wait until you’re our age, Ryoma-sama, and they’ll get even more clingy,” Yukimura advised.
“Oh, don’t worry. When Ryo and I are your age now, you’ll be in the eligible age to marry,” Yuuta chuckled.
Ryoma sighed, “No wonder Ryo-Nii leaves the palace so often. He must be avoiding the smiling dainty hordes,” he grudgingly referred to his older brother, Ryoga.
“I agree,” Keigo huffed, “It’ll be good if we don’t age, really!”
“Want me to cut your age for you, Monkey King?”
Keigo looked at the youngest prince and shook his head wearily, “No, thank you. Ore-sama’s life had already been cut several times since I’ve joined you all.”
“Served you right,” Yuuta said acidly.
There’s a bit of bad blood between the two youngest princes and young Lord Keigo, and it had many things to do with Shusuke and Kunimitsu.
In fact, it was a miracle that Shusuke didn’t kill Keigo.
Keigo himself believed that Shusuke actually prolonged his guilt tripping torture.
“You know, we can always start without them,” Seiichi offered.
So they did. Pair by pair they fought, enhancing their fighting skills. Sadaharu won against Renji. Ryoma won against Yuuta. Seiichi won against Genichirou. Keigo won against Kojirou. When Takeshi was fighting against Kaoru, though, they were disturbed.
“MINNA-SAN!!!”
They all turned to see Eiji sprinting into the training hall, entering swiftly, hurriedly.
“Eiji?” asked Sadaharu, standing upright worriedly.
“What’s wrong? Where’s aniki?” asked Yuuta.
Eiji was gasping for breath, it was clear that he’d sprinted all the way to the dojo without stopping.
“Dark… spy…”
Instantly, all boys were upon him.
Renji handed Eiji his water flask. The red-haired boy drank gratefully.
“The others? Where are they?”
“We accidentally bumped into a spy,” Eiji heaved, “He escaped, but…”
“But?” asked Seiichi urgently.
“The spy used magic.”
Ryoma paled.
“Kunimitsu-sama?” asked Kippei worriedly.
Eiji nodded, “He got hit by a guiding magic.”
The next second, Ryoma and Yuuta were sprinting toward the palace, the others right at their heels.
***
“Oyaji!”
Nanjiroh turned around to see his youngest son sprinting toward him.
“Ku-Niisan…” Ryoma asked uncertainly as he grasped his father’s sleeves.
“It’s not a direct hit, Ryoma. Shusuke and Sakuno managed to stabilize him even before I came.”
“But…”
“Calm down, seishonen,” Nanjiroh sighed, looking at the youths before him, “Kunimitsu will be fine. The magic was not strong.”
“Even so…” Sadaharu trailed off.
Nanjiroh nodded, “I fear that he’s getting more easily contaminated.”
Yuuta shook slightly, ”Aniki?”
“He’s inside, with Shuichirou,” Nanjiroh indicated the door behind him.
“Can we…?” Keigo asked uncertainly.
“Only Ryoma, Yuuta, and Sadaharu,” Nanjiroh said, “for now. After 24 hours, then you may all visit him.”
Ryoma said nothing. He opened the door and slipped in, Yuuta following him.
“Wait here,” Sadaharu told the others, ”I won’t be long,“ then he went in.
Nanjirou nodded at the youngsters and left.
Keigo sagged on the wall, “Damn…”
“How did a dark spy managed to get in?” asked Takashi worriedly.
They all looked at each other helplessly.
***
Shusuke smiled at Ryoma and Yuuta as they came in hurriedly.
“Ryo. Yuu. Guess we can’t practice today,” he sighed.
Ryoma moved around him and knelt beside the bed, grasping Kunimitsu’s hand within his own.
Kunimitsu opened his eyes and looked at him tiredly.
“Did you run all the way here?” the ailing prince asked.
Ryoma nodded, “Everyone’s outside. We’re worried about you.”
“S’okay. Shu and Saku-chan helped.”
Yuuta smiled bitterly, “Is that so…”
“Rest, Kunimitsu-sama,” Oishi said gently.
Kunimitsu whispered, “Tell the others I’m sorry.”
“No…” Shusuke said softly as he brushed Kunimitsu’s hair with his fingers, ”You’ve done nothing wrong, Mitsu…”
“Aniki…” Yuuta said uncertainly, “Were you hurt?”
Shusuke shook his head, “Only a little tired. If Saku-chan wasn’t there, I might not be able to control the contamination.”
“It’s getting harder to control?” Sadaharu asked.
 “It wasn’t a strong magic, Sadaharu-sama, but the effect was like a strong one…” Shuichirou said uncertainly.
“I’m getting weaker, Sada,” Kunimitsu said softly.
Ryoma gripped Kunimitsu’s hand tighter, “Don’t say that, please…”
Kunimitsu sighed and closed his eyes, “I’m sorry, Ryo…”
While Kunimitsu excelled in martial arts and weaponry, he had a weak point that was not known before.
Kunimitsu could not be touched by any kind of magic.
Even healing magic, which main point was to HEAl, hurt him. He couldn’t touch any magical items as they burned his skin, and any magical attack messed up his life force, his chi, to the point that it had to be rearranged fast or he’d really be ill, or worst, gone.
Imagine a finished puzzle thrown to the air and let scattered on the ground.
That’s Kunimitsu whenever he got hit, or touched, by any magic force.
***
Sadaharu went out of the room and found Sakuno right in front of him.
“Is Ku-Niisan asleep?” the youngest princess asked.
“Yes. Shu refused to leave him, so I told him to sleep on the other bed. Ryo wants to stay, too.”
Sakuno nodded, “I’ll stay, too. I know Ryo, he’ll need company.”
Shuichirou came out with Yuuta, who held the door open, “Saku-chan, why aren’t you resting? You helped aniki restore the order, right?”
“Only connecting the last threads, Yuu,” Sakuno shook her head, “I didn’t do much.”
“Well, please rest if you’re tired, Sakuno-sama,” Shuichirou suggested.
Sakuno nodded and slipped into the room.
Yuuta closed the door.
“Is Kunimitsu-sama alright?” asked Kaoru.
“He will be, Kaoru. He needs rest now,” Sadaharu smiled gently at the younger boy who had become his partner in double spar, just like Shuichirou and Eiji.
“That’s good…” Koujirou huffed, “We were so worried.”
“But I thought Eiji-senpai said it’s only a guiding magic…” Takeshi scratched his head.
“Guiding magic is a weak magic, right?” asked Takashi.
Shuichirou nodded, “Yet its effect was like a lightning magic.”
“It can’t be…” Seiichi paled.
Genichirou frowned, “He wasn’t that weak two months ago…”
“Was there any other accident that we didn’t know in between then and now?” asked Kojirou, looking at Yuuta.
The younger boy shook his head, “Not that I know of. Shuichirou-san?”
Shuichirou shook his head too, “I didn’t hear anything, and nothing happened while he’s with me.”
“Well, was there any time when Kunimitsu-sama’s not with anybody?” asked Kippei.
Sadaharu frowned, “I don’t think so…”
It was an unwritten rule that Kunimitsu must not venture anywhere alone. He could never deal with magic contamination alone, there must always be outside help. When they were young, Sumire always made sure that the cousins went together everywhere. Not that it’s necessary, really, considering that the younger ones tottered along the older ones constantly. Yumiko and Ryoga, who were older than the rest, became the younger ones constant chaperone. As time went by and they grew older, the need of solitude came, Yumiko had her seer training, Ryoga left so often, everyone began to have their own activities, and the little group started to disperse, but Sadaharu and Shusuke always made sure that at least one of them accompanied Kunimitsu, who never complained. He knew they meant well, although sometimes he couldn’t help but to disappear somewhere. At those times, it was Sakuno who could stay near, as she’d do nothing but to pick up her flute and play, or pick up a book and read in silence. Ryoma and Yuuta, as well as Sakuno, grew up knowing, loving, and worrying about the two sides of Kunimitsu, the strong, skillful and gallant brother who loved, protected and guided them; and the ailing brother who never wanted to be a bother but had no choice but to let people help him in his times of need.
There was a time, once, when Ryoma, Yuuta, and Sakuno were four, and Kunimitsu was six, when they were trapped in a magical cave, and they couldn’t get out. Kunimitsu was in so much pain, but he kept soothing his younger cousins, wiped their tears and held them close, telling them that it’d be okay, everything would be okay… He calmed them as much as he could, and only let them go when Yoshiko, Rinko, and Sumire came. It was burned in the younger ones minds, how Kunimitsu smiled as he told them stories of kind dragons and brave knights, how warm they were in his arms, how he tried to stay conscious even when they knew now that the pain was unbearable. How scared they were, even more scared than when they were trapped in the cave, when Kunimitsu stood up shakily and fell into Sumire’s arms, pale and cold, almost lifeless.
They were trapped for six hours; it took a week for Kunimitsu to wake up, and another week to return his strength.
That was the day the younger three really understood what was wrong with their cool and loving cousin.
That was why the younger boys were obsessed with power. That was why, in addition to pursuing magic, the royal cousins learned more of natural physical and psychic strength. Kunimitsu’s physical endurance in training and mock battle was great, it was sad that even a slight touch of magic could make him instantly collapsed in his weaker days.
The other boys, who came to the palace as pages, a duty lordlings had to go through as a part of their trainings, knew nothing about it. That was why…
Two months ago…
“Keigo?”
Keigo looked up to see the others peering at him.
“Aa…” Keigo looked at the others and realized that they were about to leave.
Sadaharu looked frazzled, “I need to make sleeping potion. I know Mitsu will throw up the one the healers make.”
“I’ll help,” Renji offered.
“I’m thinking of going to the north garden…” Eiji said to Shuichirou, “You know, to pick some oranges? Maybe some apples, too?”
“That’s a good idea,” Takeshi nodded.
“It’ll take awhile for Ku-Niisan to be able to eat anything properly again…” Yuuta considered, “Usually fruits are okay…”
“Kunimitsu-sama can at least drink juice, right?” confirmed Kippei.
“Maybe some bread,” Takashi murmured, “I’ll go make some…”
“Mind if I help, Takashi-senpai?” Kaoru asked
Takashi beamed, “Of course not! Anyone else want to help?”
“I do,” Takeshi nodded.
“Then I’ll help pick fruits,” Koujirou decided.
So they all went their separate ways, Sadaharu and Renji went to Sadaharu’s room; Takashi, Kaoru, and Takeshi to the kitchen; Eiji, Shuichirou, Yuuta, and Koujirou to the garden. Keigo, Kippei, Seiichi, and Genichirou, though, went to Nanjiroh’s office.
***
“Sada?”
Sadaharu looked at Kunimitsu, who looked at him blearily.
“Yes, Mitsu?” he asked.
“What are you doing here?”
Sadaharu smiled, “Taking over Shu. Yuu insisted that Shu returned to his chamber and so did Saku-chan, Ryo was already asleep so I had Takeshi return him to his chamber before retiring to his own.”
“What time is it?”
“A little past midnight.”
Kunimitsu yawned, “You’re supposed to be asleep.”
“So are you.”
“I’m okay, Sada, go back to your chamber.”
“No. I’ll stay with you tonight.”
Kunimitsu smiled slightly, “Always the perfect niisan, eh, Sada?”
“If you ask Ryo, then his perfect niisan would be you. Ryo-Nii had a fit about it once, right?”
Chuckling, the slightly younger prince tried to sit.
Pain lanced through his chest, making him fell back on the bed abruptly, closing his eyes.
Sadaharu was on the bed in an instant, leaning over Kunimitsu, one hand gently pressed on his cousin’s chest and the other combing his hair, soothing him.
Kunimitsu gasped for breath for a few minutes, then the pain gradually lessened.
“Okay?” Sadaharu asked.
Kunimitsu nodded.
Sadaharu didn’t move from the bed, though. He simply lay down beside Kunimitsu, one hand still on his chest, and gently maneuvered his cousin so he rested within his arms.
Touching like that, he could support Kunimitsu better, should it’s needed.
Within 24 hours after contamination, it’s very easy for Kunimitsu’s life force (and soul) to ‘scramble out of its order,’ as Yumiko termed. That’s why anchors and guides were necessary. They were trained to be so, the cousins, especially Sadaharu and Shusuke, after all, among the eight of them, they were Kunimitsu’s peers.
Kunimitsu abhorred the fact that he’s so dependant on the people around him, but he couldn’t help it. At times like that, he simply gave it up and let time flew until he’s well again.
Kunimitsu was a half head shorter than Sadaharu. Shusuke was smaller than Kunimitsu, only as tall as Yuuta, in fact. The shortest ones were Ryoma and Sakuno. Ryoga, the last time they met him, was taller than Sadaharu then. Yumiko was slightly taller than her brothers.
Their bodies being proportioned so, Kunimitsu fit in Sadaharu’s arms well, their heads resting on the pillows side by side, Sadaharu’s one arm rested on his chest, while the other tangled in his hair.
“Sada?”
“Yes?”
Kunimitsu inhaled softly,” Why don’t you hate me?”
Sadaharu looked surprised, “Why should I?”
“Your parents,” Kunimitsu turned slightly so he could see Sadaharu’s face, “They died because of me.”
“No, they didn’t. They might be still alive somewhere.”
“But, Sada…”
“It’s not your fault, Mitsu,” Sadaharu sighed, “And I’m not here because I have to. I want to. If it’s true that my parents dies finding ways to save you, then it’s the least I could do to keep you safe. And it’s not an obligation at all. I do this because we’re family.”
Kunimitsu closed his eyes, “I’m sorry.”
“Why should you? I told you, it’s not your fault.”
For a while, no one said a word. Then the door opened and a lithe figure stepped in.
Shusuke climbed on the bed on Kunimitsu’s other side silently.
“He’s asleep,” Sadaharu said softly.
“I felt turbulence,” Shusuke said, just as softly, “Did he blame himself again?”
“Yes. And I think he’s scared. About this, I mean. Him getting weaker.”
Shusuke slipped under the blanket covering Kunimitsu and Sadaharu, carefully lying down and pressed closer, hugging Kunimitsu, adding to the control Sadaharu held. His other hand strayed on the pillow to caress Kunimitsu’s soft hair, and met Sadaharu’s fingers.
Sandwiched between them, Kunimitsu gave a soft sigh and snuggled closer.
Shusuke smiled determinedly, “I won’t let him leave, Sada…”
Sadaharu nodded, just as certain, “So won’t I.”
Night passed, and morning found the three cousins asleep contentedly
 

TBC


Current Mood: awake
11:26 am
And We Continue On, Chapter 3
And We Continue On
Kikumaru Eiji: Bitter Bounce
 
“Eiji-senpai.”
“Going to sleep, Ochibi-chan?”
“Hai. I’m so tired…”
“I bet you do. It’s a nonstop flight, ne?”
“Aa… Oyasumi.”
“Oyasumi!”
The door closed, and my grin vanished. Ochibi looked so tired, but he still made the time to sit by Mitsu-chan..
Maa… Mitsu-chan is his favorite buchou.
I carefully opened the door to Mitsu-chan’s room and walked inside. The heater was on, the window closed, and Mitsu-chan’s already asleep, cocooned in his blankets, half hugging the huge blue teddy bear I gave him as a ‘housewarming gift’ when we all moved in with him.
There’s a reason for that teddy. One, it’s huge, soft, plushy, and warm. It suits well as a bed warmer (I still don’t get why Momo choked when I said that). Two, Mitsu-chan’s room is too empty, so Teddy will keep him company when we can’t. He should never feel lonely. Three, the teddy is a tennis teddy! I fell in love with it when I saw it. Actually, I was thinking of buying it for myself, but then Mitsu-chan’s lonely figure as he left the tennis court entered my mind, and I bought it for him instead.
The door opened wider, and Oishi entered.
“He looks comfy,” my first doubles partner said softly.
“Hm-mm,” I nodded, “let’s kill the light and let him sleep, nya?”
“Aa…” Oishi watched as I turned on the small tennis-ball lamp beside the bed, and he turned off the big white lamp on the ceiling as we went out.
“Aren’t you going to sleep, Oishi?”
“Later,” Oishi shook his head, “There’s a book I need to read.”
“Mou… another medical book? Oishi’s too diligent, nya…”
Oishi laughed, “Sonna… Actually, Murakami-sensei agreed to change the yellow Inui-jiru, and I still need to know more about the new medicine. It seems to make Kunimitsu more sleepy than the previous one, which means it can’t be used when he has classes.”
“Class? He’s not suppose to have classes when he’s sick!”
“Three days max, Eiji, that’s what his lecturer says, remember? Three days max for absents caused by illness, except when the student’s hospitalized.”
“He should drop that class.”
“Agreed. Why don’t you talk to him?”
“I’ll have Shu-chan to do it for us.”
“Mm… I think so… that lecturer is such a killer… But I really have to check on the new medicine’s composition and report this to Murakami-sensei.”
“Maa, as long as it doesn’t taste like Inui-jiru…”
“Kunimitsu didn’t complain, but you should ask him.”
“I will. I’m going to bed, Oishi, I have a morning class tomorrow! Oyasumi!”
“Oyasumi, Eiji!”
And I bounced to my room, three rooms away from Mitsu-chan’s and directly beside Oishi’s.
As I closed the door, I sighed. The air was cold; I need to turn on the heater…
I switched on the light, and the first things that I saw in the newly bright room are the photos on the wall.
Shu-chan, our resident photographer, had taken many pictures before, but the tennis team pictures are, in a way, sacred. The first one we had was the one when we went to see the sunrise on the mountain. Then the National photo. Ochibi’s not in it, though, he’s at America then. The third picture was taken at the Echizen’s temple tennis court, after the accident that almost cost us Mitsu-chan’s life. Kevin-kun took that picture, and Ryuzaki-sensei, Yuudai-buchou, Inoue-san, Shiba-san, Nanjiroh-san, Rinko-san, Ryoga, Yumiko-neesan, and Yuu-chan were in it too. Then we have the junior-senior-high joined team photo, taken by Shiba-san when we were in the first grade of senior high, and Mitsu-chan’s just joined the tennis club as manager. The picture was a formal picture, with all of us in our tennis jersey on the tennis court (although none of us were wearing regular jersey, after all, no regulars were already chosen then) with Ryuzaki-sensei and the two Headmasters. Then came the Regulars photo, also taken by Shiba-san a few months later, picturing the Regulars of the Junior and Senior High Team for the first match we had that year, Mitsu-chan as our manager, and Ryuzaki-sensei, our coach. We all had our racquets, but Ochibi, Kaoru, and Momo were not holding their own. Ochibi asked Mitsu-chan to give him one of his three racquets when he was again chosen as a regular for the Junior High team. Mitsu-chan happily obliged, and gave his other two racquets to Momo and Kaoru, too. They constantly use those racquets, now, only changing back to their own when it’s deemed necessary. In return, Ochibi asked the old man at Haritatsu to find another racquet for Mitsu-chan, one which is lighter yet has a better impact bracer. That’s the one Mitsu-chan uses now, although he doesn’t use it as often as he’d like. After that picture, Shiba-san always takes pictures on every newly formed Regular team with our Coach and Manager, and those pictures were in the small frames on the table. The one she took at our third year at Senior High, though, I put in a big frame on the wall. It’s the same formation as the one we had when we were in our third year at Junior High. Momo, Kaoru-chan, Ochibi (who’s having his growth spurt at that time), Taka-san, Oishi, Shu-chan, Haru-chan, Mitsu-chan, and me, with Ryuzaki-sensei, too.
There’s another picture that I put beside my bed in a medium size frame, the one taken at the housewarming party. There were so many people that it almost didn’t fit in the camera frame. Even the guys from the other clubs were invited. It was one of the liveliest pictures I have.
Under that picture, in the small cupboard, is where I put the photo albums I have. I usually flip through them before bed or in my spare times. Shu-chan took most of them. He’s a good photographer, and he’s studying to be a pro one now.
I collapsed on my bed and hugged my own teddy bear.
It’s good that finally there’s a medicine that can replace the yellow Inui-jiru. Poor Mitsu-chan always has a hard time drinking it, I’m surprised he hasn’t puked his medicine out after all these years. Actually, almost all of his medicines taste bad, (I know, I secretly tasted them), but that one’s the worst. But Oishi said that it made him sleepier… Maa… I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I do know that when you’re sick, you should rest much.
Which reminds me to ask Mitsu-chan to watch me practice when he’s well enough. When Haru-chan works with him, they can give us better input than when they work solo, and now that Ochibi-chan, who’s not Chibi anymore, is home, Momo and I can play doubles against him and Shu-chan.
Sometimes I think about that. My doubles partner, I mean. What it would be if Oishi tried going pro, too. But Oishi has his reasons, and I know what it is. That’s why I can’t begrudge him on his decision not to enter the pro circle with me.
It doesn’t mean I can’t complain, though.
Having Momo as a doubles partner is not such a bad idea, really. When Mitsu-chan gave the idea (with Haru-chan backing him up), I almost didn’t believe my ears. But Mitsu-chan’s right, Momo makes a good doubles partner for me; he supports the power I’m lack of. While Oishi let me play as I’d like, Momo stressed more on perfect choreography. Kaoru-chan once said that watching me playing with Momo reminds him of a two-person dance, where both of us are visible. While playing with Oishi, people tended to keep their eyes on me only, leaving Oishi to melt in the background and be forgotten, thus making shocks when he suddenly ‘appeared’ and backed me up.
With Momo, I can really understand what it means to play doubles, mostly because Momo needs my help to win and I need his, while I think Oishi could take the championship on his own if he wants to. I know he’s that good. But the other part that makes me matched with Momo is because both of us had appointed ourselves to be Mitsu-chan’s constant naggers.
I would whine to no end when I see Mitsu-chan forcing himself too much. Momo would back me up. Momo would do anything, including running around the house if necessary, to make Mitsu eat his food when he’s not feeling well, because Oishi’s “But Kunimitsu, you must eat something!” usually doesn’t work, especially when Shu-chan’s not around. I would back him up. Just like we always pesters on Ochibi, we do the same thing to Mitsu-chan when he’s not taking care of himself, although mainly it’s for our own benefit. If I may borrow Yumiko-neesan’s words, the aura in the house is always not good whenever Mitsu-chan’s sick.
We always know our limits, though. When Mitsu-chan’s really annoyed, which means that he’s worse than we thought, we’d back down and let the professionals deal with him. Professional means a duet between Ochibi and Shu-chan. Shu-chan would make Mitsu-chan sit like a little boy and eat his food quietly under his cold glare. Yumiko-neechan taught him that, he said. Yuu-chan said that’s what she does whenever he or his brother refuses to eat. Ochibi would give Mitsu-chan his patented bored glare and our resident ‘refrigerator’, as Momo once said, would quietly slip under his blankets to sleep.
I really envy those two. They have the power to make miracles.
I could still remember receiving the phone call from Oishi that rainy night. I had just finished brushing my teeth and was about to go to bed when my cell phone suddenly beeped.
“Hoi, Oishi! Nanda?”
“Eiji…”
“Oishi? Oishi, what’s wrong?”
“It’s… Eiji…”
“Oishi? Oishi, what is it?”
“It’s Tezuka, Eiji…”
And I didn’t ask anything else. I asked where I could meet him, and I changed into my street clothes and bullied my brother to take me to the hospital. Oishi and Shu-chan were already there.
I couldn’t hold back my tears when I heard about his parents and grandpa, and I couldn’t shake the crunching feeling in my chest and stomach when I heard that Mitsu-chan’s still in I.C.U.
Sakuno-chan called Ochibi despite our protest. We didn’t want to worry Ochibi, but we all realized that maybe there wouldn’t be another chance for Ochibi to meet his captain. So when Ochibi came, I hugged him, crying. He looked bewildered and apprehensive. Nanjiroh-san, Rinko-san, Ryoga-kun, and that boy Kevin also came.
I’m so glad that we had Nanjiroh-san and Rinko-san at that time. It was their idea to adopt Mitsu-chan, and it was the best idea ever. They saved Mitsu-chan from drowning in stress and sorrow that day; Ryuzaki-sensei, Inoue-san, and Shiba-san helped with the legalities.
The sickening crunching feeling that I felt when Mitsu-chan suddenly gasped for breath in my arms after one of his stupid relatives came to see him still stays even after years. I remember screaming for Oishi. I wasn’t the one who could stay calm in the face of horror; it took me years to perfect that art of staying calm and confident like Haru-chan or Shu-chan, and having Mitsu-chan leaning weakly on me could scared almost about anybody, that I was bawling in Oishi’s arms when the doctors put Mitsu-chan on oxygen.
It was Ochibi who made me bravely endured the terror of medical training.
“I have to be ready to perform medical action anytime, so start teaching me,“ he said to Murakami-sensei a week after Mitsu-chan was adopted into his family, and we joined up with him, so the petite doctor readily taught us what she could.
I guess that’s what draws Oishi into medical practices. Not his own family of doctors background, but the same helplessness I felt when we saw Mitsu-chan battling for his life.
I still feel guilty when I think about the days when Mitsu-chan withdrew from us and tennis. But I’m glad of my slip of tongue near Yamabuki’s Taichi-kun. It gave us the idea of making Mitsu-chan our manager, and he’s really good at that, even better than Haru-chan. He’s the one who came up with the so many possible doubles pair. He’s the one who could set Ochibi to play doubles well. He corrected our mistakes and turned our weaknesses into strength in ways we never thought possible. Although he can’t play, but whenever we play on the court, it’s as if he’s playing with us. But that’d make singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and it’s not fair for our opponents, isn’t it?
I‘m straying again…
I think that’s why Hyoutei’s Atobe and Rikkaidai’s Sanada are also good in playing doubles together. Their rivalry in winning over Mitsu-chan brought them together, and when they realized that, no, they won’t be able to win against Mitsu-chan, after all, he’s not playing anymore, they released their frustration in almost the same way Ochibi did, by playing harder than ever, trying to reach the place Mitsu-chan would never be able to reach now.
Being on top of the world, Nanjiroh-san once said.
I also still remember the day Mitsu-chan asked us to accompany him in this house. I was so happy that time.
A knock on the door made me sit up.
“Eiji-senpai?”
“Momo? Come in.”
Momo opened the door and stepped in, his face tight.
I sighed. When Momo’s depressed, usually it’s Ochibi’s duty to make him his own cheery self again. But since Ochibi’s asleep, I guess the duty falls to me, especially because I could feel that Oishi had tried, and failed.
“Hoi?” I asked.
Momo shook his head and plopped down on the carpet, “I feel miserable.”
“Understatement of the century,” I sighed, “Momo … it’s not your faul, nya…t.”
“Keep on saying that and maybe I will believe it someday.”
“It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault,” I smiled and ruffled his hair.
Momo looked at me.
“Oh, my, the big brimming eyes. You really feel miserable, aren’t you?”
“Eiji-senpai…” Momo groaned, “I can’t believe I’m so stupid!”
“No you’re not!” I protested, “Nya…Momo, will you stop blaming yourself.”
“But it was so obvious! I can’t believe I didn’t notice that he had a fever already!”
“Maa… you know Mitsu-chan. Besides, it’s not your fault that you had to study that night.”
It was Momo’s turn to buy groceries that day, but he came late from his cram school, he had an English test the next day, and we’ve ran out of some basic kitchen necessities, so Mitsu-chan volunteered to go shopping instead. Little did we know that he’s already under the weather at that time. Ochibi’s not home, Shu-chan’s visiting his sister, Oishi had a late class, I myself also had a late class, Taka-san’s at his family’s sushi restaurant, Kaoru-chan was training somewhere with Haru-chan. It also didn’t help that it rained heavily that evening, and Mitsu-chan went home soaking wet. He was okay, though, no coughs or sniffles, so we thought that it’s quite alright, although Oishi did fret a little.
The signs of fever appeared two days later. Shu-chan was the one who first noticed that Mitsu-chan was not ‘cheery’, as he usually says.
It went on like always, though, that morning. We had breakfast together and went on our own ways, the third graders to the school, and us college freshmen to Todai. We went to the same university, albeit having different majors; I take sport, Oishi studies to be a doctor, Haru-chan takes pharmacy, Shu-chan takes photography, Taka-san takes accounting, and Mitsu-chan takes education majors (how he decided to be a teacher I’d never understand).
It was lunch when one of Mitsu-chan’s classmate came to us (we always have lunch together, the five of us) and told us that Mitsu-chan went home earlier after his English lecturer told him to see a doctor. Oishi, Haru-chan, and Shu-chan went home, while Taka-san and I went to look for the English lecturer, Kuwabara-sensei. She looked at us hard when we came into her office, asking us why we let Mitsu-chan went to school if he had a fever.
I helplessly said that we didn’t notice. Because Taka-san last class was also Kuwabara-sensei’s class, and I have no class that afternoon, she gave Taka-san permission to go early, and we went home.
When we did, we met Haru-chan who was on his way out to the pharmacy. Taka-san and I went straight to Mitsu-chan’s room, and found Shu-chan sitting beside Mitsu-chan’s bed with a wet towel and a bowl of ice water on the table.
I looked at Mitsu-chan who lay there peacefully; Shu-chan’s fingers gently combing his messy hair (or massaging his head? I’m not sure).
“He’s asleep,” Shu-chan said softly, “the fever’s quite high.”
“Sonna…” Taka-san said, “He was still playing tennis with us yesterday. He taught Kaoru, remember?”
“Actually, he admitted that he’s already not feeling well, “ Oishi said from behind us, “This fever’s probably started from before he came home after shopping. Remember? It was raining, and Kunimitsu confessed that he’s already feeling sick that time.”
Of course, when this piece of information came out at dinner, Momo felt guilty, and Momo, being Momo, apologized a thousand times over, making Kaoru grunted at him and Mitsu-chan chuckled in response.
“Not your fault, Momo, I’m the one who’s stupid, not taking umbrella when I know it was going to rain,” Mitsu had said. Momo was not convinced, but he felt better.
Come to think of it, it’s probably…
“I’m sure Ochibi doesn’t blame you, Momo.”
If there’s anyone in this world whose disapproval hurt Momo the most beside Mitsu-chan’s, then it’s Ochibi’s.
“Demo…”
“You know how protective he can be when it comes to Mitsu-chan, Momo…” I said patiently, “Or did he say anything mean to you?”
“He didn’t say anything, senpai…”
“So?”
“So… it makes me feel even more guilty!”
“Momo…” I sighed, “Ochibi’s tired, and he went home to find his precious brother-captain bedridden yet again. Give him and yourself a break, won’t you? He’s not angry with you.”
“It doesn’t make me feel better, Eiji-senpai. And don’t tell me to sleep, I can’t.”
“Maa… what about a game of tennis, then?”
“No, it’s late…”
“Hn… why don’t we play the games Yuudai-senpai lent us? There are plenty playstation games in that box, I’m sure.”
Momo’s eyes brightened, “That’ll be okay, I guess. Any war games?”
“In the mood of killing someone, Momo?”
“Just myself.”
“Okay then. I think we have some here...”
That’s what I do. I bounce among people, amusing them, keeping their spirit high. After all, as Taka-san said once, I’m the one who’s always in high spirit. So I have a responsibility to keep everyone in high spirit. After all, Kikumaru Eiji’s the only one who can do that.
“I want to play this one!” Momo crowed, and I smiled.
“Sure, Momo, just not so loud, okay! The others need their beauty sleep.”
Who cares if Momo and I have a morning class tomorrow? He feels too guilty to be able to sleep peacefully, and that’ll make me unable to sleep, too.
“We really have to keep it down, though. Otherwise Mama Oishi will drag us to bed.”
Heh. I think, even though I’m quite bouncy, I’m also quite bitter, ne?
“Plug the playstation, Momo.”
Right.

TBC...


Current Mood: amused
11:22 am
And We Continue On 2
And We Continue On
Oishi Shuichirou: Being Mother
 
He’s sick again.
I could only sigh as I left him to Ryoma’s care. Lately, as in the late few years, I have developed a certain dislike to rain and strong wind, as they have the tendency of making Kunimitsu sick. Even when he has his jacket on, which is almost always, except on summer, he still catches cold easily. Not that I blame him, it’s not his fault, but with his physical condition, or to be precise, his lungs condition, even a slight flu can cause trouble. I know he disliked my mother-hen tendency, but since I acted like that most of the time, he simply couldn’t stop me from being ‘the mother of Seigaku’ as Momo calls me.
It’s also not good that he has this annoying habit of keeping things to himself, including telltale of sickness. If it weren’t for Eiji’s keen sight and Shusuke’s almost empathic ability, some of the first colds would’ve gone unnoticed. It’s quite alright if it’d just go away by itself, but usually, it doesn’t. After the third case of flu (a month after we all lived together) and an hour lecture from Rinko-san and Yumiko-neesan, though, he gave up his tough guy act.
And that’s when we got the shock of our lives.
Right after he realized that there’s no way he could keep his stern buchou countenance, he simply gave up his mature act, and actually acted his age. And suddenly, we all realized that, yes, he’s our own age, no, he’s not anywhere older than us, and yes, he’s capable of being a spoiled brat. No one would’ve guessed how much begging and threatening we had to do to make him drinks his medicine. He simple hates them with passion.
It’s still a laughing matter to us whenever we remembered the day when Momo stormed into the kitchen, swearing harshly that he’d never-ever-ever again take the job of remembering a sick buchou to drink his medicine.
Shusuke had simply smiled and went to Kunimitsu’s room, leaving the task of calming Momo to Eiji and me.
That night, when we gathered at the dining room to study, well, all of us but Kunimitsu, who was confined in his room due to a fever, Shusuke suddenly chuckled.
“Honestly, Momo, I have no idea what all the fuss this afternoon was about,” our resident tensai said, “Kuni-chan drank his medicine when I told him to.”
“Well, he didn’t when I told him to,” Momo sulked, “He said it tasted like Inui-jiru.”
“Really?”
“I wouldn’t know. It’s not my medicine, although he did tell me to taste it if I don’t believe him.”
“Why didn’t you?” asked Eiji.
“Like I said, it’s his medicine, not mine, and I’m not the one who’s sick.”
“So you left him and stormed into the kitchen?” Taka-san asked.
“No…” Momo sighed, “Actually, I lost my patience and shoved the bottle and spoon to him, but he simply looked at me, laid down, curled under his blanket, and pretended to sleep.”
I choked, “Kunimitsu did?”
“Yeah. Who would’ve thought that he could be so childish, eh?”
“When Yumiko-neesan lectured him yesterday, I honestly didn’t think that it’s the kind of reaction we’d get…” Sadaharu smiled, “Ii data.”
“Well, Shusuke-senpai managed to get him to drink it,” Kaoru said, looking at our tensai, who laughed.
“That’s because Shusuke-senpai told buchou to either take his medicine on his own or have him administer the medicine mouth to mouth,” Ryoma said in his usual bored voice, although his eyes twinkled amusedly.
“Oh…”
The room was silent for a while, and then various snickers and giggles were heard.
“Why didn’t you think of it, Momo-senpai?”
“Nani?!” Momo choked, “You want me to kiss buchou?”
“Kiss Kuni-chan?” Shusuke chortled, “Goodness, of course not. It’s giving medicine mouth to mouth. It’s almost like CPR, Momo.”
“Don’t mind Aniki, minna,” Yuuta, who was coming over to visit Kunimitsu, was persuaded to stay with us for dinner, and finally decided to hang out for a while, shook his head, “his logic only works on himself. Although I do feel sorry for Tezuka-san…”
”I assume that he used the same technique to persuade you to take your medicines when you were young, Yuuta-kun?” Sadaharu asked, and when Yuuta nodded resignedly, he smiled again, “Ii data.”
“Mou… don’t you get tired of collecting data all the time, Haru-chan?” Eiji whined, “But you know, if the medicine actually tastes like Inui-jiru, then we have to ask the doctor to change Mitsu-chan’s medicine! I mean, I wouldn’t want to use Inui-jiru-taste toothpaste, too. It’ll make me even more sick!”
Were we one of those manga or anime characters, we would’ve had those sweat drops on our heads.
I actually tasted the yellowy syrup medicine after that, and I couldn’t agree more, it did taste like Inui-jiru, and I did ask the doctor to change the medicine. She only shook her head, though, and said that changing one medicine would result her changing all of Kunimitsu’s medicine, and it might complicate matters.
I think I understand why Shusuke snapped at me when I tried to explain Kunimitsu’s lungs problem to Eiji that day at the hospital. The explanation of what might’ve happened if the medicines clash against each other and what it might do to Kunimitsu’s health made me sick, too. She also explained to me, in great details, mind you, what would happen if Kunimitsu didn’t take his medicine, what would happened of the cold mutated into flu, then to pneumonia, and so on and so forth. In the end, the doctor said that the medicine she prescribed were the ones that work best for Kunimitsu, and he’d just have to get used to the taste.
Meaning he’d have to take them again. And he does. Winter takes a toll on him, and in summer, too dry weather makes dust everywhere, which’s not good for him, either.
Kunimitsu eventually gave up and took his medicine obediently whenever he was prescribed with them, although Shusuke still have to threaten to ‘kiss’ him every now and then. Personally, I think it’s become an ongoing game between those two. He still hates his medicines, though. I understand why. Not only does it taste like hell, it also symbolizes his weakness.
Ryoma had just returned home with yet another gold, and he showed up all smiling in front of our door just two hours before. When Shusuke told him that Kunimitsu caught flu again, his smile disappeared and was replaced with a frown, his face darkened. Taka-san tried to calm him by saying that it’s only a mild case flu with a slight fever, but Ryoma would have none of it and dumped his bags in front of his door before storming toward his buchou’s room.
We all know better.
Even a small case of flu can cause Kunimitsu to stop breathing. A single stress can have the same result. Sato-sensei, one of his doctors, told us once that not only do we have to take care of his physical health; we also have to care for his mental health. Any mental stress, no matter how slight, can be a danger. We’ve seen it before, when those damned relatives bothered him so much at the hospital at that time. We’ve seen how hard it was for him to breathe when under stress.
Tell me, how do you keep one Tezuka Kunimitsu from thinking and feeling too hard about things?
He’s the captain, for crying out loud! He’s Mr. Control, Mr. Straight Face, Mr. Charismatic, Mr. Cool-Calm-Collected! His main obsession when he was still in the first grade of Junior High was to win The Nationals! He’s this responsible leader, this remarkable tennis player, this detached yet concerned person. He’s used to be in charge of everything. He’s not dependant on anyone. He’s the captain who led us by example, not words. And then, suddenly he couldn’t run the laps he usually assigned us to run. And when he couldn’t, he abruptly stopped ordering those laps.
Eiji was the first to comment about how, and I quote, “Tezuka does not feel like Tezuka anymore.” It was before we all moved in together, and Kunimitsu still stayed with The Echizen. I had noticed that while he always watched us practice at school or the temple’s tennis court, he never seemed to stay long. He’d simply disappear to God Knows where (well, actually he’d go straight home and went to study in his room, according to Nanako-chan), but it’s just so weird, but then I remembered the times Kunimitsu disappeared from practice after the match with Atobe, and he returned, didn’t he? So I wasn’t worried.
It was Nanjiroh-san who one day suddenly told us Seigaku Regulars to start paying attention to Kunimitsu.
“Megalomaniac syndrome,” the eccentric tennis pro said to us, “He’s used to be needed, remember? Even when he’s in German, you’d contact him everyday, asking him when he’d come back. Now, though, you don’t. You simply go on without him. It’s not a surprise he felt left behind.”
Ryoma protested vehemently. “Oyaji! Whoever said we’re leaving buchou!? We’re only doing what we always do, what he’d want us to do, anyway. Wasn’t that what we did when he went to German? Besides, he always comes back; tennis is his life, isn’t it? That’s why he chose to leave us and went to German before! And he came back to us again, didn’t he?”
“Exactly. He came back with a hope to play tennis with you kids. And now he CAN’T! Don’t you see the difference, seishonen? He went to German to heal his injured shoulder, so he can help you to win The National. He did that. But his lungs won’t heal like his shoulder did. He can’t play anymore, and how can he be a captain of a tennis club if he can’t play? How can he be a tennis ace when he can’t even play a match?”
None of us said anything.
It was Eiji who said what I thought.
“I miss him ordering laps.”
There were random snickers and giggles, but they were all laced with bitterness.
Finally Fuji raised his head and looked at the older Echizen, “What do we do, then? We need him. I know we do. He’s a part of us. But we can’t simply all quit tennis in a gesture of friendship, he’d hate it. At the same time, I can’t help feeling that watching us play hurt him, too. And we also have to remember, PEOPLE TALK! Everyone knows of Tezuka Kunimitsu, and everyone knows that he’s not playing anymore.”
Nanjiroh-san looked at us, as if determining whether we really care of his new son or not, and then he sighed.
“Let me talk to Ryuzaki and Yuudai-kun. Maybe they’d come up with something.”
Strangely, the answer to the problem didn’t come from any of them. It came from Taichi Dan.
“Well, why don’t Tezuka-san be the manager, then?” the short boy from Yamabuki Junior High asked Kawamura when we met him, Sengoku, and Akutsu at Kawamura-sushi and he accidentally heard Eiji talking about Kunimitsu’s ‘withdrawal syndrome’ (Kunimitsu had taken his disappearing act again, leaving us to consult each other at the restaurant). “I mean, when I feel that I couldn’t play because I’m short, I’m quite happy by being the manager! That way, I can support the team, even when I’m not playing!”
We all looked at each other and grinned.
Ryoma talked to his father, who laughed crazily and gave us a thumb up. Nanjiroh-san talked to Ryuzaki-sensei, who talked to Yuudai-buchou, who suddenly showed up at The Echizen’s doorstep with a thick black folder and dumped it on Kunimitsu’s hands, telling him to fill it as best as he could, fill whatever needs to be filled later on after he got the information, and, if it’s possible, add up whatever needed to be added.
It was a completely blank database of every members of the Seigaku Senior High Tennis Club. Momo, who’s the new captain for the Junior High Team, looked at the folder and asked Kunimitsu if he’d mind making the same one for the junior-high team.
Thus began Kunimitsu’s days as the manager of both clubs. Because of the newly combined sport area, the Senior High and Junior High teams often have their practice side by side, and soon Kunimitsu could be seen walking around from one court to another, taking data, almost like what Inui does. The Data Tennis Master, generous as he was, happily shared his database, and the two could be seen talking side by side while watching a match.
Nanjiroh-san was right. Slowly, the Tezuka Kunimitsu we always know and love came up to the surface again. Still as cool as ever, he started carrying a small recorder and a blue notebook everywhere, and could be seen talking to the small microphone, recording all the data he could catch, and writing them down later on. Soon, there’s a box for tennis record cassettes in his room. When he had to buy another box, every other week Sadaharu would help him change the sound files to computer and CD formats, and then Shiba-san gave him her digital recorder, saying that she’d just gotten a new one.
Still, he stayed at the background, never really coming up to the surface, and we started to lose patience and sanity. Until one day, Yuudai-buchou came, grabbed Momo, and gleefully showed him a thick blue file folder.
Momo scanned the folder for a while, and grinned madly.
That day, when the practice was over, Ryuzaki-sensei gathered all of us, and proudly presented the new training menu, made by none other than the one and only Tezuka Kunimitsu.
There was a glint of relief in Kunimitsu’s eyes when Yuudai-buchou and Momo declared that they’d take the new menu. Ryuzaki-sensei was smiling as she looked at Kunimitsu, almost like a mother who’d just seen her beloved long lost son walked pass her gate and into her arms again.
In a sense, I guess it’s true.
The training menu was the most extensive one I’ve ever seen, that Kaoru commented that Shonan Jyousei’s Hanamura-sensei would love to get her hands on it. The menu was continually revised, too, some things would be added here and there, and other things would be altered every now and then. Kunimitsu, attentive as he was, started to make small books to record each members’ development, especially the regulars and promising members’. All in all, Sadaharu commented that Kunimitsu made the menu a lot better than he could ever did.
The laps we all missed came back again, although now he issued them quietly for warm-ups and not punishments, and usually through the two captains and not out of his own mouth. Even though Yuudai-buchou and Momo let him do whatever he wanted with all of us, he respected their figures as captains and never stepped on them. None of our seniors dared to mock him or talk behind his back, especially after Ryoma twist-served one of them after he ‘bad-mouthed buchou,’ as our that-time-still-short tennis ace said. Then Momo dunk-smashed another, Kaoru snaked another one in another mix training, and after a bottle of Advanced Penal-Tea was somehow spilled into the senior-high tennis club’s changing room’s water tank, no doubt a cooperation between Shusuke, Sadaharu, and probably Eiji, no one dared to question Kunimitsu’s place in the team. Kunimitsu raised an eyebrow when he heard about the Inui-juice incident and asked Yuudai-buchou to give the three culprits extra laps, which they did happily. I guess that’s why Shusuke was chosen as captain on our second and third years. None of the seniors in our second year dared to oppose Shusuke. The ‘Let’s not be careless’ was also heard at one time or another, usually after briefing. We never get tired of hearing it.
 It’s just like Kunimitsu, isn’t it? But another thing changed, too. Now that he can’t play anymore, he started to stress the importance of teamwork more than ever. Although tennis is not like soccer where you play as a whole in the same field, he said, in a sense, it’s still the same, and we have to know each and every one of our teammates high and low aspects. Through his diligent work, we suddenly created more possible doubles pairs than we could ever did before. Even Ryoma, whom we deemed impossible to play doubles at all, finally could be paired to Shusuke, Momo, and even Yuuta in a practice at the temple.
Tezuka Kunimitsu is basically a hard worker. Therefore, when he puts his mind on something, he’d simply strive to do so better than anyone else.
But still, there are times when his body betrayed him, and he’d have to stop doing what he’s supposed to do. When the weather’s too cold, when it’s raining, when it’s too hot, when he catches cold or flu and develops fever, he would have to give up his blue book and tape recorder, and huddled in his room alone. At those times, we always had a hard time deciding what to do. If we ‘baby him’, as Rinko-san said, he’d hate it. If we leave him on his own, well, Nanjiroh-san reminded us what happen the last time he felt left alone.
Yumiko-neesan gave us the answer for that.
“Be yourself,” she said while spreading her tarot cards one night when we all gathered after dinner. Kunimitsu had already slept after Shusuke told him to drink his dreaded medicine. “After all, you know him the best, and he knows you, too. He trusts you more thank he trusts anyone now. After all, like what Shusuke once said, you’re all practically brothers, aren’t you?”
So I fret over him every now and then, remind him to take his jacket with him, stop him when I think he forces himself too far (he always forces himself, so we can’t stop him from doing so). Eiji whines when he thinks Kunimitsu’s tiring himself, Momo forces him to eat when he’s under the weather, Kaoru actually cooks for him from time to time, Taka-san, in his subtle way of saying things, carefully reels Kunimitsu to a slower pace whenever he’s gone too fast, Ryoma and his trademark mada mada dane becomes the pushing factor when Kunimitsu’s feeling down, Sadaharu listens to his troubles, and Shusuke, good old Shusuke, meddles and pesters and teases and supports Kunimitsu to no end in his own unique Shusuke-ish way.
Kunimitsu was to slow accept his inability to be ‘as independent as he was’. Actually, I think the first sign of it was the day when he asked whether anyone of us would like to stay with him at his house, which is still a happy memory for me. At first, I thought that was because he’d get too lonely in a house filled with too much memories. I’m glad we didn’t refuse the offer; it would be devastating for him (and all of us) if we did. After that day, slowly, day by day, he started to open up and finally accepted our help, letting us see who’s inside the stern buchou mask of his, clumsily letting us see who he really is. When I mentioned this to Momo, he said that he’s glad he was the first one who saw a glimpse of the real Kunimitsu. I guess he talked about the refusal to drink the medicine that provoked Shusuke’s ‘kiss Kuni-chan’ threat.
But he doesn’t become dependant on us; he’s still walking on his own, although now, he’s not walking in front of us anymore. Now, we all walk as a group, in a rotated places, sometimes in front, sometimes at the back, sometimes in the middle, but always ready to reach out to help one another in times of need. And Kunimitsu, no matter what he said, makes a good niisan for our younger members. So in the end, we’re a solid team.
One night, a year ago, Eiji asked me what major I’d take when I go to university. I said that I want to be a doctor. Kunimitsu looked at me and gave a small smile then. I caught his eyes, and I saw gratitude in them.
I smiled back.
“You’d make a good doctor,” Taka-san said to me.
Aa… I’ll be a good doctor. I have my reasons, after all.
No matter how hard it is, all I need is to remember that night when I helplessly waited in the hospital’s waiting room with Eiji crying on my chest, and I’d stand upright again.
“Shuichirou-senpai?” I heard a voice behind me and looked around to see Ryoma standing behind my chair.
“Hai, Ryoma?”
“Buchou’s asleep,” the younger man reported, “I noticed that the medicine’s changed.”
“Aa… I talked to Murakami-sensei, and she agreed to change the Inui-jiru-ish one. The new one has a better composition. It’s still new, though, but it’s good.”
“That’s nice. Thanks, senpai. But it seems to make him sleepier than before…” he was cut by a huge yawn.
“Why don’t you get some rest, Ryoma? You must be tired.” I put down my book and looked at him, who nodded and yawned again.
“I think I will. Oyasumi, senpai.”
“Oyasumi, Ryoma. Oh, you didn’t leave Kunimitsu’s window open, did you?”
“I didn’t even open it, senpai,” Ryoma shook his head, “But you’re free to recheck everything.”
He knows I always do.
“Hai, I will in a few minutes. Thanks for staying with him. Have a nice dream.”
“Uisu.”
Ryoma left, and I stood up to check on my patient, even when it’s not really necessary. Ryoma can get highly overprotective when it comes to Kunimitsu.
But I can always check. After all, aren’t I the mother of Seigaku?

