The last part of this chapter will contain slight spoilers for "The Crow" movie, which will probably not spoil anyone's enjoyment if they haven't seen it yet. I do hope I manage to convince some of you to (re)watch it - I think it's a story a Clamp fan's bound to like.
Great thanks to both Kouri Arashi and Karasu for permission to use a particular nickname. If you haven't read "Reversal" yet, what are you waiting for? It rocks!
Pairing: Kamui/Subaru, Seishirou/Subaru
Summary: Would you believe a typical day in the (mad)house?
Timeline: X12 going waaay AU
Disclaimer: Not mine, Clamp's. Just playing. "The Crow" property of James O'Barr and Miramax
Warning: Shounen-ai, sappiness, OOC
Dedicated to: Hiki-chan, you know why ^_^ And Rachel. Also Anne-chan for some scene suggestions, though not all have been used.
Home And Heart
Chapter 4: It can't rain all the time
"Do you know..."
shadowface windhair redrain
"... why these flowers..."
- the wind tearing at his robes, tearing at his hair -
Oh, he knew this dream. But-
The shadowed face flickered, changed. The amused smile twisted into a cruel one on different lips.
"No," Subaru whispered.
A hand reached out to touch his face, the fingers shorter than he remembered.
Instead of standing there, Subaru backed away. He tried to draw on his power, but he was a child here. Then he tried to use the hate-revulsion-anger he felt to strike as he'd done before at Ikeburo-
"You don't have his marks yet." Another cruel smile. "Without him you're nothing." A hand drew back, fingers aimed at an emerald eye-
And then the sakura struck.
Fuuma shrieked with pain as the branches pierced his flesh. Others wrapped around his limbs and Subaru heard the bones break.
Fuuma's body disintegrated into white feathers.
The sakura's branches sagged for a moment, then reached forward again. The blood-stained flowers caressed the child onmyouji's skin.
I fight for what's mine. The voice in his mind was a complex harmony of muted, anguished screams, each vowel a moan, each consonant a breaking heart.
Subaru's eyes opened. He looked blankly at Seishirou; the other man stood at the foot of the bed, completely dressed.
"You were thrashing," the Sakurazukamori observed. "Bad dreams, Subaru-kun?"
"I dreamt of you."
"Should I be flattered or offended?"
Subaru sat up wearily. "Don't give me this act, Seishirou-san."
"Like this is normal. Like we're normal. Like you care."
"Stop it. Why did you help me with the sakanagi?"
"Because I could."
"Like you could capture a falling glass?"
"Exactly." Seishirou sat on the bed, his thigh mere inches from Subaru's own. "And you're a very pretty glass, Subaru-kun."
"I still don't understand. I thought you got bored with me years ago," Subaru said softly.
"Then I guess you do not know me that well."
"I do not know you at all, Seishirou-san. And... I'd like to."
"You wouldn't like me then."
"I don't like you already."
"But you're mine." Seishirou seemed slightly surprised with himself for saying that out loud.
Subaru sighed. "As if I could forget."
He placed one star-marked hand over Seishirou's. The pentagram lit up at the contact.
"What happened at Sunshine 60, Seishirou-san?"
The Sakurazukamori smiled. "Opposites attract. But when they collide, destruction may occur." He twined his fingers through Subaru's. "You surprised me then. I did not think you had it in you to use dark onmyoujitsu."
"I pick things up." Subaru shrugged. "I've studied the Sakurazukamori - magic for the past few years."
"And you made good use of it. Fuuma thought you wouldn't fight - that you wanted to die."
A wry smile appeared on the younger man's face. "Not from his hand."
"I - see. I'm flattered." Seishirou chuckled. "And you're miffed that I'd let him do it."
"Well... I'm only an object to you." Subaru's green eyes were downcast.
Strong fingers wrapped around his chin, forcing him to look up.
"I didn't know about Sunshine 60 until I felt you use the power."
"Anata..." Subaru's breath caught in his throat.
A loud crash from the kitchen made both onmyouji jump.
