Subaru murmured in his sleep as he drew the silken pillow under his head and curled up around it. It was smooth under his cheek and comfortable. In fact, his entire bed was very comfortable. He could feel silky smooth bed sheets under him and the mattress was as soft as a cloud.
A half-asleep part of his brain yawned and wondered when Subaru had silk bed covers. He ignored it and rolled over. It felt so nice to be able to relax so completely for the first time since . . . since . . .
Well. If he couldnít remember then it had been too long.
A contented smile spread itself over his face. He could almost ignore his torn clothes and half-healed wounds. Vaguely he wondered about the gap in his memory from his enemyís last attack and him waking up. Again he ignored the nagging thought. The bed was too comfortable to allow such thoughts.
Then he realised that his breathing seemed to have developed an echo.
Wait a moment, said his foggy brain. Thereís someone else breathing.
Subaru opened his eyes slooooooooowly. He blinked as they focused on the person in the bed beside him whose face was disturbingly close and staring intently at him. Subaruís green eyes went wide with shock.
Subaru rolled away and scrambled off the bed, staring at the other occupant.
Seishirou, dressed in a simple black shirt and pants, cocked one fine eyebrow at him as he lay on his side facing Subaru with his head propped up under his arm.
"What are you doing in my bedroom?!" yelped Subaru.
Seishirou let his good eye rove around the area. "This is your room, Subaru-kun? Your tastes have changed drastically if it is."
Subaru frowned, then looked around. And yelped again.
The colour theme of the room was red, red, and more red. The bed Seishirou was lying on was heart-shaped and covered in red silk sheets. A red curtain cascaded down from the ceiling around the bed, almost like a waterfall of blood against the walls. The luxuriously thick carpet was a warm beige and in the corner was a pile of cushions in various shapes and shades of red. A high-tech sound system and large TV stood in a cabinet against one wall with a stack of romantic music CDís, the top one being ĎForever Loveí. Red roses stood in crystal vases on every available surface that wasnít occupied by red scented candles. A cupboard stood adjacent to the large door/window covered with a semi-transparent curtain with a thicker red drape on either side while various lamps gave the room a subdued romantic light. There were two doors, one half open to reveal a bathroom, the other closed.
Subaruís green eyes bulged. "Wh-what?!"
Seishirou chuckled. "So this isnít your room, Subaru-kun? I had rather hoped it was."
The younger man glared at the other, still lying on the bed. "What have you done?" he demanded.
"What have I done?" replied Seishirou mildly. "I thought this was your handiwork."
Subaru looked wildly around. Was this some kind of crazy dream? Seishirou had appeared in his dreams before, but certainly not in this setting. He realised he was tense. Not very surprising since the situation was rather akin to being in the same room as a snake. He had no idea what Seishirou would do.
The Sakurazukamori looked Subaru up and down. "Subaru-kun, youíre too thin. Havenít you been eating properly?"
Subaru glanced down at himself. Realising just how little modesty his wrecked clothes gave him, he gave a strangled yelp and turned his back on Seishirou, wishing that his white skin didnít blush so easily. Then he remembered that turning oneís back on Seishirou was akin to suicide. So he turned back around only to falter at the other manís rather naughty smile. The young onmyouji half turned around again then changed his mind then changed his mind again. Seishirouís laughter wasnít making him feel any better. Subaru glared.
One thing was certain Ė he had to get out of here before something happened. Subaru gave the assassin one dark look before heading for the door. He reached it in three strides and placed one shaking hand on the gold handle.
It wouldnít open.
The Sumeragi onmyouji frowned and jiggled it. He twisted it left and right. He kicked the door.
It didnít open.
"Iíve already tried that," said Seishirou as he watched the younger manís struggle. "And the windows. They wonít open."
Subaru turned back to face the other with a wild look in his eyes. "You mean weíre stuck in here?" he said in a strangled voice.
Seishirou gracefully rose into a sitting position on the bed, a gleam in his mismatched eyes. "Yes."