TBC...


Current Mood: amused
11:13 am
New Story, Prince of Tennis: And We Continue On, Chapter 1
I tried to write a Prince Of Tennis Story after I watched the whole Anime TV Series, but this was before I watched The National OVA, so I'll just ignore what happened at the OVA. In this story,Ryoma did not join Seigaku at the National.
The Prince of Tennis is not mine. I'm merely borrowing the cuties.


And We Continue on
Echizen Ryoma: On The Top Of The World
 
I sat by the bed, my eyes trained over the still figure on it. He’s too pale, too thin, too still, but I guess that’s expected. There were blankets on him, and the heater is on; I could only hope that it’d keep him warm. I carefully brushed his messy hair, judging his temperature while I was doing so. Still warm. It’s just so weird that just ten minutes before I rushed out to get another blanket because he said that he’s cold. Kaasan said that it’s the fever, but I could tell that already.
I sighed, letting my mind fell back to the glorious days when we spent our days playing together on the four blocks tennis courts. Those were the good old days, where I would play all renshu with all of my heart, as would my teammates, and ran the laps he assigned as fast as we could, not to win, but to not be the last. After all, Sadaharu-senpai’s concoctions that he himself dared to call ‘juice’ were the most fearful thing ever existed.
I wished that I could play all out with him again, like those days at the Haruno Clay Court. Or that I could see him playing all out before my eyes, like when he played against Atobe on that match that we called ‘the never ending tiebreak’.
Never again.
Nowadays, I’m one of the people who freak out whenever he holds a tennis racquet for a moment too long. Well, me and almost everybody, that was. Not that he doesn’t know his limits; in fact, he knows them only too well. The mother-hen attitude was a side effect of seeing your captain hooked up to machines that beeped and hissed so many years before.
Everyone says it’s a miracle he survived this long.
I could still remember the frantic packing and the restless flight I had after I received the phone call from a crying Sakuno, begging me to return to Japan quickly, because Buchou got an accident. I didn’t know what accident, I didn’t ask how bad it was, I simply packed everything I need, while Oyaji got tickets for us, and then we were on our way, Oyaji, Kaasan, Ryoga, Kevin, and I. How Kevin managed to tag along I could never be sure, but he did. And then the stressing drive from Narita to the hospital, full of traffic jam here and there, that I was tempted to run all the way to the hospital; if it wasn’t raining cats and dogs, I would’ve done so.
And then into the hospital lounge we went, and I was ambushed by a crying Eiji-senpai. Shuichiro-senpai was calmer, although his face was so pale as he tugged Eiji-senpai off me. It was Momo-senpai who told me what happened, though.
It was a car accident that made buchou ended up in the hospital’s ICU. He was lucky to be alive, his father, his mother, and his grandfather didn’t make it. I almost laughed at that time, if only because of the commonness of the accident. But it wasn’t common.
It wasn’t, because it was our captain in that ICU room. It was our captain there, fighting for his life.
For two whole weeks he kept on slipping in and out of our reach. For two whole weeks, the Seigaku Regulars were like camping in the hospital’s waiting room. Two whole weeks of going to school from hospital and returning to hospital after tennis practice. And when he was stabilized, then we realized that, no, it’s never going to be the same anymore.
Whatever that punched through his chest did not hurt his heart, but it had created a serious injury to his lungs, to the point of almost collapsing. That’s what the doctors told us. How, I don’t know; I didn’t, and still don’t, crave for details. Therefore, even a slight tiredness can cause him to stop breathing. I said that it’s impossible, I mean, what’s the connection of tiredness and buchou stopped breathing? Oyaji smacked me on the head for that. He asked me if I breathe fast, or heavily, after long practice or match, or when I’m tired or surprised of even excited about anything.
Of course I do.
And it clicked.
Oh… so that’s it.
But Eiji-senpai went bawling yet again, saying that he didn’t understand.
“It’s… Eiji… when we’re tired, we breathe faster to replace the oxygen, but with the condition of Tezuka’s lungs now, it can’t, well… pump as fast as that, and eventually it might collapse …”
“Can we please pass the explanation?”
Shusuke-senpai’s words were sharp, yet hollow. His eyes were wide opened, and he looked as if sickened. I couldn’t blame him. Shuichirou-senpai’s details cut my heart, too.
Two days after that, buchou woke up.
And it went downhill fast.
The shock of loosing both parents and grandfather took a toll on him. And then, of course, no tennis for him, not anymore. Tennis is far too demanding for his lungs. Add a bunch of annoying relatives, and if it weren’t for these good doctors, we would’ve lost him again.
Relatives that, after saying their condolences and get-well-soon words, asked about the house and wealth that his parents left him. Relatives that dared to ask if buchou’s going to stay there alone, but it wouldn’t be good for him, so they’d love to stay there to take care of him, too, after all, he’s their nephew/cousin/whatever, and still so young and sickly, too, so it’s only normal, right?
BULLSHIT!
After the first relatives related ‘shock’, as we named the situation whenever buchou needed the oxygen tube, we never strayed far from him whenever he had visitors, always keeping in mind to have at least one of us by his side should anyone start being annoying again, so I happened to witness firsthand of Shuichiro-senpai’s anger, and the bouquet of roses that Eiji-senpai coldly gave back to those annoying relatives before Kaoru-senpai kicked them out.
A day after that, Momo-senpai and I found Taka-senpai, Sadaharu-senpai, Inoue-san, and Shiba-san peeking on Shusuke-senpai who was hugging buchou while the latter cried in his arms. Ryuzaki-sensei later said that another relative of his made an advertisement to sell his house.
I was furious when I got home, that I cursed at every single unlucky thing, yelled at Oyaji who was blocking the way, almost kicked Karupin, and bad-mouthed my cousin for making an American-style dinner.
Kaasan went up to my room later that night, and got me to talk to her. That’s when I poured all of my anger and frustration, not to mention tears, out.
And Kaasan said that she’d take care of things. I didn’t know what she meant, but I saw this glint in her eyes that shows only when she means business, and I shut up.
The next afternoon, Oyaji entered buchou’s hospital room with papers in his hands, shoved them under buchou’s nose, ordered buchou to sign them (which buchou did without even reading the papers, bewildered as he was, well, we all were), and announced that, congratulations, Ryoga and I had just gained a new brother.
The papers were adoption papers.
Ryoga was chortling so hard at my, and my new brother’s, and our friends’, faces. We must’ve made quite an amusing sight, all open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
Right that moment, Kaasan entered and told us that she had just bought buchou’s house, and listed it under buchou’s name, with Oyaji as its guardian until he’s of legal age.
I never thought how lucky I was to have Oyaji and Kaasan as my parents, but I sure thanked God then.
Buchou, though, gave quite a vehement refusal, saying that, no, he didn’t want to be a bother to anyone else, and no, it’s quite alright, he could manage on his own, and no, please, we’re all so kind, but he’d only bring trouble to our life, so can we please cancel the adoption, Nanjiroh-san, and Rinko-san, doumo arigato gozaimashita for the house, he’d find a way to pay it back to her, promise.
At least I think it went along that line.
Oyaji huffed and gave the papers to Ryoga, ordering him to give the papers to Inoue-san, he’d know what to do with them, and Ryoga actually skipped out of the room, grinning all the way. The prospect of having another brother to tease must’ve made his day. Kaasan stopped buchou’s rants by clasping her hands on his and told him to take a deep breath, addressing him as son.
It was the three Fuji siblings and Yuudai-buchou who put a stop on buchou’s dissent, though. It went like this.
“Ne, Tezuka, if you don’t want The Echizen to adopt you, we can do so, right, Neesan?”
“Hai, Shusuke, you’re right. I’ll go talk to our parents now, if it’s needed to. I’m sure they’ll agree. What do you say, Yuuta?”
“I don’t mind. Tezuka-san is definitely more stable that Aniki is, he can be a good niisan for me.”
“Yoshi. What do you say, Tezuka? Would you rather be my brother than Echizen’s? After all, we’re all practically brothers-in-arms, all of us, so this adoption thingies is only for legalities, right?”
“Hey, wait a minute, Fuji-kun, I don’t mind having an otouto, too! What do you say, Tezuka-kun? How does Yamato Kunimitsu sounds to you?”
I had a feeling that the rest of us regulars were going to ask about adopting buchou to their parents that night, and let it slip out.
Either way, he’s staying with one of us.
Eight to love. Game and match. We win.
So I gained another brother. One by the name Tezuka Kunimitsu. Oyaji insisted that he keeps his own family name. I didn’t think buchou would change it anyway.
Buchou began fighting his illness vigorously after that. I guess he realized that there were still people who cared about him, and true to Tezuka Kunimitsu’s nature, he simply wouldn’t let us down.
So, two months later, he returned to my house. Kevin returned to America, but not before extracting a promise from me that I’d meet him at U.S. Open the next time. Three months after that, we Seigaku Regulars moved to buchou’s house, which is BIG, and we all got our own rooms. The master bedroom and the room that buchou’s grandfather used, though, were kept empty. 
That’s how we started living under the same roof. Not in the same school anymore, there were senior-high students among us then, but still in the affiliated Seishun Senior High School, still in the Seishun Gakuen complex. Ryoga decided to stay in Japan and entered the same school, and also the same club (he stays with Oyaji and Kaasan, though.)
Buchou still joined the tennis club in senior high, under the command of Yamato-buchou, but with his condition, he couldn’t play, so he ended up as our manager. And, boy, was he good at it.
Years of watching how Sadaharu-senpai takes data, months of looking at us practicing and unable to join us, his time in coaching us before the U.S-Japan Friendly Tournament, his own exasperation and anxiety of not being able to participate in any upcoming matches, and a collaboration with Yamato-buchou and our Data-Tennis Master suddenly gave birth to the most extensive, impressive, and effective training menu ever. The senior-high team, and us in the junior-high team, adopted it immediately, and yes, we won the National, the first time again in a long time for the senior-high team, and the second time in a row for us junior high-team. Too bad Inui-jiru and its many descendants such as Penal-Tea, Aozu, Akazu, and the newest one then, Kurozu, were included in the menu, too.
I myself keep on entering as many junior international tournaments as my school schedule allows, and had somehow won most of them. I also entered many senior ones. Samurai Junior, the media named me. It’s probably Inoue-san who first gave me that title. Whenever I lose a game, Oyaji would scoff and remind me how he won 37 games straight when he went international. Kaasan would come to my rescue then, reminding him that I went international far younger than he did. But I have my own reason to feel bad when I’m defeated.
Before Seigaku, my reason for tennis was to beat Oyaji. After I joined Seigaku, my goal changed, I want to be better, and I had another person I need to beat. During U.S Open, I stole a time and returned to Japan, played against buchou, and finally won. Then, in the same U.S Open, I gave my next opponent a def win due to my frantic flight back to Japan, right after I ‘spectacularly defeat Michael Thornbridge in such a short time’ as the media wrote it. How, I had no idea. I was so furious and scared at that time, that Ryoga said, if it’s something out of Dragon Ball or Saint Seiya or Rurouni Kenshin anime, I would’ve splattered the court with my opponent’s blood. (By the way, I have no idea who my next opponent was at that time. The lucky guy.)
Don’t blame me. It’s not my fault I’ve just got that fateful phone call from Sakuno at that time.
I have another goal after that. A goal that buchou unknowingly instilled in me one night when he got yet another cold and had to stay bedridden for a few days (he’s so prone to cold and flu after the accident, it almost sad that he actually has his coat everywhere, even if it looks good on him).
I was also sitting by his bedside at that time. Nanako-chan had just managed to get buchou to drink his medicine (he hates his medicine, saying that they tastes like Inui-jiru), and I was laughing at him, who was sulking. The others were in the dining room, probably squabbling over the food Kaasan brought, and there were only us there, when suddenly he spoke.
“Ne, Ryoma?”
“Nani desu ka, buchou?”
I could never change the way I call him, although us Regulars were already on first-name basis since we’re ‘holed up’ together, as Yuuta would’ve said.
“You’re really going pro, ne?”
“You know I am.”
“Aa… tell me how does it look from up there, eh?”
“Ha?”
“When you’re standing on top of the world, I mean. Tell me about the view from up there.”
And that’s my goal now. To stand on top of the world. And whenever I do, I’d ‘look down to see the view’.
That’s where the problem lies.
That’s why I was sitting by his bedside again, right after I came home after winning yet another gold to add up to what Oyaji called ‘the winnings room’, watching over his sleeping form.
“Ne, about what you asked before,” I said softly, hoping that he’d hear me, after all, I couldn’t seem to say it out right when someone’s actually listening, “about the view from the top of the world?”
He moved a little, and I could pretend that he’s really listening.
“It’s beautiful for the first time, and the second time… but after many times, I realized that it’s too blur.”
I stopped. Was I making any sense?
“That’s why I keep on coming back down, I guess. I miss the view when I’m down on earth.”
The school’s simple ranking tournament. The Nationals. The international tournaments. Through all the years I’ve made my wins, Oyaji still can win against me, although, yes, I can win against him, now. And although I won against buchou once, I can still lose against Shusuke-senpai in training match, and didn’t buchou defeat him?
Hadn’t the accident occurred, they would’ve been standing on top of the world themselves.
There’s no way I could make sure if I had really surpass buchou now. In reality, I have. But only because he’s not playing anymore.
Sadaharu-senpai told me once, that the pace a tennis player will reach its peak height eventually, but it won’t last forever. That’s why I have to evolve. Because I won’t reach my utmost height if I don’t practice, and even when I do, I won’t stay in my best form forever, so I have to evolve all the time. The others encourage me endlessly, I am their golden child, they said. After all, although all of us still play regularly, only four of us actually dedicate ourselves to really go pro.
But I always find myself going back to Seigaku.
It’s like fate. Because everything began here, I always have to return here.
“I hope you don’t mind, I mean, I keep on going away from time to time…”
I wish he could be with me.
“Oh, that’s stupid, of course you don’t mind.”
I only wish that I could share my view more realistically.
“But I’ll get to the top again, and maybe next time, I can describe it better, Ku-Niichan.”
“Ku-Niichan?”
Buchou opened his eyes and gave me his cute half smile, or at least that’s what Tomoka named the expression where buchou would tilt his head a bit, his lips would curve a little and his golden brown eyes would sparkle like stars.
“Hai. Kunimitsu-niichan. Ku-Niichan. That’s a cute nick-name, ne?” I asked calmly, trying to hide my embarrassment at being caught saying sweet things. I knew my cheeks were flushed, though.
“We’ve been living together for how long, and you’ve just given me a nickname now?”
“I like buchou, it’s a good nickname, but I think Ku-Niichan’s cute, too.”
“For a second I thought you said Kuni-chan. That’s how Okaasan always called me,” He said, referring to his birth mother.
“Oh…” I slumped, deflated. He never said much about his deceased family, but I can tell that he loves them very much. I’m not like Eiji-senpai or Shusuke-senpai, though, who would sometimes asks buchou about his beloved blood family. I always think that any reminder of that will hurt him, and I don’t want to hurt him, so…
He smiled that oh-so-annoying-smile-of-his-because-no-it’s-not-really-a-smile-but-from-him-it’s-a-smile and reached for my hand, “Don’t give me that face, Ryoma, you know you can give me whatever nickname you want… Besides, I kinda like it.”
I immediately brightened, ““Good. But don’t expect me to call you that in front of people.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,“ he yawned, “damn, those medicines make me so sleepy…”
“There’s a reason for that,“ I sighed, “Get more sleep, Ku-Niichan.”
“Hai-hai…” he sighed, “Congratulations on winning again, Ryoma-chan.”
I smirked, “Doumo, and don’t you dare call me that in front of everyone. After all, I’m in high school now.”
“I’m older than you, and how does Shusuke call me?”
“That’s Shusuke-senpai. He’s like four years old.”
“He is,” he laughed, a sound I love so much, after all, before he became my brother, he’s like this abominable snowman who’s only expression was that poker face of his. After the accident, we were so afraid that he’d shatter, that we treated him like a piece of fragile glass.
It was Oyaji who decided that, no, his new son was not a brittle glass ornament, and handed a grass mower to him one morning and ordered him to mow the lawn.
I sighed, “Just don’t play all cuddly with me in front of people, kay? I might not stand the embarrassment.”
 “I won’t. And thanks for sharing the view with me.”
The brown eyes that looked at me warmly sent a content feeling coursing through my veins.
This is what I enjoyed the most about winnings. Not the medals, the trophy, or the money.
It’s the proud look everyone gives me when I return home. Everyone’s, but especially his.
“Always, buchou. Always.”
 
 to be continued



Some author's note.

This is my first Prince of Tennis fic, so bear with me, please. Thank you for all who read, all review(s) are gladly awaited.
Thanks.

THR
 



Current Mood: awake
Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
8:26 am
Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 8
This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...
sigh...
I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...
This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.
R/R are greatly appreciated!
 
Lamentation
 
Chapter 8
Regroup
 
Never in her wildest dream had she thought that she’d see the one whom she gave her body to. She was in a lot of ways more like Takaya who never gives a damn about their kanshosha. That’s why Yoshiaki fascinated her in the first place. The genuine love he has for his kanshosha is always as clear as day. Maybe because they’re both yumemi, or maybe because Yoshiaki was in a way responsible of Nobutsuna’s continued life. Or maybe because Yoshiaki’s just too nice.
Shuhei was different. He gave his adult self to be possessed, so he knew what he was doing. She never understands why Shuhei didn’t move on, but that’s not her business. She herself also didn’t understand why she didn’t move on. All she knew, when that fateful day she passed through Nobutsuna’s window with Hinageshi, who was her annainin at that time, the sight that greeted her made her believe that there’s something that she must do for the two in the room.
What she saw was Nobutsuna, curling on his bed, crying himself to sleep, and Yoshiaki, sitting by the bed, futilely trying to offer comfort to the other, who couldn’t even sense him.
So Ayako stayed.
***
“Ah, you’ve come. Yoshiaki, are you sure you’re okay? You can always skip this meeting,” said Watari, standing up.
“I’ve been worse, Watari-san, but thanks for your concern anyway.”
Kagetora, Haruie, and Nagahide looked at the souls whose body they’ve taken unblinkingly.
“I’m going down again, see if there’s anything the Tree can come up with. I’m taking Subaru-kun later on, he wants to list Imonoyama Nokoru’s help, and maybe from the remaining dragons,” said Seishirou.
”I’m going down too,” said Kamui, “Kotori and I are going to try to do this on foot.”
“”I take it you’ll be going with Sei-san, Hokuto-chan?” asked Watari.
“You betcha!”
“Very well. Sumeragi-san, if you want to go down now...” Tatsumi said, but Subaru shook his head.
“I want to know what’s going on first.”
“As you wish. Have you seen Tsuzuki-san and Kurosaki-kun?”
“We’re here, Tatsumi,” Tsuzuki appeared in front of the door with Hisoka.
“Okay there, bon?”
Hisoka nodded, “Hai, Watari-san.”
“Well, we’ll be going now. Bye!”
With that, Kamui, Seishirou, and Hokuto disappeared.
Kakyou took the nearest chair and sat down, Subaru taking the chair beside him. Tsuzuki and Hisoka also took their seats. The four shukutai took their chairs opposite to their kanshosha.
Silence.
“Oookay... this is awkward...” Tsuzuki commented.
“I believe an introduction is necessary? Shuhei, you’re the cheeky one. You start,” Watari said.
“”I highly don’t think it’s necessary,” Chiaki Shuhei smiled slightly, “We’ve known each other’s names already, don’t we? And Yasuda, I’m disappointed with you. All along, and you haven’t managed to find a girlfriend yet?”
“Hey, don’t blame me! Living as a yashashuu is a big deal, yanno? I just can’t seem to settle in one place.”
“And I was thinking that you’d already have a huge amount of stalker.”
“The only two stalker I got are Naoe and Kousaka.”
”I know. You had to use my body to elude him, remember? You owe me so much, Yasuda.”
“I know, I know, Shuhei... and how many times must I tell you, don’t call me Yasuda!”
“Okay, okay...”
“That’s better.”
Shuhei smirked, “So, Yasuda...”
“Aaaaargh!! I just can’t stand you!”
“Too bad, you’re stuck being me. That’s my body you’re using.”
“Gah...”
“...”
“You two seemed acquainted already,” Kadowaki Ayako smiled.
“Yeah, we’re best pal before things got messed up.”
“Are you saying we’re not best pal anymore, Yasuda?”
“Shut up, Shuhei.”
“Okay, Yasuda.”
Haruie laughed, “Oh, Nagahide, look how far the mighty have fallen.”
“Indeed,” Ayako agreed.
The two looked at each other and both give a smile.
“Thank you, for allowing me to be you,” Haruie said.
“Hey, no sweat! It’s a pleasure, anyway.”
“Well, my turn,” said Ougi Takaya, “Hello, Kagetora, don’t say thank you because, unlike Yoshiaki, I cared not whether you live or die, but it seems that my life and yours had become entangled yet again so now I want to make sure you managed this alive, all of you. And Miya-chan, you’re a good girl, don’t you get angry with Kagetora only because he uses my body, After all, he’s the one who became your brother all these years, not me. Although I’d love to have an imouto like you,” he grinned.
Miya giggled, “Oh, lookie, I got another brother!”
Kagetora looked at Takaya, who was grinning at him, and he felt years of burdens flew away from him. He didn’t know what happened to the owners of the countless bodies he used before, but this one obviously forgives him for his sin, and it eases his heart.
“Thank you,” he said, unnaturally subdued.
“Damn, I thought I told you not to say thank you!”
“I guess I’m the last,” Tachibana Yoshiaki said softly.
Kagetora looked at him.
“It’s okay, Kagetora-san. Nobutsuna’s still alive. I can’t sense where he is, but if he was cut loose from that body, I’d known.”
“How?” asked Yuzuru.
“It’s because that stubborn fool didn’t want to possess the body I offered him. We had to lock him in.”
“Lock him...”
“Yes,” Yoshiaki smiled bitterly, “Even after that, he needs heavy maintenance. Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone so self-destructive before...”
“...”
“Well, back to main topic. Tachibana-san, why in the world did you collapse?” Tatsumi asked.
Yoshiaki sighed.
***
“Father Torabas, if you would please pray, for the one who had ease your pain...”
Father Matsunaga looked at the woman kneeling in front of the Maria Kwannon.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” he asked.
The woman lifted her face, and the priest was struck by her beauty.
She was not like the beautiful woman he’d seen in paintings, or like the pretty gals in magazine cover, or the attractive women who came to the church. Something in her eyes hit a chord in his heart, there’s something ancient, something knowing, something wise in those eyes. Yet she looked so sad.
He’d seen this face before, but he couldn’t remember where.
“What troubles you, child?”
She stood up, and a small smile graced her lips, “I just come to pray, Father.”
“Something tells me you’re not a Christian.”
She laughed softly, “No, I’m not.”
“So you come to pray to this Kwannon?”
“Not really...” she looked at the Kwannon, “Do you know the man who sent this Maria Kwannon, Father?”
“Yes, I do,” Matsunaga’s eyes lit up, “It has been quite a long time... Are you his friend?”
“I would very much like to be one, yes.”
Matsunaga looked at the woman and something akin to fear stirred in him, “Something... something bad has happened to him, hasn’t it?”
The woman looked at him.
“Is he okay? Tell me, if there’s anything I can do...”
“Yes, there is...” she smiled, “Pray for him, Father. I came here because I wanted to ask for prayers.”
“Yes, child, yes, I will pray for him. His name is Tachibana Yoshiaki, isn’t it? I will ask the mass to pray for him. He has done a great deed, returning this Maria Kwannon to us. Are you sure there’s nothing else you want us to do?”
“Maybe... Maybe I will need to borrow this Maria later on... but hopefully it won’t come to that. And if you please, also pray for one named Naoe Nobutsuna.”
“Naoe Nobutsuna. Yes. Tell me, are they... in trouble? Were they involved in an accident somewhere? Tachibana-san and Naoe-san, I mean?”
The woman sighed, “They’re missing, Father.”
“Then we will pray that they’re found soon and in healthy condition, both physical and mental.”
“Thank you, Father. I appreciate it.”
“It’s no trouble at all, child.”
The woman turned to look at the Maria Kwannon, and her eyes softened,” Oh, Maria...” She reached out, and wiped tears that fell rapidly on the Maria’s cheeks, “We’ll find him, I promise... we’ll find him, and he’ll be alright. He has so much to live for now, so very much, do you not think so? It’s okay. Just pray for him.”
Matsunaga was shocked. The Weeping Maria once again shed tears. He’d only heard stories of it, but never once since the Maria was set on the east pedestal had she cried. He could feel the change of all around him, and he could almost hear a choir of prayers rose in the air.
He humbly lowered his head and said a prayer of his own.
When he finished, he straightened, and the woman looked at him calmly.
“I will take my leave now, Father.”
“Yes, go and find your friend, child. Our prayers are with you.”
She nodded and walked away.
After she went out of the church, Father Matsunaga took the Maria from her pedestal, thinking that if he let her stood there, and anyone saw the Maria crying, she’d be something like a show for everyone. Might as well put her in a closed room.
As he cradled the Maria close, he saw her face, and realized where he’d seen the woman before.
She has a beautiful serene face similar to the Maria Kwannon.
***
“I’m not really sure what’s going on...” Yoshiaki said, “I was watching him like usual, and he was getting out of the house to pick you up, Kagetora... and Muraki showed up.”
“Oh, so it is Muraki,” Tsuzuki muttered.
“Yes. He... did something that made Nobutsuna unconscious... I tried to reached out for him but something... slammed me... and then it was static. I can’t locate him at all.”
“But you can still feel him?” asked Watari.
“Well, it’s static, but as long as the static still exist, he’s still alive and still bound to my body. But he’s not answering my call, or rather, I think he’s blocking me out.”
“He’s trying to protect you,” said Hisoka, “so Muraki won’t get you.”
“Perhaps. But if he won’t answer us, we can’t find him.”
Yuzuru, meanwhile, was only half listening. He was busy taking notes on the physical appearance of the shukutai.
While they all wear the same face, they don’t have the same fashion or appearance sense.
Chiaki Shuhei dressed in a khaki suit with a loose brown shirt under the jacket, which was thrown on the chair’s back, his hair shortly cut. Ougi Takaya wore what Yuzuru would call SWAT Team uniform, all grey, and leather boots, and his dark hair fell everywhere, as if uncombed, and due to it’s almost shoulder length, created a very rebellious appearance. Kadowaki Ayako’s hair was long, so long that even after she braided and made a hair bun out of it, some long parts of it still fell down, cascading down her back. She wore what Yuzuru assumed a secretary outfit, light green in colour, and a dark green shawl was tied around her neck. Tachibana Yoshiaki wore blue T-shirt and black pants, ensembled with a belt, which carved in, Yuzuru noted amusedly, The Naoe Family Crest.
They don’t look at the same age with their kanshosha either. Chiaki looked younger, around 17 or so, Takaya looked older, perhaps around 20, the same with Ayako, and Yoshiaki’s definitely the oldest, but still younger than Naoe, who’s somewhere in his late 20, almost thirty. He guessed him as around 25, perhaps younger.
“Yuzuru-kun, you’re staring.”
“Eh?” Yuzuru looked sheepish, “Sorry, Kadowaki-san, but...”
“I know, I know,” Ayako laughed, “It’s just weird. We feel the same way.”
“No, actually... that’s not it...”
“Oh?” asked Takaya, “What is it then?”
“I’m just wondering... why aren’t you guys look... well... identical.”
“Oh, that?” Shuhei laughed, “This is my age appearance when Yasuda took over. I’m stuck being this way, just like the Shinigami, who’re stuck at the appearance when they die. The others, though, were babies when they were taken over, so they had the soul appearances their best age.”
“Yeah. I’ve been like this for 19 years, and I’ll be like this of many years to come unless I decide to move on,” laughed Ayako.
“I see... So, there are no baby souls?”
“Baby souls go straight to heaven,” said Watari.
“Oh... why didn’t you move on, then?”
Ayako looked at Yoshiaki, who looked back with a smile. Shuhei laughed a little, while Takaya combed his messy hair with his fingers.
“Oh, waitaminute...” Nagahide looked surprised, “Do I detect love vibe here?”
Kakyou laughed, “Shuhei’s been seeing a girl from another department. Takaya’s currently smitten with Karen, the flirt of all shinigami. Yoshiaki and Ayako have been dating for like 2 years.”
“Huh?”
“Really...”
“Oh my...”
“Whoa...”
 “I see...”
“Surprised much?” asked Watari.
“Not really...” Haruie laughed, “Good to know our shukutai have happy love lifes.”
“But... Yoshiaki and Ayako? It just doesn’t wash,” Nagahide shook his head. Kagetora nodded.
“Well, get used to it,” Ayako smiled at Yoshiaki and grasped his fingers. He smiled back tenderly.
“Oh, we will...” Kagetora groaned.
“We’re straying here, people...” Tatsumi noted, “Kuzuki-san, anything you can come up with from your dreamscape?”
“No. Like I said, I can’t find him through the scapelink. But his control over the scape is not as good as mine... sooner or later, he’ll stray there, even if he doesn’t want to. Then I can catch him there.”
“But, if he strayed into the dreamscape again, doesn’t it mean that... well, he’s running away again?” asked Subaru.
“Not necessarily,” said Kakyou, “Hokuto came to and fro my dreamscape quite often before she died, she’s not running away from anything.”
“Oh... I never knew that my sister had the prospect of becoming a yumemi.”
“So do you, Subaru-san. After all, you’re twins.”
“...”
“So, we’re having a dead end here?” asked Yuzuru.
“What we know so far is that Muraki had kidnapped Naoe-san. But why? We don’t know,” concluded Tatsumi.
“Kousaka would know,” Kagetora grumbled.
“I don’t think so,” said Nagahide, “Judging from his words to you, the guy’s bluffing. Muraki’s not any ‘shelter’ Naoe would ‘visit’ at anytime.”
“Huh?”
“Oh, we haven’t told you that, have we?”
“Excuse me, but...” Miya fidgeted, “do you have toilets here?”
“Oh, yes, of course. Just go out and turn left. The toilets are near the stairs.”
“Thanks.”
***
Miya closed the bathroom door and looked at the hallway lighted with lamps. It was almost morning, yet she didn’t notice.
She shuffled her feet.
She’s worried, that’s for sure. She’d taken a liking to Yoshiaki-niisan, the man’s calm and dependable, yet friendly and loving. That, and the fact that his love is shown so blatantly.
Miya smiled. She longed to have nieces and nephews from her brother, but she guessed that unless they adopt a child, or Yoshiaki-niisan turned into a girl, she’d never have one.
Then again, Yoshiaki-niisan can always use another body, right? But then, what would happen to Yoshiaki-niisan’s body? Can Naoe-niisan just get out of the body, get a girl’s body for nine months, give birth to a child, and return to Yoshiaki-niisan’s body? Or would he just stay as a girl? After all, Haruie-neesan is also a girl. But will niichan still love Naoe-niisan if he’s in a girl’s body? And it would be quite a handicap, after all, a girl is not as strong as a man physically, and isn’t Yoshiaki-niisan niichan’s personal bodyguard?
Miya carefully massaged her forehead. All of those thinking made her head hurt.
“Are you okay?” asked a woman’s voice, and Miya saw this long dark haired beautiful woman standing in front of her.
“Yeah, just a little headache.”
“Oh... well, you should go back to where your brother is, Miya-chan. Honestly, whatever does Tatsumi-san think, letting you go out alone?”
“This is Meifu, right, and they’re just in the break room there.”
“Still... doesn’t he remember that Muraki can penetrate Meifu?”
“He can?” asked Miya.
“Yes. No one knows how, but if he managed to do that before, he can do it again.”
“Oh...” Miya scrunched her face. She doesn’t want to be a hostage to weaken her brother’s position. “I guess I’d better get back then.”
“I’ll accompany you. I have to report to Tatsumi-san anyway, and this meeting is long overdue.”
Miya didn’t ask what she meant by that. She simply walked into the room and opened the door, stepping in, the woman behind her.
“I’m back.”
“Tatsumi-san! Why in the world did you let Miya-chan go out alone?”
“She’s not exactly alone, Kitazato-san,” Tatsumi answered, “I had her shadows watching over her.”
“Well, Muraki can use those shadows to hurt you if he wants to. Don’t do it again. You might get hurt stupidly.”
“Actually, that’s debatable.”
“You used your shadows like a leash, Tatsumi-san. If he sent an electric wave through the link, so to say, you’re the one who’ll get shocked.”
“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” Tsuzuki shivered, “ I don’t want him to hurt anyone else.”
“That is beyond your control, Tsuzuki,” Hisoka said.
“Why in the world does he want to hurt people anyway?” Watari grumbled.
“He’s sick, that’s all.”
“Actually, I disagree,” Kitazato said, “Even demons has reasons to be one. Sakurazukamori is considered villain, but we still accept him in our rank.”
“If you take Muraki into one of Meifu’s ranks, I’m outta here,” said Hisoka.
“Me too,” said Tsuzuki.
“Don’t worry, it won’t come to that. Before he even got close to being employed, I know one certain person who’d make sure he’s sent on to judgment before he could do anything,” Kitazato smiled.
“Yeah. Hakushaku-sama. Damn, Venus, but you have him under your little finger,” Watari whistled.
“More luck for me,” said Tsuzuki, “Thanks, Venus.”
“You’re most welcome, Tsuzuki-san.”
Kagetora sat still, his face stricken. The other two Kanshosha had almost the same expression on their face.
Kitazato Minako looked at them calmly, “Hello, Haruie-san, Nagahide-san.”
Kagetora paled.
Minako nodded towards him, “It’s been a long time, Kagetora-san.”
“...”
“I believe we shall take our leave,” the four shukutai stood up and shuffled out of the room, “We’ll be... er... scouting... Bye!” Shuhei shut the door.
“I believe we’ll do the same...” Kakyou said as he looked at Subaru, who nodded.
“Can anyone take me to where Seishirou-san is now?”
“I’ll take you to him, “Watari said, standing up, Tatsumi followed suit.
“I’ll be in my office.”
“Just a moment, Tatsumi-san,” Minako said, “I’ve finished area two, still no sign of Muraki, but I’ve gone to see the Maria Kwannon. She promised to help us, should it’s needed.”
“Good. Now, I believe you guys have lots to talk about. I’ll see you all later.”
Kakyou had long left the room, Watari took Subaru’s arm and both disappeared. Tatsumi gave a bow and left the room, shutting the door behind him with a soft click.
***
“Found anything?”
Kotori shook her head, “I tried to search as far as I could.”
“I can’t find anything either.”
“Sei-san?”
“No news as of yet. None from Sorata and Karen either.”
“Where do you think he hides Naoe-san?” Kotori sighed.
“Well, he seemed to like Tokyo and Kyoto, and Tsuzuki-san first encountered him at Nagasaki... But he could be anywhere, really.”
“I hope he’s okay... But knowing what Muraki did to Hisoka and Tsuzuki...”
“I wonder why he does that.”
“Mm? How so?”
“Eh...” Kamui plopped down beside her, sipping his soda, “Being a Kamui made me wonder about the reason behind everything. I mean, look at Sei-san. He’s a cold-blooded bastard, but you just can’t help but to feel pity on him, after all, it’s the only way he knows how to live... and if you looked at Subaru and him today...”
“Ah...” Kotori smiled, “Still feel jealous?”
“Me? No. I have you, don’t I? But Subaru has no one...”
“Maybe we can hook him up with my brother.”
“And risk Sei-san kill Fuuma? I don’t think so.”
Kotori giggled.
“I just can’t help thinking that Armageddon was nothing but a waste of life, Kotori.”
This time, she nodded, “I feel the same way, Kamui. But there are some things that are beyond our sight. But one thing is for sure...”
“Kotori?”
Kotori looked at him, “Everything happen for a reason, Kamui. Hadn’t we died, we would’ve missed everything about Meifu, and we wouldn’t be here to help the yashashuu today. Hadn’t Armageddon happened, Subaru and Sei-san might still be bitter enemies. Hadn’t Kakyou died, he wouldn’t be here with Hokuto today. Hadn’t Sei-san killed Hokuto, Subaru would never know Naoe-san. In a more extreme example, hadn’t Muraki killed Hisoka, he’d never meet Tsuzuki.”
Kamui looked back at her, “Kotori... that’s just disturbing.”
Kotori nodded solemnly, “I know.”
***
The last time Takaya saw Minako through his own sets of eyes, well, Kagetora did, it wasn’t Takaya yet at that time, was when they were surrounded by the Kyuryoku Kekkai, and he was in Naoe’s arms, Kazahara at that time. The next thing he knew, he saw Minako’s face when he looked into a mirror.
He could still remember the pain, the sadness, and the anger at that time. Some would say it’s directed to Naoe, while actually it’s directed toward himself.
But no one knew. No one understands.
Minako knew. She knew of his... obsession... toward Naoe, and vice versa. She had tried to remove herself from him, but he’d have none if it. Now, after 30 years gone by, he found himself questioning, did he really love Minako, or was she just an outlet of his desire for a moment of peace? Did he keep him by his side because he needed her, or because he wanted to see how Naoe suffered in jealousy? He knew that he’d pushed Naoe too hard, yet he kept on going. Wouldn’t that make the incident whereas Naoe raped Minako his fault? Or did he see Naoe as an outlet of his own anger, the reflection of the people who raped him oh so long ago?
The questions have been barging his head for like months ever since Tsutsuga, and today, actually meeting the person of his questions...
Naoe’s nightmare... of him and Minako...
There’s no way around it. He had to tell her.
“Please, don’t hate Naoe.”
Minako looked at him, smiled, and shook her head.
“No, you don’t understand, you can’t hate him. It’s not his fault... well... not entirely his fault... but...”
She chuckled softly, “If I hate him, Kagetora, or rather, Takaya, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
“Oh...” Takaya said meekly, “Do you hate me, then?”
This time, she laughed, “No. I don’t”
“...”
“I, for one, understand yours, and his, reasons more than anyone else. I will have to talk to you personally later, but not now. Now is time for work.”
“Minako...” Nagahide hesitated, “They said you saved Naoe.”
“I couldn’t bear to see him killed, or kill himself, to be more precise.”
“Why didn’t you save Kagetora instead?” asked Haruie.
“Kagetora was safe. Naoe was not. It was more of a priority, really.”
“If you had to chose,” asked Miya suddenly, “Between helping my brother and Naoe-niisan, who would you save, Kitazato-san?”
Minako looked at her calmly, “It’s either I save them both or I saved none. One can’t live without the other anyway.”
Miya nodded, “I like you.”
Minako laughed, “I’m honoured, Ougi-san.”
“Please, just call me Miya. Can I call you Minako-neesan?”
“Why not? You can always refer me as Venus, though, that’s how most Juohcho call me.”
Takaya looked at his sister disbelievingly.
“What? I’m your sister. I can be as stubborn as you if I want to.”
“Don’t we all know it,” Yuzuru chuckled.
“I thank you, Narita-san, for being there with Takaya when he needs friend,” Minako said softly.
“Just call me Yuzuru. And it’s nothing, really. Takaya helps me a lot, too.”
“Treasure that feeling, Yuzuru. When times get rough and things change, treasure that friendship. It’s the only way things can end well.”
Yuzuru looked at Minako, who gazed at him sadly. He nodded. He didn’t understand, but it was a good advice.
“And now, about Naoe. I haven’t managed to find anything, as I’ve reported to Tatsumi-san, but I think you guys would like to search on your own, right?”
Everyone nodded.
“Very well. I will ask Tatsumi-san to assign a shinigami for each two of you, I assume that Yuzuru will be with Nagahide-san, and Miya-chan will be with Haruie-san?”
“Yes, and please drop the -san. It’s just... weird...” Haruie said.
“Yeah, I agree...” Nagahide grumbled, “It make me feel so old...”
“I have news for you, Nagahide. You are old. You’re the second oldest in the Yashashuu.”
Takaya chuckled, “Minako, your sense of humour is still as plain as ever.”
“Really. I’ll be going with you, Takaya. There are things I need to speak to you, alone.”
Takaya, without really knowing why, gulped.
“Good luck,” Miya whispered.
***
“Why are we going to a church?”
“I need to take something... Oh, Father!”
Father Matsunaga looked at the two visitors and his face brightened, “Good morning, child! Have you had any information on Tachibana-san?”
“No, Father, we haven’t. I’m sorry I forgot to introduce myself earlier. I am Kitazato Minako, this is my friend, Ougi Takaya.”
“It’s a pleasure meeting you, Father.”
“The pleasure is all mine, children. I am Father Matsunaga. Tell me, how may I assist you today?”
“Well, do you remember what I said earlier, about my borrowing the Maria Kwannon?” asked Minako.
“Oh, yes, do you need her now?”
“If it’s no trouble for you...”
“No, it’s not. If she truly can aid your search, she’ll be better in your hands. After all, she wouldn’t stop crying after you left....”
“Oh...” Minako stopped, “Maybe I shouldn’t have come here...”
“I think it’s a good thing you came, child. Wait here, I shall wrap her up for you.”
With that, Father Matsunaga scurried away.
“Maria Kwannon?”
“When he was still in his early 20, Naoe, or rather, Yoshiaki, returned a Maria Kwannon to this Uragami Cathedral. He got it from an acquaintance. It once belonged to a priest, Father Torabas, who was a converted Christian, but it seems that although he was said to have been converted, he stayed in his faith until he died. The Maria Kwannon, was, in a way, his atonement. The Maria cried tears in his place, perhaps a cry for redemption. It was Naoe who brought her to Uragami and finally helped released that regret etched in her. But, unknown to him, from that day on, the Maria had a life of its own, a life that was created because of the accumulation of prayers of the spirits here when they felt Naoe’s grief.”
“Huh? A crying Maria Kwannon? And now it’s like Naoe’s Guardian Angel?”
“Well, not really, considering that it’s not animated... but the pseudo-spirit’s definitely there.”
“And we can use this how?”
“Well, the spirit is attuned to Naoe’s spiritual signature, so maybe, just maybe, she can sense him more than we could.”
“Oh, really?”
Minako smiled.
Father Matsunaga came, bringing a box wrapped in white cloth and handed it to Minako.
“It’s very careless of you, Father…” Minako smirked, an expression that made Takaya tilted his head, “Giving THE Maria Kwannon to a complete stranger.”
“Give me your name and you won’t be a stranger anymore.”
The smirk changed. Minako shook her head and smiled a more well-remembered smile.
“Kitazato Minako. This is Ougi Takaya.”
“Kitazato-san… Minako-san…” Father Matsunaga looked at the two, “Please, appease her grieving heart… cease her tears…”
“I understand, Father.”
And with that, she turned away, the box held securely in her arms.
Takaya had no choice but to follow.
“Let’s find a restaurant,” Minako said when they were outside, “I think…”
Takaya looked at her.
“I think there are a lot of things we need to talk about…”
He nodded.
“Yes. There are.”
***
Kousaka Masanobu sat quietly in a small café. He felt horribly…
Scared…
Something was wrong.
Muraki miscalculated something, that, Kousaka’s sure, but he simply couldn’t get what, and why it was bothering him.
Naoe was asleep. No dreams. That’s good. At least he got a time to rest.
Again, Kousaka found himself asking his motives. If it really worth it all.
No answer came to him.
******
 
Author’s Note:
 
Another chapter posted. No long notes for now. Working on next chapter… and it’ll be longer than 10 chapters.
DEFINITELY longer.
Like always, all mistakes are solely mine, as I have no beta-reader available right now.
Thanks for reading, hopefully more will come soon!
BTW, should I post these in Fanfiction.net?
 
 
 
Tenno Himekawa Rie
 
 
 
 
8:22 am
Lamentation Chapter 7
Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 7
This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...
sigh...
I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...
This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.
R/R are greatly appreciated!
 