"I believe I should head there before Kamui-chan manages to demolish the kitchen," Seishirou sighed.
"And we'll need to get more clothes for the two of you," Seishirou concluded. "You can't walk around in the same ones all the time."
"But you said Subaru can't go out for at least three more days!" Kamui protested.
"Seishirou-san knows my size," Subaru noted.
"And your tastes," the older man grinned. "But I'm afraid Kamui-chan will have to keep me company."
The boy scowled slightly. "To the mall. And it's on your credit card."
"It's nice to see you two get along," Subaru mused.
Two deadly glares turned his way and he yelped with mock-fear, hastily turning his attention back to his cereal.
Seishirou decided that the situation felt familiar. Mid-morning Tokyo traffic, a nice song on the radio and a cute boy fretting beside him. The only difference was that the current music was Faye Wong.
That and the fact his Subaru-kun never attempted to kill him with glares.
"Come on, Kamui-chan, the mall's not that scary."
"Shopping for clothes is."
"I'd have thought you'd be more worried about shopping with a dark, mysterious, bloodthirsty assassin..."
"You forgot 'perverted'."
"That, too. But you do seem very relaxed today."
The boy shrugged. "I think it's been the first three days without an earthquake, or someone dying, since I came back to Tokyo. It's strange, but it's been the first time no-one wanted me to be the savior of the world - I've had enough of that."
"Instead you can be yourself," Seishirou said.
"Yeah, I guess. And with all this, the new place, the garden, you... it's kind of easy to forget - well, everything."
"I think Subaru has this too - I mean, not that - I mean-" Kamui flustered a bit.
"You mean he doesn't seem to want to tear my throat out every time he sees me anymore?"
"And you're not worried about that?"
Kamui scowled again. "I trust Subaru to have better tastes than that."
"I'm afraid that I'm the one attracted to cute helpless boys, not him."
A look was all Seishirou got for an answer.
"By the way, aren't you concerned that I will kill Subaru-kun?"
Kamui smirked. "Not telling."
"You have a very high opinion of your intelligence, Kamui-chan. I believe I've mentioned that it's not good for you."
"You've gotten more insolent lately as well," the Sakurazukamori noted.
"Sorry, I'm only being helpless and brooding when fighting for the future of the world."
"You're cuter when you're not being a brat, Kamui-chan."
The boy blew a raspberry at him in answer.
An hour later a shoe store salesman was beginning to contemplate the benefits of ritual suicide.
"No. We. Don't. Have. This. Model. In. Size. Twenty-five," he hissed.
"Pity," Seishirou sighed. "It's really nice, isn't it, Kamui-chan?"
If the clerk was starting to see red, the Dragon of Heaven was already deep into the Twilight Zone. "Forget it," he growled. "We won't find anything here." The tone of his voice made it clear that "here" was synonymous with "rats' nest". "At last anything that isn't powder blue... or lime green... or pink."
A loud noise issued from the back of the shop, followed by a cry of triumph. A dust-covered apparition, barely recognizable as the once-impeccable junior sales assistant emerged, brandishing proudly a pair of black Doc Martens.
"Size 25, classic style, steel-reinforced toes," she trilled. "Try them on!"
Kamui did so doubtfully, and grudgingly admitted that the boots were comfortable. Then he gaped at the price.
"We'll take them," Seishirou intervened.
As the two Dragons left the shop, the junior assistant high-fived her superior before handing him an aspirin.
Kamui stopped suddenly in front of a music shop. He stared intently at a particular poster.
"See anything you like?" Seishirou asked.
"My credit card. Just don't overdo it."
Approximately eight seconds after crossing the shop's threshold, Kamui handed two CDs to his companion.
"L'Arc~En~Ciel?" the older man noted. "Nice. But you don't need this one." He pointed at the X-Japan Greatest Hits collection.
"You can borrow my collector's edition."
Kamui gaped. "You like X-Japan?"
"A left-over habit from my younger and stupider days. I used to be a bit of a fan."
"How much is a bit?"