Subaru frowned and moved into a defensive position. The Sakurazukamori assassin watched him with a cold smile. "I must say this is quite a strange situation," Seishirou said conversationally. "But very advantageous." He stared at Subaru through his blind right eye. "Weíre all alone, in the same room and no one to interrupt us. Shall we take advantage of it?"
The younger man looked at him with an expression of suspicion and surprise. "What do you mean?" he asked warily.
Seishirou smiled. "We can get back to killing each other."
Before Subaru could react, the Sakurazukamori lunged at him, knocking the smaller man over onto his back. Gripping the delicate chin in one hand as he pinned Subaru to the ground with his body, Seishirou gave a cold smile and leaned closer.
"Ma ma, Sei-chan," said a chirpy voice. "Shouldnít you wait till after the wedding?"
Subaruís face froze in an expression of shock. Seishirouís reaction to the voice was unreadable except for a flicker of surprise that quickly disappeared, but he swiftly let Subaru go and rose to his feet. He dusted off his clothes and bowed to the empty room. The young onmyouji half sat up, his eyes wildly scanning the area for the source of the voice.
"Ho-Hokuto-chan?" he stammered.
There was a maniacal laugh from the discorporate spirit. Then as the two men watched, a white mist seemed to coalesce in the middle of the room. Between one heartbeat and the next, it solidified into Hokuto. She was hovering perhaps only a centimeter or two off the ground looking more fairylike than angelic with a bright purple and silver and pink costume which consisted of a leotard and glittery tutu and butterfly wings. The only hint of angelness was the glowing halo above her head. If you ignored the levitating and the fact that you could see straight through her one could believe she was alive.
Subaru did a double take. "Nee-san!" he cried and ran to her, arms extended for an embrace Ė
- and found himself running on a collision course with the bed. With a startled yelp he tripped and sprawled over its red silken covers.
Hokuto smiled wistfully. "You canít touch me, Subaru. Iím dead."
At this reminder, her twin sent a glare of death at Seishirou who was watching Hokuto with an expression of pleased surprise on his handsome face. Of course the expression was feigned, but itís the thought that counts.
"Hello, Hokuto-chan. Youíre looking well," Seishirou greeted her.
The ghost flashed a smile. "Why thank you Sei-chan!" she bubbled. "I chose this outfit just for you! Which reminds me. Why havenít you done anything about my brotherís fashion sense? Itís pathetic!"
"Hey!" protested the breathing Sumeragi.
Seishirou smiled almost pleasantly, then the expression abruptly turned cold. "What is the meaning of this, Hokuto-chan?" he asked in a hard voice.
The dead girl gave him an innocent look. "You know what they say. A girlís got to do what a girlís got to do to help her brotherís love life!" she chirped.
Staring at the happy ghost, Seishirou smiled slowly. "Hokuto-chan, I donít think that was the exact quote." With a glance at the still stunned Sumeragi sibling the assassinís smile became bigger. "Although you do have a point. Subaru-kun hasnít had much luck in love. Heís still an innocent." The Sakurazukamori ignored Subaruís angry protest.
"No thanks to you!" the dead but very much alive spirit burst out. Then she stopped and looked at her brother. "Although you never did tell me what you two did that night on Tokyo Tower."
Subaruís blush nearly matched the bed covers. "Nothing happened," he declared firmly with a defiant look at Seishirou. The look faltered under the other manís smirk.
"Nothing happened," agreed Seishirou, "nothing that you remember."
That, as expected, did not sit well with the already flustered Subaru. The younger man blanched and stared at the other with wide eyes as if the assassin had just exhibited a true emotion. "Please donít say that you Ė we . . ." His voice trailed off and this time his blush matched the deep red of the bed perfectly.
"SEI-CHAN!" squealed Hokuto.
"A gentleman would never tell," said Seishirou with a sweet smile at the outraged spirit.
"ARGH! Donít be so me-ean! Iím your future sister-in-law!"
"Youíre dead," said Subaru.
"So? Tell me tellmetellmetellmetellme-eeeee!!!!" she whined, Ďtuggingí on Seishirouís sleeve.