Lamentation
 
Chapter 7
And Here We Are
 
Takaya was confused.
The only thing that kept Yoshiaki from hitting his head on the floor was because Shuhei and himself was able to support him, which was fortunate, because (Ayako remarked later on that) his head would’ve hit the table instead.
Not that Takaya paid any attention to it.
He always says that he’s a man of action. Planning is Yoshiaki’s forte, not his.
He’s pretty damn sure that something must’ve gone wrong in Yoshiaki’s long-term plan regarding their kanshosha. Actually, he was sure that something had gone awfully wrong when they first had to make contact with the said kanshosha. Different from Yoshiaki, who always makes sure that Nobutsuna’s still ‘alive’, he cared none about Kagetora.
That is, until he met Yoshiaki.
The man currently lying unconscious on his lap.
***
“Naoe!”
Takaya stormed into his house, Yuzuru and Saori at his heels.
“NAOE!!”
“Ougi-kun! Stop yelling!” Saori snapped.
Miya appeared from the kitchen, a spatula in her hand, “Oniichan! Can’t you be any louder? You’ll wake the dead yelling like that,” the girl complained.
“Where’s Naoe?” asked Takaya briskly.
“Not here,” Miya shrugged, “The house was empty when I came home.”
“But his car’s parked outside.”
“Maybe he walked? You know how expensive gas is nowadays.”
Takaya almost commented on how Naoe’s not supposed to worry about that, given his family financial background, but Yuzuru’s voice behind him cut that sarcastic thought.
“He was supposed to pick us up, Miya-chan.”
“He didn’t,” continued Saori.
Miya frowned, an expression most unbecoming on her face.
Takaya suddenly felt nervous as her sister’s eyes seized on him suddenly.
“What? I didn’t do anything,” he said defensively,” I was at school, I swear it. Ask Yuzuru!”
Miya turned around and walked into the kitchen, Takaya behind her. Yuzuru and Saori looked at each other and followed, while keeping in mind to stay as away as possible.
“Forgive me, Oniichan, at first I thought you had another lovers’ spat with him,” Miya said as she put the spatula in a nearby bowl, “I noticed that he seemed withdrawn since last night.”
“Eh?”
“You didn’t?” asked Yuzuru, surprised, “I did, too.”
Takaya shook his head wearily.
“Some lover you are...” grumbled Saori.
Takaya shot her a look.
“Hey, it’s true,” Saori defended herself.
“Well, you didn’t notice too!”
“I’m not his lover. Neither is Narita-kun.”
That crumbled whatever retort Takaya had on his tongue.
“Maybe he went with Ayako-san? Or Chiaki-san?” asked Miya.
“Or maybe with Sumeragi-sama? Or Watari-sensei, perhaps?” supplied Saori.
“Without telling us?” asked Takaya, “He promised to pick us up, remember, Morino?”
“His cellphone?” asked Miya.
“Inactive,” said Yuzuru.
Miya looked at her brother, “Anything weird happened today?”
“Well... yes...” Takaya ran a nervous hand through his hair, “Do you remember Kousaka Danjou, the one I told you about, the Takeda retainer?”
“The purple-lip man whom you think has a crush on Yoshiaki-niisan?” Miya asked, incidentally making Yuzuru choked.
“Crush on Naoe-san?” asked Saori, amused.
“If anything, I think he has a crush on YOU, Takaya...” Yuzuru sniggered.
“Miya...” Takaya growled threateningly.
The effort was lost on Miya, who was looking at him intently, “What about him?”
“He appeared at our school again today, and he spent all school hours standing by the gate,” said Yuzuru, “And then when we waited for Naoe-san, he came to us and said that...”
“That?”
Yuzuru looked at Takaya nervously.
“That Naoe-san has a better shelter to visit,” Saori said softly.
Miya looked at her brother intently, “Niichan... are you sure everything’s okay with you and Yoshiaki-niisan? Or rather, is he okay with you?”
“Does it have anything to do with us asking him to tell us his history yesterday?” asked Saori worriedly.
“I don’t think so...” said Takaya, “He didn’t say anything that history books didn’t say...”
“Well, he did look strangely ill at ease after that,” said Yuzuru, “After he went out to buy cigarette, to be precise.”
“No...” Miya bit her lips, “It was before that... It was after you asked about his school life, Niichan...”
“You have good memory,” commented Saori.
Miya smiled, “It’s my ace card. I don’t have photographic memory, but I do notice many things.”
The front door opened, and Takaya whirled instantly, “Naoe?” he yelled.
“No, it’s Subaru,” a voice answered. The head of the Sumeragi Family entered the kitchen then, “I thought he’s home already? He picked you up, right? His car is outside.”
“No, Subaru-san, he didn’t,” said Yuzuru, “We waited for quite long, but he didn’t show up, so we went home walking.”
“He wasn’t home when I came,” said Miya, “which was before Niichan came, but his car was already outside.”
“Ladies, I’m home!” Chiaki’s voice floated along with the sound of door opening.
“Oh, shut up, Nagahide, and help me with this,” Haruie’s voice followed.
Looking at each other, the five people in the kitchen scrambled out toward the front door.
“Chiaki! Is Naoe with you?” asked Takaya urgently.
“Eh?” asked Chiaki, “No, he’s not. Haruie and I went shopping, remember? When we went out, he was still home.”
“His car is outside, “said Haruie.
“I know that his car is outside! It hasn’t even budged ever since I came home! It was there when Miya came home! But Naoe isn’t here, nor did he pick us up! And I don’t care if Naoe’s car is gone, I want to know where Naoe is and I want to know NOW!”
Takaya was either enraged or on the verge of panic.
Looking at him, Saori decided that it’s probably both.
“Uhm...” Haruie looked at Yuzuru, who shrugged helplessly.
“Yoshiaki-niisan didn’t pick up Niichan at school. His car was outside when I came home, which was an hour before Niichan came,” explained Miya quietly.
“I left after you two did, but Yoshiaki was still home at that time...” Subaru looked at Nagahide worriedly.
“And when we were waiting, Kousaka-Danjou...”
Takaya whirled around and stomped toward the room he shared with Naoe, leaving Yuzuru, forgetting his report, looking at his back.
“I guess he really hates Kousaka...” Saori sighed.
***
“Saori-chan went home,” Haruie said softly.
“Have you found him yet?”
She looked at Takaya, who was sitting on the floor, leaning on the wall, smoking one of Naoe’s Parliament cigarettes, Naoe’s jacket draped on his slumped shoulders.
“Not yet,” the female kanshosha said, walking into the room and sat beside him, “But we haven’t been able to contact Watari-sensei either, so there’s a possibility that he’s with that crazy doctor...”
Takaya shook his head, “Watari-sensei went back to Meifu, right? He left before Subaru left.”
“Well...” Haruie sighed, “He’s not answering our shinenha... but Nagahide has sent the Nokizaru out to search, so...”
“The Nokizaru won’t find him, Neesan... Not if he wants to disappear.”
“And why would he want to disappear?” asked Nagahide, standing by the door.
“I don’t know,” Takaya groaned, “But whatever it is, it’s gotta be my fault.”
“How in the world could you come up with that sick sick theory?” asked Haruie.
Takaya looked at her sadly, making her wince.
“And when was his grief not of my making?”
“I say you’re both at fault, Kagetora...” Nagahide said, “Both of you stubborn fools brought this onto yourself. It’s just a coincidence that he broke first.”
Takaya shook his head, as if trying to get rid of an unwanted thought, “I don’t know, Chiaki... I don’t know anymore... Much as I want to be natural with him, all of my actions, my words... I became so afraid that either I’d drive him away again or, worse off; I’d break him, yet again.... I mean... I didn’t mean to push him away before... Yet, what happened...”
Haruie smiled sadly, “Both of you are too much alike in a way, Kagetora... Both of you crave for the intimacy, but both of you fear it... He wants you, but he’s afraid to have you...”
“And I want him, yet I’m afraid to have him,” Takaya laughed, “This is stupid.”
Nagahide and Haruie looked at him tiredly.
“Kagetora-san! Nagahide-san, Haruie-san!” Subaru’s voice came calling them, “Can you come here for a minute!”
“Hai!” All three rushed toward where Subaru called them.
“What is it?” asked Nagahide, who first came into the room, and stopped short.
There, in the living room, stood a tall brown-haired man clad in dark trenchcoat. His handsome face was set in a dark frown, and his brilliant amethyst eyes shone hard.
After meeting three of them, he knows a shinigami when he sees one.
“This is Tsuzuki Asato. Meifu sent him,” said Yuzuru.
“I have no time to explain,” Tsuzuki said briskly, “Tatsumi told me to bring all of you to Meifu now. All explanation can wait.”
“All of us?” asked Miya.
“Yes, Miya-chan, you have to come, too,” Tsuzuki gave her a small smile, “It will be safer that way.”
“But Naoe-san is not here...” Yuzuru said hesitantly, “Or perhaps...”
Tsuzuki nodded, “It’s about Naoe-san.”
Takaya sighed, “Let’s go then. What must we do?”
“Hold hands, or at least make sure you’re touching someone,” Tsuzuki said simply.
Miya hugged her brother (It’s okay, Niichan, it’s okay), who hugged her back (Oh, God, Tsuna, please be okay, please be okay...), Yuzuru touched his shoulder (God, why do this keeps on happening), Haruie wound her arm around Miya (Just stay calm, stay strong, or you won’t be of any help) and grabbed Subaru using the other hand (Oh, Yoshiaki, please be alright, otherwise...), and Yuzuru reached out to touch Nagahide’s arm (be the wise one now, don’t panic, don’t crumble...). The shinigami, Tsuzuki, put a hand on Subaru’s shoulder, and another on Nagahide’s, and they disappeared from the room.
***
Meifu, Yuzuru decided, looked nothing like what he imagined.
Stories that he knew suggested that Meifu is... well... a ghost land. But nothing would prepare him for a version of the Diet building with sakura all around it.
Tsuzuki led them through the building and working people until they came to a closed door with the nametag ‘Juohcho Shokanka Summon Division Meeting Room’ on it.
Tsuzuki knocked on it, “Tsuzuki desu!”
“Come in, Tsuzuki,” a deep voice was heard, and Tsuzuki opened the door, ushering them inside, before finally closing the door behind them.
There, around a long square table, sat the secretary Tatsumi Seiichirou, the empath boy Kurosaki Hisoka, and an older man, whom Yuzuru thought must be their boss.
“I got them, Kachou,” Tsuzuki said.
“Good,” the old man stood up, “Please, have a seat.”
They moved to take the vacant chairs, fidgeting all the while.
“I am Konoe, the chief of the summon division. I’m sorry that we had to take you here in a hurry, but an unexpected development had occurred and the... taking of you people are necessary, if we want to minimize the possible further damage.”
“Where’s Naoe?” asked Takaya without preamble.
“Oniichan...” Miya tried to shush him, but Takaya would have none of it.
“You know where he is, right? You’ve taken him here, too?”
Tatsumi felt sorry that he had to quench the hope in the young man’s eyes, “No, I’m afraid we didn’t, Kagetora-san. Naoe-san was... already missing when we found out that something was... wrong...”
It’s just ridiculous how words suddenly don’t feel enough to convey one’s emotion, Hisoka thought.
“Where is he, then?” asked Haruie.
“We don’t know. We’ve sent spirit trackers and every available Reikai Annainin we have are currently out to search him, even the Reikai Tantei. We’re looking at every possible, even impossible, places.”
“We might have to do more than that, Tatsumi,” Tsuzuki said quietly, “What Muraki holds, he doesn’t let go.”
Takaya gave a sharp intake of breath, “Muraki?”
“Yes,” Hisoka nodded, “we suspected that he was the one who take Naoe-san.”
“But... why?” asked Subaru, “He let him be at the hospital. Why take him after he’s recovered? I mean, a recovered Yoshiaki is by no means defenseless.”
“Well, mad doctor still got him, right?” asked Nagahide sarcastically.
“What do we do, then?” asked Haruie.
“For now, we keep on searching,” said Konoe, “And we’ll be keeping you here, I’m afraid. I’m not sure if Muraki means to capture Naoe-san individually, or if he means to capture all of you. We’ve also put guards for the people closest to Naoe-san and to all of you, just in case he thinks of using them to get you.”
“He might just do that, eh...” Yuzuru sighed.
“I’m sorry, Yuzuru, for dragging you into this mess...” Takaya looked guilty.
“Don’t be, Takaya. It’s my choice to plunge myself in, not yours.”
“You too, Miya...”
Miya smiled, “It doesn’t matter, oniichan. It sure beats the hell out of homework everyday.”
Takaya laughed bitterly.
“Konoe-san, if you please,” Subaru said, “I have friends that might be able to help...”
“If you mean Imonoyama Nokoru, go right ahead and call him, Sumeragi-san. You can use your cell phone from here.”
“Oh... okay... How can he be of any help?” Subaru asked, suddenly feeling stupid for offering something he’s not sure how to get.
“Mayhap, he can move the rest of the Dragons?” asked Tatsumi, “It will help a lot to have more people with more firepower...”
“Will it be okay, Tatsumi? I mean...” Tsuzuki stopped.
“It’s inevitable...” Hisoka sighed.
Tsuzuki nodded slowly, “I hate Armageddon. It just simply doesn’t stop hurting.”
Hisoka nodded.
Subaru looked at them but said nothing.
Then there was a knock, followed by the creaking sound of opened door.
“Kachou, we’ve cleared area six, what would you suppose...”
Subaru froze.
He knew that voice well.
“Ah, Sakurazuka. Area Six cleared? Well, don’t you go slacking off, though, Muraki’s one tough bastard, and he likes Kyoto and Tokyo best,” Konoe said, amusedly looking at Subaru and the newcomer.
Tsuzuki stepped closer toward Hisoka, who suddenly grabbed Tatsumi’s jacket, his face pale. The said secretary reached out and held the boy close, Tsuzuki completing the shield by standing protectively in front of them.
Hisoka couldn’t help but to peek, though.
Suddenly the man was pushed into the room, and a female voice joined, “Mou, Sei-chan, move! Kachou, area one finished. Can we... oops...”
Subaru whirled around, and faced another tall man wearing dark sunglasses. Behind him, a girl, a younger female version of Subaru looked amused.
“Seishirou-san... Hokuto-chan...” Subaru choked.
Behind him, he heard someone coughed.
A second later...
“SUBARU-CHAN!!!!!”
Subaru found himself being hugged so hard by his long dead twin sister.
“Hokuto-chan...” he weakly hugged her back, “You’re alive...”
“No, I’m not, baka! I can’t work at Meifu if I’m alive!”
Subaru choked, “Whatever...”
The other man gave a polite cough, “Well, I shall be going now, Kacho...”
“Not so fast, Seishirou-san...” Subaru said calmly.
Hokuto bemusedly stepped away, allowing her twin to step toward Seishirou, who was rooted there.
The others stayed well away, yet looked at the pair curiously.
“It’s been quite a long time, Seishirou-san.”
“It has, Subaru-kun.”
Subaru smiled sadly, “Even after all this time, you still call me that?”
“You still call me Seishirou-san. Besides, old habit dies hard.”
“Aa...” Subaru shrugged, “glad to know that at least there’s one part of you I didn’t kill.”
“Subaru-kun...” Seishirou flinched.
“There are two things that I’ve always wanted to do after Rainbow Bridge, Seishirou-san...” Subaru trailed off.
“Which are?” Seishirou tilted his head, a ghost of smile on his face.
“This.”
Subaru raised his fist and hit Seishirou’s face hard, that the man actually staggered back.
Hokuto slapped her mouth to stop a protest. Her twin needed this.
Seishirou wiped his bleeding lip on his sleeve, “Okay, I deserve that. And the other one?”
“This.”
And Subaru stepped forward, closing their distance until they stood an inch from each other, reached up to lock his arms behind Seishirou’s neck, making the older man bent his head down, and silently kissed him.
Seishirou’s eyes widened and he tried to push Subaru away, but the younger man was clinging to him, and his lips were warm on his own, and he realized that the Sumeragi was crying.
Instead of letting go, he held him tighter, feeling the body trembling against his own, and the kiss gradually became heated.
“My... I know that you guys need a make-up sex, but to do it in front of the door and everyone is a little too kinky, don’t you think so, Sei-san?”
The two men broke apart, and Subaru’s eyes caught the purple-eyed boy standing by the door.
“Kamui...” Subaru said weakly, still in Seishirou’s arm.
“The one and only. Well, not really...” Kamui scrunched his face, “Kacho, area three cleared. I’m going down to get donut, anyone want some?”
“Just get plenty of it, Shirou,” Konoe groaned, “We have an army to feed...”
“Gotcha. Nice meeting you again, Subaru, and I’ll be wanting a hug later on when Sei-san is not around to chop me to pieces for trying to molest you, but for now just enjoy your reunion. Oh, and the quartet are demanding to see theirs, Kacho. Well, three of them. One is still unconscious.”
“We’ll get to that later, Shirou-kun,” said Tatsumi, “and make sure you buy coffee... a lot of them.”
“Gotcha, Tatsumi-san. I’ll see you later, Subaru. Hokuto-chan, don’t you bother them too much, kay? At least let them have some time together.”
“I think I’ll go with you, Kamui...” Hokuto smiled, “Subaru and I can talk later on.”
Kamui nodded, and the two promptly disappeared.
“Sakurazuka...” Konoe coughed, “I suggest you to take Sumeragi-san into your own quarter. I’m quite sure you two have much to talk about.”
Seishirou nodded, “I think I will, Kacho, arigato. Subaru-kun, keep holding onto me, okay?”
And he disappeared, taking Subaru with him.
Takaya looked at the remaining shinigami in the room, “What was that all about?”
Tsuzuki shrugged, “Tatsumi, Kacho, I’m taking Hisoka to bed, okay? He needs rest, those emotional buffets were definitely too much.”
Hisoka nodded, still half clinging to Tsuzuki.
“Hai, just take your time, Kurosaki-kun,” Tatsumi nodded.
Again, two people disappeared from the room, leaving the three kanshosha, Yuzuru, and Miya with Tatsumi and Konoe.
“You will be taking these people into your office, Tatsumi?” asked Konoe
Tatsumi nodded and stood up, “If you’d follow me, please?”
They had no choice but to follow.
***
“What was that all about?” asked Haruie.
“The whole thing with Sumeragi-san?” asked Tatsumi, “Well, in short, Sakurazuka-san killed Sumeragi-san’s twin sister, Hokuto, when they were... sixteen, I think. Nine years later, at the end of the world fiasco, Sumeragi-san ended up killing Sakurazuka-san.”
“Oh?” asked Takaya, raising an eyebrow, “So, he got his revenge, right?”
“In a way. The problem is, Sumeragi-san is in love with Sakurazuka-san.”
“We’ve noticed,” said Nagahide dryly.
“The end of the world fiasco?” asked Miya.
“Aa... some people refer to it as Armageddon. It happened several years ago. Two groups of people battled for the sake of the continuation, or renewal of the world.”
“Who won?” asked Haruie.
“I have no idea,” said Tatsumi, “one thing’s for sure, the world didn’t cease to be.”
“And the kid? Eh... Shirou?” asked Nagahide.
“Shirou Kamui. The Kamui of the Dragons of Heaven.”
“I’m confused,” said Yuzuru.
“You have to be. This is not an easy thing to understand, and it’s not you department either.”
“Talking about department,” Nagahide said, “I seem to remember that you mentioned something about us being part of shinigami?”
“I did, didn’t I?” Tatsumi was clearly amused, “I was hoping you’ve forgotten about it.”
“Well, I didn’t.”
“Maa... It would serve as a preamble for what you’re about to see, or, better yet, whom you’re about to meet...” Tatsumi shrugged.
“Eh?”
Tatsumi opened the door that leads to the office break room.
“This is your office?” Takaya asked, confused.
“Obviously, Kacho forgot that my office is small that it can’t accommodate these many people. So the break room will have to do.”
“Oh... I thought you double shift as a cook or something.”
Tatsumi chuckled, “Contrary to popular beliefs, my cooking is not nearly as bad as Tsuzuki’s; although it’s not as good as Kannuki’s, yet I do consider myself a good cook.”
“Only if you eat on cereal and coffee, Seii...”
Watari entered the room leisurely; his owl trilled a welcome on his shoulder.
Miya clapped her hands and the owl flew to her.
“How cute!” the girl squealed.
“Her name’s 003,” Watari smiled.
“That’s a weird name,” Haruie commented.
“Say as you wish, Haruie-san.”
“How’s your patient?” asked Tatsumi.
“He’s awake, and is currently being smothered by his stricken colleagues that I had to remove myself from their vicinity.”
“He is? That’s good. Anything he can provide us with?”
“He’d just woken up, Tatsumi, be more considerate, will you?”
“Hmmm...”Nagahide smirked, “So when it’s personal, it’s ‘Seii’, but when it’s professional, it’s ‘Tatsumi’, eh, Sensei?”
“What? Oh. It’s habit. Seii is the nicest person you could ever meet, but Tatsumi’s the scary secretary. One just has to differ them. So, why exactly are you all gathering here for?”
“I was going to explain about their contract. Would you do the honour, Watari?”
Watari took a chair and gestured for the others to sit down.
“Well, I guess I have to start at 400 years ago, before Uesugi Kenshin’s death.”
“Before that?” asked Takaya, surprised.
“Yes, Kagetora-san. Before that, Kenshin, besides being a war general, was actually a seer. He never actually realized this ability until sometimes before his death, after he declared that Kagetora and Kagekatsu were both his heirs. Around that time, the record says, while meeting Naoe Sanetsuna, he saw a glimpse of Sanetsuna’s heir and son in law, Nobutsuna, and he was struck by a vision of, based on what he said, ‘places that changes from one time to another around his people, and a future battle that will destroy a world barely recovered from a devastating sadness.’ He also mentioned many people who, in his words, ‘were supposed to be long gone, yet were still battling each other and ruining the world.’”
“In short, he saw that even after they’re dead, the Sengoku would still go on,” Tatsumi continued, “Somehow, he felt that he had to do something. So when he died, he refused to move on and ignored the Annainin sent for him, at that time, it was Botan-san, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Botan-san is one of the top-ranked annainin closest to Koenma-Daioh-sama, Enma-Daioh-sama’s son and heir. She asked Kenshin why he refused to move on, and he told her of his vision. At the same time, the war between Kagekatsu and Kagetora started, and, needless to say, Kenshin witnessed it all.”
“He... did?” asked Takaya quietly, “Why didn’t he try to interfere, then? Why did he...”
“He’s dead, Takaya-san. The dead aren’t suposed to meddle with the living’s affair. But those that come from the Sengoku Jidai carried enough fuel of ambition, desire, and hatred that they refused to, well, give up their existence. Hence, the Yami-Sengoku.”
“If let to their own devices, the undead warlords will turn the world asunder with their never-ending war. So, Kenshin came up with an... idea,” here, Watari snorted, “He realized that around him, there were people with great spiritual power and noble heart. So he gave a proposal to Botan-san, give his people the aid to do possession so they can maintain order of the Yami Sengoku, and he’d move on. Botan-san reported this to Koenma-sama, who reported it to Enma-sama, who agreed to give the aid to five people only, and that the Meikai Uesugi Yashashuu will be put under Juohcho Shokanka at the same level as the Summoning Department. So Kenshin chose five of his men. Kakizaki Haruie, Yasuda Nagahide, Katsunaga Irobe, Uesugi Kagetora, and Uesugi Kagekatsu.”
“Huh?” Haruie started.
“Kagekatsu?” asked Nagahide.
“But Kagekatsu’s not one of the Yashashuu,” said Yuzuru.
“Naoe Nobutsuna is,” said Miya.
“I know,” Tatsumi nodded, “Enma-sama reminded him that if he has both Kagetora and Kagekatsu in the same troops, he’d as well create another Otate no Ran. So he had to choose one of them. He chose Kagetora.”
“Why?” asked Takaya, “Why me? Why not Kagekatsu, who’s his real nephew? Why chose me, the eighth son of the Hojo?”
“I don’t know,” said Watari simply, “We only know what our archives have.”
“But then they have one empty slot, and Kenshin had to fill that slot. But he got confused; who else was there to choose? So Enma-sama gave a recommendation, why not chose the one who ignited the vision at the first place? So Kenshin chose Naoe Nobutsuna.”
“Naoe was...”
“Recommended by The Lord of The Dead?”
Nagahide and Haruie looked at each other.
“Man, that’s heavy...” Takaya shook his head.
“Well, that’s the real story of the forming of the Yashashuu. The aid that Enma-sama granted, is the ability to do possession without consequences, and the, well, placing of one of Meifu’s agents, in secret, of course, to guide you to all possible bodies around you should a possession is necessary.”
“What? So it is orchestrated!” said Nagahide.
“Not really. You never realized that we’re around, right? Sometimes, the original soul actually invited your soul in, like what happened to Nagahide-san’s current possession. Haruie-san’s current possession is a dead baby, the same as Kagetora-san, Naoe-san, and Irobe-san. Now, here’s the hitch. What happens to the original souls?” Watari wiggled his finger.
No one said anything.
“I believe it was said before that the original souls would either be sent on, turned into guardian spirits, or an employee in Meifu,” said Tatsumi, “Usually, when you do baby possession, the soul would just move on. When it’s adult possession, they usually turned into guardian spirits for those they love the most, and when these loved ones dies, they’d move on too. For a long time, no one asked, and we never offered any original soul, to be an employee of Meifu. This, however, changed some 30 years ago.”
Takaya stiffened.
“You see, a possession that Enma-sama legalized for the Yashashuu can only be done personally. When a soul is forcefully pushed into another body, like what Sanjo no kata almost did with Takeda Shingen, that’s against the aid rule. Well, I’m afraid Kenshin decided to cheat when he signed the agreement with Enma-sama. He taught the switched possession technique to one of his retainer.”
“Naoe,” Takaya said dryly.
“Yes. It was the same technique he used to save your dying soul before Ougi Takaya let you use his body, Kagetora-san.”
Silence.
“So, since it’s a forbidden technique, he got punished because of that, didn’t he?” asked Haruie.
“No,” Tatsumi shook his head, “he would have, if other parties didn’t interfere.”
“Other... parties?”
“Yes. The original soul of the body Kagetora-san used before Ougi Takaya. Kitazato Minako.”
Takaya paled.
“Normally, she would seek vengeance on what Naoe-san did to her. But she didn’t. You see, we weren’t able to interfere when you were still fighting Nobunaga, and after that you vanished to who knows where. When the shinigami on duty at that time, Tsuzuki, Watari, Kannuki, and I, were sent to collect Naoe-san...”
Tatsumi stopped, a smile on his lips, as if remembering something amusing, or heart-touching. Watari had the same expression on his face, only his smile was more brilliant, and his eyes glassy.
“She stopped us.”
Nagahide and Haruie looked at each other. Takaya opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He closed them again and leaned back on his chair, as if waiting for the inevitable.
Watari looked at somewhere around the room, his eyes bright in memory, “It was very much too late when we came. Nagahide-san and Haruie-san already did their possession, and Irobe was saved. Naoe-san, though, spent his last bit of energy shielding you from Nobunaga’s hakonha, that he couldn’t do a possession even if he wants to. And at that time, he didn’t want to. He simply stayed there, still in the Kazahara body that he possessed, waiting for death to claim him, I guess. And we came.”
“We were ordered to take him, yes, and although the soul is still in the body, the body is already dead, so naturally, it would’ve been the usual get the soul out and bring him to judgment kind of job. Only we didn’t expect Kitazato Minako shielding the soul. When we tried to dissuade her, she stood her ground, when the link finally failed and the soul was pushed out, she refused to let him go.”
“When Minako’s soul didn’t turn up in Meifu after she was written in Kiseki, she became Tsuzuki and Kannuki’s job. Ours, Tatsumi’s and mine, was Naoe-san. But looking at that situation, we realized that all four of us would fail,” Watari chuckled, “you just don’t argue with a woman like that.”
“Like what?” asked Haruie. The Minako she remembered was polite and, well... weak.
“Like Maria.”
“Huh?”
Tatsumi smiled, “Her precise words when we tried to take Naoe-san by force was, ‘This is my friend, the one I couldn’t save from himself. This is the one who loves the one I love the most, more than I could ever be. This is a tortured soul that would have rested long ago if only you’d let him be. If you want to take him now, then forgive me if I have to stand in your way.’”
“How? I mean, well... you’re shinigami, right? You can just... cast her aside anytime, even in her best days!” argued Nagahide.
“Maybe not.”
All looked at Takaya.
“When... I was in her body... I felt tremendous strength I’ve never felt before. I think... the reason why my soul could hold on so long after being hit by hakonha, is because I was shielded in her body. Were it of anyone else’s...”
“Correct, Kagetora-san,” Watari nodded, “Like I said, you simply don’t argue with her, and after we heard the full history of her time with you guys, it’s a good thing we didn’t.”
“It was her who carried Naoe-san’s dying soul to the body of Tachibana Yoshiaki,” Tatsumi continued, “and they were the one who forced the possession.”
“They? As in Minako and Naoe?”
“No. Minako and Yoshiaki.”
“EH?”
“Naoe-san had lost all will to live, remember? Kagetora’s gone, he himself was in the darkest depression ever... Tachibana Yoshiaki were supposed to be born dead, but the soul itself were, well, special, in a way... so when Minako met Yoshiaki, Yoshiaki offered his body to host Naoe-san, and they forced the soul in. Apparently, Minako has perfect memory, and she remembered the spell Naoe-san used to drive her out. She taught it to Yoshiaki, and when they combined their powers, they managed to overwhelm Naoe-san and pushed him into that body, albeit against his will.”
“...” The yashashuu looked at each other, completely dumbfounded.
“That explains his chronic depression...” Haruie sighed.
“What?” asked Nagahide and Takaya.
“Oh... you two wouldn’t know, would you? Naoe himself never really told me anything, but Irobe-san told me that... well... he kind of regretted going to see Naoe some 6 or 7 years after the Nobunaga incident. “
“How so?” asked Takaya.
“Irobe came to Naoe to ask him if you answered his shinenha, Kagetora, which you didn’t, of course. When he received yet another negative; he asked me before he asked Naoe; Irobe gave up and pronounced Kagetora dead. Naoe, all along, though, thought that you didn’t answer him because you were still mad at him.”
Kagetora shook his head, “I didn’t know anything at that time! Damn, if you count the time, I wasn’t even born yet!”
“We didn’t know it at that time, do we? Well, in short, Naoe broke down. Kagetora, dead, is something he can’t handle. He tried to kill himself at his family’s temple, but his oldest brother, Teruhiro, interfered, that Naoe accidentally stabbed him instead. After that, he went catatonic for quite a while until a relative pulled him out of it, I assume that it’s someone from the Sumeragi family, judging by what his mother said before.”
“Perhaps... it’s Subaru’s grandmother, I think...” Nagahide nodded, “Then what happened?”
“After that, the depression fits didn’t easily end, as revealed quite clearly hadn’t he hid those scars under that big Rolex watch of his. That’s why he said he never socialize at school, Kagetora. He entered the school community quite late because his parents decided to keep him home and pursue Buddhist teaching instead. After he was deemed level enough, then they let him go to school, and he kept on jumping classes until university. Which also explain why his family knows about the Yashashuu. Naoe must’ve told them, thinking that they’d cast him away if they knew he... killed their real son. After all, he’d accidentally hurt Teruhiro. Only they didn’t. Instead, they showered him with unconditional love he craved for, and protect him as their own.”
Takaya felt miserable. Even more depressed than he did before.
“He started doing his Yashashuu job after he turned fifteen, I think. He told me that one of the spirits his second brother, Yoshihiro, and his older sister, Saeko, had to vanquish one day was a Yami-Sengoku captain, that he just had to handle things by his own hands. Before that, he never used any Yashashuu technique, but because at that time there was only Irobe, as myself was too young to do anything, Kagetora pronounced dead, and Nagahide went missing, so he decided to rejoin the whole Yashashuu duty again. As soon as I was old enough to actually handle the business, I rejoined them. At that time, Irobe-san’s health began to deteriorate. I was... at high school, I think, when Irobe-san did his next possession. So for a while, there were only the two of us out of the five Yashashuu. It was hectic.”
Nagahide looked guilty, “Sorry about that.”
Harie shook her head, “Don’t worry, we, well, Naoe, understands your reasoning. I just wanted to hit you, but that’s all in the past. Do you know that Naoe never stops looking for you?”
“I know,” Nagahide grumbled, “There were so many time he came so close I had to elude him from time to time, he was so persistent.”
“What can I say? Irobe asked him once, why he was so determined in looking for Kagetora and you, while both of you obviously didn’t answer his shinenha. Naoe said that Kagetora-sama didn’t answer his shinenha because maybe he can’t, or won’t, so he’d just have to look for him. As for you... he said he wanted to say thank you. For what, I don’t know.”
Nagahide lowered his head, “That fool... he just doesn’t understand that it’s natural for people to love him.”
“Huh?”
Nagahide grinned, “Not like that, Kagetora. The whole Yami Sengoku knows that Naoe’s love is only for his liege lord, Kagetora. What I mean is, the way he is... one can’t help but to be annoyed by him yet loves him at the same time. I know I can’t. Oh, I’m not always friends with him, and there are times when I want to throw him off the fifth floor, but he’s family. That’s why your fights with him is the worst to handle. You’re also family, and at those times...” he looked at Haruie.
“It’s hard to decide who hurts who, especially because in the end both of you got hurt anyway,” continued Haruie, “But, as Irobe-san said, because Naoe is always in the passive side, meaning you do all the screaming and taunting and he’d just look at you blankly or lower his head, most of the time we ended up drawing you away from him, because he wouldn’t want to be removed from your side, even if he hurts.”
“The same with you,” Nagahide smirked, “Whenever he got hurt, or sick, you’d refuse to stay by his side. You’d stay away from him, moping all the while, and when he finally got better and stay by your side again, you’d look at him haughtily and acted as if you don’t care. If we didn’t see how worried you were at those times you stayed away from him, we’d tend to believe it, as Naoe does...”
Takaya looked at Nagahide in askance.
“I really think he thought you don’t care, Kagetora.”
“Which explains his depression, yet again,” concluded Watari, “Sandcastle. Hard to mold, easy to destroy. Build it wrong, and it won’t be at all. Build it right, it’s so plain you wonder why you want it. With the right sand texture, you can build a good one, but if the sand’s too soft, or too hard, you can’t mold it al all. Push too hard, you’d fracture the construction. But if it’s not shaped strongly, it’ll crumble. If you’re not careful, it’d break apart, if you’re too careful, it would never be done.”
“Sounds like love to me,” Tatsumi shrugged.
Watari nodded, looking at Tatsumi meaningfully, “Yes. Sounds like love.”
Takaya, without knowing why, blushed.
“You’re one lucky guy, Takaya,” Yuzuru gave his best friend a brilliant smile, “To be loved like that, that’s just beautiful...”
“I guess I am,” Takaya raked his hand through his hair sheepishly.
“Now all you have to do is to make sure that love last forever,” Miya grinned.
“Talking about love...” Nagahide interrupted, “Do you know what happened to Naoe? I mean, you said that Muraki had him.”
“That’s a guess, not fact,” Watari said, “It’s just that the only one who can actually hide someone from us shinigami is Muraki, and since we can’t find Naoe-san...”
“Oh...”
***
It was another two hours when Subaru finally showed up at the break room with Kamui and Hokuto on either side of him, Seishirou in tow. With Seishirou came another man, a thin blond man who looked like just gotten out of bed.
“Ah, Sei-san. How’s the reunion?” asked Watari.
“Considering that I have to share my Subaru-kun with his bubbly twin and his demanding Kamui, I’ve been better.”
“Haha, Sei-chan, we waited for like hours in front of your door, and you still dare say we bother you,” Hokuto looked hurt.
“Oh, well. Time for late introduction, I guess. Minna-san, this is Sakurazuka Seishirou, my partner in area six. That’s Shirou Kamui, and that’s Sumeragi Hokuto. The guy you haven’t seen before is Kazuki Kakyou, our resident yumemi.”
“Yumemi?” Takaya perked up.
“Easy there, Kagetora-san, we’ve tried to search Naoe-san through dreamscape before, it didn’t work.”
“Either his dreamscape is greatly weakened, or he managed to overpower my search system,” said Kakyou, “Sorry, but I’ll try again later.”
“Well, we have to find Nobutsuna fast...” Hokuto said, “If he’s really taken by Muraki...”
“Who knows what mad doctor will do to him...” Kamui continued.
“He might try to analyze his dreamscape...” Kakyou wondered.
“Or his being a kanshosha,” added Subaru.
“Or he’s just plain interested in him. I have to say, while Yoshiaki’s gorgeous, Naoe-san’s even more so,” Seishirou sighed.
“Don’t you say that in front of Ayako, Sei-chan, you sound like you want to molest the guy, you might get killed again,” Hokuto said.
“Say, Naoe-san doesn’t happen to have amethyst or jade eyes, right?” asked Watari offhandedly.
“Thankfully, no.”
Takaya looked at Watari questioningly.
“Muraki has fetish on purple or green eyes on male legs,” explained Tatsumi, “Or so we think.”
“Oh...”
“Excuse me, are we interrupting?” a female voice, quite familiar, was heard from the doorway, and everyone looked at the newcomers.
The Yashashuu, Miya, Yuzuru, and Subaru were visibly startled.
There, by the door, stood their original souls.
***
“So, aren’t you going to give me what I want?”
Naoe only looked at the doctor tiredly, his whole body too drained to make any vocal or body response at all.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Muraki decipher his answer correctly.
“I see. Well... I guess I’ll just have to try harder, eh?”
Naoe closed his eyes, surrendering to the inevitable, while concentrating on blocking the shinenha and dream wave he knew were sent to look for him.
They can’t find him. They mustn’t try to save him.
If they do...
The result...
...
Would be most unthinkable.
***
 
Author’s Note:
 
Hullo everyone.
MadameDewi and sarahKurai told me that this is one of the most confusing chapter ever, and don’t I know that.
Sorry…
Hopefully there are still people who read this.
Like always, all mistakes are solely mine, as I have no beta-reader available right now.
Thanks for reading, hopefully more will come soon!
BTW, should I post these in Fanfiction.net?
 
 
 
Tenno Himekawa Rie
 
 
 
 


Current Mood: amused
7:46 am
Lamentation Chapter 6; at last!
Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 6!
This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...
sigh...
I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...
This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.
R/R are greatly appreciated!
 
Lamentation
 
Chapter 6
Enter the Demon
 
Chiaki Shuhei was different from his other companions. He was not possessed when he was still an infant. He was the one person who actually gave up his body to be used by Yasuda Nagahide. He thought that at that time, he’d find peace in death.
Such a shallow thought.
Why he accepted his station in HenJouChou was beyond him, but he knew that he accepted it without doubt. His partner, Kadowaki Ayako, was also a shukutai, her body possessed by Kakizaki Haruie. Then he met a pair of yet another Meifu Operatives, the calm Tachibana Yoshiaki and the energetic Ougi Takaya.
He marveled how the four of them had to meet. He marveled at the close connection they feel. He marveled that none of them hold any grudge toward their possessor. 
When he met Mina, the woman whose body was possessed by Kagetora before Takaya, he realized that there’s a reason why they’re all kept at Meifu. There’s still something that needs to be done.
Something that will need all of them.
***
“We have problem,” Subaru said without preamble.
“Now what?” Takaya groaned.
“My friends and I have been checking on unusual spiritual occurrences, and we accidentally stumbled onto one of your… acquaintance.”
“Acquaintance?” asked Naoe.
“Yes. Kishuu-san?”
Kishuu Arashi, another member of Dragon of Heaven, nodded politely, “I was at Matsumoto, and a man came to me and asked me to deliver a message for Uesugi Kagetora.”
“Really, now…” Nagahide looked intrigued, “Did he say his name?”
“Yes. Kousaka Danjou.”
“Him?” Haruie sighed, “It should be good, then…”
“I won’t say it’s good… He said that the Uesugi should be careful… Mouri Ranmaru was planning something, and, I quote, ‘It’ll be a shame if the Uesugi are beaten by him now.’ His words, not mine.”
“Mouri Ranmaru… you mean… Hatayama?” asked Yuzuru.
“If he still uses that body,” Naoe assumed, “I think it’s time for us to return to Matsumoto, don’t you think?”
“But…” Takaya hesitated.
“We can’t stay here forever, “Naoe pointed out, “Yami Sengoku is our business.”
“I know, but…”
“Don’t worry about me, Takaya, I’m healed. I can perform my tasks well.”
Takaya sighed, “Stubborn man. Okay, I give up. We’ll go back to Matsumoto. But I don’t want you to force yourself, okay? You’re still healing.”
“Why isn’t anyone asking me?” Watari sighed exaggeratedly, “I’m the one who can say whether you may leave or not!”
Nagahide shrugged, “We have duties, sensei. We go whether you like it or not.”
Watari smiled, “I know. I’m going with you, then.”
“Eeehh???” Haruie was surprised, “Is it okay?”
“Sure it’s okay. Besides, you guys are my duty! I’m going wherever you’re going!”
“I think I shall accompany you, Yoshiaki,” Subaru added, “I want to know what you’re dealing with…”
“Eh? You will?” asked Watari, “Well… this will need a change of plan…”
“What?”
“Ah, it’s okay! I’ll just ask Tatsumi to be my partner for this mission, he won’t mind, especially when mad doctor may be involved.”
Subaru looked at Watari strangely, “Whatever…”
***
That was yesterday.
They returned to Matsumoto using one of Nokoru’s helicopters first thing the next morning, and instead of getting a hotel, Miya persuaded the other Yashashuu to take residence with her and her brother.
“I know the house isn’t big,“ she had reasoned, “but wouldn’t it be better if you all stay in the same place?”
That’s why Chiaki was laying down in one of Takaya’s bedrooms, listening intently to night voices outside.
Miya had dragged Haruie to her room, and ‘ordered’ Naoe to stay with Takaya. Watari-sensei and the other Shinigami, Tatsumi-san, got the other guest room, Subaru had chosen the sofa, and so he ended up sleeping in this room with Yuzuru, who flat refused to go home.
“I’m tied in, Chiaki. I’d rather stay here. It’s not like I can sleep in my house anyway, not when I don’t know what’s happening with you guys!”
A fully determined Yuzuru is a powerful thing.
The rooms were small, yes, but both Takaya and Miya are utilitarian, so the rooms were practically bared besides a cupboard and a dressing table. The living room contains only a sofa set and a TV, the dining table was empty; there weren’t any pictures on the wall, and nothing cluttered the top of tables or desks or cupboards around, which weren’t many.
A very simple house, indeed.
***
“Takaya! Come on! We’ll be late!”
“Why is it that I have to go to school anyway?”
“Niichan! Hurry up!”
“Bakatora! Move your ass or I’ll kick you out myself!”
“Gahhhh!!!”
“You’d better go now, Takaya.”
“Fine, fine. Pick me up after school?”
“Okay…”
“Okay, lover boy, enough kissing. Kagetora has to go to school!”
“Neesan! Oh, I give up! See you later, ‘Tsuna!”
“Tsuna?!?!”
“Oh, my, you have a love-name, Yoshiaki…”
“Wah! The romance…. I can’t take it!”
“Shut up, Watari-san…”
And there went the new morning ritual of the new Uesugi Household.
***
“Narita-kun!!!! Ougi-kun!!!!!!! ”
Takaya grinned as he saw Morino Saori running towards them.
“Oh, hi, Morino,” Yuzuru smiled at the girl, who smiled back ten times brighter. Then she sobered.
“How’s Naoe-san?”
“He’s better,” Takaya said as they walked to their class, “A lot better.”
“That’s good,” Saori smiled, “We were so worried… Where is he, now?”
“At my house, with Watari-sensei and the others.”
“Heee? The cute doctor’s also here? Neee, Ougi-kun… can I visit your house?”
“What? I thought you’re still infatuated to Yuzuru?”
“Infatuated to me?”
“Ougi-kun!!!!!!”
“Alright, students, get into your seats!”
Takaya whirled around and saw Nagahide grinning at him.
“Good morning, Class! I am your new History teacher.”
Takaya groaned.
***
Saori was giggling uncontrollably as Takaya grumbled to his new cell phone. Yuzuru looked very amused.
“Somehow, Ougi-kun in love is a very interesting object to observed,” the girl commented.
“Yeah… You saw how he was in class…”
“Uh-huh… Chiaki-sensei is very naughty, though…”
Nagahide had devilishly chosen the topic of The Naoe Family as their subject that morning. His history lesson was great, of course, having first-hand experience about it made the class seemed like a trip to the past.
It did not help that Nagahide seemed to focus on the almost unknown figure of The Naoe.
Naoe Nobutsuna.
The class was thrilled. Yuzuru was amused. Saori was giggling here and there. Takaya was alternating between listening intently, blushing, and choking.
And then there was the assignment. An individual two-pages essay about Naoe Nobutsuna.
Yuzuru was laughing after Nagahide left the class. Takaya was doing a perfect imitation of a gagged fish. Saori, of course, was giggling.
Which led them here. On the rooftop, listening to Takaya whining on the phone.
“I don’t see why it’s so hard, Takaya. You can always interview Naoe-san…”
“No,” Takaya said as he slipped his cell phone into his pocket, “I asked him to drive me to the Library…”
“Heee??? But I was planning on interviewing Naoe-san…” Saori whined.
“No way! If we interview him, it’ll be like prying into his personal matters!”
“He’s a historical figure!”
“I’m a historical figure, too!”
“Fine, then, next time, I’ll ask Chiaki-sensei about Uesugi Kagetora.”
“Morino! Don’t even think about it!”
“Well, then, call Naoe-san again and tell him that I want to interview him!”
“Aaaagghhhh!!! Girls…”
Yuzuru, leaning on the railing, suddenly tensed, “Takaya…”
“What?”
“Look, down there, by the gate…”
“Eh?”
Takaya stood up and moved beside Yuzuru. His eyes narrowed.
“Kousaka…”
***
“Yo, Kousaka!”
Kousaka Danjou grinned as he saw the Uesugi leader strode up to him, “Yo, Kagetora!”
“What are you doing here?” Takaya asked sharply.
“Me? I’m snooping around, like always.”
“Huh. Is there something the Takeda wants, Kousaka?”
“The world.”
“What else is new?”
Kousaka laughed, “Relax, Kagetora! I’m not here to fight. I just want to know how that pet of yours is doing. He’s okay, I presume?”
Takaya bristled, “Why should you care?”
“Well,” Kousaka smiled enigmatically, “I have my reasons…”
“I don’t want to know.”
“Well, don’t ask, then.”
Takaya was definitely annoyed, “Are you here to spy on us?”
“Why, yes! Can’t you tell?”
Takaya growled, “Kousaka… Damn you.”
“Well, you did ask…”
Takaya’s attention was riveted to a car coming towards them. The black car stopped beside them, and Naoe stepped out of the car.
“Kousaka, what are you doing here?”
Kousaka shook his head, “Shame on you, Naoe! Greeting your enemy before greeting your lover…”
Naoe actually looked embarrassed as he looked apologetically at Takaya.
The younger man shrugged, “S’okay, it’s no big deal. I also want to know why he’s here.”
Naoe shook his head, “Kousaka… don’t tell me you’re trying to get Narita-san again.”
“Who, me?” asked Kousaka innocently, “No… Of course not… I’ve bigger fish to bait now…”
“Eh?”
“Yeah… Nobunaga’s began his activity again… I’m thinking of spying Mouri, but I don’t really know how to look for him, so I thought I’ll just go here, and see if Mouri’s keeping an eye on Narita or Kagetora here.”
“Oh, really… Using Kagetora-sama as bait, eh?”
“Not really… I’m simply using the best means to achieve my goal.”
“And that is?”
Kousaka leered, looking at Naoe from head to toe, “Oh, that’s my secret…”
Takaya found himself furiously jealous. Kousaka’s flirting with his Naoe! Growling, the younger man stepped forward, “Why don’t you just leave, Kousaka?”
“Nope. I like it here. It’s… lively.”
“Kousaka… do me a favor and spy on us from the shadows?” Naoe sighed.
Kousaka laughed, “Anything for you, Naoe! Bye, Kagetora! Try not to chain him too much, eh?”
Takaya was tempted to hit the pale man who was walking away, laughing, but Naoe shook his head.
“Don’t, Takaya, he’s not worth the time.”
Takaya grumbled, “That bastard is eyeing you…”
“Huh?”
Takaya looked at Naoe with disbelief clearly written on his way. “That guy! He’s flirting at you!”
Naoe shook his head, “I think you’re mistaken. He’s a Takeda warrior. He’s spying on us because he wants something.”
Takaya grumbled some more.
Naoe looked amused, “Takaya… don’t tell me… are you jealous?”
Takaya simply continued to grumble.
The bell rang, and students poured out of the school. Yuzuru and Saori ran out towards the gate, Yuzuru carrying Takaya’s bag.
“Where is he?” asked Yuzuru.
“Where is who?” Takaya cocked his head.
“That Takeda guy! The Kousaka one!” Saori looked around, “ He’s gone already?”
“Yeah…”
“Heh…” Yuzuru huffed, “Did he say anything?”
“Nothing of any importance,” Naoe shook his head, “Hello, Saori-san.”
Saori’s eyes lit up, “Naoe-san! It’s good to see you. Are you okay now?”
Naoe nodded, “Yes. Sorry for making you worry.”
“Nah… although I was really worried… Yuhiko kept on calling me from Tokyo, asking about you. Now I can tell her that you’re okay.”
Takaya and Yuzuru exchanged glances, ”We didn’t think of calling you or Yuhiko-san, Morino, sorry.”
“S’okay. But…”
“But?” asked Naoe.
“Neee… Naoe-san… Can you help me with my homework?”
“Homework?”
“Morino! Don’t!”
“Aww… but Ougi-kun…”
“NO!”
Yuzuru laughed, “Forget it, Takaya. You won’t win against her.”
“Is there anything I can help?” Naoe looked confused.
“Well…” Saori latched onto Naoe’s arms, “We have a history assignment.”
“Oh, yes. Do you want me to drive you to the library? Takaya asked me to; you can come along.”
“Noooo!!! It’s not that! Did Ougi-kun tell you what the assignment about?”
“No,” Naoe shook his head, looking at the two younger men, “He only said that Nagahide gave a hard homework.”
“Did I?” asked Nagahide, who appeared behind the two, “It’s not hard, I know it’s not.”
“For you, maybe. I should have you beheaded for that,” Takaya protested.
“Eh…” Naoe looked lost, “I’m missing something here.”
“I gave them a home project for tomorrow, “ Nagahide grinned, “A two pages essay about one Naoe Nobutsuna.”
Naoe looked astonished, a smile warmed his lips, “Let me guess,” he asked the girl currently attached to his arms, “You want to interview me?”
“Yup!” Saori nodded enthusiastically, “Can I?”
“Hm…” Naoe laughed a bit, “Why don’t I just tell what the history wrote about me, and you copy it down? I mean, I highly don’t think the world needs to know that Naoe Nobutsuna is currently still alive and walking among them.”
“I guess,” Saori looked disappointed, “but hearing it from you will be a lot faster than trying to find the info from the library’s history books.”
“Well, then I’ll be glad to assist you.”
Takaya grumbled.
“Oh, lighten up, Takaya, it’s not like we’re going to do anything to Naoe-san!” Yuzuru laughed.
“You know, Ougi-kun? For someone so cold and aloof, you can be very amusing when jealous,” Saori commented.
Takaya pouted some more.
Naoe couldn’t help it. He laughed.
***
“Well, that’s all about it, I guess,“ Naoe leaned back against the wall as Saori nodded.
“Okay! That should do it,” the girl grinned.
“It’ll be longer than two pages,” Yuzuru commented, looking at the things he wrote.
Takaya groaned, “Now I have to type it! Gah!”
“But it is way faster than going to the library!” Saori laughed.
Miya smiled, “You interviewed the subject personally, of course it’s faster!”
“I just hope I didn’t give you anything different than what the history wrote…”
“Don’t worry,” Nagahide grinned, “I’ll censor the papers for you.”
“I still don’t understand why you gave us HIM as our subject.”
“The Uesugi retainers have a full chapter in your history book.”
“Oh, really?” asked Haruie.
“Yeah. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it.”
“I bet it’s quite amusing,” Naoe nodded, “I know I found it amusing at high school.”
“You must’ve been a model student when you were at school, ne, Naoe-san?” asked Saori.
“Me? No. I didn’t spend much time at school, really. Besides, one of my older siblings would drive me to and fro school all the time.”
“What about clubs? I bet you took martial arts!”
“No, I didn’t join any club, either.”
“Really?” Takaya was intrigued, “I thought you were the guy who ruled your school.”
“Barely,” Haruie shook her head, “His head was too messed up at that time.”
“What?”
A look from Naoe silenced whatever it was that Haruie wanted to say.
“There wasn’t anyone to play with, I guess,” Naoe said instead.
Takaya frowned, but he let it go.
“I’m going to buy some cigarettes, I wont be long,” Naoe said as he stood up.
“I’ll go with you,” Takaya offered.
Naoe shook his head, “No need. It’s only a block away.”
***
“What the hell are you doing?”
“What do you mean?” Naoe asked the man standing behind him.
Kousaka Danjou sighed, “I mean, why are you acting like a love-struck teenager?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Heh. Like hell you don’t. You’re not acting like yourself, Naoe. You’re acting the way that brat wants you to be.”
“And like what is that?”
“The strong dependable loving protector!”
Naoe sighed, “That’s how he appreciates me the most.”
Kousaka cursed softly, “Naoe, either you’re really getting soft, or you’re loosing your touch.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, right. And I’m the prime minister.”
“You can always take his body. He’s not young, but powerful. That way, The Takeda will really rules over Japan.”
This time, Kousaka smirked, “Nice to know there’s still fire in you, Naoe.”
“What fire?”
“Naoe… honestly… you’re a masochist. You thrive in pain. Pleasure is not your friend.”
“I refuse to comment on that.”
“Yeah, yeah… Just take care of yourself. I find that the world is not as much fun without the war of love you two play,” Kousaka said carelessly as he turned around and walked away, “Better go home now before Kagetora got scared and move his whole army to track you down.”
***
“So… that’s why mad doctor’s interested in Naoe-san…”
Tatsumi shook his head, “This is getting even more twisted, Sakurazuka-san.”
“It has always been twisted, Tatsumi,” Watari shrugged.
“What’s twisted?”
The two men turned around to see Tsuzuki and Hisoka behind them.
“This,” Seishirou handed the thick folder he was reading to the Kyushu partners. Surprisingly, Tsuzuki was the one who read it first, “Oh, my…”
“What?” asked Hisoka, who snatched the book from his older partner’s hand.
“Have the shukutai quartet been told?” asked Tsuzuki, even as Hisoka gave a sharp intake.
“Yes. They’re officially in mission, now. Kitazato-san, too. At this rate, we may need the last Yashashuu, too.”
“Katsunaga Irobe-san?” asked Hisoka, “But… isn’t he still… young?”
“We can always move him into another body…”
“Is it allowed?”
“We’ll ask for Enma’s permission,” Tatsumi decided, “Watari-san, you go back and watch over the Yashashuu with Sakurazuka-san. Tsuzuki-san, Kurosaki-kun, I’m not risking the two of you in this case since mad doctor’s involved, but you can help the gushoushin and the shukutai here.”
“Eh?” Seishirou looked at Tatsumi, “Tatsumi-san, I honestly can’t accompany Watari. Subaru-kun is there.”
“Your love problem is your own, Sakurazuka-san,” Tatsumi smiled, ”I’d appreciate if it doesn’t interfere with your work. After all, Watari-san’s partner is you, not me. And I need to see Kachou so I can negotiate Katsunaga-san’s… transfer… to Enma Daioh.”
“You can go invisible,” Watari offered weakly.
Sakurazuka Seishirou sighed.
***
“Tachibana Yoshiaki, isn’t it?”
Naoe turned around to see a tall handsome silver-haired man behind him.
“Yes,” he nodded as he removed the car key from his pocket, “And you are?”
“Are you going to pick your lover from school?”
Naoe tensed, “Who are you?”
The silver haired man smirked, “Ah, I forgot that you were unconscious when I fussed over you. Allow me to introduce myself. Muraki Kazutaka. Although the Shinigami might call me Mad Doctor.”
“Oh,” Naoe frowned, “What can I do for you, sensei?”
“Why, I’m so glad you offered,” Muraki leered, “There’s so much you can do for me, Naoe-san. So much more…”
The wind blew hard, but Naoe didn’t feel the chill, or heard the clinking of the keys as it fell onto the street.
***
The orange sun burned the youths at the school’s gate. Saori looked impatient, she walked to the right and left, to and fro.
“Where’s he?” she murmured, clapping her foot to the ground. “He must have forgotten about us… Ougi-kun?”
The tiger eyed youth shook his head. He looked awful, “I told him about the new assignment Chiaki gave us, and that you want to interview him again…”
“Maybe…” Yuzuru stopped his words, turning to the man standing beside the school’s gate, “Ehhh… are you planning to stay there forever, Kousaka-san?”
“Why, can’t I join you handsome youngsters?”
“Stop teasing him!” Saori pulled the Yuzuru’s arm, “What do you want anyway?”
“Hee… don’t you like to hear what gossip I’ve heard?”
“Aaaaghh! Damn you! I don’t need your gossips, I don’t know why I trusted a pale mannequin like you!” Takaya turned around, his eyes flashing,” Get the hell out of here!”
“Be kind to me for one minute, Kagetora ….” Kousaka smiled maliciously, and Takaya was further ascertained that guy looked like a pale mannequin in a boutique’s showcase. Tall, beautiful, yet cold.
“Why should we be kind?”
“Because I’m the pretty bird who brings important news. You see, Kagetora… your guardian cannot be here…”
“What?” Yuzuru looked at Takaya confusedly.
“Ehhh??? Why?!” Impatiently, Takaya jumped forward and grabbed Kousaka’s shirt, “What have you done to him?”
“Me? I’ve done nothing. Didn’t you see me waiting by the gate since morning?”
“Damn you, Kousaka! Where is he?!”
Kousaka shrugged, “He has found a better shelter to visit.”
Takaya staggered back, “What?”
Kousaka simply smiled, and turned away, leaving three confused high school students.
None of them thought of running after him.
Takaya’s heart turned bleak. Confused ‘Where the hell is he?’, suspicious ‘What the hell is he doing?’, upset ‘He’s supposed to be here right now!’ and jealous ‘How come THAT GUY knows about him more than me?!’
Takaya was not thinking rationally.
The orange sun turned red and the darkness offered its cold hands to the whole city.
Still no sign of Naoe.
“He has found a better shelter to visit …”
***
“Yoshiaki!”
Takaya moved forward to catch his older partner as he slid down, one hand on his chest.
“Yoshiaki, what’s wrong?”
“Something… Nobutsuna…”
Ayako ran near with Shuhei at her heels, “What’s wrong?”
Yoshiaki grabbed Takaya’s lapel tightly, his face scrunched in pain, “Takaya… Nobutsuna… he’s… he’s not…”
And then he knew no more.
***
 