"All the singles are autographed."
Kamui's stunned silence held until their next stop, a designer clothes store. Upon entering he turned on his heel, but Seishirou stopped him.
"I can't wear this kind of stuff to school!" the boy protested.
"Who said anything about school?" the Sakurazukamori asked. "We'll find you something for going out clubbing or something." He noticed Kamui's blank look. "You do have some friends outside the Seals, don't you, Kamui-chan?"
An image of a perpetually smiling face flashed through the boy's mind. "Well, I guess there's Keiichi..."
"Splendid. So go find yourself some nice clothes while I look for something special for Subaru-kun."
Seishirou beamed. "At least now I know you never had the chance to look at the labels on his shirts!"
Kamui blushed crimson and fled towards the t-shirt rack.
Half an hour after they emerged from the shop, each had three bags full to the point of bursting.
"Is that all?" Kamui asked. He tried to sound resigned, but his heart wasn't in it. Anyway it would be quite difficult to seem disgruntled while constantly sneaking fond looks at the collection of clothes he had acquired.
"Just one more store," Seishirou assured him.
But the place in front of which they stopped wasn't a simple store. It was an establishment. The window frames were aged oak, and the glass between them was darkened just enough to give an air of European class. A single hat graced the display, half-hidden by the ornate letters proclaiming the shop as "Ronald Saveloy & Sons, Gentlemen's Outfitters; est. 1892".
Kamui's scowl returned full force. "I don't need a suit."
"You'd be surprised at what they can do for a school uniform. Mother first brought me here when I started Junior High."
They boy reluctantly allowed himself to be dragged inside.
The establishment's main feature were comfortable-looking leather armchairs that had the look of furniture well-used over several decades if not centuries. As they entered, a silver-haired man sprang up from one of the chairs.
"Welcome, Sakurazuka-san!" he said with a trace of an English accent. "It's always a pleasure. Can I interest you in a new shirt style, just in from London?"
"Actually," Seishirou said, "I'm looking for something for him-" He gestured to Kamui.
"Oh!" Mr Saveloy exclaimed. "I didn't know you had a son!"
Both Dragons gaped at him.
"The family resemblance is so clear! I must say he's got your mother's eyes, Sakurazuka-san. And of course your hair. I expect he'll be as tall as you one day as well, he looks that way. Meanwhile the young man will be wanting a uniform, right? Which school?"
"Uh... Clamp High..." Kamui muttered.
"An excellent choice! I see you're upholding the family tradition - nothing but the best for the Sakurazuka! And now if you would care to step this way..."
"And I've got no idea why he thought I was Kamui-chan's father," Seishirou explained from his perch on the kitchen countertop.
"It's not as we look anything alike!" Kamui added, pacing the length of the kitchen. "Right, Subaru?"
"Of course you don't," Subaru agreed. Then he burst out with helpless laughter.
"What's so funny??" the other two demanded.
"N-nothing!" Subaru choked out between giggles.
"Are you feeling alright, Subaru-kun?" Seishirou pressed his palm against the younger onmyouji's forehead. "I think it's time for you to go back to bed."
"I'm - perfectly - fine, Seishirou-san!" Subaru couldn't stop laughing.
"I think you're right, Sei-san," Kamui sighed. "He needs his rest."
The Sakurazukamori shot him a quizzical look. "Sei-san?"
"I'm trying to be polite. You prefer 'Seishirou-papa'?"
A new fit of giggles seized Subaru. He almost fell off the chair before Seishirou caught him.
"Off to bed with you, Subaru-kun."
Clamp Campus was beautiful in the autumn, and the Imonoyama mansion had the best view of it. The leaves on the trees were red and yellow, like twisting tongues of - fire -
Karen almost jumped when the phone rang. She picked it up hesitantly.
"Imonoyama residence," she said curtly. For a moment she entertained the thought of reciting her usual Soapland introduction, complete with price list, but on the other hand this could be Nokoru's mother for all she knew.