The man shrugged. "As the lady pleases. There isnít much to tell. We slept."
Hokutoís grin turned sly. "Together?"
Subaru blanched and gagged.
"Does it count if Subaru-kun slept with his head in my lap?" asked the assassin.
Subaru fell of the bed in relief Ė sort of.
"Awwwwww! How sweet!" squealed Hokuto. Then she thought of something and gave Seishirou a sideways glance. "You are telling the truth, arenít you?"
The Sakurazukamori smirked.
"Um, Hokuto," said Subaru desperately trying to change the topic of conversation. "What are we doing here?"
"Donít you just love the décor?" asked Hokuto in maniacal glee. "I personally designed it for you two!"
The two men looked at her. "What?" they both asked. Subaruís Ďwhatí was perhaps more shaky than Seishirouís level tone.
Hokuto skipped then sat cross-legged in mid air with a thoughtful expression. "The problem with you two is that you donít communicate," she mused. "And you need communication for a relationship to work." The spirit gave the two men a patient look. "And no, firing power blasts and sending shikigamis at each other does not count as communication."
"It doesnít?" asked Seishirou with an innocent look the Sumeragi twins knew better than to trust. "I thought we had a very interesting relationship going."
Hokuto pouted. "Come on, Sei-chan. Unresolved sexual tension hardly counts. Although," she added with a look at her brother, "UST does allow for interesting situations."
Subaru fell off the bed again.
"Anyway," she continued ignoring her spluttering brother who was pulling himself to his feet, "I thought that it was high time that you two talked to each other. So I made a few arrangements and here you are."
Subaru looked at the door.
"And since this place is my creation that door wonít open unless I want it to."
Seishirou looked at the window.
"Itís not really a window. Youíre just looking at an illusion. And before you try," she added, sensing the buildup of the Sakurazukamoriís power, " you canít affect anything of mine with your magic."
Why not?" asked Subaru.
Hokuto rolled her eyes. "Iím dead, remember!" she said impatiently. "Your powers do affect the spiritual, but youíre in the mortal plane when you cast your spells. And you are usually casting them against normal dead spirits or evil ones. Since for starters you are not in the mortal plane and I am not a normal or an evil spirit you canít do anything to me."
"Where are we then?" Seishirou asked curiously.
Hokuto winked. "Iím not allowed to tell you where you are. And since I did have some powers in life I have some here. Only better, since I am dead and therefore more in touch with the spiritual than you two. I can do whatever the hell I like here!"
"Is that so?" the assassin queried with a Ďsure I believe youí look.
The girl gave a guilty grin. "Okay, so there are some rules. I canít do anything to you two otherwise I would have dressed my brother. Though I did provide you with clothes, obviously," she said with a nod at Seishirouís attire. "Subaru, thereís stuff for you too. Decent clothes, unlike the stuff you wear nowadays without me to help."
"Thanks. I think."
"Does kidnapping two mortals and imprisoning them in a bedroom come under any of those rules you mentioned?" asked Seishirou.
"Nope. No oneís ever done it before so thereís nothing that says I canít."
The assassin chuckled. "Trust you to find a loophole."
"Of course! Nothing gets in the way of true love!"
Subaruís face was unreadable.
"Ah, Subaru, you canít deny that you love Sei-chan!" teased the deceased Sumeragi sibling.
Her brother didnít reply.
"And Sei-chan, you canít deny that you are obsessed with Subaru-kun!"
The Sakurazukamori merely raised one eyebrow.
"So then whatís your problem?" finished Hokuto. Pixie-like she leapt lightly to her feet and floated to the door. "Iíll leave you two alone now Ė but Iíll be back soon! Bye!"
"Hokuto-chan!" cried Subaru desperately reaching a hand towards her. The spirit of his twin winked at him, Ďopenedí the door and disappeared. The sound of her laughter rang through the suite then died away.
Subaru slowly turned away from the door.
Emerald eyes met white and bronze.
"So," said Seishirou conversationally. "Now what?"
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