TBC…
 
Some author's note:
 
I was kind of depressed and still sick when I write this, so it didn’t come out right, but Shunita insisted that I post it anyway, so… I hope it’s still worthy of reading.
 
Thank you for those who read and comment:
 
Sarah-san… I will need your help with Irobe, you know…
Lynn-san… SO, you quit? How’s the new work?
Squallwinger-san… here’s the next chapter, hope you’ll enjoy it.
Grace-san… I hope to see you at messenger again soon.
Suzy-san… Is there any way I can reach you? E-mail, maybe?
Tsu… I know you read this. Ganbatte, niichan.
Shin… I know that Tsu reads you this. Get well soon, niichama.
Ayako… Good luck with the big babies.
Masashi… I find you amusing. Don’t make me change my mind.
Lidya… you’re the best, Liddy. I know you are.
Michael, Jill, and the others… thanks for taking care of my big babies.
Popeye… Yes, I write yaoi. So what?
SarahKurai, MadameDewi, and Shunita… thanks for your patience!
And for the others; I hope this one is not disappointing.
 
And now, the long awaited notes for chapters 3 to 6, as asked by SarahKurai (formerly known as SarahSith)
 
Chapter 3
 
·        Monou Kotori: The latest Kamui sacrifice, Monou Fuuma (Dark Kamui)’s younger sister. A yumemi, although her full potential is unknown, since she died before much else.
·        Meifu: land of the dead
·        Annainin: Reikai ferry girls who ferry souls to Meifu/Reikai, is under KoEnma-Daioh’s command. (Yu Yu Hakusho story-wise)
·        Sumeragi Hokuto: Sumeragi Subaru’s (one of the Dragon of Heaven) twin sister. Killed by Sakurazukamori when she was 16.
·        Sumeragi Subaru: One of The Dragon of Heaven and Kamui’s most trusted aide. Current Sakurazukamori.
·        Sakurazuka Seishirou: The Sakurazukamori (before Subaru), the eternal enemy of the Sumeragi, and a Dragon of Earth. Have a love-hate relationship with Subaru that simply leads to death.
·        Shukutai: I was told that Shukutai is the people whose body’s used by kanshosha (or yashashuu? I’m not sure.) Here I make them as the group of Meifu workers whose bodies currently used by the Yashashuu.
·        Hinoto and Kanoe: the yumemi sisters. Hinoto dreamgazes, and Kanoe peeks at her sister’s dreams.
·        Kuzuki Kakyou: The Dragon of Earth’s yumemi.
·        Shirou Kamui: The Dragon of Heaven’s Kamui
·        Tsuzuki Asato and Kurosaki Hisoka: The Shinigami duo in charge of Kyushu.
·        Arisugawa Sorata: Another Dragon of Heaven, Kamui’s most trusted aide beside Subaru. His power is electricity (?)
·        Kasumi Karen: Another Dragon of Heaven, her power is fire.
·        Kitazato Minako: I got two surnames for Mina, Kitazato and Kitazawa. I take Kitazato because the name Kitazawa reminds me of Gravitation’s Kitazawa Yuki. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
·        Tree-san: A term coined in Atropos, I like it, and I really do think that the Sakurazuka tree is a sentient.
 
Chapter 4
 
·        Kiseki: The book of the dead, is safely placed in The Castle of candles under the watchful eyes of Hakushaku-sama (Yami no Matsuei story-wise), each annainin has a copy of it (Yu Yu Hakusho story-wise)
·        Imonoyama Nokoru: The Head of Clamp School and the youngest heir of Imonoyama Corp, not to mention is the one who aide the Dragon of Heaven in their ’99 struggle. Clamp School, his school, is designed as the most well protected area in Japan, as it should be, since it can stand against the attack of The Dragon of Earth, and it actually protects Kamui’s Shinken (GodSword? DeathSword?) for some time.
·        The Tachibana: I found the info about the Tachibana from several sources. Yoshiaki’s mother is Tachibana Harue. The Tachibana siblings are Tachibana Teruhiro (married with children?), Tachibana Saeko (the only girl), Tachibana Yoshihiro (the monk), and our beloved Yoshiaki. Now all I need is Mr. Tachibana’s name. Can anyone help me? I completely made up the psyche of the Tachibana, as my only source is Asphodel’s Exaudi Nos translation and a li’l translation about Naoe’s mother that I randomly found somewhere…The one when Asaoka Maiko came to the Tachibana House. The nickname Yoshinobu actually comes from the coined term TakaTora… if Takaya-Kagetora has one, why not Naoe? Tsuna comes from Shunita’s nick-name dictionary. There will be another reason for that name later on in the story.
·        Tsuta: Haruie’s name when she met Shintarou, her doctor lover from 200 years before.
 
Chapter 6
 
·        HenJouChou: One of the Meifu JuOhChou bureaus beside EnMaChou.
·        Kishuu Arashi: One of Kamui’s Dragon of Heaven, Sorata’s girlfriend.
·        Takaya’s house: I imagine it’ll be big enough, after all, a complete family used to live there, but quite empty.
·        Chiaki-sensei: I know that Chiaki’s supposed to be a classmate, but he’s old enough to be a teacher (I think…), he can alter people’s memory, and I’m intrigued by a copy of Minagiwa no hangyakusha Drama CD that I‘ve heard. I like Chiaki-sensei better than Chiaki-sempai. Has anyone else heard the ‘repeat after me’ line from Nagahide? MadameDewi is crazy about it.
·        Gushoushin: The two ‘flying chickens’ in Yami no Matsuei’s world, in charge of Database and Library.
 
A part of this chapter is based on something that MadameDewi wrote and I altered a li’l bit. Like always, all mistakes are solely mine, as I have no beta-reader available right now.
Thanks for reading, hopefully more will come soon!
 
Tenno Himekawa Rie
 
 
 
 


Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
9:06 pm

                                                                                                Happy

It's not his fault.

It's not his fault if Tsuzuki is sugar-crazed. It's not his fault if Hisoka recoils from touch. It's not his fault that Watari blows up his lab thrice a week on a good week. It's not his fault that Yuma and Saya want to dress Hisoka up in Pink House dresses. It's not his fault Terazuma changes from time to time. It's not his fault Tsuzuki blows up the library. It's not his fault that the Gushoushin are the librarians of the said library. It's not his fault that Muraki is a crazy bastard. It's not even his fault that Konoe wasn't young when he died.
But Tatsumi Seiichirou has problems with 'faults'. In his eyes, people can't be happy when they have 'faults'. So he tries to shoulder the faults on his own. He wants them to be happy.

"Your happiness is my happiness".

That does not only apply to Tsuzuki. That applies for everyone. That's why he's happy when he saw Tsuzuki kissing Hisoka in the empty office.

Because Tsuzuki's happy. Because Hisoka is also happy.

He congratulated them with all of his heart because he's happy because they're happy. He gave a small smile because they're happy. He wished them good night because he's happy. He gave them a two-day vacation because he's happy.

He's really happy, he is.

Even when he's home, in his warm bed but feeling cold all over and wishing that the rain trickling outside were his tears, he's happy. But he has no reason to cry. He's happy, right? .....

He's really happy...........

Really....

Author's note:
Okay, this came up in the middle of my chat with lyrebird-san. she helped
me made the ending, too! Sankyu!
no, I'm not sure if this is TatSuki or TatSoka. Hell, it may be both.

R/R appreciated!

Tenno HimekawaRie

 



Current Mood: accomplished
Monday, September 19th, 2005
7:05 am
Morino Saori’s Daily Life as An Example of Simple Present Tense

Morino Saori’s Daily Life as An Example of Simple Present Tense


Hello! My name is Morino Saori! I am a 2nd grade high school student in Jyohoku High School, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. I live with my mother and father in a small apartment. I am a typical teenage girl! I like eating burger and fried shrimp, and I go to the movies every Saturday night.

I start my day at 05.00. After I get up, I take a bath, get dressed, and tidy my room. Then I eat with my family. My favorite breakfast is rice and fried tofu doused with miso soup. I drink a glass of milk every morning. Then I go to the bathroom again and brush my teeth. After that, I go to my room and wear my uniform, take my bag, and go to school.

I ride my bike to school. On the way, I always meet Narita Yuzuru. He is the boy I like! He is handsome and polite. His parents are dentists. We always go together to school if he’s not with his friend, Ougi Takaya. Takaya is rather cold and unfriendly, but he’s also handsome! He has a motorcycle, and he rides it to school. Sometimes Yuzuru rides with him, and I go to school alone. But usually we meet at school.

We have a teacher at school, Mr. Chiaki Shuhei. He teaches History. I like it very much when he teaches. He’s still young; actually, he’s the youngest teacher our school has. He is also very handsome! Mr. Chiaki is Takaya’s friend. They met a long time ago. We usually have lunch together. I bring my lunch from home, and so does Yuzuru. Mr. Chiaki makes his own lunch, and Takaya sometimes brings the lunch his sister prepared for him, if not, he buys something from the canteen.

After school, we usually go to Takaya’s house. He lives with his younger sister, Miya; their parents have divorced, and their father had passed away. Their mother had remarried, and lives in Sendai, which is very far from Matsumoto. We study together there, sometimes Mr. Chiaki comes and helps us. Sometimes another one of Takaya’s friend, Ms. Kadowaki Ayako, also comes. She also rides motorbike! She is cool and friendly, and she always helps us if we need help with our home works!

Takaya has another friend who usually comes and goes as he wishes. His name is Tachibana Yoshiaki, but we all call him Naoe. It’s his nickname, I think. Naoe is way older than all of us, he’s twenty eight years old, very handsome, very polite, always wears dark formal suit, and he’s also very rich! He has this black Mercedes Benz! Whenever we all go out, he drives Takaya, Yuzuru, Miya, and I. Mr. Chiaki rides with Ms. Ayako, he leaves his car in Takaya’s garage.

Naoe almost always treats us to dinner in restaurants that we like, but he doesn’t eat much. He always forbids us to drink beer, he says we’re still under-aged, and Takaya gets angry every time he says that. I don’t understand him. Beer is bitter, and I don’t like it.

After dinner, Naoe drives me home. After that, he drives Yuzuru home, and then he drives Takaya and Miya home. If Mr. Chiaki brings his car, he goes straight home from Takaya’s house. If not, he rides with Ms. Ayako.

On summer vacations, Naoe takes us to the beach, usually to Toyama Bay. The beach is beautiful, and we can swim there, too, the waves are not so big. That’s the only time I see Naoe wears T-shirt and shorts. He looks even more handsome in casual clothes! Ms. Ayako is very beautiful, and she has a very nice body! Mr. Chiaki looks good in summer clothing! Takaya and Yuzuru look very cute, too! Miya is very pretty. Sometimes our friend from Tokyo also comes. Her name is Takeda Yuhiko. She has long dark hair and is also very pretty. We play on the beach all day long, and we watch the sunset together. At night, we have barbecue party!

Well, that’s my daily life! Good things happen here and there, as well as bad things, but with friends like these, I have a good life!


Author’s notes:

No, this is not a fanfiction. This is a key for a Simple Present Tense exercise I made for my students. Don’t know why it ended up like this, it just did, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll just post it. Like usual, no beta-reader available, so all mistakes are mine.

Again, in this post, I humbly ask for a prayer for a friend of mine, Shin, who had a car accident and is still in coma, and for his … er… husband, Tsu, who’s right now a nervous wreck. I can’t be with them, and even if I can, I can’t do more than praying. So I’ll just ask for more prayers.


Love,

THR





Current Mood: artistic
7:03 am
How To Make Takaya Jealous Take 2: vs Mikuni

How To Make Takaya Jealous

Take Two


Takaya vs Mikuni

Part 1

It began with the forging of the great rings…

No, really!

Takaya was seriously thinking of giving Naoe a ring for his birthday next month. This was due to his lack of choice. Chiaki had bought him a new gray-silver pen-set, Neesan a silver pin for his ever present tie, Yuzuru a silver belt buckle, and Saori had ordered a bouquet of white roses which she insisted must be tied with a silver ribbon.

Somehow, Takaya was urged to also give him something silvery. Which obviously limited his choice. Which was why he was seriously thinking of giving him a silver ring.

At least it’s not gold.

That was why he was getting in and out of jewelry stores that hot afternoon.

That’s when he saw Naoe with her.

His aide was sitting in a coffee shop, and she was sitting dreamily in front of him, a beautiful girl around his younger sister’s age wearing a pink kimono.

Takaya was well aware of Naoe’s one-night-stands tendency towards girls, but he still thought that she’s too young for him.

The second one was when he was driving home with Yuzuru. This time, Naoe was standing in a bakery, the girl beside him.

Takaya was jealous.

The third one nearly broke his heart. It was in an exorcism mission, and like usual, he ended up rooming with Naoe. He met a long acquaintance and talked a bit, so he went back to the hotel quite late. He saw the girl there, sleeping beside Naoe, under his blanket, in their hotel room.

Takaya didn’t sleep that night. He spent his time in a nearby club, and got Haruie mad because of it. Still he didn’t say anything about that girl. Not even to Yuzuru.

But it was the fourth time that gave him a shock of his life.

The next exorcism mission was to be done right after school, and Naoe was late. Nagahide was already there with his car, Haruie with her motorcycle, Yuzuru and Saori were arguing to be taken along, and Takaya was agitated.

That was when Naoe came. Instead of parking his car, he simply stopped by the waiting people, and lowered his window, “Get inside, Kagetora-sama, I’m sorry I’m late, we have to hurry.”

The girl sitting beside Naoe pouted, and disappeared.

Takaya freaked out.

***

“I swear it, Naoe! There was a girl beside you!”

“Kagetora-sama…”

“I swear it!”

“Takaya, calm down!”

“There was a girl beside you, and she disappeared!”

“Bakatora! Shut up!”

“But Chiaki!”

“Hello!!!! Will anyone listen to me, PLEASE!”

They all looked at Haruie, who was visibly burning.

“Kagetora, what exactly did you see?”

“I saw that girl! The girl in pink kimono! I’ve seen Naoe with her several times! Damn it, I’ve seen you sleep with her!”

“WHAT?!?”

“Naoe… calm down! Kagetora, think…this girl in pink kimono… does she have long black hair?” asked Nagahide.

“Yes!”

“A pretty girl around Miya’s age?” asked Yuzuru.

“Yes!”

“Her kimono, is it pink with white flowers pattern?” asked Saori.

“Yes!”

“Mmm… the flower pattern… is it orchid?” asked Haruie.

“YES!”

“I think we’ve all seen Naoe with the same girl…” Nagahide mused.

Naoe looked perplexed, “But… I haven’t been with anyone for the last few months…”

“Heeee?????”

“But…but… that night, in our hotel room… she was there…”

“Which hotel room?”

“Eh… the last exorcism mission…”

“Eeehhhh??? I share room with you, Takaya-san!”

“But I saw her! She was sleeping with you!”

“Making out with her, you mean, Kagetora?”

“No! No…Chiaki, what I mean is, she’s sleeping on his bed with him. Just sleeping!”

“Is that the night you got drunk in pub?”

“YES!”

“Oh, my…”

“What? Haruie… what?”

“Naoe… if what Kagetora said is true, if what we all saw are true, then you’re in deep trouble…”

“Eh?”

“Mmm… we’re dealing with a ghost that we can’t detect. If she’s been around you, and you don’t feel her at all…”

“Eeeehhhhhh…”

“But we can see her!” Takaya argued.

“Which make it worst. We’ve all seen her, Naoe hasn’t, and none of us realized that she’s a ghost.”

Silence dawned.

***

“Otousama? How do we exorcise a spirit that we can’t sense?”

“Eh? You’re asking me, Yoshiaki?”

“Yes.”

“That’s unusual. Usually you’ll ask those kinds of things to Teruhiro or Yoshihiro.”

“I’ve asked Teruhiro-niisan, he said I should ask Yoshihiro-niisan. When I asked Yoshihiro-niisan, he said I should ask you.”

“Well, this spirit, what makes him different than the others you’ve exorcised so far?”

“Well... she… I can’t see her.”

“You can’t see her?”

“No. Some of my friends had seen her, though… they have quite a high amount of spiritual power, too, but none of them realized that she’s a spirit, until one of them saw her disappeared from my car.”

“And you didn’t feel her?”

“No.”

“Heeee… that’s unusual. Your power is beyond anything our clan had ever had, Yoshiaki, probably the strongest of all… If you can’t feel her…”

“Then she must be really powerful?”

“Maybe. So… she’s haunting you, you said?”

“Well, my friends saw her around me…”

“In broad daylight?”

“… Yes…”

“Is she bothering you?”

“Well, so far, I haven’t even seen her… but…”

“But?”

“One of my friends said that she… sneaked into my bed when I sleep.”

“Really. Did she molest you?”

“Otousama!”

“No, really! Did she do anything to you?”

“… No… I didn’t even know she was there…”

“Well… this is obviously beyond anything I’ve known… I suggest you go to Tokyo to see The Sanchaya.”

“WHAT!”

“Why not?”

“But… I thought… they’re not more experienced than us…”

“Yoshiaki. What you’re dealing with is an unusual spirit. You can’t exorcise her using usual means. In order to free yourself from her, you have to use… unusual means…”

“Unusual people, you mean.”

“Yes. Unusual people.”

***

That was why they were heading toward Tokyo in one of Tachibana’s Benz. Naoe was driving, of course, Takaya beside him, Haruie and Nagahide on the backseat.

“Tell me again why we have to meet these Sanchaya family?”

“I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, Nagahide, we’re going there because my father told me to.”

“Why do we need to ask for other’s help? Damn it, we’ve been doing this for 400 years!”

“Otousama said that this one might be… a little bit different with what we usually deal with.”

“Why the hell did you tell your father anyway? You’re just weird, Naoe…”

“Well, he does have the right to know, I mean, the spirit might be around when I’m home, right?”

“Come to think of it, the spirit might be here, you know…”

“Chiaki!!! Will you just shut up!!!” Takaya groaned, “You’re bothering me!”

“Well, it’s your fault, too! If you have full memory you might know what to do!”

“What the hell does that suppose to mean?!”

“That means you’re a Bakatora, that’s what!”

“Why you…”

“Here we go again…” Haruie sighed.

Naoe simply shrugged, his eyes still on the road, as their leader and second strongest member bickered like children.

***

“This is a really BIG house…”

Naoe smiled. His comrades were showing the same reaction he showed when he first came to this house some 15 years before.

It was indeed a very big and modern house. Silvery white and gray, the whole house sparkles everywhere.

“Well, shall we?” asked Naoe, and rang the doorbell.

A pretty housemaid in typical pink housemaid mini-skirt suit opened the door, bowed low, and allowed them to come in.

Haruie gave a sharp intake as she saw the interior of the house.

“Damn… this is a collector house…” Takaya whistled softly.

Realistic dolls, from small ones to human size ones aligned the hall. Expensive paintings lined every wall, and crystal decorations were put on every shelves and tables.

“Who ever have this house must really be well mannered,” Nagahide commented as they were lead to meet the house owner by yet another pretty maid, “can’t have so many crystals around if the owner is short tempered.”

Naoe gave a small sound that suspiciously sounded like whimper, “Oh, you’ll be surprised…”

“Oh?”

“YOSHU-CHAN!!!!!!”

Takaya, Haruie, and Nagahide blinked.

A whirlwind in the form of a tall dark-haired man suddenly came into the room and glomped onto Naoe, who simply let himself be hugged.

“YOSHU-CHAN!!!! I’VE MISSED YOU!!!!!!”

“Ichiro-san… It’s been awhile.”

“You’ve changed, Yoshu-chan! You’re a lot more handsome now!”

“You haven’t changed a bit, Ichiro-san.”

The three left-aside Yashashuu looked at each other. Haruie and Nagahide dully noted that Takaya was burning red.

“How’s Teru-chan and Yo-chan and Sa-chan and your Otousama and your Okaasama?” the handsome tall blond whom Naoe had called Ichiro asked the man who was still held securely in his arms.

“They’re fine. They send you all their warmest regards.”

“Hm… it’s been a really long time, Yoshu-chan! I missed playing with you.”

Takaya broke the moment by coughing rather loud.

“Eh? You bring people here! That’s unusual…”

“What does that suppose to mean?” asked Takaya, obviously offended.

“Yoshu-chan doesn’t usually get along with people… Yoshu-chan’s better with spirits than humans.”

Haruie had to bit back a bubbling laughter, “Somehow that’s not so hard to imagine.”

“Who are they, Yoshu-chan?”

“These are my friends, Ichiro-san,” Naoe gently untangled himself from Ichiro’s arms, “This is Ougi Takaya, Chiaki Shuhei, and Kadowaki Ayako.”

“Nice to meet you all! You’re all so cute! Especially you, Takaya-chan! You’re even cuter than Hasunuma-chan!”

“Hasunuma?”

“Mmm… Shiozu-chan’s boyfriend.”

“Shiozu?”

“Yeah. Another cute boy, quite powerful as a medium.”

“Oh, really?”

“Not as cute as you, though, Yoshu-chan.”

“Oh, I bet it’s so.”

Takaya didn’t say anything.

Correction.

Takaya couldn’t say anything.

“Do you mind my bringing them with me, Ichiro-san?”

“Not at all, Yoshu-chan… I’m glad you’ve finally make friends, really.”

Haruie and Nagahide could only look at each other.

***

“That’s why we’re here, Niro-san.”

Sanchaya Niro, the second son of the three Sanchaya brothers looked amused, “A spirit you can’t feel? Really?”

“That’s very unusual…” Sanchaya Satoi, the youngest brother, commented, “Yoshiaki-san is one of the best in Japan, right?”

“Satoi-san… you’re exaggerating…”

“No… it’s true, Yoshiaki. You are one of the best. What I don’t understand is,” Niro ran a hand on his unruly blond hair, “Why do you come to us?”

“Well, Otousama said you might be able to help…”

“Hm…” Niro looked apprehensive, his handsome face scrunched in thought, “If we can make her appear…”

“Do you have any idea why she’s following you, Yoshu-chan?”

“Eh…” Naoe looked at his Yashashuu friends, “I’ve never seen her before…”

“From what I’ve seen,” Haruie thought, “she’s merely following you everywhere.”

“Me too,” Nagahide nodded, “although what Takaya saw was more… intimate…”

Takaya was caught between burning in rage and blushing, “Yeah…”

“Oh, really,” Niro looked intrigued, “What did you see?”

Takaya grumbled, “I saw her sleeping with him.”

“What? You saw her making out with him?”

Naoe choked.

“What is it with you people? “Takaya groaned, “No! I saw her sleeping with him. SLEEP! As in beddy bye!”

“On the same bed?”

“Yes!”

“Under the same blanket?”

“YES!”

“Did you check what they wear under the blanket?”

“…” Takaya paled.

“From what we know, she might’ve molest you, Yoshiaki…” Niro grinned.

Naoe sighed, “I refuse to comment on that. So, any idea what to do with her?”

“She’s not bothering you, right? Why do you want to get rid of her? I’d do anything so she’d follow me instead.”

“Niro-san… you’re allergic to girls.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t like them. Maybe I’m not allergic to girl spirits.”

“That’s beside the point. She’s not bothering me so far, but I’m not keen on being followed by her. Will you help me get rid of her or not?”

“Wah… Yoshu-chan’s mad…” Ichiro laughed, “Yoshu-chan’s cute when he’s mad!”

“We’ll help, Yoshiaki-san…” Satoi sighed, “I’ll try to find what the library has in store.”

***

TBC

Author’s note:

The HTMTJ take two! Although this one is only the first part… but I thought I’d just post the damn things. The Sanchaya came from a manga SarahKurai lent me once, the title is “GHOST, and it’s just FUNNY! Like usual, no beta-reader available, so all mistakes are mine. And yes, the series will be crossovers…

Again, in this post, I humbly ask for a prayer for a friend of mine, Shin, who had a car accident and is still in coma, and for his … er… husband, Tsu, who’s right now a nervous wreck. I can’t be with them, and even if I can, I can’t do more than praying. So I’ll just ask for more prayers.


Love,

THR







Current Mood: artistic
7:00 am
How To Make Takaya Jealous Take 1: vs Muraki
 

How To Make Takaya Jealous

Take 1


Takaya vs Muraki


(A high-class restaurant in Tokyo. Naoe and Takaya were standing in a remote corner, having a nice cozy conversation. Or it seemed to be so.)

Takaya : So, are you going to say anything?

Naoe : There’s nothing I can say that will satisfy you, Takaya-san.

Takaya : Is that so? Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to wait patiently, eh?

Naoe : Takaya-san…

Takaya : Have you planned it, Naoe? Have you thought about it? The ways to surpass me?

Naoe : Wouldn’t you like to know, Takaya-san…

Takaya : Oh, I won’t let you win easily, y’know… In fact, I won’t let you win at all…

Naoe : Takaya-san…

Takaya : Besides, what a bad master I will be, if I let my pet wander around…

Naoe : … You are evil.

Takaya : So are you, Naoe…

Naoe : Why are you doing this, Takaya-san? Drawing me in, cutting me loose…

Takaya : Why? I don’t know… because it’s fun, I guess…

Naoe : You really are evil.

Takaya : Hey, I’m not the one who tried to rape my own master!

Naoe :

Takaya : You could’ve just ask nicely, y’know……

Naoe : Would you let me?

Takaya : … Maybe…

Naoe : Maybe?

Takaya : Not.

Naoe : (Sigh, reaching out to take a glass of wine from a passing waiter. Fingers latched onto his wrist, effectively stopping his movement)

Takaya :???!!!

Muraki : What did I say about drinking, Yoshiaki-san?

Naoe : (sigh) Drinking won’t kill me, Kazutaka-san.

Muraki : I know that… (took the glass away, putting it on the table, and leaned over, his chin on Naoe’s shoulder) It doesn’t mean you can drink freely.

Takaya : Hey…

Muraki : (glanced at Takaya) A kid? I didn’t know that you’re a pedophile, Yoshiaki-san.

Naoe : I’m not.

Muraki : Really… Well, can’t blame you. This one’s a good catch, I say (latching both arms around Naoe, hugging him from behind) By the way, you’ve been missing for a long time, you know.

Naoe : Don’t tell me you’re missing me.

Muraki : As a matter of fact, I am. (tilting Naoe’s head a little bit, his fingers touching Naoe’s throat) You’re a bad boy, leaving without saying anything like that.

Naoe : You have my number. You know where I live. You have the key to my place.

Muraki : Yes, but it’s not the same. I like it more when you come to me.

Naoe : Wouldn’t you be worried if I came knocking on your door at night?

Muraki : It’ll be a bother, yes, especially when I’m occupied…

Naoe : See?

Muraki : But I’ll never be preoccupied for you. You’re special for me.

Naoe : You just like saying ‘I told you so.’

Muraki : No, I just love to get my hands all over you.

Takaya : (choked)

Naoe : Oh, please, Kazutaka-san… Haven’t you had enough of me already?

Muraki : Never, Yoshiaki-san… I can never get enough of you…

Naoe : Hhh… (taking one of Muraki’s arms and placed it over his heart) You know I’m yours for the taking.

Muraki : I know. Doesn’t mean I can’t get worried… After all, I’m the one who know how… (pause, searching for the word, and smirked, nuzzling Naoe) …fragile you really are.

Naoe : Yeah. I guess so…

Muraki : You really should come to my place. Or I’ll come over to yours.

Naoe : Whatever for? There’s nothing about me that’s changed since the last time.

Muraki : How would you know?

Naoe : It’s my body.

Muraki : Yours? Maybe that’s true, but I’m the one knows you the best, Yoshiaki-san… What to do, where to touch…

Naoe : Yeah, with all the times you spent pawing at me, you’ve earned a degree for that.

Takaya :???????!!!!!!!!!!!

Naoe : But I think I’d love to have you around. I do get chilled easily, lately…

Muraki : Need a bedwarmer?

Naoe : That’ll be better…

Muraki : Oh, I’ll give you one. A special one that you won’t forget…

(Muraki’s hand started to wander around, slipping into the insides of Naoe’s coat)

Muraki : (sighing) Yoshiaki-san…

Naoe : After dinner, Sensei. Not before.

Muraki : I know that. Just reminding you.

Takaya : Naoe!!!!!

Naoe : What?

Muraki : My, my… boy, you’re very red…

Naoe : Takaya-san, are you all right? Maybe you need a fresh air…

Muraki : I still say he’s too young for you.

Takaya : I’m not!

Naoe : … Takaya-san…

Takaya : … not his, I mean…

Muraki : Sure you’re not. I’d known if it’s so.

Naoe : Kazutaka-san…

Muraki : I mean it, Yoshiaki-san. I want to retry everything all over again.

Naoe : Haven’t we done it already? It didn’t work! It doesn’t work!

Muraki : (sighing, tightening his hold around Naoe) Doesn’t mean we can’t try again…

Naoe : You really are stubborn…

Muraki : At least one of us is…

Naoe : (sigh, fingers of one hand fiddling at Muraki’s sleeve button) I give up. I should never even try to talk you out of it…

Muraki : So? Do we…?

Naoe : Start all over again. That’s what you want, isn’t it, Sensei? You’d rope me back even if I try to run anyway.

Muraki : Yes… it’ll be more… pleasurable… if you cooperate…

Naoe : Just be gentle with me for once.

Muraki : (mocked shocked) I’m always gentle with you, Yoshiaki-san!

Naoe : Gentle? With all of those touching and grasping and pinching and prodding and pushing and grabbing and tightening and tying and ….

Takaya :?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Muraki : I told not to struggle, didn’t I? Besides, the ties were precautions…

Naoe : (sigh) I’m no match for you… No matter what I do, where I hide… You always seemed to be able to find me anywhere anytime of your convenience.

Muraki : Do I really?

Naoe : (turning around, Muraki’s arms still encircling him, he sighed and put his forehead on Muraki’s shoulder, half leaning on him) To be honest, it’s getting tiring…

Muraki : (rubbing Naoe’s back soothingly) It’s okay… We’ll fix it. I promise.

Naoe : I know. I trust you. I always do.

Muraki : (smiled, pushing Naoe and held him at arm length) So, tomorrow’s okay for you?

Naoe : My place or your place?

Muraki : My place. I’ll pick you up, though. Say… seven o’clock?

Naoe : Isn’t it to early?

Muraki : Not really. Or would you prefer breakfast in bed? We can always go to my place tonight.

Naoe : Tomorrow. I still have something to do tonight. Have to drive Takaya-san to the hotel.

Muraki : Whatever. I’ll just prepare everything for you. You shall have the best, Yoshiaki-san.

Naoe : You always give me the best, Kazutaka-san. The best I’ve ever had. (chuckle) I think you know my body more than I do.

Muraki : Coming from you, that’s a complement, Yoshiaki-san…

Naoe : Come to think of it, there isn’t an inch of me that you haven’t explored before…

Takaya : (choke)

Muraki : (fixing Naoe’s tie) That is true.

Naoe : (smile) So, tomorrow?

Muraki : Tomorrow. I’ll pick you up.

Naoe : You know which hotel I stay at?

Muraki : (laugh) I can even tell which room you’re staying at and which one’s your bed.

Naoe : You really are a genuine stalker.

Muraki : Are you bothered?

Naoe : No… flattered, really…

Muraki : Tomorrow, then, Yoshiaki-san. Good night, Takaya-san. (give a bow, turn around and left)

Takaya :

Naoe : Takaya-san? You look pale…

Takaya : (biting his lips, trying to hold back the anger) Who. Is. He?

Naoe : Him? Muraki Kazutaka. He’s a friend.

Takaya : A…friend? Really?

Naoe : Yes. Known him since we’re children.

Takaya : (fist clenched) A very close friend, it seems…

Naoe : You can say that. That guy, always pops up here and there… (smiling) I can’t shake his attention from me, that worrywart…

Takaya : (pout) You can always go with him now, you know. I can go back by myself.

Naoe : Oh, no… Haruie will kill me if I let you go back alone. Besides, he’ll need time to prepare all of his… (pause, thinking) …paraphernalia.

Takaya : (trembling) Paraphernalia?

Naoe : Yeah. Needles and the like.

Takaya : (shocked) Needles???!!!

Naoe : Mmm… I never like needles… but he makes it bearable…

Takaya :?????!!!!! (pale) Naoe… I never thought…

Naoe : Never thought what?

Takaya : Never mind…

Naoe : (look at Takaya, and sigh) Sorry, it’s not my fault this body is weaker than it’s supposed to be.

Takaya : Eh?

Naoe : This body… (laugh) It’s my fault, actually. I was desperate for a body, so I took the first available one. It was already too late when I found out that this body is… well… weak.

Takaya : Eh??!!

Naoe : Mmm… a string of doctors from day one… Led by the famous Muraki Sensei… Kazutaka’s father.

Takaya : Eh…

Naoe : If the soul that inhabit this body is not a kanshosha… no, if the body does not host a yashashuu… Maybe this body wouldn’t even survive the first year.

Takaya :

Naoe : Kazutaka-san has been watching over me since he became a doctor, performing annual test on me, or anytime we meet, actually… For his father, I’m a project… but for him… (chuckle) I’m the brother he doesn’t have.

Takaya :

Naoe : Sometimes I think he knows about me… about Naoe, I mean… But he’s not saying anything. Everyone has his or her own secrets, after all…

Takaya : So… he’s your… doctor?

Naoe : Yeah. A very friendly doctor. Professionalism above all… yet he cares…

Takaya : (sigh, and then chuckle)

Naoe : Takaya-san?

Takaya : (doubled over with a full-blown laughter, tears on his eyes)

Naoe : Takaya-san? What…?

Takaya : It’s nothing, Naoe…nothing at all…

Naoe : (confused) … whatever you say, Takaya-san…

Takaya : (laughter slowly subsiding) so, are we going back to the hotel? (chuckle)… don’t want you to be late for your date tomorrow.

Naoe : Date? (scrunched his nose) yeah… date with stethoscope and x-ray and cold examining table and…

Takaya : And needles…

Naoe : And needles… hate the needles…

Takaya : Oh? Bad Old Naoe hates needles… that’s something to laugh at.

Naoe : Try to have a three inches needle injecting God-Knows-What substance into your body, Takaya-san. It’s not painful, it’s sickening…

Takaya : Ne, Naoe… does that mean that the doctor… has seen you naked before?

Naoe : With the way he probes for each and every rib, making sure that they’re still intact even when he can see it from X-ray… Like I said, there’s not an inch of me that he hasn’t explored before.

Takaya : I bet he’s enjoying the view, though.

Naoe : Doubt it. He keeps on complaining. Too thin here, not enough meat there… Keeps on reminding me to drink my medicines, which reminds me… (reaching inside his coat , pulling out a small bottle with pills inside) We need to get something for dinner. I wasn’t thinking of dining after that late tea, but he will know if I don’t drink this tonight…

Takaya : (laugh, laugh, and laugh…)



Author’s notes:

Don’t ask me why I wrote this. Two weeks of chicken pox and got quarantined in my room do wonder to imagination, my Lamentation muse is currently taking a vacation, and SarahKurai and I sometimes have these ideas that simply pop up whenever they want. Thus, The HTMTJ series. No beta-reader available, so all mistakes are mine. I’ve shown this to LyreBird-san and Madame Dewi before, and in the end I’m too lazy to make it into a full story-in-paragraphs, hence the dialogues above. I hope it’s still acceptable, though. We’ve practiced it in class, and everyone just kept on laughing…)

As an extra note in this post, I humbly ask for a prayer for a friend of mine, Shin, who had a car accident and is still in coma, and for his … er… husband, Tsu, who’s right now a nervous wreck. I can’t be with them, and even if I can, I can’t do more than praying. So I’ll just ask for more prayers.


Love,

THR







Current Mood: artistic
Monday, August 8th, 2005
5:30 pm
Lamentation Chapter 5
 

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 5!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!


Lamentation

Chapter 5

Overture


Tachibana Teruhiro sighed as he put down his suitcase down and loosened his tie.

His youngest brother worries him.

It’s not the first time. Actually, Yoshiaki always worries him ever since he was born. Among all of his siblings, he’s considerably more protective when it comes to his youngest brother

Having seen your seven years old brother tried to take his life in front of you can shake anyone to the root. It sure shook him up.

And this time, his beloved brother’s once again worries him.

He should’ve seen it. He should’ve seen the sign. After all, it’s not like Yoshiaki blew up his car on a regular basis. Okay, there was that one time when he came home after blowing up his Cefiro… but that’s not the point.

The point is, he should’ve seen the sign.

The sign that his brother was once again slipping into depression.

Okay, that’s wrong. Yoshiaki had always been depressed.

Still, he should’ve seen the signs…

He should’ve been there for him…

***

“Oniichan! Oniichan, wake up!”

Takaya opened his eyes and saw his sister beside him.

“Miya?” he yawned.

“How is he?” Miya looked at the sleeping man on the bed worriedly

“He had a nightmare, so I had to wake him up and made him talk about it a little bit, but then he slept peacefully.”

Takaya straightened up and stretched out.

“I’m taking a bath,” Takaya stood up and turned to the bathroom, “Chiaki, neesan, watch over him for me for awhile, okay?”

“Sure, Kagetora, take your time,” Haruie smiled.

Takaya closed the bathroom door.

Miya smiled as she sat on her brother’s chair, looking at the sleeping occupant.

Nagahide couldn’t thank the Gods above enough that Kagetora’s current sister accepted her brother’s relationship easily.

When Takaya emerged from the bathroom, he saw Miya giggling at something Nagahide said. Naoe was already awake and was sitting with pillows on his back, smiling amusedly. Haruie was chuckling, and Yuzuru was laughing.

Takaya stood back to observe the scene in front of him.

His family and friends were there. He won’t trade it with anything else in the world.

Watari came to the room at that moment, smiling, and shooing everyone but Takaya out. After they’ve scrambled, Naoe looked at him with a smile on his face.

Takaya found himself grinning back.

“Naoe-san, are you strong enough to take a bath on your own?” Watari asked.

Naoe nodded, already moving to get out of the bed.

“Do so, then, but don’t lock the door.”

***

While Naoe was in the bathroom, Takaya had picked up a piece of paper and a pencil, and started drawing a sketch out of memory. He put it aside when Naoe came out looking slightly pale, and he spent some time helping his aide to get properly dressed in pants and t-shirt and dried his hair, before finally dragging him to the newly made bed.

Then Subaru came, bringing breakfast, soup and bread, this time. Somehow, Naoe managed to keep them all in. Takaya ate with him.

There were some tests, all performed in the room, and a little spiritual test from Subaru, Naoe was asked to hold a crystal ball, which swirling color’s changed almost immediately.

They had asked what it meant, but Watari only shrugged, saying that he had no idea.

After all that, Watari left, and their friends swarmed the room again.

“Ne, Naoe-niisan, you have to heal fast, and then you can move in with us, “Miya said excitedly, “We still have two unused rooms, you know…”

“Naoe-niisan?” asked Takaya, “why are you calling him that?”