"Kamui? Where are you? What were you thinking about, telling Nokoru-san that, we were so worried-"
She sighed. "Come back here, Kamui."
"I can't. Subaru still isn't okay. Is Sorata there?"
"Everyone's out. You're stuck with me."
"Did... anything happen?"
"Daisuke fought an Angel yesterday." She hesitated. "Kamui, he barely escaped alive."
"Oh. I - didn't feel a kekkai crumbling..."
"We managed to get there on time."
"That's more than I ever managed," Kamui said, his voice full of bitterness. "I always get there just a moment too late."
Was it her imagination, or was he in a bad mood? "Oh, Kamui... You know it's your-"
"Destiny?" A small laugh.
Karen winced. The boy was definitely in a funk. "Anyway, it's dangerous for you to stay with that creepy Sakurazukamori."
Kamui muttered something that sounded very much like 'maybe to my fashion sense'. "I don't mind him," he said aloud.
"Don't mind him?" Karen gasped. "And here I thought your love life was complicated enough!" she laughed.
"Sorry," she said. "But if I were you, I'd mind his attitude toward Sumeragi-san. Arashi-chan told me about what she saw in Nakano. You should be prepared to fight for your happiness!"
"Karen-san..." Kamui sighed.
"Yes, bad idea. The Sakurazukamori is powerful, and Sumeragi-san can't defend you now..." She giggled again.
"And you don't think I can protect myself," Kamui said flatly.
"Kamui..." She berated herself silently for bringing up this subject.
"I've been thinking about this for a while, Karen-san. Maybe Daisuke's right, and I'm not fit to be "Kamui"..."
"Don't talk like that!" Karen admonished him. "I know a lot has happened, but it's no reason to quit!"
A sigh. "I'll talk to Sorata and the others tomorrow at school."
Before she could say goodbye, she heard the empty dial tone.
The leaves, she reflected, could also be seen as a mixture of sunlight and blood.
Kamui put the receiver down and stared blankly at the living-room wall.
"Who did you talk to?" Subaru asked from the doorway.
"Karen-san. The others were out."
"Do you think they're out on... business?"
"You'd feel it if a kekkai went down."
Kamui turned to the onmyouji with a brilliant smile. "You're right. Is there anything on TV tonight?"
Seishirou stuck his head in over Subaru's shoulder. "Nothing but trash. The video rack is to your right, behind the curtain."
The boy checked it quickly, then scowled. "It's all in English!"
Seishirou came up to him. "Here, this one's got Japanese subtitles."
Kamui eyed the black box suspiciously.
"You'll like it," the older man assured him. He pressed a button on the fifty-inch TV set and a section of wall below it slid down, revealing a video player.
"I'll go get the snacks," Subaru offered.
Kamui stared at the photos on the tape casing. "I'm not sure..."
"Did you get told to come back and save the world like a good boy?" Seishirou asked.
A look was all he got, but the boy did allow him to take the tape and put it in the player.
When Subaru came back from the kitchen, he noted that Kamui had already seated himself in an impromptu nest of cushions on the floor, and Seishirou was sprawled comfortably on the sofa. He started to turn, intending to get the armchair from the reading corner, when a well-aimed nudge of a foot under his knee made him lose his balance and tumble onto the sofa. Straight into a pair of waiting arms.
"Relax, Subaru-kun," the Sakurazukamori smirked. "Let's watch the movie."
Under Kamui's half-jealous, half-amused gaze, the two onmyouji managed to arrange themselves comfortably as the trailers rolled by. Then the screen went black.
A monospaced sans-serif font. White. BRANDON LEE
And into a smoke-filled city night, a bird's-eye view of a hundred fires.
"People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it; and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back - to put the wrong things right."
"I know that legend," Subaru whispered.
Put the wrong things right, Kamui mused. Such simple words, such a complicated goal. He wondered if Seishirou had had any hidden motives in choosing this particular movie.
"Look, it goes up to the attic."
On the screen, a dead man showed his dead girlfriend up a ladder to a candle-filled room.
The dead man searched frantically through a box of engagement rings.