“Well, he’s your beloved, right? Then he’s my aniki, too.”

Naoe looked shocked, his eyes caught Takaya’s. Takaya recognized that look, apologetic-panic-confused-fear…

Takaya nodded, “Yeah, I guess so… Miya’s right, you know, you should move in with us, Naoe. Although… I’m not sure how your mother will take it…”

Naoe shook his head, “Just introduce yourself as Kagetora, and she’ll approve. Although she might chase you around the lawn first. Not to mention my three older brothers and sister. You can ask for my father’s help, if he’ll help you, that is.”

“You have older siblings! That’s good! It means I’ll get many brother! And a sister, too. Cool!”

“What exactly did you tell your family about me?” asked Takaya, clearly looking hurt.

“Pretty much everything,” Naoe shrugged, “And that’s not only about you. They know about the whole Kanshosha business. Although I didn’t tell them that I’ve met all of you again.”

“Well, that’s unusual,” Nagahide commented, “We usually kept to ourselves.”

“I’ve hadn’t much of a choice, and they were different, in a way, they kept me even after I babbled about possessing their son. Not really, though.”

“Eh?”

“Tachibana Yoshiaki was born dead. A minute after that, I grabbed his body.”

“Ooo…” Haruie nodded, “So you were considered a miracle, ne?”

“Something like that, yeah.”

“How did you tell them? I mean… that’s very unusual…” Takaya looked worried.

“Ee…”

Miya’s eyes were drawn at something. She frowned, and silently gestured toward her new brother’s wrist, “Does it have something to do with that?”

Takaya’s eyes followed her sister’s eyes and fell onto the scars that he’d noticed when he helped Naoe changed his clothes.

Haruie looked at Nagahide.

Naoe lowered his head, his hand instinctively closed around his wrist.

I was kinda depressed…”

Miya threw herself to Naoe, hugging so suddenly, that the older man slightly listed to the side, and ended up leaning on Takaya, “Well, no more of that, okay? You found niichan now, so you are not doing anything stupid anymore, right?”

Naoe looked at the girl, surprised, “Miya-san…”

Miya-chan! I’m your imouto, you shouldn’t call me Miya–san…”

Naoe was speechless.

Miya straightened up and looked directly to Naoe’s eyes, “Promise me you won’t do anything stupid anymore. Promise me that you won’t throw your life away. Promise me!”

Miya-chan…”

Promise me!”

Naoe’s eyes softened, “Aa… hai. I promise.”

Miya nodded, “Good. And you, niichan… you have to be stronger.”

Eh?”

If not, Naoe-niisan will ended up guarding your ass all the time, maybe he’d even lose his life protecting you. I won’t let that happen. You have to be stronger, niichan, I know you’re the younger one here, but you’re the leader, right? You have to be stronger, so your people won’t have to watch over you all the time. How can you protect your loved ones if you can’t even protect yourself?”

The wisdom of a sage from the mouth of a babe, Nagahide thought, but she was right.

Takaya nodded, “I know, Miya, I know. I will be stronger, and I will be the one who does the protecting for a change, I promise. You don’t have to worry.”

Miya smiled, “Good, because I don’t want to lose any of you.”

Haruie was definitely amazed. This girl had done something not even Irobe could do.

Make Kagetora takes command because he wants to, not because he has to.

She’s definitely a miracle worker.

***

Watari straightened as he entered Imonoyama Nokoru’s office. Nokoru was there, as well as Subaru. Mr. and Mrs. Tachibana sat on the sofa, and Naoe’s eldest brother, Teruhiro, sat on an armchair.

Mr. Tachibana looked calm yet apprehensive, while his wife looked nervous yet hopeful. Teruhiro was composedly quiet.

That’s why we keep him here, Tachibana-san. This facility is far more complete than Matsumoto Hospital,” Nokoru was saying.

Subaru gestured Watari to come near, “Tachibana-san, this is Watari Yutaka, he’s the doctor responsible for Yoshiaki now.”

Watari bowed politely, “Watari Yutaka desu.”

Mr. Tachibana looked tired, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Watari-sensei.”

No, not at all.”

He’s weakening, isn’t he? Nobutsuna?” asked Mrs. Tachibana anxiously, “But, he can always jump out to another body when Yoshiaki’s body die, right?”

No one’s supposed to take his or her son’s dying so lightly, Watari thought, but then again…

No, Tachibana-san… Yoshiaki-san is mending quite well, I assure you. Although more mental support will be most appreciated.”

The three Tachibana looked at each other.

Medically, and spiritually, we have the best team. We’re not miracle workers, though. Anything you can tell us, anything at all, will be greatly appreciated.”

Maybe you need to read this, then.”

Mrs. Tachibana pulled out a leather book from her bag.

This is our Yoshiaki Record. We keep record for each and every child we have. You will find there everything about Yoshiaki, from the day he was born to date, as far as we know, and I mean everything, even all the whatnot about Nobutsuna, Kagetora, and Kanshosha that we know.”

I believe it will do good if you ask about our son to your grandmother, Sumeragi-san. After all, when Yoshiaki tried to commit suicide and went into catatonic when he was seven, it was her who brought him back,” Mr. Tachibana added.

Mrs.Tachibana looked at the people in front of her anxiously “Yoshiaki… Can we see him?”

Subaru looked at Watari, who nodded.

Of course, Tachibana-san. Would you like to meet your son alone, or with his friends?”

There’s a gleam in all three Tachibanas eyes, that Watari felt sorry for Takaya.

We would like to meet them all, yes,” Tachibana Teruhiro answered lightly.

Subaru had to hold back laughter.

***

And then he fell. Irobe was laughing so hard, that he forgot about Haruie, and she pushed him to the river to join Bakatora!”

Subaru shook his head as he entered the room.

Naoe was laughing so hard, and the others were in a various state of laughter.

Obviously, Nagahide was telling something funny from their past lives.

Oh, hi, Subaru-san!” Haruie waved him in.

Subaru smiled, “I thought Watari-sensei had told you, no exertion!”

That’s sexual exertion, not this,” Nagahide smirked, and one of Naoe’s many pillows landed on his head.

Chiaki!!!!” Takaya was definitely embarrassed.

Subaru sighed. Watari had warned Takaya not to do anything sexual while they’re in CLAMP, for three reasons only, one, Watari would know, as he always monitor Naoe’s heart rate and brain wave, two, Naoe is still recovering, so no exertion, please, and three, they must keep the door unlock, so it will be awkward if anyone ever enter the room and found them naked. Takaya had blushed to the root, Nagahide and Haruie choked, Naoe looked morbidly amused, Yuzuru laughed until he almost couldn’t breath, and Miya had an enigmatic smile on her face..

I guess I have to soundproof the master bedroom…” Miya mused.

This time, Subaru laughed, something heavy was lifted from his heart. Seeing these people, he knew that there’s hope.

Sorry, people… I hate to break the fun, but Yoshiaki has visitors.”

Eh?” asked Naoe.

Subaru turned toward the door, which Watari opened wider, revealing the three older Tachibana.

Naoe paled.

For a second, the fours pairs of brown eyes met. And then, Mrs. Tachibana strode over so fast that Subaru flinched away.

YOSHINOBU BAKA!!!”

The others instinctively moved away from the bed.

I’VE TOLD YOU BEFORE AND NOW I’M TELLING YOU AGAIN, YOUNG MAN! I DON’T MIND IF YOU HAVE TO GO ALL OVER THE WORLD TO EXORCISE EVIL SPIRITS, I DON’T EVEN COMPLAIN IF YOU FORGET TO CALL, AS LONG AS YOU KNOW WHEN TO EAT AND WHEN TO HAVE YOUR MEDICINE AND WHEN TO REST! HONESTLY! HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO PROTECT THAT BRAT BAKATORA IF YOU’RE BEDRIDDEN LIKE THIS!!!!”

Takaya twitched.

AND NOW YOU’RE STRANDED HERE, IN A MAKE-SHIFT HOSPITAL ROOM, WHILE YOU COULD’VE BEEN OUT THERE CHASING DIRTY SOULS!!! WHY? BECAUSE YOU’RE MOPING YET AGAIN!!! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO FUCK UP WITH THE PAST ANYWAY?!!???”

Subaru flinched.

AND WHAT’S WITH THIS EATING DISORDER!!! THE LAST I CHECK, YOU’RE NOT A GIRL!!!! AND YOU HAVE A GREAT FIGURE!!! YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT GETTING A DIET!!!! CAN YOU GUESS HOW MANY MEN THERE ARE IN THE WORLD WHO’D KILL TO HAVE A FIGURE AND FACE LIKE YOURS!!!?”

Haruie rolled her eyes.

AND THEY SAY YOU’VE EXHAUSTED YOUR SPIRITUAL POWER! DIDN’T I TELL YOU TO ALWAYS CARRY SHURIKEN AROUND!!??! YOU KNOW THAT IT’S EASIER TO EXORCISE A WEAK BODY THAN A HEALTHY ONE! HELL, I SHOULD’VE MADE YOU CARRY GUNS!!!”

Nagahide smirked.

AND WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU REALLY EAT ANYTHING??!! YOU MUST’VE BEEN TREATING OTHERS BUT NOT EATING YOURSELF, OR STUFFING YOURSELF WITH COLAS AND BABY BISCUITS!!! HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BE STRONG, EATING LIKE THAT??!! NO WONDER YOUR INTESTINES REBEL AGAINST YOU!”

Miya looked shocked.

AND I BET YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TAKING YOUR MEDICINE!?! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU’VE TAKEN THOSE PILLS??!! I BET THE ONLY ONES YOU TAKE ARE THE SLEEPING PILLS, YOU STUPID KANSHOSHA! YOU’RE NOT IMMORTAL!!! YOU CAN MOVE BODIES, YES, BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE HEALTHY!!!”

Yuzuru coughed.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE WHOLE TRYING TO EXORCISE YOURSELF THING!!?! DIDN’T YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS THE HEAD OF SUMERAGI WHO TOOK YOU OUT OF CATATONIA THOSE MANY YEARS AGO???!! AND NOW YOU ASK FOR A SUMERAGI, THE CURRENT HEAD, TOO, TO EXORCISE YOU???!!! NOT TO MENTION THAT HE’S YOUR FRIEND!!!”

Watari looked morbidly fascinated.

AND STOP TRYING TO HIDE UNDER THOSE BLANKETS!!! YOU ARE SO NOT GOING ANYWHERE, YOUNG MAN! YOU’RE MAYBE OLDER THAN ME, BUT I’M STILL YOUR MOTHER, AND YOU WILL DO WHAT I SAY!!!! NOW, WOULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE THAT BAKATORA OF YOURS?!?”

Seeing the petite woman looming over her definitely cowering son, Subaru couldn’t help it. He laughed, “I’m sorry… it’s just that… you reminded me of my sister…”

Watari visibly cringed, “Oh, yeah… Hokuto-chan can be downright scary when she wants to.”

Takaya had moved to hide behind his sister, while Nagahide took refuge behind Haruie. Yuzuru was too shocked to move.

Mr. Tachibana and Teruhiro laughed, both moved rapidly toward the bed, where they simply plopped beside the bed, and Teruhiro clapped his brother’s shoulder lightly, “Listen to Kaasan for once, Yoshiaki! It’s not that hard, anyway…”

You’re not the one she was yelling to, Niisan…” Naoe was definitely sulking.

No, but we had to endure her prattle all the way from home, so I think we’re even. And your mother yelled enough for the both of us, so I’m not even going to try,” here Mr. Tachibana hug his son warmly, “Glad to see you still alive, son.”

Naoe hugged back hesitantly. As soon as his father let him go, though, he was engulfed by his mother’s arms.

Honestly, Yoshinobu… You can’t keep everything by yourself… you’re not superman, you know… you’re only one man… you can’t do everything alone…”

Naoe hugged back.

The three older Tachibana, apparently familiar with their youngest moods, simply stayed close.

Better?” asked Mr. Tachibana, as his son moved a little in his mother’s arms.

Naoe nodded slightly, so his mother let him go, but not before finger-combing her son’s hair.

Naoe looked mightily embarrassed.

Teruhiro smiled knowingly at his brother, “You didn’t tell us that you have found your friends,” he said lightly.

I didn’t want to worry you…”

You’re our son. Of course we worry,” Mrs. Tachibana chuckled.

I’m sorry…”

Always forgiven, son. Now aren’t you going to introduce us to someone?”

Takaya flinched, but something in his heart flared up. These were Naoe’s parents. Although Naoe’s currently older, but in the estimation of survival kanshosha age, Kagetora was the older one. After all, he died before Naoe did.

One day he’s going to court someone, his father Kenshin had once said, the memory resurfaced easily in is mind, and when he does, he must do it properly, even if the family of his loved one looks down at him, and their relationship is attacked from all side.

So he stood straight, letting the Kagetora side in him merged into the Takaya persona, and felt calmness washed over him. But underlying it, there’s a giddy feeling, mixed with fear and apprehension and hope.

Damn. If he didn’t know better, he’d think he was courting Naoe.

Then again, he was.

I am Kagetora.”

Naoe’s eyes looked at him in astonishment, as well as Nagahide’s and Haruie’s. Yuzuru and Miya looked amazed at the transformation.

Takaya bowed low, “Uesugi Kagetora, also known as Hojou Ujihide Saburou. I now hold the name Ougi Takaya.”

Haruie and Nagahide moved so they flanked their Lord respectively.

This is Kakizaki Haruie, currently Kadowaki Ayako, and Yasuda Nagahide, currently Chiaki Shuhei.”

Both bowed.

Miya instinctively moved closer to her brother, the others following her.

This is my sister, Miya; and my best friend, Narita Yuzuru,”

All of them bowed.

Mr. Tachibana smiled, there’s something akin to pride in his eyes as he beheld the young man in front of him. He stood up, and bowed respectfully, “I am Yoshiaki’s father. This is my wife. And that is my eldest son, Teruhiro.”

Teruhiro looked at his brother’s surprised expression, then at the young man before him, and smirked.

Mrs. Tachibana eyes narrowed, “Your voice. You were the one who called asking for Yoshinobu before.”

Yoshinobu?’ Takaya wondered, but he refrained from asking, “Yes, Ma’am. I did call once.”

Her eyes warmed, “You’re a polite young man, although a little bit too shy for my liking. But I guess it comes with still being young.”

Takaya had the grace to blush lightly.

I’d like to welcome you to our house later on, Ougi-san. Yoshiaki’s brothers and sister will definitely love meeting you, and your sister and friends as well. Can I assume that all of you are family of some sort, you, your friends, and my son?”

Takaya looked at his friends and smiled, “Yes, we are.”

Ah, then I must welcome you to my family, too,” Mr. Tachibana smiled, “After Yoshiaki’s considered well, shall we have tea in our house?”

That will be delightful, Tachibana-sama. I’m sorry that none of my parents will be able to attend, though.”

It’s perfectly fine, Ougi-san, after all, not all family is made by blood. Shall we say… somewhere around early next month, then?”

That’ll be perfectly well, Tachibana-sama. We’ll be sure to bring gifts.”

Any gifts from Ougi-san will be received favourably.”

Takaya, please. Ougi is far too formal.”

Very well, Takaya-san. Next month, then?”

Next month.”

Subaru was tempted to cast a silencing spell in case any of them accidentally bursted out laughing.

Watari later on swore that Naoe’s face was redder than Hisoka’s could ever be. HE exaggerated, of course.

Watari-sensei, will next month be alright?”

We’ll see, Tachibana-san,” Watari nodded, “If anything, we can always change the date, yes?”

Yes, that we can. Later, perhaps?”

We will see, Tachibana-san,” Subaru said soothingly.

Aa… Sumeragi-san, you are also invited, of course. And your grandmother, too.”

Subaru nodded, “I will surely deliver the invitation. My Grandmother would be delighted.”

And Imonoyama-san, would you grace us with your company there?”

I will be sure to come, Tachibana-san,” Nokoru, who stayed well near the door, bowed politely.

Watari-sensei, we’d be honoured if you’d come…”

I will try,” Watari smiled, although deep inside he’s laughing.

Takaya carefully let out the breath he’d been holding for some times.

Well, then, we have to go back home, I’m afraid, we can’t let our other children destroy the temple due to extreme worry,” Mrs. Tachibana said, lightly kissing Naoe’s forehead, “You will be alright, won’t you, Yoshinobu?”

Naoe nodded, still red-faced.

We’ll be going then,” Mrs. Tachibana put a comforting hand on his son’s shoulder, “We’ve brought another suitcase of your clothing, and some of your writing pads, so you won’t get bored.”

Arigato,” Naoe said softly.

Call me if you need anything, Yoshiaki. I’ll be around,“ Teruhiro patted his brother’s shoulder, and leaned over to whisper something to him, eliciting an undignified, “Niisan!!!” from Naoe.

Teruhiro shook his head and laughed, “Honestly, Yoshiaki… How old are you?”

How old are you?!” Naoe retorted heatedly.

Now, boys…” Mrs. Tachibana hugged her youngest son once more, and stood beside her husband, who smiled, “We will be seeing you again, Takaya-san. Please take care of our Yoshiaki.”

He will be in the best of care.”

I’m sure he will,” Mrs. Tachibana smiled.

The three Tachibana bowed, mirrored by The Kanshosha and their friends.

Nokoru, ever the great host, led the way out.

Watari closed the door.

There was silence.

Broken by a flying pillow that hit Takaya square on the face.

What?!” Takaya grabbed the falling pillow, sighed and strode over to the bed, “Alright, now what when and where did I do wrong?”

Subaru was valiantly trying not to laugh.

Watari shook his head and bowed slightly, “I’ll be going, then. Takaya-san, Naoe-san… Congratulations.”

And then he walked out and closed the door firmly.

Yuzuru blinked, “What was that all about?”

Nagahide was perfectly astonished, and Haruie had her hands covering her mouth.

Bakatora… do you have any idea what you just did?” asked Nagahide carefully.

Something I should’ve done before,” Takaya grumbled.

You… You…” Haruie lost her words.

Nagahide chuckled, “Were Irobe here, he’d be jumping all over the room with joy.”

Excuse me, but… what exactly happened?” asked Miya.

What do you think?”

Umm… An invitation to tea?”

No…” Yuzuru’s face was red, “That wasn’t an invitation to tea, wasn’t it?”

Figures you would know,” Nagahide shook his head, “No, that wasn’t an invitation to tea. That wasn’t only an invitation to tea.”

What was it, then?” asked Miya.

Haruie lowered her hand, a grin on her lips, “That was a house invitation.”

A what?”

It’s not something still practiced… but… it’s like… proposal of marriage, really.”

Silence.

Nagahide hid a smile, “In the old times, the family who propose will come to the other family. They’ll be received in the hall of the house, but not in the house. If the proposed family, be they male or female, accepted the proposal, they will invite the chosen family to tea.”

But since we’re neither in Naoe-san’s or Ougi-kun’s house, so Tachibana-san invites Ougi-kun to his house instead?” Yuzuru asked, “But why he’s the one who does the inviting? Why not the other way around?”

Because Bakatora introduced himself and his family to Naoe’s parents first. So, he’s the suitor.”

Silence.

My brother had just proposed in front of me, and I missed it all?” Miya asked slowly.

But… why did Takaya became the suitor? I mean, was there a talk before?” asked Yuzuru, his face flushed, “I don’t understand!”

Three reasons, actually,” Takaya answered from his perch beside Naoe, “One, he’s the one who still really have parents, mine’s completely dysfunctional, so I have to marry in, in a way. Two, although he’s older now, in survival Kanshosha age, I’m older, as I died earlier, so it’s only right if I’m the one who propose. Three, this master-aide relationship. An aide can’t court his master, but a master can court his aide. So I’m the one who does the courting.”

That was…” Haruie was definitely astonished.

That was Takaya overpowering Bakatora,” Takaya shook his head, “Enough is enough. 400 years! Sheeeesh… Nobutsuna… Yoshiaki… say something…”

Naoe simply looked at Takaya unbelievingly.

Nagahide rolled his eyes and dragged the others out, signalling to Takaya to take care of whatever needs to be taken care of.

Soon, there were only the two of them in the room.

Takaya looked at Naoe fondly, “Oy, Naoe… Come on… Did I do anything wrong?”

Naoe shook his head, “I’m not a girl…”

Takaya was baffled, “I never said you’re one… Do you not want to be courted?”

You could’ve asked me first,” the older man sighed.

It came out of the blue. I don’t know when else would I meet your parents again, and you’re there, and… the whole family were just there… So I just did.”

What if I say no?”

Takaya laughed, lying down beside Naoe, “Oh, they wouldn’t invite me to tea if they think you’d say no. Honestly, I think your parents understand your… our… feelings more than we do.”

“…”

They’re good parents, Naoe… You’re lucky.”

I guess I am…” Naoe decided to lie down beside Takaya.

Oh, you’re just too cute…” Takaya looked at him adoringly.

Stop it. It should’ve been the other way around. You ruin my dignity.”

One stupid question. Would you ever court me? I mean, you left me on a pier after making a confession, Naoe…”

Naoe sighed, “Yeah… I guess I’m just a stupid coward…”

Takaya leaned over him and pecked Naoe’s nose playfully, “Oh, but you’re my stupid coward.”

Naoe smiled, “Bakatora.”

Well, I’m your Bakatora…”

Soft kissing ensued. Devotion, and love…

Somehow, Takaya again ended up absently combing Naoe’s hair with his fingers.

What is it with you that whenever I’m with you like this, I’m changed into a submissive puppy?” Naoe complained good-naturedly.

Maybe because you want to be the submissive puppy, but Bakatora was too much of a spineless bastard that you had to be the strong one instead.”

That’s my job. I’m your rear-guard.”

Yeah, and I’m your future husband. I say we protect each other instead. Miya’s right. I have to be stronger. I’ve spent too much time being taken care of. Now it’s time for me to do the taking care. Not only you, but also the others.”

Irobe-san will be proud of you.”

Are you proud of me?”

Of course.”

Then it’s enough. The whole world may condemn me, but as long as you devotedly stay by my side, loving me all the way, then it’s okay.”

“…”

What?”

That’s sappy.”

I’ve wasted 400 years of chance to be with you. I’m allowed to be sappy.”

Ne, Takaya…”

What?”

You do realize that we can’t really get married, right?”

Takaya shrugged, “Does it matter? We’ll change bodies again and again. When we need to get out of these bodies, I’ll just court you all over again. Although, if you really want to get a marital certificate, you’d have to find a suitable female host first, preferably the younger one…”

Why don’t you be the woman?”

Heh… But it doesn’t matter, really. As long as it’s you, Nobutsuna, whatever form you take, I’ll always be drawn to you, even if I don’t remember you at all.”

Same here, I guess.”

Mmm… I’m just thinking… the name your mother used… not Yoshiaki…”

Yoshinobu?”

Yeah.”

That’s a nickname, really, Yoshiaki and Nobutsuna combined. She made it. She said that differing Yoshiaki and Nobutsuna is not good, so for her, I am Yoshinobu.”

Mmmm… that’s good. I guess that’ll make me… what? Takatora? Takahide?”

Definitely better than Bakatora.”

Well… I like Takahide …”

Takaya-Ujihide… Takahide … I like the sound of it. But I thought you hate that name.”

No. Why should I? I wouldn’t become an Uesugi if I wasn’t a Houjo before. After all, it was my birth name. Ujihide, Saburou, Kagetora, Takaya… Different names, same person. But Takahide’s too long for a nickname.”

Why ever do you need a nickname, Takaya-san?”

Why do you keep on going ‘Takaya-san’… anyway?”

Well, what do you want to be called, then?”

Takaya. But Yuzuru calls me that. I want something special…. Sheeesh… you’re right. I’m sappy.”

I like the name Takaya.”

Mmm… That’s nice. Say it again?”

My, you are sappy. Why don’t you give me my nickname, then?”

Bakanobu?”

Takaya…”

Kidding… mmm…. Nobutsuna… Tsuna, I guess”

It sounded too much like Tsuta!”

No, it’s not, and Nobu’s just too weird.”

Can’t we just stick to Naoe?”

Nope. I get a nickname, and so must you.”

You asked for a nickname!”

So did you, Tsuna…”

“…”

Heh. I win.”

I give up.”

Well, you should…”

Takaya?”

What?”

Naoe looked at Takaya lovingly, “I have no idea how this happen, but I’m glad.”

Me, too. You’ll have to help me go shopping, though. I need to bring you and your family many gifts.”

Mmm. The greatest gift is you.”

“… Tsuna… that’s sappy.”

I’ve spent 400 years waiting to be courted by my liege-lord. I’m allowed to be sappy.”

A knock on the door signalled the return of their friends. Naoe was about to move away from Takaya, but the arms held him close for a second before letting him go, and he was kissed softly for a second.

Takaya smiled at him, and Naoe found himself smiling back.

Takaya straightened up and helped Naoe to lean on the bed-head, while he himself took his customary position.

Come in!” he called.

Their friends, family, swarmed in, with Miya on the lead, running and hugging and congratulating her two brothers happily.

Yuzuru congratulate them merrily, while Haruie simply hugged the two, tears in her eyes, giving her blessing softly. Subaru looked at Naoe, his smile tainted with melancholy reside as he wished the two men all the happiness he never had the chance to get.

Nagahide stood beside the bed, smiling widely, “I say… it’s about damn time.”

***

Watari appeared in the office and promptly fell on the floor, laughing his ass off.

Tatsumi looked at the mad scientist of Shokan-kan and hauled him up, “What?”

“…” Watari looked at Yoshiaki, who looked back with this amused face, and laughed again, waving his hands, asking his friends to give him a time to laugh some more, tears in his eyes.

My, I know it’s surprising, but I never thought that it’s really funny,” Yoshiaki spoke knowingly.

Takaya looked bored, “Honestly, Watari-san… What happened?”

Shuhei and Ayako looked at each other, and shrugged, returning to their job.

Watari wiped a stray tear away, still chuckling giddily.

Maybe you can explain now, sensei?” asked Mina, fully intrigued by his unending gales of laughter.

Watari smiled and made a V-sign, “Kagetora-san had just finally proposed Naoe-san.”

Yatta!!!” Takaya jumped up; hitting the air high, “Pay up, Shuhei! I told you he’d be the one who propose!”

Oh, really? How did that brat find the courage?” asked Shuhei amusedly.

The Takaya part overpowered the Kagetora part, I guess,” Yoshiaki laughed.

That’s good. I mean, 400 years… Honestly…” Ayako laughed.

Yeah. But I thought Naoe’d be the one who propose?” ask Tatsumi.

After leaving him on a pier after confessing, I’ve a high doubt that my brat would do anything to propose, really,” Yoshiaki smiled.

He used ancient ‘to tea’ method, too,” Watari informed them amusedly.

Heee? My brat proposed directly to his parents?” Takaya looked shocked.

Yeah… they were visiting Naoe-san… and it just happened. No rehearsal whatsoever. The Tachibana are familiar with the process, though. There wasn’t even a glitch in the counteracting words. And Kagetora did all the talking himself.”

That’s my boy for you.”

Well, finally one of them makes the move,” Mina smiled, “When will ‘the tea’ be?”

Next month,” Watari frowned.

All the more reason to move fast,” Tatsumi sighed.

Yeah…” Ayako’s smile turned sour, “and we’ve nothing so far.”

Nothing at all?”

Well, the problem is more psychological, that’s for sure,” Yoshiaki spoke carefully, “but his soul wasn’t supposed to be weakened like that. Not that fast!”

Mmm… we guess that someone’s tampering, but we’re not sure… I mean… none of us know the original state of his soul 400 years ago,” Shuhei shook his head, “We’re stumped, Watari-san.”

Well… we’ll just do with what we have right now, and hope that no complication happen after this,” Watari brightly smiled.

As if…” Shuhei grumbled.

Watari took out a book from his bag, “Maybe this can help.”

***


TBC…


Some author's note:

Damn! I didn’t mean it, but this chapter is so… shallow…

Gomen…

Hope you’ll still be reading the next chapters… Actions start next chapter, I promise…


THR








Current Mood: aggravated
5:25 pm
Lamentation Chapter 4
 

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 4!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!


Lamentation


Chapter 4

Truth


Kitazato Minako had her own reason when she accepted the position as a Reikai Annainin. First, she could keep an eye of the movement of souls. Two, she has the access for the Annainin’s copy of Kiseki, The Book Of The Dead. Three, her feelings to the two souls she’d known intimately.

Kagetora, her lover. Naoe, the one who love her lover.

Something told her not to move on. Something told her that she had to stick around. Something told her that maybe… just maybe… she can help make things right…

When she withdrew from the dreamscape, she kept the two souls together not because she can’t separate them again, but because together, the two souls were too beautiful to be separated.

***

Naoe Nobutsuna woke up.

Waking up, to him, had always been a gradual process, although he’s always capable of jumping up quickly when needed. But when there’s no danger about, waking up is a long process.

He blinked; his eyes traced the ceiling. Instead of getting up, though, he reveled in the warmth of the blanket. In his current body, Tachibana Yoshiaki, for lack of better word, loved to sleep.

It’s the only way for the soul of Naoe Nobutsuna to have a rest.

Yoshiaki’s body was not weak, but it was weaker than his previous body. With the way he died the last time, the desperate taking of a dead infant body, and the depression, how he survived the years he’d lived as Tachibana Yoshiaki, he had no idea…

Maybe it’s because his desperate hope to see Kagetora-sama again…

Now he’d found his master.

There’s also Haruie… Nagahide… Irobe-san… Yuzuru…

Kagetora… Or rather… Takaya…

He was being melancholic.

Or being plain honest with himself.

He decided to get up, so he sat up, swung his long legs out of the bed, comb his messy hair with his fingers, and stood up.

Well… he tried to.

He found that he was too weak to move his body, that his whole body ached in places he never thought could hurt, that his head was killing him, and that the world was spinning around him.

He did the most logical thing to do. He closed his eyes and grabbed the nearest pillar of strength around him.

Fingers grasped back, and he was anchored.

“Naoe? You okay? Are you hurt anywhere?”

‘That voice…Can’t be…’

“Sorry, I must’ve fallen asleep. Do you need anything?”

Light brown eyes opened and blinked sleepily at Takaya’s concerned and tired face over him, looking at him intently.

Naoe blinked again.

Takaya smiled, and leaned even closer, “Okaeri, Naoe.”

Naoe could only blinked.

“You really scared me this time, you know?”

Again, Naoe blinked.

“Anything you want? Water?”

Having decided that blinking again is quite useless, Naoe nodded instead.

Takaya took a glass of water from the bedside table, and helped Naoe to sit. The older man winced as his ribs protested the movement, and Takaya frowned, “Sorry… Watari-Sensei tried his best, but your body will need time to heal.”

Takaya had to help Naoe with the glass. After a few gulps, Takaya took the glass away and forced Naoe to lie down again, “You’re not supposed to be moving around yet. Not until Watari-Sensei says you can. The transfer didn’t help, but it had to be done. There’s no way I’m keeping you in a hospital where mad doctor works.”

“What transfer?” Naoe asked, his voice raspy.

“The transfer to Tokyo,” Takaya answered.

“Tokyo?”

“Yes.”

Naoe frowned, “Where are we?”

Takaya looked at his aide intently, “Imonoyama Mansion. Your friend Subaru-san is a good friend of Imonoyama Nokoru, the Director of Clamp School. Because we can’t guarantee your safety at Matsumoto, he decided to ask for Imonoyama-san’s help. We transferred you immediately after you woke up before. Imonoyama-san set one of his guestrooms as a hospital room, this room.”

“Eh…”

Naoe was confused. There were too many blanks in his memories, what Takaya said simply didn’t make sense.

“Watari-sensei said that you have to take it easy. If it’s not because of your natural healing ability and Kurama-san’s healing power and herb knowledge, you’d be in bed for a month at least with all of those wounds.”

“Wounds?”

Takaya frowned, “Naoe… don’t tell me… What’s the last thing you remember?”

“Eh…” Naoe thought, “driving…”

“After meeting Subaru-san?”

Naoe flinched, “Yes.”

Takaya sighed. It’s going to be one hell of a long explanation, and he’s not sure where to begin or what to say.

He was saved as the door opened and their friends came in.

Haruie rushed to the bed and knelt beside it, “Naoe! Oh, Naoe… you scared me!”

“You scared all of us,” Nagahide corrected, standing behind Takaya’s chair. Subaru, Yuzuru and a girl whom he recognized as Takaya’s sister, Miya, took their places around the bed.

“Damn right you did,” Subaru huffed.

“But you’re okay now, right?” Yuzuru asked anxiously.

Naoe nodded slightly, “I think so. I don’t really remember what happened…”

Another person, a blond man with an owl on his shoulder, stepped around the bed and stood beside Takaya.

“Naoe-san, I am Watari Yutaka. I’m your doctor here, I know I’ve introduced myself before but you may not remember.”

“Actually, I think he remembers nothing about the accident and after…” Takaya said confusedly.

Watari nodded, “Does your head hurt, beside the cut, I mean? Does it throb?”

Naoe nodded and winced, “If I move too fast…”

“And your sight? Is it clear, or rather blurry?”

“It’s okay…”

“Good. We’ll do full scanning later this afternoon. What about your breathing?”

“Better than yesterday…”

“It worked, then,” Watari had to smile, “That was a long shot. Your lungs were severely clogged, and we had to… clean them, for lack of better word. But it’s all right now. No smoking for you, though. Does your chest hurt?”

“No…”

“Does it usually hurt?”

“Yes.”

“How? I mean, is it a spreading pain, or just a one spot pain?”

“One spot.”

“Where?”

Naoe moved his hand over his left chest, “Here.”

“Does it feel like a stab wound?”

“Yes.”

“That’s more psychological, then…” Subaru frowned.

“Mmm… mental pain transfers into physical pain, though. We need to do a full check up on you, Naoe-san, I hope you don’t mind.”

Naoe shook his head carefully, “I don’t mind… but…”

“You’re not jumping out into anyone’s body in that condition,” Watari smiled, “besides, this age-gap is far enough. How will Kagetora-san explain to anyone that his boyfriend is a baby?”

Naoe, for lack of better word, paled.

“Calm down, Naoe, you can trust these people,” Nagahide calmed him, “After all, they’re the reason you’re still alive right now.”

“Do you… remember what happened, Naoe?” asked Haruie carefully.

Naoe looked confused, “I’ve just met Subaru, I think… I was driving, then… I’m not sure… It’s all so … vague…”

“You had an accident, Naoe-san,” Watari smiled slightly, “You were brought to Matsumoto Hospital and was for awhile under the care of Muraki Kazutaka-Sensei until I replaced him. We moved you to Tokyo because Imonoyama Medical Facility is better than any other hospital in Japan, and we can’t risk putting you in any other hospital for fear that Muraki will track you down, so we make do with what we have here, in Imonoyama Mansion.”

Subaru picked up the thread, “Imonoyama Nokoru is a friend of mine, you can trust him. You’re safer here than anywhere else. You, and the other Yashashuu, are considered under our protection here.”

“Subaru… An accident?”

“Yeah,” Subaru laughed dryly, “Your car was hit by a truck. You remember what happened after that?”

“Eh…”

“No? I guess so.”

Something in Subaru’s perfectly dry tone scared Naoe, “Subaru… I… What did I do?”

There was fire in Subaru’s eyes as he leaned closer and said gently, albeit forcefully, “You locked yourself in your dreamscape, that’s what you did. Gave me a hell of a fright, and that will of yours is so not helping. Your parents were frantic that they actually contact Sumeragi Kyoto House. Grandmother contacted me in a rush; I had to stop her coming by herself. Your father and I spent so many hours calling every Ougi-san to find your beloved Kagetora, your mother had to force your siblings not to come, and your plight attracted mad doctor that the shinigami are forced to step in.”

“Actually, we didn’t step in because of Muraki, Subaru-san… but it’s close enough,” Watari laughed, “Yeah, Meifu was frenzied because of you, Naoe-san.”

Naoe could only stare confusedly at the people around him, “I don’t understand…”

Takaya decided to step in, “It doesn’t matter. You’ve woken up now, so it’s okay. End of story.”

“More likely the beginning of the story for me…” Miya chuckled.

“Can somebody please explain what happened? I really don’t…”

Haruie laughed. She couldn’t help it. Days of fear and desperate hope’s finally over, and she could hope for brighter days ahead, “Baka Naoe…”

Nagahide chuckled, “Fine, if you want to know, we’ll tell you, but it won’t be pretty.”

Takaya nodded, “I received a phone call from your father a week ago…”

***

Yoshiaki looked up from the files he had on his desk and saw his partner, Takaya, yawning and stretching behind his desk.

“I swear, I’m not made for desk job,” the younger soul said tiredly, “I’m a man of action, not office paperweight!”

“Planning is a crucial step of action, Takaya, surely you’ve known it by now.”

“Planning is your job, O Master Strategist! I’m made for battlefield!”

“No wonder you host Kagetora and not Nobutsuna.”

“Wanna change?”

“It’ll make their sexual life more interesting…” Shuhei laughed.

“Nah… I can’t imagine my Kagetora using your body, Yoshiaki. It’ll be too…”

“Too what?”

“Too disturbing,” Ayako supplied, “Kagetora is a love magnet. With your body, he’ll be too irresistible.”

“Hey! He’s not more good-looking than me!”

“Says you, Takaya. I like Yoshiaki more.”

“That’s because you like older people!”

“I think Nobutsuna’s a love magnet, too,” Shuhei chuckled.

“I think all of them are love magnets,” Minako smiled, “it’s only just that all of you are love magnets, too.”

“Why are we talking about love magnets anyway? Yoshiaki, how’s your brat?”

“Nobutsuna has woken up,” Yoshiaki laughed, “and is currently listening confusedly about what happened during his… sleeping moment…”

“He remembers nothing?” asked Ayako.

“He’ll remember eventually. This is still too early.”

“He’d better remember! That conversation in the dreamscape is simply too cute for words!”

“Mmm… hopefully it’ll help their relationship.”

“We can only hope,” Minako chuckled, “Both of them are more stubborn than mules!”

“Yeah… Men…”

“I’m not sure if I should be offended or not,” Shuhei laughed.

***

Naoe closed his eyes, tiredness seeping to his mind and body.

“You’ll be in bed for long enough, Naoe-san, so use as much as you can to sleep. We’ve blocked your dreamscape, so you won’t be trapped in again.”

Naoe opened his eyes, “You can do that?”

Watari laughed, “Yes, we can. So don’t be afraid to sleep. I promise it’ll be okay. Just lower your shields and relax.”

Naoe closed his eyes, nodding slightly, yet he opened them again, looking at his Yashashuu friends questioningly.

“I’ve told you, you can trust us,” Subaru scolded, “And we’ll be here, I promise. Now you do what Watari-sensei tells you to do, okay? Not even Uesugi Kenshin can get in to this place, so we’re all safe. You’re safe. Safe AND WATCHED! So no foolish ideas!”

Naoe still looked wary.

Subaru sighed, “Yoshiaki… This place is designed to protect whoever needs to be protected, and no one can get in, unless they’re known. Only friends can get in under these roofs. So don’t worry… If you’re worried about your friends, put aside your fears. No one will touch Kagetora-san, or Nagahide-san, or Haruie-san, or Yuzuru-san, or Miya-san. They’ll be under the greatest protection ever, and so are you.”

Naoe looked at his calm eyes, and trusted him implicitly, as he always did before, “This place… is this where…”

“This was the headquarter of The Dragon of Heaven, yes.”

“Oh…” Naoe couldn’t help it. He yawned.

Watari smiled fondly, “I think someone needs his sleep. Okay, everyone, out!”

“Ano… Sensei… can I stay?”

Watari laughed, “Actually, Takaya-san, you’re grounded with him. If I see you far from him, I’m going to tie you to the bed.”

Naoe smiled, already on the verge of sleep.

The Yashashuu looked at each other, frowning slightly.

“Sensei… Is it usual for a Yumemi to sleep this much?” Yuzuru whispered softly.

“He’s tired, Yuzuru-san. Body and soul, that is. He’ll need time to mend.”

“Still... He’s far too weak for my liking.”

“He’ll be okay,” Subaru smiled, “He has something to hold on to now.”

“Well, now what do we do?” asked Nagahide.

“You wait,” Watari said wisely, “We need to keep monitoring Naoe-san, body and soul, that is, and he’s not going anywhere outside this mansion for now, so it’s a safe guess that none of you will be going anywhere. Besides, if you go out, there’s a possibility you’ll be captured by your enemies, and be used against Kagetora and Naoe.”

“I certainly won’t be bored,” Haruie laughed, “This place is awesome!”

Miya nodded, her eyes shining. The kitchen was fabulous!

***

The afternoon was spent for tests. A long series of tests. Even CLAMP’s modern technology still need a quite amount of time, and in the end, Naoe was too tired to do anything but sleep again.

Not that Watari would mind, really.

Naoe was already asleep when Watari entered the room again.

“How is he?” Haruie asked.

Takaya occupied his ‘throne’, a single place at the side of the bed, beside the pillow, his back leaned on the bed head, his fingers absently tangled in Naoe’s hair.

Amusedly, Watari saw Naoe leaning into the touch. How many times before had he seen the same gesture? Tsuzuki and Hisoka… even only for the two of them, he’d lost count.

Looking at Miya, he realized that she’s not the only one who noticed the response. The way her eyes shone with happiness and mild melancholy…

“Sensei?”

Shaking himself back to the present, Watari looked at the people around him.

“I need to see the whole documents to have full assessment, and I also need to discuss this to my other colleagues, but so far… His problem is more psychological, and his body is mending. His lungs are clogged, Muraki found it on the first hour, and there’s a strange pattern in his heart beat, maybe something’s wrong with either his heart. He’s also concussed, but that’s not surprising. And… he’s eating habit is not exactly healthy, I mean, I know it’ll sound weird, but he rarely eat something substantial, to the point of almost never. I have to know his daily diet later on. I won’t be surprised if he’s quite bulimic. Don’t look at me like that, Takaya-san; he’s more than depressed, I know what I’m saying. All in all, it seemed like that his system is slowly repairing itself, so it’s fine. Subaru-san?”

Subaru sat straight and heaved, “Like I said before, he exerted his spiritual power far too much for far too long. And as weird as it is, for a Kanshosha, his soul is weak. Weaker than any of yours, I mean. But it should be okay, he’s better than he was before. We still haven’t found out anything new about the truck that hit Yoshiaki’s car, but it’s positive that we’re dealing with possible poltergeist incident. You also have to know that the amount of violent souls around CLAMP had increased significantly. Although it doesn’t really matter, since none can even get in and the area surrounding CLAMP is empty, it’s still alarming. Many are weak soldier souls, all exorcised; some are quite stronger souls, lower generals and such, which naturally go to The Tree. What little I can gather from the poor unfortunate souls, is that their different masters think that Kagetora’s aide is dying, so to speak, and they’re going to speed the process. Unfortunately, we hadn’t managed to ensnare any important soul in.”

“I don’t like this,” Takaya whispered, looking at the people around his, “If my guess is true, they’re going to be even rougher now, and we’re one person short.”

“What we can do right now is anchoring his soul,” Watari continued, “We’ve blocked his dreamscape, yes, but, as Subaru-san said before, with his … unstable state right now… he can be trapped within, Subaru-san’s words, not mine. I’m sorry to burden you, Takaya-san, but you’re the one who holds Naoe-san’s soul. Protect him, hold him close, please, don’t break him.”

“You don’t have to tell me that!” and the fingers tangled even more fiercely in the light brown strands.

Watari nodded, “I know. But it’s my duty to make sure that all of you get out of this alive. Yuzuru-san, Miya-san, I trust that you’ll also help? Nagahide-san, Haruie-san, keep close to Kagetora-san and Naoe-san. Since Kagetora-san will be concentrated on protecting Naoe-san, then the both of you has to protect them, whatever happened, Naoe-san must not use any of his power while he’s still recovering! Can I trust you with that?”

Haruie and Nagahide nodded solemnly.

Watari smiled, ”Do what you can, people. No regret.”

***

Takaya looked at the sailing moon on the sky, marveling its roundness and light, bright even among the stars around it. The light fell through the window to the darkened room, brightening it.

Brightening the bed, to be exact.

Naoe had woken up at dinner, and Watari had forced him to eat ‘something substantial’, rice and miso soup, to be exact. Naoe had tried to refuse, but Subaru was adamant, and Nagahide even more so. In the end, Haruie had grabbed the bowl and fed him, much to his embarrassment.

Watari was right. Not even an hour after that, he was puking his guts out.

Takaya wanted to cry. Of all the times Naoe took him to eat, he never even realized when the older man was sick after meal.

Watari had sighed, grabbed a glass of lemon tea, and forced Naoe to drink the whole glass. The man was shivering, either from the exertion or the cold, Takaya wasn’t sure.

After his stomach stopped rebelling, Naoe had haltingly apologized, that Watari smiled, saying that he’d been expecting that anyway.

Takaya hadn’t, and he knew Haruie and Nagahide hadn’t either. Subaru, he’s not sure.

Just how weak was Naoe?

In the end, Subaru left a jug of lemon tea and a box of cookies, Akira’s specialty, he called them, and told Naoe to nibble them if he’s hungry. Naoe had nodded, still shivering.

Watari chased all of his friends out, leaving Takaya and Naoe alone.

They talked a bit, much to Takaya’s amazement and embarrassment Naoe had remembered what happened in the dreamscape. They kept on talking, for once not hiding anything, for once being honest with themselves, saying words Takaya and Naoe would never admit before.

Naoe had said that he loves him before. Takaya didn’t answered at that time, and when Naoe left, he didn’t chase him.

Fearing the same thing happen again, he said it this time. And Naoe didn’t leave. He simply smiled and answered his prayers.

Takaya couldn’t be any happier than that.

At the end of the conversation, Naoe fell asleep, so he went to turn off the lights. That left him there, sitting beside Naoe’s bed, watching the older man’s head almost hidden by the blanket as he curled up for warmth.

Naoe whimpered slightly, and Takaya looked at him worriedly.

Subaru had told him to never let Naoe had any nightmares, as nightmares has the tendency to destroy a soul, and Naoe’s weakened enough even without nightmares, so he shook his aide’s shoulder lightly, calling him.

Naoe’s eyes blinked opened, his breath a little bit labored, and he flinched as he saw Takaya over him.

Takaya frowned.

“Bad dreams?” the younger man asked.

Naoe nodded, his breath calming down.

“Wanna talk about it?”

Naoe shook his head.

“You should, you know… I talk about my bad dreams to Miya, and it’s always better after that, knowing that it’s only a dream.”

“No…”

“What?”

“Not a dream…”

Takaya looked at his aide closely, “What was it about?”

Naoe was silent, his eyes closed.

Takaya decided not to push. He sat on the bed instead, his fingers brushing Naoe’s hair lightly.

Naoe’s voice dragged him out of his thoughts instantly, “It’s about her…”

Takaya frowned, “Her… Mina?”

Naoe nodded, “I raped her, you know… I was drunk… and very jealous…”

Takaya felt something curled tight in him, “You dreamt about what exactly?”

“Dream, not dreamt. I dream about it all the time…”

“What? The rape?”

“No… it’s…”

“Naoe…”

Naoe turned over suddenly. Takaya wondered whether he should let it go or push it.

The choice was made for him.

“I was in the battlefield… bodies all around me… I tried to look for you, but you were nowhere around… and then I saw you…”

Takaya sat up silently, inching closer to Naoe.

“I called you, I ran to you, and then you’d turn around to me… and…”

“And?”

“And you’d look at me coldly… and said…”

Takaya waited.

“You said you’d never forgive me… and then Mina appeared beside you… she’d just stand there, looking at me… just looking at me… both of you…”

Enough was enough. Takaya grabbed Naoe, turned him around and forcing him to look at him.

Naoe’s eyes were bleak that Takaya flinched.