"No," he said. "No. No. No."
Subaru's hands clenched around Seishirou's, emerald eyes glittering with sympathetic tears.
On screen, the man's fingers touched the ring, the ring of a woman long gone. "Shelly..."
A man's fingers wrapped around a snowglobe. Plastic snow falling on a plastic cemetery.
"Dad gave me this. Fifth birthday. Told me childhood's over the minute you know you're gonna die."
Kamui's arms tightened around his knees and he hugged himself tightly. I knew this early. So did all of us. We can never be normal again, we won't be allowed to... though we can still try.
He fancied he could hear Seishirou's voice. Destiny is a cruel mistress...
"A man has an idea. The idea attracts others like-minded. The idea expands. The idea becomes - an institution!" On the screen, a dark figure ranted at a boardroom full of crime lords.
Subaru chuckled silently.
"What's so funny?" Seishirou whispered, his breath tickling the younger man's ear.
"Are Chi no Ryu meetings like this?"
"Sometimes," the Sakurazukamori grinned.
On the screen, the man continued. "You see, gentlemen, greed is for amateurs. Disorder - chaos - anarchy - now that's fun!"
A foot slipped on the tiles of a church roof. A blade pierced flesh and blood mingled with streams of pouring rain.
Kamui gave a soft, wordless cry as he leaned forward, enchanted by the story.
"It can't end like that," Subaru whispered. "It's not fair."
"Life isn't fair," Seishirou sighed. "But stories are. Watch."
And a figure fell into the night.
"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die ... but real love is forever."
And a black screen, and white words: FOR BRANDON AND ELIZA.
"This was great," Kamui said. "I'll go get some water."
As soon as he disappeared into the kitchen, Subaru freed himself from Seishirou's embrace and slid to the other side of the couch.
"Why did you choose this movie, Seishirou-san?"
"I like it. It says some true words."
"Buildings burn... and fall... and people die." He brushed his fingers over Subaru's face, past the lips and down to the chin. "But real emotions..." He leaned over the younger man - "are forever." He closed the last inches of distance between them.
When Kamui came back, Subaru was standing by the garden door and watching Seishirou put the tape away.
~To Be Continued~
Subaru's first dream is of course the one he keeps having throughout Tokyo Babylon. So're the quotes, though they're not word-by-word with any of the popular translations because I wrote it in an economics 101 lecture ^_^
"Without him you're nothing" - I wrote that line and only then remembered the Placebo song "Without you I'm nothing". Tee-hee... plot bunny!
'Anata' - sorry for the random Japanese, but for once it's not random. 'Anata' is one of the Japanese words for 'you', but also the way a woman would address her husband as a sort of "oh you" exasperated endearment ^_^ And it's the way Subaru addresses Seishirou in the X Movie, though of course it's also polite-ish, so one can take it both ways - there and here as well. I couldn't find an English synonym that would preserve the whole meaning.
I gave Kamui my shoe problem in reverse: my shoe size is 9 in US Female measure, which means that up until a short time ago I had the devil of a time finding elegant shoes in my size. Thank gods for the Deichmann chain!
Btw, 25 Japanese = 6 US Male = 39 European. I based it on my shoe size when I was Kamui-chan's height ^_^
I imagine the first clothes shop as something akin to Morgan or Tally Weijl. Unfortunately I don't know any male equivalents to those chains. And you must have noticed Subaru's stylish black high-necked shirts, especially the one with the buckle around his throat that he wears at Rainbow Bridge.
The name "Ronald Saveloy" taken from Terry Pratchett's "Interesting Times" because I'm lazy. But the character's my own.
"Sei-san" property of Karasu, as seen in "Reversal" by Kouri Arashi. Used with permission.
The movie is of course "The Crow", directed by Alex Proyas and starring Brandon Lee, RIP. I *heart* Brandon Lee. A lot. Got a poster on my wall, VHS and DVD. Seen the movie 24 times and a half.
In the next chapter: Things need to be said and hearts need to bleed. Buildings burn, people die...
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