God…

This was the man who actually trapped himself in his own dreamscape.

How hurt Naoe is anyway? Takaya only remembers bits and pieces of what happened, and it’s true that he sometimes feel this deep resentment toward Naoe, but as far a he remembered, Naoe almost always stay by his side…

He has Kagetora’s memory. Not all, but it’s enough to know what Kagetora had done, what Naoe had done, what had happened in the past 400 years…

Takaya is Takaya, Yuzuru had said once.

Naoe could’ve drowned with him in Tsutsuga mirror, as he’d said, they’d be together in the perfect prison. But he didn’t. He pulled him out instead; perfectly aware of the pain he’d have to face all over again. Because he couldn’t deprive Takaya’s life.

All along, it was Kagetora, and now it’s Takaya. When was the last time Naoe thought about himself?

Instinctively, Takaya knows that if he ever trusts anyone, it’ll be Naoe, although he’d also trust the other Kanshosha. Okay, he’d kept some to himself… but…

When was the last time Naoe had trusted anyone?

Had Naoe ever trust anyone at all?

“I’m sorry…” Naoe’s soft voice brought him out of his reverie.

“Whatever for?” asked Takaya.

“Everything. Mina… for betraying you… for hurting you… everything…”

Takaya sighed, “Forget it, Naoe. I’ll give you my forgiveness if it’ll calm you, but it won’t work if you won’t forgive yourself.”

“I don’t deserve…”

“Shut up.”

Naoe was silent for a while, and then he gulped, “You only have half memory, Kagetora-sama, if you have it full, you wouldn’t…”

“Kagetora’s just plain, stupid Bakatora,” Takaya cursed, “He’d had you by his side for 400 years and he wasted time hurting you, and himself in the process.”

“But… Kagetora-sama is you…”

“Hell, yeah, but Takaya won’t do the same things Kagetora did. Takaya has a sister, Takaya has friends outside his Kanshosha circle, and Takaya’s currently in love with Naoe. Takaya is not Bakatora. Takaya’s not letting Naoe off his side anymore, and Takaya’s so not hurting Naoe. Get it?”

Naoe laughed, “You’re talking about us in third person.”

“Just want to make sure you get that Takaya and Bakatora are two different people, although they reside in the same body. Now, sleep! Watari-sensei will kill me if he knows that you’re still awake.”

“I think he knows.”

“All the more reason for you to sleep. But if I see you trapped in nightmares again, I’ll wake you up.”

“Protective bastard.”

“Not more so than you, love.”

Naoe looked at Takaya questioningly, “So we’re really a couple now?”

“If you want. I know I want to.”

Naoe smiled, “I think you’d make a good marriage counselor”

Takaya snorted, ”Sleep!”

***

Takaya looked Yoshiaki as the older soul suddenly laughed outloud.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing… it’s just that… our kanshosha are too cute for words…”

“Heh, you’ve been spying on him all the time, Yoshiaki. Are you sure it’s okay?”

“It’s okay. Besides, it’s way more efficient than putting a video camera in their room.”

“I wish I can do that…” Ayako whined, “I really want to know what my kanshosha’s doing now.”

“Actually, how do you do it, Yoshiaki? I mean, spying on him like that?” asked Shuhei, “I know I can’t do that.”

“I have no idea…” Yoshiaki shook his head, “maybe because we’re both Yumemi?”

“Well, as long as it keeps him safe…”

“I’m not sure about safe. Anything new?” asked Mina.

“Nope. Still zero.”

“If this continue and we can’t get anything new… we might have to get them here, you know…” Takaya complained.

Mina sighed, “I don’t know… I’m not really sure about really meeting them…”


TBC…


Some author's note:


A filler chapter, I must say… No action at all, I’m disappointed myself, and I am not good with romantic scenes…I doubt this is better than the last one. SORRY!!!

Lyn-san, Sarah-san, Lyre-san, thanks for your kind comments! Suzy-san, is there any way I can reach you? E-mail, maybe?

For everyone else, thanks for reading!


THR







Current Mood: aggravated
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
7:18 am
 

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 3!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!


Lamentation


Chapter 3

Dreamer


Monou Kotori died before she had the chance to explore her potential as a yumemi. After her death, though, she found that people like her are too valuable to let go, and that there’s procedural jurisdiction in Meifu. She accepted the first offer to be stationed as an annainin, a Reikai soul-ferry girl, instantaneously; after all, her heart was still tied to the world she wants to protect. She observed the ’99 battle with Sumeragi Hokuto by her side.

And now the peace made upon the pain and tears of so many friends was threatened yet again. Kotori couldn’t accept that. So she pushed.

After finding out that Hokuto and Kakyou had known Naoe Nobutsuna before, she found the needed gap, and simply let everything flows by itself. Catching Seishirou’s attention was easy, considering that Subaru also knows the Kanshosha. Getting Kamui’s interest was even easier; after all, the peace was again threatened.

She kept on watching.

The accident was unfortunate, and she was afraid, so very afraid that she’d lost the soul she wanted to protect, but, once again, fate was in her (or his) favor. And then Muraki entered the picture.

She moved. Got Tatsumi’s attention in a mere second, got Hakushaku’s agreement in a blink of an eye, Enma’s blessing along with it, and the full support of the whole Shokan-ka and beyond.

And she had come to see them; her eyes full with determination, and asked if she could join the whole thing.

Kotori had looked at the quartet of shukutai souls, and when all four nodded, she knew that she had the group completed.

There’s no sorrow beyond this.

Enough is enough.

They’re breaking the chain.

No one destroys the world made on the sacrifice of her blood.

***

“Niichan?”

Takaya looked up from his huddled position to see his sister holding out a cup of coffee to him. He accepted it, deeply inhaling the sweet scent, but not drinking it.

“Ne, Takaya… what’s wrong?” asked Yuzuru.

“Yeah… was it a nightmare?” asked Haruie.

Takaya shook his head, “I don’t know…”

Watari’s cell phone rang (‘shinigami has cell phone?’ Nagahide thought) and the scientist picked it up, “Moshi-moshi, Watari desu. Oh, Tatsumi… Yes, how did you know? Eh? EH? Really! How? Oh… okay then, I’ll ask.”

The blond hung up the phone and looked at Takaya, carefully contemplating his words, “Kagetora-san… did you just enter Naoe-san’s dreamscape?”

Takaya put down the cup, “So it was true, then?”

“Well, our watchers said so…”

“But, that’s impossible…” Subaru shook his head, “unless Kagetora himself is a yumemi.’

“He’s not, I assure you,” Watari said, “But he did enter the dreamscape... Kagetora-san… do you mind telling me what happened there, in the dream?”

Takaya looked bewildered, “I’m not sure… there was a beach… a very dull beach… I was walking there… and then Naoe was there… but I didn’t know that it’s Naoe…”

Haruie was confused, “Kagetora… you’re not making any sense…”

“That’s okay,” Subaru encouraged the confused teenager, “Go on.”

“Well, he was making this sandcastle… but he’s not… so I asked why he’s… not finishing it… and he said that it’ll be destroyed again? I don’t know… it’s all so blurry…”

“And?”

“I told him that I’ll help him… and then I saw his face, I mean, I recognized him… I didn’t before, why didn’t I?”

“Kagetora-san…”

“And then I woke up, I think…”

Watari walked over to the bed, fussed over Naoe for a while, and returned to them, his eyes hard.

“Well, he’s fighting again.”

“Eh?” Haruie exclaimed, “That’s good, isn’t it?”

“Um… but we still need to get him out, then, because if he can get out by himself, he would’ve done so by now.”

“He’s trapped in?” confirmed Subaru.

“Maybe. I’m not even sure if he realized that he’s in a dreamscape. Kagetora-san… in the dream… did he recognize you? Called you by name?” Watari inquired.

“No…”

“Damn…”

“But he’s fighting again, right?” Nagahide asked, “Then if we… say… call him again now… he’d be able to hear us?”

“We’ll need to be faster than that.”

Watari whirled around to see Tatsumi stepped out from a sliver of shadow beside the only wardrobe in the room.

“Tatsumi?” Watari sighed, all business again.

“We have to act faster. There’s a notion that Tachibana Yoshiaki’s body is going to fail sooner than we think.”

“Eh?”

“Tachibana-san’s currently concentrated in maintaining Naoe-san’s soul, so no one is maintaining his body.”

“Heee… And a body without a soul is as good as dead.”

“There’s one more thing, really…”

“Oh?”

“Kurosaki-kun’s worried about Muraki. Tsuzuki-san, too. Who knows what he might’ve done before we came into the picture.”

“Wouldn’t Tachibana know?”

“We’re talking about Muraki here. Psychotic doctor can do anything.”

“Damn, I should’ve got rid of him in the first place…” Subaru grumbled.

“And there’s another thing…”

“Heh?”

“It seems that the other participants of Yami Sengoku is currently gathering their forces.”

“Already?” Subaru looked surprised.

“What?” asked Haruie.

“Are you sure?” Yuzuru paled.

“How come we don’t know about it?” Nagahide cursed.

“Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’ve spent your time here since last night,” Watari shrugged.

“Ne, Watari-san, Tatsumi-san… The Dragon of Heaven’s Yumemi, Hinoto… Her sister Kanoe said that she once had a dream of a war… not the Shinken Battle, I mean…” Subaru hesitated.

“Yes. Our Yumemi also mentioned the same thing…” Tatsumi sighed, “Which is exactly why we need to move fast. The force that has the power to stop Yami Sengoku are the Meikai Uesugi force, and the Yasashuu is already one person short even without Naoe-san’s absence.”

“Is it only me,” Miya interrupted suddenly, “Or are you rushing things because you need Naoe-san to fight for you?”

Watari sighed, “I don’t say that I like it, but we do need him to fight. The problem is, can he?”

“The body’s healed, right?”

“Yes, Tatsumi… but his soul will need time to be able to perform exorcism. Hell, I’m not sure he’s capable of performing anything related to his duty so soon after waking up. If he wakes up, that is…”

“Well, he’s not going to be sent on as long as the contract still stands.”

“Contract?” asked Haruie.

Tatsumi nodded, “Yes. Why do you think you’re capable in taking other people’s body without consequences? There’s contract on your souls, made by Uesugi Kenshin long ago. It states your existence as a part of Reikai’s force under EnMaDaiOh which duty is to prevent, stall, delay, or stop Yami Sengoku, whichever way possible.”

“But…” Takaya looked confused, “I thought that anyone can perform possesions…”

“Yes, but not without consequences,“ Watari explained, “Taking a body and pushing the original soul out is considered as murder, you know. Only those who are given the right to do so can do so without the said consequences. Not even we Shinigami can take over a person’s body.”

“But… I thought that we decided which body we take…” Nagahide hesitated, “Are you telling me that all of the possession were… well… orchestrated?”

“No, of course not, but there are three kinds of possesion, be they’re performed on adult or infant. The first is the ordinary one where you simply push out the original soul out and steal the body. The original soul would be sent on if willing, turned into ghost or vengeful spirit if unwilling, or… well… destroyed. The second is where the original souls allow you to use their body. The third is where you take a dead body. Your kinds of possession are the second, or the third one, but certainly not the first.”

The kanshosha looked at Tatsumi with wide eyes.

“But… if we’re allowed to use the body…” Takaya stuttered, “What happen to the original souls?”

“There are three possibilities. They can be sent on, joined the other Reikai ranks, or become Guardian Spirits.”

“So… they’re not destroyed?” Nagahide asked

“Certainly not.”

“And they hold no grudge against us?” asked Haruie.

“Not as far as I can tell.”

“You are sure?” pressed Takaya.

“I’ve known some people whose body were taken over by some of you. As far as I can tell, they’re quite proud that they’re chosen to be your shukutai.”

Takaya let out an explosive sigh, “You have no idea how that relieved me…”

“Make that all of us…” Haruie chokingly laughed, “All along living under stress, thinking that we’ve stolen someone’s life…”

Nagahide nodded solemnly.

“But, because you’re using another person’s body,” Watari continued, “your soul became more fragile than others, because there’s no connection between the body and the soul.”

“You mean the link that keeps the soul in the body?” asked Yuzuru, “I think Subaru-san explained it before…”

“Makes sense that you know,” Tatsumi nodded to the Sumeragi, “Being the top onmyoji you are. That’s what we’re worrying here. Although the body is… mending… but if we don’t… pull the soul back in fast…”

“The body might shut down on its own,” Subaru nodded.

“How do we do it then?” asked Miya.

Takaya stood up and strode over to the bed.

Haruie was about to follow, but Watari held her back.

Takaya sat by the bed, his hand reached out to clasped Naoe’s unresponsive one. He leaned closer, calling his aide gently, yet forcefully, alternating between asking, begging, and ordering him to wake up.

Tatsumi shook his head, “That won’t work…”

“Any idea?” asked Watari.

“Strangely enough, yes. But… That’ll depend on how strong he is…”

“You’re not thinking of…”

“Wait here, Watari. Be ready for anything.”

And the formidable secretary disappeared into his own shadow.

***

“Tatsumi-san?”

Tatsumi looked at the people gathered in the meeting room, some from his own department, some from the departments beyond, some his own colleagues and friends and family, and some he’d just known for days.

“Any idea how to get Kagetora-san back into the dreamscape fast?”

Kuzuki Kakyou, the Dragon of Earth’s Yumemi, nodded, “Get him to sleep, then I can drag him in, maybe. Not everyone can venture into dreamscape, especially an uncontrolled one like that.”

“I can venture in, and also Fuuma…” Shirou Kamui, the Kamui of The Dragon of Heaven, offered, referring to Monou Fuuma, the Kamui of the Dragon of Earth.

“I’m quite sure that Kagetora-san has enough spiritual power to do so,” Sumeragi Hokuto, Sumeragi Subaru’s twin sister, nodded, “If a weak onmyoji like me could venture in before, so can he.”

“Mm… although maybe it will be necessary to weaken the dreamscape first… you know, so it can easily be altered…” Monou Kotori, the last Kamui sacrifice and current Reikai Annainin, spoke haltingly, “After all… we may need to grab the control…”

“Won’t it be dangerous?” asked Tsuzuki Asato, the older shinigami of the Kyuushu partners.

“Tsuzuki’s right…” Kurosaki Hisoka frowned, “After all, Naoe-san might not even know that he’s in his own dreamscape…”

“Maybe we should make him realize it, then…” Arisugawa Sorata, one of Kamui’s Dragon of Heaven, offered.

“How?” asked Tachibana Yoshiaki tiredly, “I couldn’t even get him to notice anything else beside that damned sandcastle… I made an illusion of Sengoku around him and he didn’t even look up!”

“Maybe you should let go for while, Yoshiaki,“ Kadowaki Ayako considered, “You can’t keep on anchoring his soul forever.”

“He’ll be lost if he’s not anchored,” Ougi Takaya grumbled, “honestly… can’t he just mope normally?”

“It’s because he can’t mope normally that he uses the dreamscape,“ reminded Chiaki Shuhei, “Not that I blame him, though… Forced to be strong all the time takes its own toll to a soul.”

“Four hundred years…” Kasumi Karen sighed, “They’ve been doing this for four hundred years…”

“Makes you wonder how they do it, eh?” Sakurazuka Seishirou, former Sakurazukamori and current shinigami of Area Six smiled bitterly.

“Well, as long as the annainin don’t take the soul, and as long as the contract stands, his soul is… in a way… safe…” Hisoka said.

“Yeah… if he’s not destroyed, or destroying himself…” Yoshiaki grumbled.

“He’s making the castle again, right?” asked Tatsumi.

“Yes,” Kakyou nodded, “although he seemed to be hesitating more…”

“We really need to get Kagetora in…” Ayako pressed.

“Any idea how to do it safely, I mean, without endangering the dreamscape and the soul within?” asked Sorata.

“Getting Kagetora in might take forever,” Kamui considered, “And even if we can get him in, how can we be sure that he can convince Naoe-san to get out?”

“Knowing Kagetora, he might make him stay in forever because of a slip of tongue,” Takaya huffed.

“We can’t risk the soul got hurt again…” Hokuto said softly.

“Well, we can’t exactly just grab him out, too,” Shuhei shook his head.

“Maybe…”

“Kitazato-san?”

The beautiful woman who was sitting silently before looked at Tatsumi, her bright eyes comprehending something deeply, “If we can, say… link up their soul, Kagetora and Naoe… when Kagetora get out of the dreamscape, Naoe will be dragged long… that is, if Kagetora can’t convince Naoe to get out.”

“But, won’t it… traumatize the soul?”

“Not necessarily…” Seishirou looked interested, “Not if we link the soul through something else.”

“I’m not following you…” Karen frowned.

“We’re worried that Naoe’s dreamscape wont stand under the pressure of housing too many people in, yet we need at least Kagetora and Kakyou-san in. So, instead of getting in, why don’t we just merge the dreamscape we have into his? Kakyou-san’s can be linked with Yoshiaki-san’s, which is already linked to Naoe’s through the shukutai-bond. Hisoka-san’s empathy can help us determine how far can we push, or pull. Seishirou-san can help us manage the soul-bind Subaru-san cast on Naoe through his connection with the Tree. We get Kagetora in, let him try to convince Naoe to get out, if it failed, we get Kagetora out, dragging Naoe along with him”

“We merge the dreamscape, take control of it and the soul, and drag him out and back into his body,” Kakyou nodded.

“The damage to the soul can be minimized through the soul bind,” Seishirou nodded, “And I can still control The Tree’s power if necessary, bridging everything between this side and that side.”

“I can blast anything that might bother the process…” Kamui offered.

“I can help maintaining the dreamscape,” Kotori smiled.

“I guess I’ll be watching over Kagetora, then,” Takaya sighed.

“It’s a little rough, but we don’t have much choice. After that, I’ll block his dreamscape so he can’t accidentally venture in,” Yoshiaki nodded.

“He’s going to need one hell of a counseling session…” Ayako sighed.

“They’d be okay if they’d just talk and be honest with themselves,” Shuhei grumbled.

“Well, then… how do we link Kagetora-san and Naoe-san’s soul, though?” asked Kamui.

“Let me do it.”

“Kitazato-san? Can you really do it?” asked Hokuto.

“Of course…” Kotori smiled slightly, “You’re a top annainin, soul linking will not be hard for you, and you’re familiar with both souls, aren’t you? You can bridge them through your soul.”

Kitazato Minako smiled tightly, “One of them is the father of my child and the other used my body as his shukutai, both of them are the people I respect and love. I know their souls intimately.”

Tatsumi nodded, “Then we shall do so. When can we do it?”

“What about now?”

“Let me share this with Watari first.”

***

“Whoaaa!!! That’s so cool!”

The other occupants of the room, the conscious ones, that is, looked at the crowing scientist oddly.

Watari Yutaka was standing by the window, cell phone on his ears, his fingers drumming the windowpanes excitedly.

“Okay, okay! I’m telling them! That’s the coolest plan anyone can ever come up with, Tatsumi! We should recruit her! Yeah… I know… okay. Let me know when you’re ready.”

He hung up the phone and turned around, smiling brightly, “We may find a way to wake sleeping beauty up!”

“Really?” asked Takaya, his eyes shining.

“Don’t get your hopes up yet, children,” Watari took up his large book and began writing again, and shut it with aloud snap.

“So?”

“So… Kagetora-san… we will need your help.”

“Anything.”

“We’re getting you into the dreamscape again, and we’ll need you to talk to him, convince him to come out. If you can’t, don’t push him, you might break his soul. There are other ways. If you can’t, we’ll get you out, and then…”

“And then?” asked Haruie.

“And then we can try again later. We have to be really patient.”

“But…”

“But what, Takaya?” asked Yuzuru.

“I didn’t… know him when I got in before… How do I know that I can remember what I have to do? I mean, it’s a dream, right?”

“We will have our Yumemi watching over you, and Bon will make sure that you don’t push Naoe-san too hard. Right now, too much can break his soul.”

“Well?” asked Nagahide, “When are we doing it?”

“What about now?”

Miya strode away and locked the door, “There. No one will bother us.”

“Subaru-san, a little help here?” asked Watari, “just in case rogue onshou decided to interfere the ritual?”

Subaru nodded, “I’ll set the kekkai.”

“Make sure that you also pay close attention to the soul-bind. You have to let it go as soon as he wakes up.”

“Why not keep it on?”

“I’d rather not chain a soul, really… but if we still need to bind the soul, I’ll let you know.”

“Okay, then, you know better.”

“The rest of you, just stay back, and call him! Call him from the depth of your heart, hopefully it’ll add to the pull.”

Yuzuru nodded. Miya simply took a chair and sat there, Nagahide and Haruie followed suit.

“Now remember, all of you will be pulled in, but only Kagetora may do anything! Do you understand, Kagetora-san? It’s up to you now, but don’t push it. If we say stop, then stop!”

Takaya held Naoe’s hand tighter, and nodded.

The cell phone rang, and Watari flipped it open, ”Tatsumi? Yes, we’re ready.”

***

Takaya opened his eyes to see the same dull beach he’d seen before. Only this time, he knew where he was. Instead of walking slowly, he ran, following his heart.

Behind him, still on their respective places, were the spectators, the living and the dead separated by a veil that allows the dead to see the living, but not the other way around.

Kakyou stood there, Minako beside him, Takaya and Yoshiaki flanking them, Kotori and Kamui behind them. Hisoka stood beside Seishirou, a little to the back, intent in focusing toward the emotions of his two objects of attention, Tatsumi’s shadow barrier around him, helping him to control his empathy, and the person controlling it standing right behind him. Seishirou was keeping a close watch on the soul-bind, and furtively stealing glances on the new Sakurazukamori.

Subaru was completely unaware, though, his attention directed onto the kekkai he created and the soul bind. Nagahide and Haruie were silent, as well as Yuzuru and Miya, although keen seriousness was evident in their eyes and prayer on the tip of their tongue.

Watari stood by the divider, the only shinigami the living can see.

Takaya stopped.

It was still the same. Naoe was still there, kneeling there… but he’s making the castle.

Takaya couldn’t help it. He grinned.

<Be careful> a voice he recognized as the empath boy’s voice, Hisoka’s, rang in his head, <Don’t frighten him. Just help him with the castle. If it’s finished, you can get him out.>

So Takaya did just that. He strode over and plopped down beside Naoe.

“Yo! How’s the castle?”

Naoe looked at him, and Takaya wondered if his eyes were making illusion, or was Naoe looked younger?

“Oh, you come.”

“I promised you, didn’t I?” Takaya grinned, his heart was beating thrice faster, “So, how is it?”

“Mmm… I’m doing it the way you said… not too ornamental… but it looked like a fortress.”

“So what? Good castles are meant to be fortress. A good lord must be able to shield his people behind his walls should a war erupted.”

“Now… where did I hear it before…”

“Honestly, I have no idea…”

“So, are you helping me?”

“Sure am!”

Behind them, Minako silently did her part of duty, and smiled at Hisoka as the two souls linked easily.

Hisoka smiled back.

Yoshiaki carefully took over the dreamscape and handed the control over to Kakyou.

“Looks okay to me,” Takaya commented.

Naoe nodded, “Yeah. Hopefully it’s strong enough.”

<Now. Remind him of who he is…> Hisoka’s voice rang again.

“Ne, why are you here?” Takaya asked offhandedly.

“Eh?”

“Here, in this dreary beach! I’ve seen better beaches!”

“I… don’t know…” Naoe stopped molding a tower, “I’m just… here…”

“Well, I can show you better beaches, really! I’ll take you there, if you want to.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, whenever you want. You can make better castle there, you know. The sand’s too soft to mold.”

“But…”

“You don’t want another castle, I know. Fine then, we’ll just take this one with us! I’m sure I can make it strong enough to be carried…”

Naoe chuckled, “How?”

“I don’t know… cementing it?”

Naoe laughed, his eyes shining, “How do you cement a sandcastle?”

“Hmmm… I’ll just have to find out how, I guess,” Takaya raked a hand through his hair, inadvertently getting sand on his head.

“Stop it, you’re getting sand all over you!” Naoe took his hand away and ruffled his hair in an attempt of cleaning it, “You’re a mess.”

Takaya’s breath hitched, “Naoe…”

Naoe stilled.

<Stop it, Kagetora-san! You’re moving too fast!>

Ignoring the voice in his head, Takaya reached out his hand, carefully brushing his fingers on Naoe’s cheek.

“Naoe…”

Naoe raised his hand, hesitantly touching the hand on his cheek.

“Come back to me, Naoe… I miss you…”

A single tear fell, followed by another, and then another, wetting Takaya’s face.

Naoe wiped away the tears softly, ”Why crying?”

“Because I miss you… Because you’re not beside me…”

“I’m… not?”

Takaya shook his head, “Come back to me, Naoe… I miss you…”

Naoe’s eyes widened suddenly as a wave of memory hit him. A memory of a name…

“Kagetora-sama…”

Takaya nodded.

“Takaya-san…”

A tear fell accompanying that name. Takaya leaned over to kiss it away, carefully giving Naoe a hug.

“Come back to me…”

And Naoe hugged back.

Kakyou raised his arm, the scene around them changed into his favorite beach with the light blue sky, golden sand, cool breeze and flying seagulls.

One final gift to the dreamer.

<Now. Subaru-san!>

Subaru let the reibaku go, at the same time Seishirou sent his power through The Tree to link the two different planes together.

In one brief moment, the two planes merged into one.

Kakyou booted out the living from his dreamscape.

Yoshiaki sealed Naoe’s dreamscape.

Hisoka cut of his empathic connection with the two souls.

But Minako kept the souls linked.

***

Takaya blinked.

Carefully sitting straight, he realized that he had fallen asleep holding Naoe’s hand.

Fallen asleep…

Gods! The Dreamscape!’ he thought frantically.

A pair of hands grabbed his shoulder, preventing him from leaping up, and he saw Watari standing behind him.

“Don’t rush it, Kagetora-san. It was sheer luck that he didn’t throw you out from his dreamscape. Now, call him, but don’t rush it!”

Takaya nodded.

Watari left his side and moved toward the group of people on the various sofa and chairs, all in a similar state of waking up.

“What happened?” asked Yuzuru.

“He rushed things,” Watari gripped, “But it should be okay. It better be okay.”

“Has he woken up?” asked Miya.

“Sleeping beauty? No. But it might take awhile anyway.”

“How much of awhile?” Haruie inquired.

“Depends on how strong he is physically, and mentally.”

“But he will wake up, right?” pressed Nagahide.

“He’s not in the dreamscape anymore, so he will wake up, only I don’t know when.”

“Well, then, we’ll just wait…”

“Subaru-san?”

“Yes?”

“Are you okay? You look kinda pale.”

“I’m okay, Watari-san…”

Watari scrunched his face, “Something wrong?”

“No… it’s just… in the dreamscape… I felt something…”

“Something?”

“Mmm… probably just me. Never mind.”

“Yeah… right.”

Seishirou, I don’t care what you say, you’re a stupid coward.’ Watari thought.

***

The first thing he was aware of, was warmth. It was like covered in a woolen blanket, held in his mother’s arms.

His mother?

No… she’s not his mother. She’s his body’s mother. Yoshiaki’s mother.

He’s not Yoshiaki.

But then…

Who is he?

Voices…

Naoe… come back to me…

Naoe?

Is that… me?

I miss you…

Who?

Open your eyes…

Why?

Wake up…

But I am awake…

No, you’re not.’

Eh?’

You’re not awake yet, Nobutsuna. Go back. Follow that voice.’

That voice?’

Yes. He’s waiting for you. Go.’

But… who is he?’

Don’t you know?’

Visions of memories came swirling in his mind, of a person by his side. Or is it the other way around?

Do you remember him?’

He’s… Kagetora-sama…’

Yes, and now…’

Takaya-san…’

Yes. He’s calling you. Can you hear him?’

Come back to me…

But… it can’t be…’

What can’t be?’

Him! He doesn’t… need me…’

I beg to differ, Nobutsuna. He needs you as much as you need him.’

But…’

Don’t you want to be with him?’

Yes…but…’

Then go back. Follow his voice. He’s waiting for you. All of them are.’

All of… who?’

Nagahide, Haruie… or have you forgotten?’

Yasashuu…’

And Tousama, Kaasama, Teruhiro-ani, Yoshihiro-niisama, Saeko-ane…’

Aaa…’

They’re waiting for you…’

I…’

Go back.’

And he felt that he was being pulled.

Wait! You… who are you?!’

For a moment, hands grasped his, and he found himself face to face with Tachibana Yoshiaki.

His shukutai smiled.

Go! Don’t waste the life I’ve given you. Go, and live! Live like I would have!’

You are…’

I am you. I exist for you, because of you. Now go.’

I… killed you…’

Yoshiaki laughed.

No, you did not, I was born dead, remember? You took over the body after my soul went out. Besides, I want it that way. For you to use my body.’

I’m… sorry…’

Don’t be, Nobutsuna. I’m not.’

The pull was getting stronger.

Go! He’s waiting for you.’

What about you?’

Oh, I’ll be around. You don’t know it, but I’m always around. A careless stubborn kanshosha like you needs watching over 24/7!’

Yoshiaki…’

Go!’

And then there was light so bright…

And his eyes blinked open.

“Naoe!”

He blinked again.

“Naoe! You’re awake!”

“Stop it, Bakatora, you’re over-reacting!”

“Naoe! Oh, Naoe… you’re scaring me…”

“Not you too, Haruie…”

“You really overdid it this time, Yoshiaki…”

“Alright, people, I need to check on him. Scramble!”

Naoe blinked again.

Nagahide, Haruie, and Subaru stood back, while a man with messy long blond hair fussed over him…

The world was still hazy… but little by little, it cleared up.

He realized that his hand was held so tight, so he moved his head a little to see who was holding his hand, and found Takaya.

Oddly enough, this felt like déjàvus. Was there a time when he woke up like this before?

Oh, yeah… that time… the ghost hunting vacation.

“Naoe-san?”

He turned his attention to the blond doctor.

“I am Watari Yutaka, I’m your doctor here. You should be okay now that you’re awake, but your body must hurt like hell, so bear with it. And, as weird as it is, you must be really tired. So, I suggest you to rest, okay?”

“Will it be okay? I mean, if he sleeps?” Takaya looked worried, “He’s not going to be trapped in that dreamscape thing again, right?”

“It’ll be okay. We’d make sure that it’s sealed for awhile.”

“Oh…”

Dreamscape? He never told anyone about the dreamscape… Not even Subaru…

Subaru…

What happened?

“Takaya-san…”

Damn, I sound awful…’ he thought.

Takaya smiled brilliantly, “You’re okay now, Naoe. Watari-sensei said you’ll be okay, so you have to be okay, okay?”

Watari laughed, “Kagetora-san, you’re babbling.”

Confusion sank in.

What happened?’ Naoe thought frantically, “why am I… in a hospital?”

But it should be okay. His Yasashuu comrades were there with him. Subaru’s there, too…

Wait… Why’re they all here? He never told about Subaru to his Yasashuu friends…

<What the hell are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to rest?> A voice in his head sighed, <Honestly, Nobutsuna… you need to sleep, I mean, really sleep!>

<Yoshiaki?>

<Who else, baka? Now sleep, or I’ll knock you out myself. Kagetora’s not going anywhere.>

Memories came in pieces too confusing to be understood, so he let them be.

“Get some rest, Naoe. I’ll be here when you wake up,” Takaya said softly.

<You heard the man. Get some rest. I’ll wake you up.>

So he did just that. He closed his eyes, trusting his friends to be there.

On the verge of sleep, he felt warm lips on his forehead…

Takaya…

He must be dreaming.

<Oh, man… Nobutsuna, you’re hopeless…>

***

“Well, one case solved,” Tsuzuki huffed.

“Yeah, another one on the way,” Konoe-Kacho dropped a batch of files on the desk.

Sorata groaned, “Man… Can’t we even get some rest?”

“Yeah,” Kamui sighed, “Can’t we have a moment of peace?”

“Peace is only for fools, Shirou-kun,” Tatsumi said absently, “So, Kacho, we’re all in this case, eh?”

“Yeah. The people upstairs are restless, so we’re given full authority.”

“It’s true, then,” Seishirou thought loudly.

“Yes. It is true.”

“What’s true?” asked Hisoka.

“Mmm… the thing is…”


TBC…


Some author's note:

This chapter is a crap…I know that. Bear with me, please, I was totally blocked. More on the way soon (hopefully)…


THR







Current Mood: anxious
Wednesday, June 8th, 2005
7:53 am
Tired and sleepy....
I've just finished chaperoning my younger sister and her boyfriend to fantasy world, an amusement park 5 hours away from home if you take a train. Hhhh.... it was tiring. I didn't get onto many rides, she did. I took a friend with me, and a cousin drove us around the city. I love the 3D Adventure and the Star Wars Adventure (where you shoot aliens.. hehehhe)
And then I remember that I have to post Lamentation....
We went to a 'doll house' (for lack of better word), where we can see many dolls dressed up in the styles of the world's cultures. Some of the dolls were scary... and then suddenly Dewi came up with an idea of creating an anime doll house, and then she went on babbling about where to put Naoe around Takaya and in what suit and not to put Muraki around Tsuzuki and Hisoka and how many Sailor Moons and St Seiyas needed to be put due to the many costumes and putting Yuuri and Yuuri-Maou together so people can see the differences and whether we can make an animated moving figure of Morgif (meaning: pouting grinning doing the huhu haha sound....)
The idea was so interesting, I had a hard time finding the suitable words of reply. In the end, I came up with "It's going to need one hell of security guards to keep teh dools from disappearing...... I know I want to steal Tatsumi..."
Feh.....

THR

Current Mood: sleepy
7:47 am
An offer of fic: Lamentation Chapter 2B

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 2!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!

 

Lamentation

 

Chapter 2 (B)

Chains and Domino Fall

 

 

“Thanks, Kurama, sorry to bother you!”

“No, it’s quite alright, Watari-san. After all, I’m quite free. Have you got all the instructions noted?”

“Yup. All set!”

“Good. Then I shall take my leave. I’ll be in touch.”

“Thank you, Kurama-san.”

“Just keep an eye on him, Sumeragi-san.”

“Of course.”

Yuzuru, Miya, Saori, and Yuhiko stepped aside, allowing the red-haired handsome man to walk out of the room.

“Who’s he?” asked Yuzuru.

“Kurama. One of the best healers of all worlds.”

The newcomers looked at the new doctor leaning beside the bed, making notes in his large book.

“Eh? Where’s Muraki-sensei?” asked Yuhiko.

“He’s fired,” Takaya grumbled from his ‘throne’, the bedside chair.

“Fired, Niichan?”

“Yeah. He’s not going anywhere near Naoe anymore.”

“Eh? What’s wrong?”

“He’s an evil-doer maniac, that’s why,” Haruie sighed.

“Oh? But he’s so handsome!” Saori said disappointedly

“And I’m not?” Watari looked sad.

“We’ll explain later,” Subaru smiled, “This is Watari-sensei, he’s in charge of Naoe now.”

“Hiya’all!”

“Are you sure you’re a doctor?” asked Saori skeptically.

“Nope. I’m a mad scientist. But I know how to play doctor.”

“Huh?”

“Watari-san, you’re scaring them,” Nagahide looked amused.

“I am?”

Yuzuru smiled, he liked the new doctor already, “So, how is he?”

“All physical wounds healed, well, almost all. He needs to be easy on the ribs, and the arm has to stay in sling for another two days or so.”

“Eh?” Miya looked astonished.

“But… but… he ‘s… a wreck!” Saori was baffled.

“The magic of Healers, Ladies.”

“What?”

“I’ve told you that’s Kurama’s one of the best, didn’t I?”

“…” The four newcomers looked at each other.

Nagahide laughed, “I think someone needs to explain something to them.”

Subaru was elected, of course, “Watari-san is an agent of EnMaCho Summon Division of JuOhCho, the organization that judges the dead on the deeds of their life which exists in Meifu, the land of the dead; his words, not mine. He’s helping us. Kurama-san is a Detective of the land of the dead, or something like that.”

“The Dead?” Yuzuru inquired.

“Well, yeah, in a way. Kurama’s not dead, but I am,” Watari shrugged.

“Dead?” Miya gulped.

“Yup. Shinigami are a bunch of dead people.”

“… Somehow I find it hard to imagine…” Yuhiko looked amazed.

“Yeah. And they say seeing is believing.”

“So, Sensei, Naoe’s okay now?” asked Takaya, looking at the busily scribbling doctor.

“Physically, yes. Now we need to drag him out of his tiny little beach.”

“Beach?” asked Yuzuru.

“Oh, for the love of… Come here, you four!” Nagahide dragged the newcomers to gather by the window and gave them a crash course on what happened while they were gone.

Haruie laughed a little, “How do we do it? I mean? Drag him out?”

“I’m still thinking about it.”

A there was a knock on the door, and it opened, revealing a blond head peeking in, “Watari-san?”

“Bon! Come in! Come in! What’re you doing here alone?”

“Not alone, of course,” another voice was heard, and the door opened widely, revealing a bespectacled man in brown suit beside the cute blond boy, “I’m not crazy enough to let Kurosaki-kun come alone to a hospital where mad doctor works.”

“Tatsumi! What a surprise! I’m expecting someone else, though…”

“Oh, him? He’s with Tsuzuki.”

“Eh? Why didn’t Tsuzuki go with Bon, and you stay with him? After all, Bon is Tsuzuki’s partner…”

“I have more fighting chance when it comes to Muraki, he’s a scaredy cat, and you said you need Kurosaki-kun.”

“Scaredy… Oh, yeah.  Well,” Watari put down his scribbling and sighed, “Although actually I was hoping for a show.”

“Watari-san, you’re incorrigible.”

“Whatever you say, Bon. Minna-san, meet my colleagues, the tall scary one is Tatsumi Seiichirou, our department’s stingy secretary, and the boy is Kurosaki Hisoka, our resident empath. Tatsumi, Bon, this is Takaya, and, ehhh… Haruie, that’s Nagahide, and… wait… Yuzuru, Miya, Yuhiko, and… Saori. Right?”

“Right,” Haruie smiled, “It seems that you’ve done a thorough investigation already, Watari-san?”

“How else would I get this case? Bon, come here for a minute.”

Hisoka strode over to where Watari was standing, his eyes glued to the still figure on the bed.

“He looked better,” The boy commented.

“Yup. Kurama’s magic works all the time. Now, what we need to find out is how’s his psyche doing.”

“I was told that he’s still making sandcastle.”

“Really? How many times has it been destroyed in the last seven hours?”

“Strangely, none of yet.”

“Eh?”

“He’s more like… sitting there looking at the unfinished sandcastle, contemplating it.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s scary. Check on him, will you? We can see his dreamscape, but we can’t really know what’s going on in his head.”

“…”

“What?”

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea… I might get overloaded in a second.”

“Better than nothing, Bon. His body’s mending, but if we loose his heart, we loose his soul.“

“Hai, I know. I’ll see what I can find.”

Hisoka took a chair, and carefully linked his fingers to Naoe’s cold ones, letting himself be drawn into his vortex of emotion…

admiration envy honor shame kindness fury patience intolerance hope despair attention negligence need pride happiness sadness radiance darkness love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate love hate…

Hisoka wrenched the connection free, gulping for breath. Dimly he realized that he’d fallen to the floor, and Tatsumi was holding him against his chest.

“Bon? Bon? Are you okay?”

Hisoka nodded, carefully sorting his own emotion, Tatsumi’s shadow barrier a soothing wall around his enhanced sense. He opened his eyes, and smiled at his two seniors, “I’m okay. I’ve told you I’ll be overloaded.”

“… I didn’t think it’d be that bad…”

“Nah. I didn’t collapse long. It’s okay. Him, though…”

Helped by Tatsumi’s strong arms, Hisoka stood up and looked at the man he’s just connected with, “We need to get him out fast…”

“What did you get?” asked Tatsumi.

“Contradiction.”

“Eh?”

“He’s contradicting everything. I… don’t know how to explain it. But we need to put his soul at ease, be it by waking him up or sending him on. We can’t let him suffer like that.”

‘How can anyone feel love and hate like that?’

“I’ll talk to the others, maybe they have an idea of what to do with him…” Tatsumi looked at the still man on the bed and frowned, “Enough is enough…”

“Seiichirou…” Watari smiled, “Stop berating yourself. It’s not like there’s anything we could’ve done before this.”

“We should’ve been more alert. We should’ve known earlier. The rumors were flying and I didn’t give a damn…”

“They were rumors. Nothing more than rumors. We didn’t know. Hell, even Hakushaku didn’t realize anything until a second almost too late!”

“Watari-san’s right, Tatsumi-san. We’ve tried what we could,” Hisoka looked at his two seniors intently, “Now, all we can do is try to fix this. We owe him, them… at least that much.”

***

Hours passed by with nothing to be done. Saori and Yuhiko went home, Yuzuru and Miya played scrabble, Haruie and Nagahide played chess, Takaya was lying down on the sofa, Subaru was again standing by the window and looking out at the garden, and Watari was fussing over his unresponsive patient.

The voices around him were a steady hum, a droning murmur with no meaning, as Takaya watched what happened around him with tired eyes.

The world blurred around him, and between dream and reality, he heard the crashing sounds of waves.

He was on a beach, a beach so dull and gray, he wondered how much must be spent to make this beach into a seaside resort. It was so monotonous that even the sound of the waves sounded the same.

Something drew him to walk on, though. Curiosity, maybe. So he walked. And walked some more. And some more…

He stopped as he saw the person. He was sitting in front of an unfinished sandcastle. His curiosity flared, he walked up to that person and stood behind him.

“What are you doing?”

The man didn’t move, “I’m making sandcastle.”

“No, you’re not. You’re staring at a sandcastle.”

“…”

“You made it?”

“Yeah.”

“Why aren’t you finishing it? It’s half-done already.”

“…I’m not sure myself…”

“Eh?”

“If I try to finish it, it’ll be wiped by the waves again. Or I’ll trip over it again.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah… might as well left it unfinished…”

“But… it’s not… right…”

“What’s not right?”

“Leaving it unfinished! I mean, you make it so you can show it off, right? How can you show off an unfinished castle?”

“I highly doubt anyone would be around to admire it anyway.”

“Well, I’m here, and I say you finish it.”

“It’ll be destroyed again.”

“So you make it again, then.”

“Already did. Over and over again.”

“Hmmm… maybe you’re building it wrong?”

“Eh?”

“Maybe it’s too… ornamental. Maybe it’s too complicated. Maybe you should try to make a simple one first.”

“Simple?”

“Yeah. You know, maybe you made it too clustered. You should make it step by step, the foundation first, and then you carefully make your way up…It doesn’t have to be beautiful at first, If you can finish it, then you can strengthen it. Or make a new one, whichever you want.”

“I don’t want a new one. I only want this one.”

“Well, then, we’ll just strengthen this one. After the main structure’s finished, then we can put more things to make it more beautiful. More towers, more rooms…”

“We…?”

“Yeah. I’ll help, if you want, besides, sandcastles are fragile and hard to make. Two sets of hands will be better, I think…”

“…”

“It’s quite alright if you want to make it on your own, though… But I’m willing to help.”

“Would you really?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Why? I have no idea. Because you look lonely, I guess. And because you’re not finishing it, while I want it finished.”

“Can’t I just leave it like this?”

“It’s half-done! You can’t live in a half-done castle!”

“I’ll only destroy it again…”

“You wouldn’t know until you try…”

“If it’s destroyed, then what?”

“I’ve told you, we’ll just make it all over again.”

“Again… and again…”

“Hey, at least we’re trying. You’re not getting anywhere if you don’t try. Can’t make a sunny-side-up if you won’t break the egg!”

The man laughed, “I guess so…”

“That’s the spirit!”

“You’ll help?”

“Of course!”

Takaya dropped down on his knees beside the man and grinned, finally looking at the man’s face for the first time.

A handsome face with serene eyes missed so much, a soul yearned for years and years and years… missed chances happened simply because of foolish pride and the absence of courage to take the proffered chances, needs twisted into chains, love altered into obsession… hope bent into anger, fear leads to despair…

Sandcastles…

Takaya jolted awake with a strangled cry.

“Kagetora!”

Haruie knocked over her chair rushing to his side.

Takaya sat there, trembling, his fists clutching a blanket, a hundred of emotions in his heart, all rushing to come out at the same time, and he was stumped.

“Kagetora?”

All emotions washed up into one giant pain latching onto his soul.

The wall shattered.

“Naoe…”

***

“He got in! I can’t believe it! He got in!”

“How? He’s not a yumemi! I know he’s not a yumemi!”

“Yoshiaki, did you drag him in?”

“Damn hell I didn’t! You know I’m not that strong!”

“He’s right, Shuhei…”

“Well, how did he got in, then? Takaya…You’re not a yumemi, are you?”

“Not as far as I know…”

“Is Kagetora a yumemi?”

“Nope.”

“Then… how?”

“Kuzuki-san… did you do anything?”

“Did not, Tatsumi-san…”

“Hokuto-chan?”

“No, Tsuzuki-chan.”

“Then who?”

“Calm down, Ayako…”

“It’s a good thing, right? I mean, him getting in?”

“He was booted out, Hisoka.”

“Please please please tell me that Naoe’s making the damn castle again…”

“Yeah… not really.”

“Eh?”

“Kagetora promised to help him. So he’s waiting for the preferred help. He’s making the castle, though.”

“Is that supposed to be good or bad?”

“I don’t know. Ne, Yoshiaki, how do we get my kanshosha in again?”

“I have no idea, Takaya…. No idea at all…”

***

tbc…

 

Like usual, some author’s ramblings/notes (a really long one…)

 

This will be the notes for all chapters posted except prequel ( prologue-O, 1, 2), because my student SarahSith asked for it! Yes, the characters are off! I have no idea how to make them not off characters! I try to stick as close as possible to their original psyche, although I have a feeling that it’s hopeless… hopefully there will still be someone who read this… Any misspelling of names and words and grammatical errors are solely my fault…

 

Prologue (or the demented Chapter 0)

·        The idea of Naoe being a yumemi actually comes up from the hotel room scene. He’s still dressed in his suit… and my guess is that it’s somewhere late at night. He’s not sleeping. Insomnia? Or because he dreams of the future to come whenever he goes to sleep? (That’s my friend’s idea… it’s mutated in the story.)

·        The Uesugi history sounded like fun to do… heheheh…

·        Asaoka Maiko. Did I get the name right?

·        I’ve read somewhere that Yoshiaki has two older brothers and an older sister… I hope it’s not wrong. And as why his family knows about kanshosha… more in chapters to come.

 

Chapter 1

·        X characters start to appear. I’ve always wondered how Sumeragi Hokuto got into Kuzuki Kakyou’s dreamscape in the first place. Maybe she’s a dream-roamer? I think it’s quite fitting if I have her walking around from one dreamscape to another… Even after she died.

·        Sumeragi Subaru, my favorite X character. He’s a top onmyoji and a Dragon of Heaven/Earth (ehhhh… yeah… right…), went catatonic at the age of sixteen (I also read somewhere that the same thing happened to Naoe/Yoshiaki when he was seven…) His grandmother was the Head of Sumeragi before him. It sure fit if she can also go ‘within’…

·        Kamui, Hokuto, and Kakyou as shinigami? Quite correct but not really, Lyn-dear… shinigami is a term applied for EnMaCho’s Shokanka workers, but beside them, there are still plenty of other workers in Yami no Matsuei’s Meifu… And with powers as great as that… I have to say, I’m inspired by Kouri and Karasu’s ‘Atropos’ series.

·        Hakushaku is the keeper of The House of Candles. His duty is putting off human soul’s candles…

·        Muraki’s real nature comes up in chapter 2. ‘Subaru-kun’ is how Sakurazuka Seishirou called Subaru, and ‘Seishirou-san’ is how Subaru called his nemesis. Sakurazukamori is… somebody help me explain Sakurazukamori, please? The closest I can get is ‘an assassin who’s main job is feeding a certain sakura tree at Ueno Park

·        Nope, my Ougi Miya is not humbly unaware.

·        As why I chose Subaru to be Naoe’s friend… They were both catatonic at one time of their lives, both involved in a love-hate relationship, both carry the duty to save the world, both knows about magical things, and are both as messed up as they can be. The Royal angstiness indeed.

·        Can Subaru exorcise a kanshosha? He’s a Dragon of both sides, and a Sakurazukamori. Yeah… I think he can.

·        Clamp Gakuen Board: Imonoyama Nokoru, the headmaster (Rijichou), Takamura Suoh, the secretary and Head of Takamura Ninja Family, and Ijyuin Akira, the treasurer, famous chef, and The Nijumensou, a thief operating under his mothers’ wishes. Idoumu is another student from Nokoru’s elementary time and also Nokoru’s childhood friend who is a genius in both computer and martial arts. All of them survive the ’99 battle (I hope…)

·        Shinken project, the term I make that refers to the making and altering of Clamp Gakuen into Shinken’s hiding place, and everything that has anything to do with X’99.

·        The last part is explained in the second chapter, I’m sure…

 

Chapter 2.

·        The telepathic connections between The Tree and his keeper, and the term Tree-san, can be blamed to any Kouri and Karasu’s X fanfics, ‘Atropos’ the most.

·        Watari Yutaka is the crazy scientist from the sixth sector of Shokan-ka, Tatsumi Seiichirou’s the shadow master secretary, the empath boy Kurosaki Hisoka and twelve-shikigami-wielder Tsuzuki Asato belong the second sector. ‘Bon’ is how Watari calls Hisoka, while ‘Bouya’ is how Muraki calls him; ‘Kurosaki-kun’ is how Tatsumi calls him. Muraki’s obsession toward Tsuzuki is a little hard to explain, in short, he wants to use Tsuzuki’s immortal body to resurrect his half-brother Shidou Saki (more like Muraki Saki, really…) so he can kill him again…no… it’s a lot more complicated than that, really, it is…

·        The explanation of Shinigami comes directly from Theria’s translation of Yami no Matsuei.

·        Subaru’s kekkai… no, not that star-shaped kekkai. I mean the usual kekkai that anyone can make…

·        Kurama, one of the Reikai Tantei (Spirit Detective) who works under the command of KoEnMaDaiOh (EnMaDaiOh’s son, Yuu Yuu Hakusho version). I assume they’re all linked together. Kurama is a heartless fox spirit who, possessing a human body after an incident with a hunter, grew into this smart handsome and loving man due to his human mother’s love. He’s a proficient healer and has a good knowledge of plants, medicine, and the like.

·        Yes. Shinigami are dead people…

·        As for Watari’s new partner, Yoshiaki-Takaya-Shuhei-Ayako, and all things not understood yet… More details in next chapters…

 

·        You don’t really have to know about X Clamp, Yami no Matsuei, and/or Yuu Yuu Haksuho to get the story, but a little knowledge might give you a more in-depth story.

·        Any questions about the characters/ plot/ this/ that/ whoever/ whatever can be asked freely, and will be answered truthfully. Creating a crossover story with the hope that everyone can understand what I’m talking about is almost impossible, after all.

·        For all those who’d R/R… thanks a lot! Lyn-dear, I’ll give you your Muraki, and I hope you’ve caught the hint of your YnM favorite couple…

·        The whole series is slowly changing into a trilogy…

·        This is one hell of a long note…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

THR

 

 



Current Mood: sleepy
7:44 am
An offer of fic: Lamentation Chapter 2

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 2!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!

 

Lamentation

 

Chapter 2 (A)

Chains and Domino Fall

 

“I’m worried about him…”

“You are always worried about him!”

“More than usual, I mean… He’s despairing again…”

“Well, what am I suppose to do? Kagetora is a stupid git when it comes to love, and Naoe is far too self-blaming for his own good!”

“I know… He’s dying, I can feel him pulling away bit by bit…”

“Eh?”

“He’s… slipping away… He’s not… fighting anymore…”

“Oh…”

“I’m worried, Takaya…”

“I know, Yoshiaki… So am I…”

***

That was weeks before that day. The day when he decided to break all rules and dragged out his kanshosha from the burning car. His partner was there, protecting them from the fiery inferno with his kekkai, and he was grateful for that.

And then he realized that the soul that he had been protecting for almost thirty years was diminishing. 

He’s not fighting…

Desperation called for instant action.

He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know how he did it. But it was necessary, and there was no way he’s letting this soul slipped off his fingers.

He reached inside himself, calling the power he knew the soul in his arms also has, bound them together, and pulled.

Fuck the consequences. He had a soul to save.

***

Subaru was quiet after Takamura Suoh left. He stood by the window, looking out at nothing, his face drawn in a tight concentration.

Around the room, people were sleeping; Takaya on a chair beside the bed, Miya on the sofa with Haruie, Nagahide on the other chair by the door, Yuzuru on an armchair.

Subaru watched the sunrise, and gave a long sigh.

<What are you sighing about?>

<Nothing, Tree-san. Nothing… and everything…>

<Are you thinking that giving your friend to me is more favorable than this?>

<I… yes.>

<You’re becoming more and more like Seishirou, Sumeragi.>

<I know that. And why are you still calling me Sumeragi?>

<Habit.>

<Ah…>

<If I can ease your burden, your friend has a strong soul.>

<No soul can be strong when they loose their will to exist.>

<Well, you simply have to give it to him, eh?>

<That’s not my job. That’s Kagetora’s.>

<Yeah…>

<Anything you can tell me?>

<Not yet. But the Higher-Ups won’t back off from this kind of case, you know…>

<Oh?>

<Yeah. They’ll be sending their agents.>

<They’d better send their best agents, then.>

<Oh, I have a feeling they are…>

<… You’re hiding something form me.>

<I’m giving you facts, not rumors, Sumeragi.>

<Well, give me facts, then.>

<I really think you should kill Muraki.>

<You too, huh?>

<Yeah. But he’s hard to kill. Actually, I’m not sure how to kill him myself…>

<Oh?>

<Although he will make a tasty dinner.>

<A supply for a hundred years?>

<You wish. No. A year or so.>

<He’s really that strong?>

<Don’t tell me you didn’t realize it!>

<I do. You’ve just given me confirmation.>

<Sheesh…Just call me when you need me, Sumeragi.>

<I don’t have your number.>

<Hahaha… very funny.>

The telepathic connection broke, and Subaru sighed yet again.

The future doesn’t seem to be bright.

Then again…

The future is not foreordained.

Right, Kamui?

***

Muraki claimed that there was no change at all, and he left the four kanshosha and the Sumeragi there. Yuzuru had gone to school with the three girls. For once, he didn’t try to drag Takaya with him.

Takaya was having a crisis of self-hatred and utter confusion. Kagetora’s memories in his head were a jumble of knots and broken pieces here and there. He was thinking of asking Nagahide and Haruie to tell him every single bit that had happened in his past, but then he realized that 400 years is an awfully long space of time.

So he decided to try to unknot and sort them by himself. It won’t be easy, but he had to try. He had to know about everything. He had to know the truth about Naoe…

“Can’t we just get into that dreamscape and drag him out?” Haruie was asking.

Subaru shook his head wearily, “How? I’m not a yumemi. I don’t even know how to open the gate.”

“There’s a gate?”

“That’s an expression for entrance, Nagahide-san…”

“Well, since it’s clear that he’s not getting out by himself, we have to drag him out. Right?”

“Which brings us back to that yet again question, Haruie-san. How?”

“Damn you, Naoe, with you, things are bound to get complicated…”

Takaya laughed. He couldn’t help it.

Nagahide looked at the youth, surprise written on his face, “Oy, Kagetora! You’re loosin’ it?”

“No…” Takaya smothered his laughter, “It’s just that… you’re right… with Naoe, things are bound to get complicated…”

“It is, isn’t it?” Haruie smiled slightly, “He’s one of the most complicated and contradictive person ever existed.”

“Oh, I know those types…” Subaru huffed.

“Really?”

“Yeah. He needs 400 years to get all messed up. The guy I knew was only 35, and he managed to mess me up.”

There was a knock on the door, and a doctor came in.

Quite tall, with long blond hair tied quite messily behind his neck, and huge amber eyes, the handsome man wore a grin on his face like a second skin.

“Hullo, I am Watari-sensei, I’m arranged to be the doctor for the patient in this room… Tachibana Yoshiaki-san, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Takaya nodded, “what happened? Where’s Muraki-sensei?”

There was a flash of something in those amber eyes, disgust and alarm, so fast that it almost went unnoticed, but it was there.

“Oh… I don’t really know… All I know is that I’m stationed here.”

“Really?” Nagahide looked interested.

“Yeah. Hospital policy and all,” Watari strode up and stood beside the bed, looking at the man lying on it and reading a thick folder in his hands, “Hm… according to this… this man’s supposed to be awake…”

“Yes,” Haruie looked at the new doctor warily. Are they going to have to explain the whole mess about Kanshosha to this doctor, too?

“Fractured arm, broken ribs… no punctured lung, almost no internal damage… damn. This guy’s supposed to be talking by now!”

Watari closed the file with a snap.

“Brain damage, maybe?” Takaya offered weakly.

“Nope. It’ll show in CAT scan. Brain damage my ass… This guy’s should be up and about!”

“Well, he’s not,” Nagahide was annoyed, “Do something about it!”

“Watari-sensei…” Subaru looked at the blond doctor intently.

Watari put his folder on the bedside table and turned to look at the Sumeragi, “I’m sorry, Sumeragi Subaru-san, isn’t it? We came as soon as we could. Things were a little bit… backlogged at our end.”

“So this is what he meant by the Higher-Ups won’t stand back in this kind of case…”

“The funny thing is, it’s not even the higher ups, Sumeragi-san,”

Subaru smiled, “And you are?”

“Watari Yutaka, EnmaCho Shokan-ka Sixth Area.”

“Shokan-ka… Shinigami ka?”

“Yeah. Not really, though. We’re putting out no candle here.”

“You’d better not.”

“I’m mad, not stupid, Sumeragi-san. I’m not here to deliver him anywhere.”

“That’s good.”

Haruie and Nagahide had backed off toward the bed when they heard the word ‘shinigami’.

“Be at ease, gentlemen, I’m not your enemy here,” Watari looked at the two retreating Kanshosha, “As crazy as it seemed, we’re here to help.”

“We?”

“Yeah. Shinigami works in pairs.”

“Shinigami?” Takaya looked confused.

“Yeah.”

“…”

Watari sighed, “Okay, I’m going to give you a textbook introduction. JuOhCho is the organization that judges the dead on the deeds of their life exists in Meifu, the land of the dead. EnMaCho, Meifu's largest divion, was set-up by the lord deity of Hell itself, EnMaDaiOh-sama. We of the EnMaCho Summon Divison are called Shinigami, specializing in dealing with troubles related to the administration of the justice system. Which is to say that it is the special branch of the National Public Service Law. Our duty is to continue investigation on cases deemed unsolved and impossible by other divisions. Each division’s bureau sends an investigation request which after sorting is sent to us. We deal with unusual death, missing souls, demonic threat, and the like.”

“Eh?!?”

“You’re not taking him anywhere,” Haruie paled.

“Weren’t you people listening? We’re here to help. That body won’t stand protecting a dying soul for much longer!”

“Why would you help?” ask Nagahide curiously.

“Oh, for the love of… You have to ask that?”

“Stop it!” Takaya raised his voice, “Please. You said you’re helping us. How?”

“That’s what I need to find out.”

“Well, then…”

“What’s this? A shinigami in my hospital?”

Watari spun around to look at Muraki leaning on the opened door.

“What an unexpected catch, Watari-san, isn’t it? It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

Something changed in Watari’s demeanor. No longer smiling, his hands fisted by his side, his eyes hard.

“It’s never a pleasure meeting you.”

“Temper, Watari-san. Although I am a little bit disappointed. I was hoping to see my beloved Tsuzuki-san.”

“He’s not your beloved, and you’re not meeting him.”

“Ah… what a rude words! It is so unbecoming for a doctor, you know. You have much to learn from me.”

“A true doctor doesn’t kill, Muraki.”

“Really… I was under the impression that that’s exactly what I do.”

“Then you’re not a doctor.”

“Oh? Tell me, what am I, then?”

“Demon.”

“Oh… Really, Watari-san, I’m flattered…”

Takaya found himself inching closer to the bed, ready to grab Naoe and make a run out should a battle break. Haruie and Nagahide did the same. Subaru was tempted to make a kekkai.

Muraki smiled, and gave a low bow, “Well, since it seems that now you have a more… agreeable… doctor, I shall take my leave. It’s time for me to check my other patients, anyway. You can have all of my… assessments… on Tachibana Yoshiaki-san, both his physic and… psyche. You can have them at the nurse station.”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

“Always eager to be the help for the Shinigami. Please deliver my humble regard to my beloved Tsuzuki-san, and Bouya, too, how I miss that doll of mine!  And your secretary… he is fun to spar.”

“Get lost.”

“As you wish, Watari-san. Kagetora-san, Nagahide-san, Haruie-san, Subaru-kun…”

Subaru tensed.

Muraki laughed and spun away.

“Don’t even try, Sumeragi-san. He’s not worth the time.”

Subaru looked at the blond doctor, who was then smiling again.

“You know him.”

“Yeah.”

Takaya found himself holding Naoe’s hand, “He’s scary.”

“He’s dangerous,” Watari nodded.

“How come we didn’t realize it?” asked Haruie, her body shaking.

“He’s physically an angel. Who would’ve thought?”

“He’s… he’s… dark…” Nagahide looked at the opened door, shocked, “he’s so dark and I didn’t even notice…”

“None of us shinigami did, until he kidnapped one of our own.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. It’s a long story, and not a pretty one.”

“ I think I want to hear it…”Subaru looked interested.

Watari turned back to get his folder, skimming through it, ”Muraki raped a thirteen years old empath boy named Hisoka and cursed him so that he died miserably through an accumulation of physical illnesses. The boy suffered for three years before he finally died, and was recruited as shinigami due to his empathy and spiritual power. And even after that, Muraki just wouldn’t leave him alone, claiming him as his doll and everything, he also stalks Hisoka’s partner, Tsuzuki, all the time. He has a power beyond anything we’ve ever seen before, including the ability to teleport right into and out of Meifu, without any Shinigami taking him. All in all, he’s a perfect bastard.”

“Total bastard,” Takaya looked repulsed, “Ne, Watari-san… Muraki didn’t mess up with Naoe, didn’t he? I mean, he’s not like… trapping Naoe so he can’t wake up?”

“I doubt it,” Watari shook his head, “Muraki might find your friend as a curiosity, but that’s all about it. Otherwise, he would’ve done something by now.”

“And how do we know that he hasn’t done anything?” Haruie paled.

“Good question.”

“Sensei! You’re not helping!”

“What do you think I’m doing?”

Subaru sighed, “Is there anything that you can tell us, Watari-san?”

“Why he’s not waking up, you mean? He’s busy making sandcastle.”

“What?”

“He’s busy making sandcastle in his dreamscape. The problem is, his castle seemed to be destroyed continuously.”

Takaya looked helplessly confused, “What?”

Subaru, though, being used to going ‘within’ and seeing symbols and everything else, looked thoughtful, “Sandcastles are fragile, yes?”

“Yeah,” Watari smiled, interested in seeing the Sumeragi trying to put the pieces together.

Subaru scrunched his face, “So… sandcastle… you said it was continuously destroyed.”

“Yeah. Over and over again, none ever finished of yet.”

“Yet he kept on trying to make one?”

“Last I checked, yeah.”

“Sandcastle… he’s still trying…”

“That’s the good news. The bad news is, he’s not getting out of there until he managed to make one.”

“Uh… was there anyone else there?”

“Nope. He’s alone.”

“Bad…”

“Say that again.”

“Eh… Subaru-san, sensei… we’re still here…” Haruie tried to get the two conversing men’s attention.

Watari shrugged and went back to his folder, while Subaru bit his lip.

“What’s with the sandcastle?” asked Nagahide.

“He’s… it’s … symbols, actually. Sandcastles are fragile and hard to build, and his kept on being destroyed before it’s done. He’s trying to make, or to have, something, yet it’s hard for him actually gain this thing, because it kept on… being destroyed… Watari-san… what destroys the castle?”

“Sea-waves, turtles, doves, himself tripping over it, no reason at all…”

“This thing... he can’t have it because external and internal reasons…”

“Good, Sumeragi-san… very good.”

“Always within his reach, yet slipping off his fingers every time… It’s Kagetora, isn’t it?”

“Pin-pon,” Watari Yutaka sighed helplessly.

***

 

tbc....



Current Mood: sleepy
Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
10:30 am
Yami no Matsuei: When The Day Is Bright

Here’s my attempt of a fluff Yami no Matsuei fic! No Muraki here, though, insane psychotic doctor and fluff just don’t get along well…

Like always, R/R please! Doumo arigato gozaimasu!

 

When The Day Is Bright

(Cont'd)

 

“Minase ka?”

Hisoka turned around to see three punks standing behind him.

“Uh, iie, boku wa Minase ja nai…”

“Dyed your hair, eh, Minase. You look cool…”

Definitely drunk, Hisoka thought.

“Hoe, don’t bother that boy, you drunkard!” the ice-cream man scolded.

One of the punks looked at the vendor, and delivered a fast punch to the man, who staggered back at the blow.

Hisoka dropped his ice cream as he rushed to the vendor, but a kick delivered to his chest cut his breath. He felt himself falling to the pavement, and doubled over as another kick hit his chest. The voices around him blurred, his sight turned gray.

“Hisoka!”

Hijiri and his classmates rushed over when they saw the punk hit the vendor-man. Hijiri’s eyes widened as he saw Hisoka fell, and he yanked one of the punk away to reach Hisoka’s side, grabbing him to kneel beside him.

Hisoka leaned to him heavily, his breath uneven, his hands pressed on his chest.

“Kami-sama, Hisoka, daijoubu?” Hijiri paled considerably when he saw Hisoka’s pained face. He hugged the boy close, his eyes shooting fire on the drunk punks, “Why did you hit him?!”

“Eh, you’re Minase… Oh… We hit wrong, sorry…. Can we hit you now, or can we hit him again?”

“Kisama… dare you touch him, I’ll …”

“You’ll what?”

“Minase, take your brother away, we’ll cover you…”

“Oh, brother, eh… No wonder you two look alike. Oh, well, the more the merrier…”

“Minase, run!”

“Here I come…”

“TSUZUKI!”

“What do you think you’re doing?” a calm voice sounded behind them, and Hijiri almost squealed in relief.

“Tatsumi-san…”

“Bon! Are you okay?”

“Hisoka! Hisoka!”

“Give him to Tsuzuki, Hijiri. Bon, bon, it’s Watari. Can you open your eyes? Where does it hurt? Bon, come on, bon…”

“Hisoka, where does it hurt? Hisoka?”

Tatsumi looked at the scene before him; Hisoka in Tsuzuki’s arms, curling in pain, Watari frantically trying to uncurl the boy, Hijiri calling Hisoka over and over again, Hijiri’s schoolmates hovering close, the ice cream vendor man now standing over them, his eyes worried; and then he look at the punks with utmost fury in his eyes. Smoothly, he grabbed each one of them and, with barely controlled punches, sent them sprawling on the pavement a few meters away, their noses and temples bleeding, with at least one or two broken bones for each.

The police came, but the top Shinigami paid no attention. He knelt beside Tsuzuki, who had managed to uncurl Hisoka, and grabbed Hisoka’s free hand.

“Calm down, Kurosaki-kun, calm down. Deep breath, now, slowly…”

“Can’t… Hurt…”

“Where does it hurt, bon?”

“Chest…”

“Oh, Gods…” Watari loosened the boy’s jacket off, Hisoka whimpering in pain as he did so, and pressed his fingers over the boy’s heart.

Hisoka‘s pained scream almost ripped Hijiri apart.

“It’s not broken, don’t worry, although it will take awhile longer to heal than usual…”

“He’s going to be okay, ne, Watari?”

“He’ll be okay, Tsuzuki, we only need to wait for the pain to subside, ne, bon?”

Even as Watari was talking, Hisoka was able to open his eyes and breath carefully. The pain in his chest dulled a little, and he could breath more easily. He looked at his friends’ worried faces on him, his face still pale.

“Gomen…” his voice shook, as if he wanted to cry.

“Iie, bon, not your fault,” Watari cut sharply as Tsuzuki helped his partner to sit, leaning him on his chest.

Hijiri was trembling, to say the least, as he reached for Hisoka, “You okay?”

“… In awhile…” Hisoka closed his eyes, trying to get his breathing and the pain under control. A while later, he opened his eyes, “I’m okay now.”

“Yoshi…” Hijiri was definitely still trembling, as evident in his voice. Watari checked him over once again, and nodded his assent. Tsuzuki still held him close. Tatsumi was still holding his hand.

Hisoka’s eyes roamed, looking at the ice cream man and Hijiri’s friends who were talking to the police, and then his eyes rested on the three broken figures in the police’s hand.

“Ano…what happened to them? I know I didn’t do anything…”

Hijiri, Tsuzuki, and Watari looked at each other, none had paid any attention to the punks. It was the vendor who laughed, despite his swollen cheek, “Your friend here -Tatsumi san, right? - sent them flying! I’ve never seen anyone so angry before!”

Hisoka’s eyes widened, “Tatsumi-san? Gods, are they still alive?”

Tatsumi scratched his head, “I guess I was upset… But they’re still alive, don’t worry…I only hit them after all…”

“Good, coz’ I hate to explain that to Kacho…”

“If Kacho were here, bon, they would’ve been dead. And if you’re anywhere worse than this, Hakushaku will personally snuff their candles.”

Hisoka shook his head, “Baka. Of course they won’t.”

Hijiri’s eyes widened.

You still don’t get it, do you, Hisoka? You still don’t get how precious you are to them, to us?

Upon catching Tsuzuki’s sad eyes, Hijiri knew that his guess was not wrong…

***

The rest of the day went without incident. They went around the yuenji several more times, trying every attraction around, even the Tunnel of Love… A two-seat boat floating around magnificently romantic tunnels. Tsuzuki had latched onto Hisoka, much to the younger boy’s embarrassment, so the other three did janken to choose the passengers for the next boat, and Watari ended up with Hijiri, leaving Tatsumi with their bags on the third boat. They bought some small backpacks to put their stuffed animals in, so they actually carry the animals on their back (or, in Hisoka and Hijiri’s case, fronts).

Hisoka needled Hijiri into playing Devil’s Trill in the middle of the Yuenji. So, that’s why Hisoka wanted him to bring his violin along. Strangely enough, many stopped to listen, and the light in Hisoka’s eyes alone was worth more than any applause he’ll ever get.

Many people looked at the group amusedly. Three handsome men and two handsome boys trampling around yuenji like schoolgirls, sometimes chasing each other, sometimes brawling, sometimes calm, sometimes yelling at each other in nonsense heated arguments. But no one can argue of the bond they’re seeing. A bond so tight, it would easily transcended death.

The fireworks show was the last attraction. They lay under a big leafy tree, looking at the fireworks and the stars and the moon, simply enjoying each other’s presence. Hijiri realized that he could differ all of their individual presence, these shinigamis. Tsuzuki was warmth, Tatsumi was strength, Watari was joy, and Hisoka was … purity? Hijiri could not be sure, but whenever he felt Hisoka, he felt a presence of a being so pure, of the brightest light ever, fragile, yes, but its presence alone overthrow others in the vicinity.

Shihigami are angels of death, but Hisoka radiates life…

Hisoka’s dying…

He’s loosing Hisoka… just like he lost Kazusa…

Oh, Kami-sama, why does it hurt so much?

***

“Well, Hijiri, thanks for coming today, we’ve had so much fun!”

Hijiri grinned, looking at the four shinigamis in front of his room, “I’ve had my share of fun, too. And thanks for Pingu, Hisoka!,” he raised his penguin.

Hisoka smiled again. It was apparent that the boy was tired, and Hijiri had tried to make them stay overnight, but Hisoka had declined, saying that he missed his room already.

“Ne, Hijiri, we’ll be going now, you take care, kay?” Watari winked at him. Tatsumi shook his hand and pat his back, saying goodnight. Tsuzuki gave him a quick hug, and then Hisoka reached out to shake his hand.

Hijiri felt his heart would burst out crying. And that’s exactly what he did. He grabbed Hisoka’s outstretched hand and pulled the boy into a hug so tight, tears falling free from his eyes.

Hisoka was startled as Hijiri sobbed into his shoulder. Hijiri, now taller than him, older than him, cried for all that he worth on his shoulder. Crying over him.

Hisoka’s throat felt tight, as he moved his arms to hug Hijiri back. And strangely, he really didn’t want to let go. Tears fell even when he tried to hold them back.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the boys broke the hug, and Hijiri found himself looking at a brother he never knew, a brother who once saved his life, traded his life with his own, mutilated to safe his soul, a pair of jade eyes brighter than his own, a face which looked like his mirror image. A brother who will soon fade from his life, forever.

No, what was it that Gandalf The White once said?

No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Gingerly, Hijiri wiped the tears from Hisoka’s cheeks, and out of impulse, he kissed the younger shinigami’s forehead.

“Good night, sleep tight, let no bed bugs bite, I’ll see you again when the day is bright,” Hijiri murmured gently.

They broke apart; Tsuzuki took Hisoka by his shoulders and led the boy away. The other two followed after a polite bow. None ever looked back, for that Hijiri was glad. He didn’t think he could watch them go if he saw those mirror eyes of his again.

From his window, Hijiri looked at the foursome as they stepped into the darkened street, Hisoka seemed to be saying something, Watari shaking his head, Tsuzuki talking tensely, until Tatsumi stepped in and said something that everyone seemed to agree upon. And then they disappeared.

Hijiri let his back slid against the wall as his knees went weak, unable to hold him up any longer. His eyes caught the penguin doll and his violin beside it, and his sight blurred by tears. Slowly, he rocked back and forth in his small room, crying for yet another friend lost.

***

When Hisoka said that he wanted to go to this place, Tsuzuki had immediately disagreed, and Watari had urged his bon to come home and get some sleep, they can go another day. Yet Hisoka insisted, so Tatsumi had to step in, saying that they can go, if only for a little while and if Hisoka let them do the work.

So there they were, standing in the Kurosaki-ke’s large backyard, in front of two twin headstones, both belonged to the name Kurosaki Hisoka. The female Kurosaki Hisoka, born, and died, or should we say, killed, before Hisoka was born, and their Hisoka, died only two years before, and now is dying, again.

Hisoka knelt before his sister’s grave, murmuring words almost too soft to hear.

“Hi, neesan, here I am again, although I know I’m not supposed to be here. I just wanna say goodbye, I guess, or perhaps I want you to wait for me by the gate, if you don’t hate me, of course, and maybe we can see what we can do together, ne?”

Tsuzuki’s eyes brimmed with tears; Tatsumi was watching the gate, Watari the house.

Hisoka knelt there for sometime, talking softly to the sister he never knew.

Tsuzuki was getting restless.

Suddenly, footsteps were heard, somebody running, no, two people running. Watari tensed, Tsuzuki whirled around, but Tatsumi merely huffed, and Hisoka slowly turned his head.

The door to the house opened abruptly, revealing Kurosaki Nagare and his wife, Rui.

Hisoka slowly stood up, his eyes looking at the only parents he’d ever known, the one who shunned him away.

The two people who he wished love him.

Tsuzuki laid his arms on his younger partner’s shoulder, while Watari and Tatsumi stepped aside. Hisoka made no move of leaving.

Dazed, Hisoka’s parents walked toward their long deceased son, their former family doctor, his accountant friend, and the tall handsome man holding their son close to him, as if to protect him.

“Hi…so…ka?” Rui’s voice trembled.

“Hai, Kaasan, I happened to be in the vicinity, and I wanted to see Hisoka-neesan, so I dropped by. I’m sorry if I’m bothering your sleep, we ‘re just leaving…”

Hisoka smiled, not a polite smile or a sad smile, but for once, Nagare and Rui saw their son truly smiling, a smile so bright and pure it would’ve shamed the sun.

“I just want to make sure that you’re okay. That’s all. And I didn’t get to say goodbye, so I want to say goodbye now. And I want to say that I don’t hate you… Tatsumi-san and Watari-san told me about the family curse… And I understand…I really do…and I know Hisoka-neesan does, too, so it’s okay. We understand.”

Nagare’s body shook, even as his wife’s trembling.

Hisoka reached out to unhook the pack on his back, and took out the kitten doll he got.

“Ne, I won this at the yuenji, and I never gave you any present when I was alive, so I want you to have this,” He took a step forward, took his mother’s hands, and put the kitten doll in her trembling fingers.

“I haven’t named him, so you can name him, I guess, or not. Just think it as a reminder of me, if you want. If not, you can give it to one of the children in the village. They’ll love it, I think…”

Rui’s eyes were filled with tears.

“Well, then, we have to go, Tousan, Kaasan, I’m glad seeing you this one last time. I have to move on after this, so I won’t see you anymore…So, sayonara…”

Hisoka pushed himself forward, hugging his mother, then his father, who both remained motionless, except for their teary eyes.

Hisoka moved back to the circle of Tsuzuki’s arms, contented and sleepy.

“Can we go home now, Tsuzuki?”

“Un…sure, Hisoka… Let’s go home….”

Tsuzuki reached down and took the smaller body to his arms, cradling him close as he would a newborn baby… Watari moved to his side, Tatsumi to his other side, both touching Tsuzuki’s shoulder with one free hand, ready to go…

“Hisoka, Hii-chan…” Rui’s voice stopped Tatsumi from teleporting.

Hisoka looked at his parents from his warm cocoon, his eyes sleepy.

“We’re sorry, Hii-chan, I’m sorry…” Rui’s voice shook. Nagare looked at his son, cradled in the arms of a man he never knew, under the protection of the two men who lifted the curse from his house.

“Hisoka, I’m at fault. It’s all my fault. You can hate me, Hisoka, I don’t think I deserve to be forgiven, but I love you, son. Your mother love you, so much… I’m so sorry, Hisoka, son…”

Hisoka shook his head, “Iie, Tousan, Kaasan, I’m content. I didn’t come here to hear pleas of forgiveness. I just want to see you… In death I found another happiness… I’m okay, really. Tsuzuki, and Tatsumi, and Watari, and Kacho, all the people in Shokan, they’re my family now, but I really missed you two. But you’re okay now, so I’m okay. And I love you, too.”

Hisoka closed his eyes, obviously tired. Tsuzuki shot a scared look to Watari, who looked at Tatsumi, who nodded, bowed to the two Kurosaki, and summoned his shadow, enveloping them, bringing them home.

In front of their children’s graves, under the bright moonlight, Kurosaki Nagare held his sobbing wife, as she held a small plush kitten in her arms.

***

Watching Hisoka sleeping had never been so hard before. The boy was very tired, physically and emotionally, that he had already fallen asleep when they appeared in his room, they had to change his clothes, and he slept right through their work. And then the boy was on his bed, tucked under the green quilt made by Wakaba, again holding Sho-tan tightly, his face radiating peace.

Tsuzuki had to fight the urge to shake the boy awake.

Three days passed, and still Hisoka stayed asleep. Watari was beyond frantic; Tsuzuki flatly refused to leave Hisoka’s side, Tatsumi totally abandoned the office to stay by their side.

Watari was walking toward his lab to get more medicine, when he met Yuma and Saya. The two girls looked at him and followed him to the lab.

“What is it?” asked Watari tiredly.

“Hisoka-kun…”

“He’s holding on,” Watari cut sharply.

The two girls looked at each other, and went out of the lab. Watari sighed; his eyes caught the stuffed owl Hisoka gave him beside Pecan. Slowly, he reached for his doll, and hugged it tight, letting his tears fell.

Oh, merciful Kami, don’t let bon die, I know I’m selfish, but he still has so much to live for… Let him be spared…

***

That night, Tatsumi found Konoe in his office, crying over the lion doll Hisoka gave him. Silently, he went back to his own office, and reached for his own doll. For one weak moment, he let his tears fell as he petted the monkey.

Kurosaki-kun, you have to survive, you just have to; you still have so much ahead of you… Oh, Kami-sama, please, let him be spared…

***

The clock rang twelve times. The moon was high in the sky, yet a new day has begun.

Tsuzuki was looking at his still sleeping partner.

It’s his birthday, and he’s just sleeping…

Absently, Tsuzuki reached for his puppy, and petted its head.

“I’m still thinking what to name him, Hisoka. What do you think?”

No answer. Tsuzuki laid his head beside Hisoka’s hand, the boy’s fingers touching his hair, pretending he can feel them combing his locks.

Silently, he cried.

Watari and Tatsumi entered the room finding Tsuzuki crying again. There wasn’t much they can do when that’s exactly what they wanted to do.

“Today is his birthday…” Tsuzuki gulped back his tears as Tatsumi gave him his handkerchief, “he’s supposed to have a party with cakes and balloons and presents… he’s supposed to be nineteen today…”

The other two shinigami looked at each other.

Watari strode over, leaned on his bon, whispering happy birthday, Tatsumi following behind him.

And then, Konoe appeared with Hakushaku, telling them that Hisoka’s time’s almost up.

“Nani? But it’s his birthday…” Tsuzuki’s voice almost broke.

“Tsuzuki, you have to let him go…” Hakushaku’s voice sounded far for Tsuzuki, who’s by then sitting by the bed, holding his partner’s hand in his own bigger ones.

“He was so happy, that day at the yuenji,” Tsuzuki’s voice cracked. He paid no attention to his surroundings, paid no attention as the gushoushins, Yuma, Saya, Wakaba, Terazuma, Chizuru, and even 003 appeared in the room, “He looked his age, for once, playing freely…”

“Tsuzuki…” Tatsumi tried to direct his friend’s attention, but Tsuzuki kept looking at Hisoka.

“He gave us plush toys, you know. I got a puppy, Kacho a lion, Watari an owl, Hijiri a penguin. Tatsumi got a monkey,” Tsuzuki laughed slightly, “A monkey! Hisoka sure has a weird sense of humour. Hisoka had a kitten, but he gave it to his mother… Perhaps as a token of goodbye?”

Tsuzuki lifted his head, “He’s so happy … so very happy…”

Tatsumi found himself hugging his friend again, letting him cry his tears on his shoulder, even as his own tears threatened to mingle.

Yuma and Saya were holding each other, crying silently, Wakaba hiding her face in Chizuru’s arms, Terazuma leaning against the wall, for once looking tired and sad, the gushoushins floating beside a teary Watari, their eyes bright with tears, and 003, for once, didn’t perch on Watari’s shoulder, but by Hisoka’s pillow, the owl’s eyes sad.

Hakushaku sighed, a short golden candle with flickering white fire appeared on his hand.

Say your goodbyes, they all heard in their head, the voice of Enma-Daio, and there’s nothing they could do, so they did just that.

Yuma and Saya walked to the bed, each grasped Hisoka’s hand, leaning over to him, whispering words for his ears only, kissed his cheeks, and stepped back.

Chizuru leaned over the boy she became so fond of, kissed his forehead, saying words of love to him, and stepped back.

Wakaba all but hugged Hisoka, crying, kissed his cheek, and stepped back. Terazuma reached for Hisoka’s hair, leaned down, whispered something, and went to console his sobbing partner.

Konoe sat beside the boy, combing his hair slightly, “Hisoka, I don’t know if you hear me,” he said silently, “But I want you to know, I’m very proud of you, Hisoka, in these two years you’re with us, you’ve given something irreplaceable… It won’t be the same without you, kid, I’ll miss you…Happy birthday, Hisoka, may you be blessed with eternal happiness…” he ended his words with a soft kiss on the boy’s forehead, and stepped away.

Watari was next. Sitting beside Hisoka, he brushed the shorter blond bangs away, “I don’t know what to say, bon, you’re like a little brother I never had, I will miss you so much… Be happy, bon, you deserve it,” and then he leaned to hug him, kissed his forehead, and stepped away.

Tatsumi let go of Tsuzuki to watch the Tsuzuki’s younger partner. “Kurosaki-kun, iie, Hisoka…” His heart raced painfully, for once, words failed him, and he simply took Hisoka to his arms, holding him tight, tears streaming down his face.

After awhile, Tatsumi looked up to Tsuzuki, and slowly transferred Hisoka to his partner’s arms. Tsuzuki took him as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. The boy’s body curled on his lap, in his arms, his head on his chest; he could feel the warmth ebbing away from Hisoka.

Hisoka remained asleep.

“I’m glad you didn’t get to say good bye to me, ‘Soka,“ he used his partner’s pet name, a name Hisoka hates, but secretly adored, “I don’t know how to say goodbye, because we will meet again. And I’m not crying, I’m a man, and you hate seeing me cry. I still have my penance to pay; I’ll work hard, I promise, so I can see you again, soon… Just wait for me, okay? And… I won’t have another partner, ‘Soka, you’re my only one. I’ll work with Tatsumi, Watari, or whoever, but you’re my only partner, ‘Soka. And I miss you already. You’re going to be horrified if you’re awake, and call me a thousand times baka, but I love you, ‘Soka, I really do. Not a lover’s love, or brotherly love, it’s something much deeper, I can’t tell what… But I love you, I miss you… Wait for me, ‘Soka, I’ll be with you soon. Meanwhile, you have fun with Tsubaki-hime, and Maria Won, and with Hisoka-chan, and Kazusa-chan… you deserve it…And, by the way, happy birthday…” Tsuzuki held the boy tightly, kissing his hair; “I’m letting you go, Kurosaki Hisoka. Be at peace.”

Kurosaki Hisoka’s golden candle flickered one last time, and went out.

The golden boy was finally at peace.

Usually, a high rank annainin will appear to guide a shinigami soul. This time, though, it’s not the bubbly blue-haired Botan, Koenma’s right hand annainin, or the calm dark-haired Ayame, or small red-haired Hinageshi. A beautiful golden haired girl with eyes as green as Hisoka’s sitting on her floating oar before them, obviously of high rank but unknown to them. She held out her hand, and Hisoka’s body rose up to her arms. Tsuzuki looked at her with pained eyes, the lovely being who will take his partner away. She looked back at Tsuzuki, their eyes met; and then, she smiled.

“No,” she said resolutely, “I will not take him.”

All eyes looked at her, disbelieving.

“I’ll be crazy if I take him now, minna-san. He’ll have to move on one day, but not now. Not yet. He’s very loved, and taking him now will result us Annainin taking all the Shokan Department away now, too. We will not take him just yet, but only if you promise that you’ll take care of him well, that him forsaking heaven will worthwhile.”

Tatsumi stood up and nodded solemnly, “It will be so, Annainin-san.”

The deity smiled, “Then you may have him back. Take good care of him, especially you, Tsuzuki-san. You hold a special place in his heart. You will be his anchor to this life.”

The annainin swept down, laid Hisoka on the bed, actually took the time to arrange the quilt over him and put Sho-tan beside him, looked at the boy, smiled warmly with tears in her eyes, and kissed Hisoka’s silent lips, breathing life into him, “My gift for you, my dearest otooto, is my name for you to have, and a life for you to live!”

The candle shot longer and flickered back to life as the annainin disappeared.

Tsuzuki looked shocked, looking at Watari, who looked at Tatsumi, who opened his mouth dryly, “That’s… Kurosaki Hisoka? Hisoka’s neesan?”

Tsuzuki looked at the boy on the bed, seeing him breathing calmly, and then two verdant eyes blinked opened.

“Is it morning already?” Hisoka’s voice still sounded weak, but stronger than it had been the last several days.

“No, not yet. It’s still a little past midnight…,” Tsuzuki smiled, his tears falling even when he tried not to cry.

Hisoka frowned and reached out to wiped the tears away, “Why are you crying? You’re human, don’t worry. Stop crying. Otoko no ko deshou? Men don’t cry.”

“Whoever said that is an ahou.”

“Tatsumi did.”

“Then he’s an ahou,” said Tsuzuki, looking at Tatsumi’s wet eyes.

“Un, whatever… Nemuii…”

“Sleep then, ‘Soka-chan.”

“Don’t call me that…”

“Why not. It’s a good name. Besides, I love saying it.”

“Baka. Love you too, ‘Sato.”

Tsuzuki face faulted. And then, smiling, he leaned down, kissing Hisoka’s hair, “Good night, sleep tight, let no bed bugs bite, I’ll see you again when the day is bright.”

Hisoka smiled, snuggled deeper into the bed, Sho-tan cuddled closed, and drifted into a much needed healing sleep.

“By the way, ‘Soka, Happy Birthday….”

***

What happened that day became a legend. No one really talk about it, yet everyone knows it. How a dead candle flickered back to live, how an annainin let go of a soul meant to be taken, how a name was erased in Kiseki. But not many know about how a sister gave her brother a second chance.

Hisoka healed rapidly, although still not as fast as a usual Shinigami would, but, in Watari’s words, Hisoka is barely usual, in a positive meaning, that is.

A week after he’s pronounced healthy, but still tightly under Watari’s eyes, Hisoka stepped into Shokan office, finding everyone there, shouting “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

“Heh? What is it?” asked the bewildered boy as he was rushed in by the gushoushins.

“Just a little belated birthday party for you, Hisoka-san.”

“Come on, sit!”

He was led to the middle of the room, where there’s a cake, several jug of punch, and a mountain of presents.

“A cake?” asked Hisoka, looking at Tsuzuki.

“Un, a birthday cake. Your birthday cake. Wakaba made it especially for you.”

It was a good cake, very big and lavishly decorated. Hisoka looked at Wakaba and Terazuma who nodded happily.

“Here, bon, cut the cake,” said Watari who gave him a knife.

“Nani, no candles?” asked Hisoka, “I thought that’s the tradition?”

“Iya!” said Tatsumi sternly, “No candles for you, Kurosaki-kun, I’ve had enough of blown candle to fill my entire afterlife.”

Hisoka, not getting the seriousness in Tatsumi’s voice, simply shrugged, and asked, “Then when do I make my wish?”

“Now,” said Yuma and Saya together, “just close your eyes, make a wish, and cut the cake.”

Hisoka nodded, close his eyes, opened them again, and cut the cake.

“Who will have the first bite, Hisoka?” asked Chizuru.

“Huh?”

“You give the first bite to your most special one,” explained Wakaba.

“My special one?”

“Hai.”

Hisoka looked at the cake in his hand, thinking. And then he smiled, blushed, and thrust the cake to Tsuzuki, whose eyes turned round.

“Here, for you, so you won’t nag me for cutting the cake too slow.”

Tsuzuki looked at the boy, smiled, and then laughed, taking the cake, “Sankyuu, ‘Soka-chan.”

“Baka, don’t call me that!”

“Whatever, ‘Soka!”

“Tsuzukiiiiii!”

“You can call me ‘Sato, you know…”

“Nani? Baka!” *hit*

“Awww, ‘Soka…hidoi…”

“Just eat the cake…”

“Hai, hai…”

And the days went by as usual in Meifu.

***

Ende

 



Current Mood: artistic
10:25 am
Yami no Matsuei: When The Day Is Bright

Here’s my attempt of a fluff Yami no Matsuei fic! No Muraki here, though, insane psychotic doctor and fluff just don’t get along well…

Like always, R/R please! Doumo arigato gozaimasu!

 

When The Day Is Bright

 

Tsuzuki Asato, Enma-Cho’s Shokan’s most underpaid worker who owns 12 Shikigamis under his command, was currently perched on his desk, a batch of files in his hands, and for once, he was intent on reading his papers. His amethyst eyes, usually bright, were uncharacteristically dull, and his lips were set in a tight line.

In front of him, on his chair, his co-worker and ex-partner, Tatsumi Seiichirou, Enma-Cho’s secretary and the formidable kagetsukai, was sitting straight, his sea-blue eyes never leaving Tsuzuki, his expression serious, yet sad. Beside them, sitting on a near sofa, sat Watari Yutaka, Shokan’s physician and scientist, and Konoe-Kacho, Shokan’s number one man, both looking very uncomfortable, Watari kept on biting his nail, and Konoe couldn’t sit still.

After awhile, Tsuzuki lowered his hands, stacked the papers beside him, and sighed, putting his face on his hands. Tatsumi stood up, leaning ever so carefully to grasp his ex-partner’s shoulder. Tsuzuki welcomed the gesture, resting his forehead on Tatsumi’s shoulder. For some time, neither spoke, Tatsumi carefully brush Tsuzuki’s hair, while Tsuzuki just stayed still.

It was Watari, though, who broke the silence.

“What do we do now?”

Tsuzuki looked up, his eyes bright with tears, and gazed on his friends, a bittersweet smile on his pale face, “We make do with what time he has.”

Konoe lowered his head, “Gomen nasai, Tsuzuki, I wish it could’ve been different…”

Tsuzuki shook his head, “Iie, Kacho… could’ve, would’ve… we can spend a long time here thinking what we wanted to happen, but none is now, all of the could’ve and would’ve won’t change now.”

Tatsumi corrected his glasses, a gesture that’s been long associated with the accountant, and sighed, “Still, had I came sooner…”

 “Tatsumi, please, I thought I’m the one who have the self-blaming syndrome here!” Tsuzuki cut sharp, “I’m trying not to blame myself, now don’t you start! Who could’ve thought that a stone can do that? It’s not your fault, not my fault, not Watari’s, not Kacho’s, and definitely not Hisoka’s. Who’s supposed to be here by now…” he trailed, his eyes searching the closed door.

“The gushoushins are with him, they’ll take good care of him. They were heading to the library when I saw them before I came here,” Watari said carefully.

Tsuzuki nodded absently.

Silence dawned.

***

“Ah, Watari-san, Konoe-Kacho, you’re here.”

Watari smiled at the two chicken-like beings floating in front of them, “Is bon around?”

“Hai, he’s asleep on the sofa there. I guess he must be really tired,” the younger gushoushin shook is head.

“Ano, Tsuzuki-san wa doko ka?” asked the older one.

“Outside the building with Tatsumi. He doesn’t want to incur your wrath by stepping into the library, he said.”

The gushoushins were definitely feeling guilty, Watari had to smile seeing their stricken expression as they flew to the library gates.

Shaking his head slightly, Watari was about to address Konoe when he realized that his boss’ no longer beside him. A quick round the corner brought him to where Konoe was standing beside a sofa, where Hisoka laid languidly, eyes closed, face pale, a book on his chest. Watari had to fight the urge to run and clasped the younger shinigami, fearing the worst; after all, his chest still rose and fell with each breath, although a little too heavy for Watari’s liking. He walked silently to kneel beside the slumbering boy, easing the book away.

Hisoka was way too pale. His skin had always been a shade lighter than other’s, but Hisoka in front of him looked more like a porcelain doll rather than human, albeit a shinigami one. He wasn’t sweating, which was good, but Watari found that his body was too cold for comfort.

Footsteps behind him told the arrival of his co-workers. Tsuzuki knelt beside him and smiled slightly, seeing for once, Hisoka’s sleep was peaceful, without the nightmares that usually haunt him. The violet eyes shinigami reached his hand out to brush an errant hair off his partner’s eyes, the touch caused Hisoka to stir.

“Sorry, did I wake you?” Tsuzuki asked softly as Hisoka blinked back sleep.

“Un… Didn’t think I’d fall asleep reading…” Hisoka’s voice was strangely soft, and weak, a combination that Tsuzuki hates the most.

 “Maybe you should move to your room, you’d be more comfortable there, “Tatsumi said from beside Konoe, “Have you eaten?”

“Aaa…Wakaba gave me sandwich…”

Watari nodded, “Did you finish it?”

Hisoka nodded slightly.

“That’s enough. Why don’t we go to your room, so you can get some sleep, and I’ll wake you for your next medicine, ne?”

“Can I just sleep here?”

“No, you’ll get cramps.”

“I don’t think I’m moving anywhere on my own…” mumbled Hisoka.

Tsuzuki chuckled, and stood up. Tatsumi loose his brown jacket and spread it on Hisoka, ruffling his hair as he went. Tsuzuki bent down, tucking his arms under Hisoka’s smaller body, and brought him to his arms, his blond head resting on his broad shoulder.

Hisoka’s arms shot up around Tsuzuki’s neck, steadying himself as a bout of vertigo hit. Obediently, Tsuzuki stood still, waiting for the swirling he knew his partner must’ve been suffering to subside.

When Hisoka’s death hold loosened, then Tsuzuki started to move, his friends behind him, taking Hisoka to his own quarter in Shokan area. Hisoka was asleep even before they went out from the library.

 “Is it only me or he lost weight?” mumbled Tsuzuki.

Watari sighed, “He is loosing weight, I think…”

“It’s a good thing his empathy was drained, I think,” Konoe said slowly, “At this rate, there’s no way he can shield himself from anyone projecting around him.”

Tatsumi nodded, “Hai, and this way, we can physically touch him without hurting him… It’s hard to do so before.”

 “Demo, he can still feel, ne, although limited?” asked Tsuzuki.

“I believe so, but only strong projection can affect him now. All the more reason to pour him with affection, I guess…”

“He gets my affection anytime, Tatsumi…”

“Hai, hai, wakatteiru yo…That’s not what I mean.”

“Wakatteiru.”

Silence crept back, and Watari had to fight the urge to groan.

***

“I want to keep him, minna…” Tsuzuki broke the silence as he eased his partner to his bed, covering him with light woolen blanket.

Tatsumi slipped back into his jacket and cocked his head, his eyes catching Tsuzuki’s.

 “I want to keep him,” Tsuzuki repeated, “I want him to have only good memories from now on, so he can carry those when… when he has to move on…” Tsuzuki gulped.

“Good memories…” Watari trailed off, “That’s good. It’ll help him to prolong whatever time he has, I think… and even if not, we can give him happiness, ne?”

Konoe nodded, “You have my full permission, Tsuzuki, I’m giving you a break, take as long as you need…” the inevitable left unsaid, choked in his suddenly dry throat.

Tsuzuki didn’t seem to notice, though, intent as he was, fussing with the blanket and reaching for Hisoka’s angel-bear, a gift from Tsuzuki a few months before. Hisoka had been surprised, and rather annoyed at receiving a doll, but when Tsuzuki told him that the angel-bear, afterward named Sho-tan, can chase away his nightmares if he cuddle him just right (Tsuzuki insisted that it’s a male cub), Hisoka had smiled slightly, hugged the doll, and innocently told Tatsumi, who was leaning over to see the honey-brown golden-winged green-eyed golden-robed cuddly stuffed bear close, that Sho-tan felt like a portable Tsuzuki. Watari had a full blown coughing fit, Konoe choked on his coffee, Tsuzuki blushed scarlet, and Tatsumi laughed heartily, leaving Hisoka confused, still holding Sho-tan close. Later on, Watari told Tsuzuki that if he hadn’t known better, he would’ve thought that they’re married.

Tsuzuki put Sho-tan on Hisoka’s chest, and Hisoka reacted as he always does, turning slightly to his side, reflexively clutching Sho-tan to his chest, burying his face on it’s soft head, and continued to sleep.

“Omigosh, kawaii…” Watari sighed.

“The first time seeing it, Watari?” asked Tatsumi.

“Un, he never brought Sho-tan to infirmary… Is that why he always insisted on sleeping here, even when I have to patch him up?”

“He can sleep well if he has a familiar presence around, preferably Tsuzuki…”

“And Sho-tan is a portable Tsuzuki,” Konoe chuckled, having heard the story from the secretary.

Tsuzuki smiled, “I think it worked out better that I’ve expected, giving Sho-tan to him.”

***

The next few days, Tsuzuki barely ever left Hisoka’s side. By some unseen compromise, either Watari or Tatsumi, or even the both of them ended up watching over the duo every time. The gushoushins let Tsuzuki accompany Hisoka at the library, Terazuma only nodded when he met them, instead of picking a fight, Yuma and Saya kept a respectful manners, none glomping on Hisoka, fearing the boy’s failing body won’t be able to take the stress, Wakaba and Konoe showered Hisoka with light-sweet cakes and pies at any possible moments.

Hisoka found himself the center of affection of the Shokan division; even Hakushaku and Watson came over to visit when he collapsed after a bout of painful cough. For once, though, he didn’t mind. Instead of shying away, he basked in their warmth, taking as much as he can get. The phrase ‘baka’ still rang around at one time or another, but not as often, or as loud, as before.

It’s as if Hisoka wanted to keep the warmth as long as he can…

The days went by slowly. When he’s well, Hisoka would roam around Meifu with at least Tsuzuki beside him, or went to and fro Gensoukai (which usually ended up draining his strength, and resulting an angry Watari blasting a puppy-Tsuzuki). When he’s not, he would spend his time in bed, obediently taking any medicine given by Watari, and slept as much as he could, never complaining. At those times, the hall leading to his door would be passed by many well-wishers, and Tsuzuki will always be by his side accompanied by Watari. Whenever possible, one, if not all of Tsuzuki’s Shikigamis, and of course, Kurikara, dropped by to Meifu, if only to ruffle Hisoka’s hair (Touda) or to give him a cuddle (Byakko), a kiss on the cheek (Suzaku) or forehead (Sohryu), a hug (whoever), or a death glare (Kurikara).

Therefore, it came as no surprise when one fine morning, an energetic Hisoka ran along the hall of Shokan, calling for Tsuzuki, the two gushoushins frantically flying beside him, telling him to slow down or he’ll collapsed again (Watari had given them the order to take good care of Hisoka when the boy’s around them if they do not wish to end up as Yakitori on Tatsumi’s plate. Tatsumi had gleefully agreed, much to distress of the twin creature).

Opening the door, Tatsumi found himself with an armful of bouncing Hisoka with a newspaper in his hands, panting, but obviously very excited.

“Matte, Kurosaki-kun, why are you running? I thought Watari had told you, no exertion!” the formidable secretary scolded, although his eyes were smiling, seeing Hisoka so flustered and happy.

“Gomen, Tatsumi-san, is Tsuzuki here?”

“He’s with Kacho, come in!” he held the door wider, and Hisoka burst in, the gushoushins behind him.

“Bon! No running!” Watari held the boy as he passed his desk, holding him in place and brush his hair, “See? You’re sweating! I told you, no exertion!”

“Hai-hai, Tatsumi-san has reminded me, but I really need to show this…”

“Show what?” Tsuzuki, with Konoe at his heels, entered the common office, and Hisoka sped up to grab his partner and dumped the newspaper in his hand.

“Are you free tomorrow?” the boy asked, practically bouncing on his heels.

“Sure, wanna go somewhere?”

“Yuenji!”

Silence fell in the office, but obviously Hisoka was as oblivious as ever, “See, there’s an American traveling amusement park, and it’ll leave in two days, so tomorrow will be its last show. Can we go, ne, Tsuzuki, can we?”

Tatsumi had to correct the position of his glass again, hiding his snickers behind his hand, even when Watari hid his face in his hands, shoulders trembling, upon seeing Hisoka so excited over a yuenji. Konoe opened his mouth, and promptly closed it again, while Tsuzuki read the article which Hisoka pointed out to him.

“Yuenji, eh, sound’s fun. Sure, I’ll go. Anyone else wanna go?”

“I have a meeting with Hakushaku tomorrow. I’ll pass,” Konoe smiled.

“Budgeting. Gomen ne?” said Tatsumi.

“Making something. Ore mo passu,” Watari grinned.

Hisoka’s smile vanished, “Demo… It would be more fun with you guys…”

Tsuzuki almost dropped the newspaper.

“I asked Yuma and Saya, but they said they will have dinner with Chizuru, Wakaba and Terazuma are working, the gushoushins won’t leave the library…”

A pouting and almost crying Hisoka is a powerful object.

“Aww, bon, don’t be like that! I’ll go!”

“Kurosaki-kun… humph. I’ll go.”

“I still can’t go, Yuenji is no place for an old man. But you can use my wallet.”

Hisoka lit up like a rising sun.

“Arigato! And there is also one other person I want to invite…”

***

“This is a total breach of regulation.”

“As if you said no, Tatsumi…”

“Who can say no to bon? Bon pouting is far more dangerous than your puppy mode!”

The three senior Shinigami watched as Minase Hijiri grabbed a not resisting Hisoka into a huge bear hug.

“I can’t believe I’m seeing you again!”

“Same here. But you’re taller than me, now…”

“Daijoubu. I can play Oniisan now!”

“Humph. Baka…”

A round of hug and back pat later, a little longer on Tsuzuki’s side, the four shinigami and one human boy entered the yuenji.

“This…is…huge…”

Hisoka’s eyes were twinkling as he clung onto Tsuzuki’s arm like a caterpillar.

Tsuzuki, Tatsumi and Watari had to smile as Hijiri grabbed Hisoka to the first attraction in front of them: bumper cars.

Three hours and who knows how many attractions later, the five were sitting under the shade of a huge tree, laughing heartily.

“I can’t believe you screamed like that…”

“It was fast, it was plunging, and everyone were screaming! Not my fault!”

“It was still hilarious, though, Watari-san.”

“I think I heard you scream, too, Hijiri-kun!”

“But nowhere as loud as you, or as screeching…”

“Tatsumi, you jerk! Take it back! Take it back!”

“Never!”

“Tatsumi!”

“Gyahh! Tatsumi-san, I’m not a kekkai!”

“But he won’t hurt you, Kurosaki-kun, I’m safer behind you!”

“Get another kekkai!”

“Nope. I’m safe here.”

“Tsuzuki…Tasukete…Onegai…”

“You’re fault taking Watari to The Phyton, Hisoka.”

A full mode children brawl soon followed, leaving other people who happened to pass by smiled and shrugged, seeing three full-grown men and two teenagers wrestling under the tree.

A while later, Hisoka stood up to buy ice cream, Watari following him.

“Hisoka is more open now, Tsuzuki, you’ve done a good work with him…” Hijiri mused.

“Uhn, I guess we did…”

“What’s wrong?”

“Eh?”

“What’s wrong with him?”

Tsuzuki and Tatsumi looked at Hijiri silently.

“The way he’s acting, Tsuzuki, as if he wants to have everything today, now…As if he won’t have a chance tomorrow. The way he laughed…how he run…you do realized that he barely walked, do you? It’s as if he has silver wings on his feet. The way he craved for physical contact, how he grabbed me, how he clung to you, how he dragged Watari-san, how he grasped Tatsumi-san’s hand when taking the money for ice cream, the brawl just now…”

Hijiri stopped looking at the shop where Hisoka and Watari went into and transferred his gaze to the two Shinigami beside him.

“He’s supposed to be bothered by this many people due to his empathy -heck, he’s not even supposed to be touched!- but he’s not. And the way you all look at him, as if you’re afraid he’ll disappear, the way you brush his jacket after roller coaster, or how you wiped his brow, ruffled his hair, how you always keep him within an arm length, as if ready to catch him should he fall, and Watari-san’s big back-pack of medicine…”

Hijiri bit his lip before he continued, “What’s wrong with him?”

Tsuzuki fell on his back, while Tatsumi leaned on the tree trunk.

“He’s dying.”

Hijiri looked at Tatsumi, confused, “I thought you are all dead?”

“Not that, Hijiri… Hisoka’s close to…moving on…”

“Shinigami are neither living nor dead, Minase-kun… Shinigami can still die…”

“And Hisoka?”

“We went to investigate a case in Nagasaki,” Tsuzuki’s voice sounded heavy and tired.

Hijiri looked at him, but his once guardian angel had his hand over his face.

“It was suppose to be easy…take a lost female soul to kiseki, but apparently the female soul was trapped by a soul-sucking stone…”

Hijiri was trapped by the vulnerability Tsuzuki showed.

“It sucked on the girl’s soul… I grabbed her away, but it grabbed Hisoka, and he destroyed the stone…”

“We didn’t know it at that time, but when Kurosaki-kun collapsed twice in a row the day after the incident, we realized that before it was destroyed, the stone had just enough time to link to his soul, so when Kurosaki-kun destroyed it…”

“Hisoka’s soul fades along…”

 

Grab her! I’ll grab the stone!

Hisoka! What are you doing!

Tsuzuki! Run!

Hisoka! No! Hisoka!

Kurosaki-kun!

Was … it … destroyed?

Don’t you ever do that again!

Tsuzuki-san! Hisoka –san wa…

Watari-san, I don’t feel so good…

Hisoka! Hisoka!

Tsuzuki… I’m cold…

The souls were intertwined.

Tsuzuki-san! Hisoka-chan…

I really don’t feel well…

Terazuma found him…

I’ve felt this before…

Tsuzuki… Kurosaki’s flame… is fading.

Tzuzuki… am I dying?

There’s gotta be something we can do!

He’s fading, Tsuzuki.

You have to let him go…

 

A single tear fell onto the grass, followed by another, and another…

Tatsumi moved over so he could reach his ex-partner’s hair. Hijiri looked dumbfounded.

“Honto?”

Tatsumi nodded, “He’s fading fast. Every morning is a trial now, every waking hour an effort…every night a dreadful waiting… When he’s well, it’s as if he wanted to do everything today. When he’s ill, he’d do whatever Watari told him and take whatever medicine Watari gave, as if trying to build back whatever strength left in him for another day of adventure…Maybe that’s why he wanted to see you again, Minase-kun. To see his mirror image one last time...”

“Sou ka?” Hijiri lowered his head, “Is there nothing we can do?”

“No…”

“Then we’ll give him all the happiness he can get, ne?”

Tsuzuki looked at Hisoka’s now older mirror image with utter confusion.

“I can’t give him his life, although I’d trade his with mine anytime. So I’ll give him a memory instead. Maybe then he can hold on, knowing that so many people love him, and when he has to move on, he’ll carry us in his memory… so he won’t be alone…”

Tsuzuki had to fight the urge to broke down into sobs.

Tatsumi straightened up when he saw Hisoka and Watari went out the store and walked toward them. Hijiri’s right, he mused, Hisoka’s barely walking…

Tsuzuki sat up, Hijiri sighed, and put a façade smile he never thought he had.

“Here! Strawberry for Tsuzuki, chocolate for Hijiri, vanilla for Tatsumi-san, Watari-san got coffee, and I got blueberry.”

“Sankyuu, Hisoka!”

“Arigato, Kurosaki-kun.”

“Aa, doumo, Hisoka.”

Hisoka plopped beside Tsuzuki, and leaned on his shoulder. Tsuzuki smiled, a bittersweet smile, that was, and Hijiri felt his heart contracted as Hisoka closed his eyes in contentment.

I’ll give you whatever happiness I can give you, Kurosaki Hisoka, I swear it on Kazusa’s soul….

***

Hisoka lowered the wind rifle, his face scowling. Hijiri had tried before and got a bag of chocolate for the fourth shot. Watari and Tsuzuki missed all shots. And Hisoka… from the four shots he had, he had missed thrice…

“This is ridiculous… I never missed before…” he mumbled, taking another aim, his hands trembling.

Tsuzuki bit his lips. Hisoka was frustrated; he can see it. True, his partner is a good shooter, but that was before the incident that drained him… Hisoka now had problems in concentrating; he could never read a page without feeling dizzy, or looking at the same object for along time without keeling over. Shooting a moving target required total concentration and timing, two things that Hisoka wasn’t capable of doing.

Hisoka started as he felt a much bigger body pressed onto his back, and larger hands closed on his. Tatsumi leaned over him, pressing their body close, his chin on the younger shinigami’s shoulder.

“You have to calm down, Kurosaki-kun. You’re panicking. Now close your eyes and take a deep breath.”

Hisoka closed his eyes and follow the kagetsukai’s instructions.

“Open your eyes. Take your aim. Let the target slide twice. On the third pass, think of Muraki’s head. On the fourth, shoot.”

Tsuzuki gaped as he heard the instruction. Watari’s eyes bulged, Hijiri merely looked confused.

The shot rang true as it hit the target dead center.

“Yatta! Arigato, Tatsumi-san! You’re the greatest!” Hisoka threw his hands, hugging Tatsumi, who looked shocked at the pure affection the young blond gave him.

Watari, Tsuzuki, and Hijiri giggled upon looking at Tatsumi blushing, but the secretary immediately gained control, and he hugged the boy back, a beatific expression on his face.

Hisoka collected his prize, another bag of chocolate, and gave it to Tsuzuki, who squealed and hugged the blushing boy.

Watari couldn’t help feeling sad…

Several minutes later, they came to another shooting booth, only this time they get to choose dolls instead of sweets. Six perfect targets means six dolls.

They were about to simply pass the booth when Hisoka suddenly stopped, took out his wallet, take some money, and strode over to the booth.

Confused, the other four followed him.

The woman behind the booth smiled warmly at Hisoka, who gave her the money and took the wind rifle.

Tatsumi and Tsuzuki looked at each other, while Watari watched the boy intently. Hijiri, meanwhile, cocked his head a little, trying to see Hisoka’s expression.

Hisoka’s eyes narrowed in concentration. The target’s not moving, but all six shots must be done in rally. It could be easier, it could be not.

Inwardly, Tsuzuki wondered if Hisoka’s imagining six Muraki’s heads…

Six shots rang, hitting true on their targets. The woman clapped her hands in amazement, and opened the doll box for Hisoka to see. Hisoka picked six different dolls, smiled at the lady, and strode over to his friends.

“Here,” he said, giving each of his friends the stuffed animals he picked.

Tsuzuki looked stunned as he got a brown puppy.

Tatsumi’s eyes widened as he was presented with a monkey.

Watari smiled as Hisoka gave him his owl.

Hijiri laughed as he hugged his penguin.

Tatsumi found himself holding another doll, a brown lion. “For Kacho,” Hisoka had said.

Hisoka himself hugged a three-colors kitten close, smiling widely.

Deep inside, Tatsumi found his heart bleeding. Are these good-bye presents, Hisoka?

***

“Minase-kun! Minase-kun!”

Hijiri looked over his shoulder to see his junior high schoolmates ran over to him.

“Yo! What’re you doing?”

“Ah, I’m accompanying my little sister. And you?”

“Me? I’m…”

“Hijiri. Your friends?”

“Eh, Hisoka. Yes, my schoolmates.”

“Waaa, you to look so much alike! Otooto, ka?”

“Aaa…”

Hisoka blushed, “Tsuzuki said we can eat at that café. I’m buying ice-cream for him.”

“Again? Hisoka, you spoil him too much!”

Hisoka grinned, “When else can I do so?”

Hijiri watched him running toward the ice cream vendor with more than a little trepidation gripping his heart.

“He blushed easily, eh?”

“Aaa.. ano, mata, ne? I have to go to the café…”

“Better watch out, Hijiri, I saw some of the punks at school here, they look drunk.”

“Huh?”

***

 

Continued in Part 2



Current Mood: artistic
10:17 am
An offer of fic: Lamentation, Chapter 1

Here’s Lamentation: Chapter 1!

This is a crossover fic. You'll find people from other animes walking around, some merely passerby and some hold the key to the fic. But all in all, this is an MoB fic. The inserted characters happened because I don't know many people in MoB world...

sigh...

I've only watched the thirteen episodes of MoB, so I'm going to ignore everything that happened after (or before) that... I'll try not to ruin anything, though...

This happened a few weeks (or months) after the 'pier incident'... and after ’99.

R/R are greatly appreciated!

 

Lamentation

 

Chapter 1

Sandcastles

 

Naoe Nobutsune doesn’t stray into his dreamscape often. But when he does, he strays there for long enough.

It was far easier when he became Tachibana Yoshiaki. All he needs to do is tell his family that he’s ‘needed’ for a day or two, go out and get a hotel room, and sleep.

When Kagetora was around, meaning, literally around, sometimes he couldn’t even sleep. Irobe and Haruie had often chastised him for his worrywart tendency, but he couldn’t help it.

It was when he was in his dreamscape, that a girl strayed in, all bubbly and cheerful and all, feeling so much like Haruie, that he couldn’t tell her to go away. She came every now and then, sometimes to comment on his suit, ”Really, Na-chan! Brown suits all the time! You need to be more fashionable!” or his sunglasses, “That’s so outdated, you know! Get a new one!” or his moping tendency, “Mou! You should get a life!” or his suicidal streak, “And I thought Kyou-chan is bad!”

She told him about herself, but never asked him to tell her about himself. She had a life, once, a happy one, but then she decided to bet it on her brother’s love life. In Naoe’s point of view, considering that she’s a wandering ghost, she lost, but she told him that, no, she didn’t loose, in fact, she seemed to be winning. Her life proved to be not all peaches and cream.

And then she dragged another person in. Another Yumemi like himself, although of much greater power. This one can see the future.

Naoe was tempted to ask about his future, but the other man would look at him sadly whenever he wanted to ask, so he never did.

Sometimes he helped him finding the ones he needed to exorcise. Actually, it was him who relayed when Takeda Shingen was going to look for a new body.

It was because of him that he saw Takaya and Yuzuru that faithful day.

He thanks and hates him for that.

***

Sumeragi Subaru looked up at the people coming towards him. He sighed and stood up.

“Sumeragi-san… I’m sorry for troubling you,” Tachibana-san said as he reached his side.

Subaru shook his head, “No, it’s no trouble at all. Yoshiaki is a good friend.”

Tachibana-san shook his head, and gestured at the people behind him, “These are Yoshiaki’s friends, Ougi-san, Narita-san, and…” He looked helplessly at the people there, “I can’t remember anymore…”

“I am Chiaki, this is Kadowaki, Takeda, Morino, and Miya, Ougi-kun’s sister.”

Subaru looked at the people he’s been introduced to curiously. Three kanshosha, two mediums, one human, and the other one… what?   

Very interesting…

“My son had just met Sumeragi-san before the accident happened,” Tachibana-san explained.

Subaru nodded, “I came as soon as I can when Tachibana-san called me.”

“Naoe… where is he?”

Subaru looked at the pale dark-haired kanshosha, and had to bit back whatever sarcastic comment he had, “He’s inside,” and gestured to the door behind him.

The youth, Ougi-kun, looked even paler. His sister grasped his arm tightly.

Muraki-sensei looked at the Sumeragi, “Let me guess, you didn’t manage to get in?”

“He’s not trapped within, Sensei… Being in a dreamscape and being within are two very different things, and all the Yumemi I know are dead.”

“What about him? Can’t he get into a dreamscape?”

“Yeah, if we want to destroy it. Yoshiaki’s dreamscape is not as strong, you know…”

“How am I supposed to know? I’m just an ordinary doctor.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Sumeragi-san…”

Subaru looked at Tachibana-san’s worried face, and gave a placating smile, “I will do what I can, Tachibana-san.”

The older Tachibana nodded.

Muraki opened the door, “You can all come in.”

***

Yuzuru looked at the bed unbelievingly.

Naoe laid there, bandages covering his body here and there, still, pale, and cold.

His shock was not anywhere near Takaya’s, though.

His best friend stood there, eyes wide, pale and unmoving, rooted to his spot.

Yuzuru wanted to drag Takaya and sat him by the bed, but he’s not sure whether Takaya would comply or bolt.

Saori and Yuhiko stayed well near the door, while Miya stayed by her brother’s side.

Haruie was the one who moved first. She walked slowly to the bed, and leaned a bit, her hands shaking a she reached out to touch Naoe’s arm, as if afraid that he’d shatter at contact.

There was a woman in the room, sitting by the bed, her eyes intently looking at Naoe, as if wiling him to wake up. Tachibana-san walked up to her, and took her hand, guiding her up and outside he room. She threw a glance at Takaya, but that’s all about it.

Muraki went out with them, but Subaru stayed by the door he’d just closed.

“He’s weakening… I almost can’t feel him…” Haruie paled.

“Can’t you drag him back?” asked Nagahide.

“It’s not the existence of soul that matters,” Subaru said, standing there quietly, “I’ve bound his soul to the body, he’s not going anywhere. But even if the soul is in the body, if the heart is not…”

“What are you talking about?”

Subaru looked at the people around him, contemplating, weighing how much he could tell them.

In the end, he decided that blunt truth would do.

“The injuries are serious, yes, but not exactly life-threatening. I’ve bound the soul in, so theoretically, he should be able to stay alive. If it’s a usual case, he should be conscious by now.”

“Why isn’t he, then?” asked Yuzuru.

“At first, I thought that he was trapped within his heart. A depression, or trauma, can easily set people to ‘hide’ in their heart, refusing to come out. Some mistake this situation as coma, which is another completely different situation. I thought, at first, that Yoshiaki had gone ‘within’ himself, running away again. So I tried to go ‘within’ him, and realized that he’s not only ‘within’.”

“Eh?”

“Tell me, do you know that Yoshiaki, well, Naoe, is a Yumemi?”

“A what?” asked Nagahide.

“A yumemi, dreamgazer, is a person who can… do things within their dreams. They can live there, they can hide there… the stronger ones can manipulate people through dreams, and the strongest ones can see the future. Yoshiaki-san is one of the third level Yumemi.”

“Meaning?”

“He can create a world of his own, a total illusion in his own mind, really, and hide there when he wants to. My guess is, he’s doing that right now. Hiding, and simply refusing to get out.”

“That’s… impossible,” Haruie looked at still man on the bed, her eyes confused, “Why would he…”

“Me…”

“Eh?”

All eyes looked at Takaya, who moved away from his sister, walking slowly toward the bed, and stood by it, his hand touching the bedside, looking down miserably.

“He’s hiding from me…”

***

Naoe was building sand castle.

It was weird. Why in the world was he building sand castle? But it was appropriate, in a way. After all, he was on a beach, right?

You build sandcastles on beaches…

Now, who on earth came up with such a silly idea? It couldn’t be him, right?

The hard thing was not building the castle, he realized. It was keeping his castle not being destroyed.

Whenever he got a structure of his dream castle half built up, a splash of wave would come and wiped it into the ocean. He’d almost finished it, the last time, and he tripped over it.

How annoying.

A part of his mind told him to go further away from the sea. But he couldn’t bear to leave his spot. If he stayed where he was, then someone might see him and help with his sandcastle. If not…

Well, he’d just have to finish it all by himself.

So he started to mould his castle again with nothing but his hands.

Over and over again…

A continuous cycle for eternity…

***

Kakyou was pissed. He could see the damn beach, he could see the waves, he could see the sea, he could see the man, but he couldn’t get in, damn it!

The Yumemi of Dragon of Earth had never felt so helpless.

Okay, that’s wrong. He’d felt helpless before. But everything worked out in the end, right? Can he hope that this problem in front of him will sort itself out, too?

“Whoever said my problem sorted out itself?” asked the dark-haired purple-eyes youth beside him.

“What are you doing here, Kamui?”

“You need to wake up. There’s a meeting in five minutes and you’re cranky when you’ve just woken up.”

“Five more minutes, then.”

“He’s not going anywhere, Kakyou…”

“I know that… The Sumeragi knows what he’d doing with the Soul Bind.”

“Well, he is the greatest onmyoji at present. It’s only normal that his Reibaku can hold a kanshosha soul.”

“But he’s not helping!”

“You can’t blame my brother! He’s only doing what he can!”

“Oh, Hokuto-chan…”

“Come on, Kyou-chan, wake up! I don’t want to be late!”

“Honestly, Hokuto-chan, we’re dead! We’re not going to be late anymore!”

“You tell that to Tatsumi-san! Besides, the sooner we get to the meeting, the sooner we can help Na-chan!”

“Eh?”

“Hakushaku asked us to handle the case,” Kamui said smugly.

Kakyou bolted out of his dreamscape, and his sleep, his eyes blinking at the two figures by his chair, “He what?”

“Naoe-san is our case. Now come on.”

Something thrilling spread in Kakyou’s heart.

Yes, there may still be hope after all.

He’d be damned if Naoe followed his path.

***

“He’s hiding from me…”

Haruie wanted to wrap the younger man in her arms, but Kagetora seemed so far away, unreachable in his grief. The youth sat down wearily on a chair by the bed, his hand gripping the sheets.

Nagahide rolled his eyes, and walked up to the youth, “Self-blaming ain’t gonna wake him up, Kagetora. Ne, Sumeragi-san, is there any way you can get Kagetora inside the dreamscape, whatever it is? Maybe he can drag Naoe out.”

Subaru shook his head, “I’m sorry, but dreamscape is not my turf, and all the Yumemi who can do so are dead.”

“Well, find another one!”

“It’s not that easy… Nagahide-san, isn’t it? Yumemi are very rare, and only the strongest ones can take control on other people’s dreamscapes. I’ve heard of only four yumemi beside Yoshiaki in my whole life, one a low-class, another an apprentice, and two of the highest class. I’ve only met one of them, and she went mad after awhile. One died before I had a chance to meet her. The other one, I’ve only heard of him, and the last one’s not even a dreamgazer, more like dream-peeker really….”

“Then… how do we get Naoe out?” asked Haruie.

“Maybe we can just talk to him…” Miya said carefully.

“Eh?”

“Well, I’ve read somewhere that people in coma actually can hear people talking to them, so…”

“I think I’ve heard about it, too,” Saori was thoughtful.

“There’s a book about it, I think…” Yuhiko nodded, “I’ve read it. Subconsciously, they can hear whatever being said around them”

“But didn’t Tachibana-san tried it already?” asked Yuzuru.

“Well, he is not Kagetora…” Nagahide looked at Naoe’s still form, “And Naoe does everything Kagetora wants him to do…”

“How long do we have?” asked Haruie, “ Or can you keep binding his soul, Sumeragi-san?”

“No… his body is weak, it can still survive longer... But if his soul lost its will to… live… If he dies now, there’ll be no reincarnation, and a dead kanshosha soul can’t be bound. He’d simply… cease to exist.”

Yuzuru looked nervous, “You said that his soul is… injured. How come?”

“I’ve no idea. I’m not the one Yoshiaki talks to.”

“Hell, I highly doubt he talks to anyone!” Haruie cursed.

“From what I can tell…” Subaru considered, “he’s weary, I think… he’s lived for so long, been hurt for so long… I guess he wants to rest… to leave everything behind…”

“He won’t leave me!”

Takaya found himself surprised with his own outburst.

Subaru smiled slightly, “Muraki came up with a theory that if we can get his soul to hold on, even if he’s not waking up, we can have the time to cure his body. The stronger the body is, the better chance we have of having him back. We’re hoping that you’ll help, Kagetora. He will listen to whatever you say. Talk to him, keep him here… if not, then… we’ll lose him. All of him. If his soul is gone, then….”

Haruie had never seen Kagetora so pale.

Then again, Naoe had never been this close to true death.

Takaya moved automatically, dismissing those around him. He simply knelt by the bed, taking his hand in his, kissing the fingers reverently.

Naoe didn’t move.

Subaru shepherded everyone out, leaving the master and his loved one alone.

Takaya was stumped.

Naoe had always been a protective figure to him. Seeing him lying there, pale and feverish… It seemed surreal.

“Naoe…” Takaya called his aide softly, willing him to open those intense eyes and look at him.

No response.

How do I do this?’ Takaya thought, ‘How do I call him? What must I say?

Regretfully, Takaya knew almost nothing about Naoe. Kagetora hated Naoe, but at the same time loved him so much that he could never let him go.

And Takaya knew that he loved Naoe. But did Kagetora love him this much?

That day, on the pier… Did Naoe know that Takaya slept wearing his coat?

Takaya wondered if he would be able to help Naoe. He needed to wake Naoe, okay. Then what?

If everything continued the way it had for those four hundred year… the pushing and pulling and loving and hating and taking and throwing away and mending and damaging and healing and destroying and…

A never-ending chain of love and hate…

Can he break it? Can he set him free? Can he set them free? Free to do what?

Kagetora was furious. Takaya wanted to cry.

That night… the night in the cave under the starry sky looking out at a drenched world…

The closest he’d ever get of realizing that loosing Naoe hurts…

Hold on, Naoe, hold on…

The pale and almost lifeless body in his arms…

Kagetora-sama!

An enemy who became his shadow, his shield, his spear...

Kagetora-sama?

He had let him stay. Although he hated him at first, but Kenshin had simply ‘given’ Naoe to him. And they were together, inseparable.

Kagetora-sama! Run!

War… peace… war... peace… war… peace… war… continuous war… But one thing stayed the same. The lithe body beside him, behind him, in front of him, protecting him, staying close to him.

Naoe, you alone I will never forgive!

Words spoken in grief and hatred. Words then regretted.

Irobe? How’s Naoe?

The worry… the spiking fear…

Nobutsuna…

The bloodied clothes, drenching his own… the curled fingers, holding nothing … the eyes that were shut, tears on his pale cheeks… a word forever frozen on his lips…

NOBUTSUNA!!!!!!

The tears in his eyes, the pain his heart… the cold body held close to him… sadness… emptiness… but most of all… ANGER…

How dare you leave me… how dare you! You’re not leaving me! You’re mine! MINE!

And regret…

I haven’t told you… I haven’t told you… that I’m sorry… I was wrong… I’m sorry I hurt you…

A moment of weakness, a moment of truth…

Next time, next life…Nobutsuna…We’ll be together… forever… I will never let you go… Nobutsuna… my Nobutsuna…

The silent unresponsive lips under his, a stolen kiss…

Naoe… I’m sorry… Naoe… Nobutsuna…

And yet he was still afraid… He was always afraid…

Ougi Takaya had a humbling realization.

He was the reason why Naoe stayed. He was the one who tied Naoe. His Naoe.

‘My Nobutsuna…’

The hand in his was cold, but Takaya found himself unable to let go of that hand. Not anymore.

So many missed chances, so many wasted times… but enough is enough. No more.

He stood up and leaned over, carefully placed a kiss on his beloved’s forehead.

No response.

He kissed his eyes lovingly.

No response.

He kissed his cheeks tenderly.

No response.

He pecked his nose playfully.

No response.

‘Nobutsuna… My Nobutsuna… Wake up… Wake up for me, my love… for your Kagetora… for your Takaya… wake up… My Nobutsuna… My beloved Yoshiaki… wake up… For my sake… For our sake… Wake up… Let me say those words to you… Yoshiaki… wake up…’

No response.

***

Muraki Kazutaka is a man of logic, and in his mind, kanshosha is logical. After all, after spending some times chasing a certain amethyst-eyed shinigami, nothing is beyond his logic anymore. He also knows that through the right spell and device, one can keep a soul attached to a body, or a part of body… as long as you still have the head, the spine, and the brain, you can still resurrect someone. The other parts are transplantable.

How do you keep a mindless soul in body not his own, though?

Above all, he likes to experiment, and Tachibana Yoshiaki, or rather, Naoe Nobutsuna, had his full attention. He’s intrigued.

Besides, a dying kanshosha is not a case that will be neglected by Ju-Oh-Cho. With luck, he’d see his other playthings again.

“Thinking bad thoughts, Sensei?”

He shrugged and took out a cigarette box, “Why ever do you think so, Subaru-san? Or should I say, Sakurazukamori?”

Subaru stood by him, looking at the hospital garden’s fishpond, “You’re a doctor, you’re not suppose to smoke.”

“Ah… but no smoking can kill me, Sumeragi-san.”

“What do you want?”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. I saw how… interested… you are to Yoshiaki.”

“Not like that, I assure you.”

“I don’t care like what are you interested to him, Muraki… you’re not touching him.”

“So devoted! Tell me, has the kanshosha finally turned your thought from your beloved Seiishirou-san?”

“It’s nothing like that, Muraki. He’s a friend, and I’m tired of loosing friends.”

“He’s a kanshosha. Even if he survives, he’d outlive you. In the end, you can’t keep him beside you.”

“Whoever said I want to keep him?” Subaru looked disgusted, “That’s Kagetora’s job, not mine. But he’s a friend, Muraki, and I’m not letting you hurt him.”

“Might as well keep Kagetora away from him, then After all, no one can hurt him more than Kagetora can.”

“Your mind-games don’t work on me, Muraki.”

“Ah, yes… After Seiishirou-san and The Other Kamui, no mind-games can work on you. What a pity.”

“Keep away from him, and his friends, Muraki,” Subaru threatened, “Or I will rip you off your power. And the name is Sakurazuka.”

Subaru turned on his heels and left back into the building.

Muraki smiled, took a long drag of his cigarette, and threw it on the grassy ground, crushing it under his shoes.

“As if you can, Subaru-kun…”

***

When Miya entered the hospital room, she found her brother still kneeling by the bed, his eyes closed and his fingers joined together as if in a prayer.

The figure on the bed was still the same as she remembered him.

He’d seen this man before. She’d seen this man taking her brother to lunch or dinner, even to breakfast. She’d seen him picking up her brother for a vacation. He’d seen him at Yuzuru-sempai’s house before.

She’d seen him, and she likes him. She wanted to ask to he brother who the tall handsome man was, but when Takaya wasn’t saying anything, Miya had learned that it’s better not to ask. It hurts, though; to think that her own brother couldn’t trust her with his secrets.

Then again, maybe it’s because she’s his sister, that Takaya didn’t tell her anything.

It doesn’t matter. Takaya is Takaya, the only brother she has. She won’t abandon him like her father and mother did, because she knows Takaya won’t abandon her either.

The door opened; Nagahide, Haruie, Subaru and Yuzuru walked in. Saori and Yuhiko had gone home, and Miya had gone home with them, packing some clothes for her brother, and went back to the hospital with Yuzuru.

Miya smiled at them, and reached out to touch her brother’s shoulder.

Takaya looked up saw his sister’s face above him.

“Miya? Why are you doing here?”

“I took the liberty of staying,” she smiled, “ I want to be with you.”

“Oh, yeah, thanks, Miya.”

“Anytime. How is he?”

“Still the same…”

Haruie and Nagahide looked at each other.

Miya helped her brother up and sat him on the chair, “No change at all?”

“I called him, I talked to him, I threatened him, I begged him…” Takaya sighed, looking at his sister’s loving face, “He’s not listening to me!”

“You need to be patient, Kagetora,” Haruie admonished, “I’m sure he hears you. He always listens to you, right?”

“Then why isn’t he waking up?”

Nagahide looked at Naoe intently, “Ne, what exactly happened, I mean, before the accident? You met him, right, Sumeragi-san?”

Subaru sighed, took a chair and slouched on it, “Yeah. He suddenly called me and asked me to meet him, so I just did.”

“What for?”

Subaru looked uncomfortable, “He… he wants to be exorcised.”

Silence.

Subaru sighed. Might as well tell everything…

“I’ve known about Yoshiaki, and Naoe, for along time. The first thing I’ve known about Kanshosha was from my grandmother, who helped The Tachibana pulled out their seven-years-old son out of catatonic years before. That was before I met Yoshiaki. I was… emotionally unstable at that time… my twin sister had just died and my… beloved… was the one who killed her. My grandmother arranged my meeting with Yoshiaki, and he… being a kanshosha with more experience, pulled me out of a slump, in a way. He told me about himself, about the five Uesugi Yasashuu… about Kagetora… and… he sorts of giving me the will to carry on… to do whatever I can do with my life… To… make my wish come true…”

Haruie looked at the young man sitting with his eyes looking at the floor. This man… she knows of The Sumeragi Family, of course, but this man…

What could’ve happened that a man who’s only something-twenty carries a burden like that?

As if sensing his thought, Subaru looked up at her and gave a small smile.

“Thinking of him… and the world he protects, gives me the will to go on. No matter how much I hurt, I am still allowed to choose my own life and death, while he’s bound by a mission that might take forever to finish. He’s a friend, because he understands the pain, even when I’m not saying anything. So, when he suddenly called me, I came.”

Yuzuru looked at this man before him, a man with eyes so verdant and ancient… As if he’d seen the sorrow of all time… The eyes that felt so much like Naoe’s…

“We met at a restaurant. We had lunch, he insisted on paying, we took a stroll, we talked about this and that, and then dinner, and then he drove me to… a place.”

“A place?”

“Yes. He said that he died there. Naoe died there.”

Haruie bit her lip.

“He then showed me a sword kept in a wooden casket, old yet well preserved. He told me that it was his sword at that time. He asked me…”

Nagahide leaned on his chair, looking at the Sumeragi intently.

“He asked me to kill him with it. Kill his body, and then… exorcise his soul.”

Takaya buried his face on his hands.

“I refused, of course. How could I? He didn’t push, but I was afraid that he’d ask me again, so I left him there. He couldn’t kill himself, anyway, so I thought it’s safe, and that I can talk to him again later on. I flagged a car, hitchhike to my hotel, and stayed there, all the while thinking what to say to him when I see him the next morning. I fully intend on meeting him again. I called him in the morning, but his cell was off. Sometimes during afternoon, Tachibana-san called me… And I rushed here.”

Miya thought about a report she’d heard on the radio. A car was hit by a truck at night… Could it be…? Damn…

“Muraki then told me about his… assessment... that although the body can be healed, the soul was… missing… So I went ‘within’ Yoshiaki’s heart, and found nothing. That’s when I realized that Yoshiaki, Naoe, is a Yumemi. No one can close up his own heart like that but a Yumemi. When a yumemi trapped himself in his dreamscape, he’s gone from his heart. His kanshosha soul was there, considering that the body was still alive, and different from usual human who can ‘live’ even when the soul’s not exactly ‘in’ the body, kanshosha souls are more… brittle, and has no tie whatsoever with the used body.”

“Wait, wait, wait… what do you mean by human who can live even when the soul’s not exactly in the body?” asked Haruie, “If you have no soul, you can’t live.”

“Yes, but a body is tied to a soul. That link diminishes only when the soul passed on to the other side. As long as the soul is still in this side, that link stays. Which explain why coma patients can wake up. The body has a power to drag the soul back in. Kashosha souls, though… since they use other’s bodies, have no link to any bodies. When the soul’s badly injured, the body dies. When the body’s badly injured, the soul can either stays and see if the body can heal and move out when the body shut down on its own, or look for another body early on. Maintaining a link with bodies not they’re own, though, is tedious, so they have the tendency to simply ‘jump’ out.”

Nagahide thought of the many bodies he’d used, and thought whether he could’ve used those bodies longer…

“So… Naoe-san…”

“Yes, Narita-kun. Naoe’s soul is still tied to the body, I’ve made sure of it, but for how long, I don’t know. If we’re to save him, his soul must have a will of his own to stay in that body. Otherwise, all will be lost. And right now, not only that the soul has no will to carry on, he’d locked himself in a place where no one can reach him, in his own dream world. He can stay there forever, never even realizing that he’s gone… The power of memory is great, and dreamscape exists because of mind power, which is memory, and memory is what affects one’s heart… He can die, and doesn’t even realized that he’s gone. Trapped within a world of his own creation… until the soul’s gone… not going to Meifu, not roaming the world… simply… vanished… like I would have, long ago…”

Silence.

“What do we do then?” asked Takaya, his voice raw.

Subaru shook his head, “I have conferred with some of my friends, maybe they can help. We have no strong Yumemi left, but there is one who might be able to tell us how dreamscape works. Meanwhile… we wait… and pray that Yoshiaki’s body is strong enough to sustain Naoe’s diminishing soul.”

Miya looked at the occupant of the bed, “We can do that. We will do that.”

“You don’t seemed to be surprised,” Takaya commented, looking at his sister intently.

“Hardly,” Miya smiled, “I’ve always assumed that you’d ended up with another man, although all along I always thought it’ll be with you, Yuzuru-sempai.”

Yuzuru had to laugh, “Yeah, we’re awfully close, eh?”

Miya nodded, “Yeah… but… I know you, Niichan. You need an older one to take care of you, but not those uptight types… You need to be free; you need to be able to do anything you want, so your chosen one should be really patient and understanding, but protective and stern at the same time.”

“Oh, Naoe’s like that, don’t worry,” Haruie laughed softly.

“So, you’re okay with this?” asked Takaya.

Miya calmly nodded, “I’ve know you’re meant for each other the moment I saw you together, when he came over to pick you for summer vacation. But I think there is something you need to tell me, Niichan. I think someone needs to tell me the whole story.”

Takaya was about to open his mouth to say something, when the door opened, and a man entered the room, a file folder in his hand.

“Takamura-san?” Subaru stood up quickly.

Takamura Suoh, CLAMP Gakuen’s Board Secretary, and the current head of The Takamura ninja family, strode up to him, giving him the folder, “There was no one in the truck.”

“What?”

“We’ve checked. There was no pieces of body, no hair, no blood, no sweat… The truck’s empty.”

“But… there were witnesses! The truck hit Yoshiaki’s car!”

“I know. There was no one in it, though.”

Subaru looked at the files in his hands, skimming them quickly, “You are sure?”

“Rijichou and Idoumu-san triple checked it. We’re sure. We have the truck with us, maybe it was driven by remote controller, but…”

“But?”

“Kishuu-san felt something from the truck. Something which is not technology.”

“Then…”

“The remote controller might not be an electronic device. In fact, it might not be human.”

Subaru closed the folder with a snap, “Can it be any worse than this?”

“Oh, it can,” Suoh said grimly, “Kanoe-san sent something to Rijichou this morning before I left. She mentioned that something’s been bothering her, a battle in Hinoto’s earlier predictions… but not an old battle, considering that she saw cars and buildings and other not ancient things, and it’s not the ’99 destruction battle. It was a real battle, both spiritual and arm-to-arm combat. She recognized some of the banners used, though. The Takeda, The Nobunaga, The Houjou, The Uesugi…”

“WHAT???!!! When?”

“Long ago, before the Shinken project begun. Hinoto must’ve forgotten about it, after all, when we’re dealing with Shinken, other things seemed to be of little importance…”

“Are we saving the world only to have this world swallowed in Yami Sengoku?” Subaru asked incredulously.

“Rijichou had contacted all the remaining Dragons. If necessary, we can help.”

“We will help,” Subaru nodded purposefully, “This is the world that Kamui protects. I will not let anyone destroy it.”

“Monou-san said the same thing.”

***

“So, are we all in?”

The secretary looked at the people in front of him, powerful and dangerous in their own ways, with enough love to the world of the living and the dead to rival the earliest creator Gods.

Nods from all directions.

“I understand that for some, this case will be hard. But, after the many broken kekkai at ’99, we simply can’t let these murderous souls exist anymore. And for those sacrificed ones… 400 years is enough. We’re breaking this chain. We’re setting them free.”

***

 

TBC…

 

Some author's note:

·        I still don't know Yoshiaki's father's name... or his mother's... or his brothers' and sister's... should I just create names?

·        Again, I ask for forgiveness in the portrayal of the characters, but if I let them to be as stupid and ignorant and oblivious as I think they are in the 13 episodes I’ve seen… then this story’s not going anywhere.

·        See? There will be many X’99 people come and go…and some other…

·        I’m still not sure whether Muraki is hero or villain in this story.

·        Yes, this story takes place after X’99. Anime+Manga X’99.

·        The kanshosha theory is strangely a psychological theory. A body can stay alive when the soul go wandering around, but a man can’t stay alive without his heart…

·        The four Dreamgazer/Yumemi: The strongest ones were Kakyou, and Hinoto, who in the end went personality-splitted because of it. The apprentice was Kotori, she would’ve been the strongest yumemi if she wasn’t killed. The low-class one was the Dream-peeker, Kanoe. She doesn’t dreamgaze, she peeks into her sister Hinoto’s dreams.

·        The memories that Takaya remembers came from several parts of Kagetora’s life, my creations mostly, you can find the whole story in Lamentation:Prequel.

·        Any misspelling of names and words are solely my fault...

·        You don’t really have to know about X Clamp and/or Yami no Matsuei to get the story, but a little knowledge might give you a more in-depth story, yes.

·        Any questions about the characters/ plot/ this/ that/ whoever/ whatever can be asked freely, and will be answered truthfully. Creating a crossover story with the hope that everyone can understand what I’m talking about is almost impossible, after all.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

THR

 



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