Author: Macx PM
TatsumiWatari. Watari finds out about the depth of Tatsumi's guilt concerning his past. Please read the disclaimer! one-shotRated: Fiction T - English - Words: 2,207 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 09-20-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2064439
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
DISCLAIMER: not mine. Definitely not! I just play with them and hope I tread on no one's toes.
Author's Voice of Warning (aka Author's Note):
English is not my first language; it's German. This is the best I can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize g> The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are.....
WARNINGS: This story was written before we discovered the part about Tatsumi's part in one of the earlier manga. We came up with our own version of his history and considering how old we think he is, it's a bit more fitting for him. Same goes for how he died. Shinigami are humans who still cling to their former life, and we gave him reason to g> Hope you enjoy the story anyway.
FEEDBACK: empty inbox seeks emails g>
It was one of those evenings. Lazy, quiet, the TV running with an old
horror movie both had seen before but still enjoyed, and the lights dimmed.
Tatsumi was sitting comfortably between Watari's legs, back against the
chest of his lover. Watari's hands were interlocked, resting on his stomach,
his head on Tatsumi's shoulder.
Outside, the rain was beating down hard.
It was a thunderstorm, raging over the city, drowning everyone stupid enough to be outside.
"Seii?" Watari murmured softly as the end credits scrolled past.
"Can I ask you a question?"
Tatsumi twisted his head and glanced at his lover. "Of course."
The Shadow Master frowned. "'Taka…"
A bright smile crossed the handsome features. Tatsumi sighed.
"What personal question?" he wanted to know warily.
With his lover there was no telling what would come forth, so much he had learned already. Then again, Tatsumi had known the man ever since Watari had come to work as a shinigami. There was no beating around the bush where this particular person was concerned.
"How old are you?"
Tatsumi stared. Part of him stiffened, refusing to answer, another simply told him to be honest and trust Watari. The latter part was too weak, though. Distrust won for the moment.
"Why do you want to know?" he asked quietly.
"Oh, well, no specific reason," Watari said cheerfully, his very voice so completely disarming. "I just thought that getting to know the man I love might be a good idea."
Golden eyes sparkled down at him, so completely unguarded, so open and happy. Tatsumi found himself drowning in that gaze, in that voice.
Trust him. It's no big deal.
But in a way it was.
"I mean, you know just about everything about me, having read my file and all. You're my boss, so it's your right," Watari went on, no malice in his words.
"Yes, I read your file. It doesn't mean I know all about you."
"You know the basics. Me, I'm at a clear disadvantage here, so I told myself 'Yutaka, go and ask him. He won't bite your head off'." Golden eyes widened, all innocent and child-like. "You won't bite my head off, right?" he begged almost comically.
He had been around Tsuzuki way too much, Tatsumi decided. "No, I won't," he answered.
Another happy smile. "Great! So… how old are you?"
Tatsumi sighed and shook his head. Like a dog with a bone.
"I'm just past my second century," he said quietly, awaiting the reaction to that confession.
Shinigami grew old; they were immortal. But they were held in this world because they felt they had to atone for something, or by their guilt, by strong emotions. For a shinigami to be that old… Tatsumi didn't look at his partner.
"Huh, you could have told me. We could have celebrated or something," Watari sighed. "There goes a perfectly good reason for Tsuzuki to have free food and me to give you a really nice present."
Tatsumi blinked and looked at him again, finally detaching himself from the warmth at his back.
The younger shinigami smiled cheerfully at him. "I'm talking about an anniversary party, Seii."
"I know what you're talking about, but why in Enma's name would you want to…" He trailed off, shaking his head. "Only you."
Watari grinned more. "Yep. So… you've been around for a while." Suddenly he was serious again. "How come?"
Tatsumi sat back, away from his lover, sighing in resignation. He knew that would have to come. Cause of death was not really a secret when it came to shinigami, but rarely any single one of them liked to talk about it. They all had their problems to bear, be it because of the cause, the method or the reason of their demise.
A hand touched him and Tatsumi looked up, right into the understanding amber golden gaze that fascinated him so much. Watari gave him a gentle smile.
"I'm sorry. I'm nosy, I know. You don't have to tell me."
The Shadow Master shook his head. "Maybe I don't have to, but I want to. I want you to know me, Taka."
The smile was brilliant, warm and so… incredible. Tatsumi wondered how one single man could be such a ray of sunshine for him.
"My parents were of noble blood. I was the first born. They were one of the very few couples in that time who had found love in a prearranged marriage. My father adored my mother, and my mother loved him completely. But my father was also a very outspoken man and it angered his shogun. There was only one way for him to honor his master and that was to commit suicide. He and his whole family."
Tatsumi felt old wounds breaking open as ancient memories rose within him. The face of his mother came back, beautiful despite her worries, her shame… her guilt.
"My father sent us away before the shogun's men could arrive for the deadly ceremony. My mother didn't want to leave his side, die in honor with him, but he insisted. Out of love he would die in dishonor. So we fled. Me, my mother, and my younger sister Kiko." Tatsumi inhaled deeply.
Golden eyes regarded him calmly, patiently. Watari just waited, not asking any questions.
"I wasn't a child at the time. I was a grown man, twenty-four, and my sister was fourteen. She had been about to marry another nobleman, but those plans were now shattered. It was hard. For my mother, for me, and for her. Suddenly we were commoners, people without a name, living in a shabby old hut which we still had to pay for. Mother and Kiko worked hard wherever they could find work. I did my best to support them, too. Neither had ever worked in the fields, of course, and there was nothing I was really talented with, except numbers."
Tatsumi stopped, only too clearly recalling the backbreaking work they had all taken on, the soft sobs of his mother at night, of her sister's mud-streaked face whenever she came home from another exceptionally hard day.
"Mother rarely got any work, so she finally had to do what most women did in that time if all other options had run dry, she sold herself to paying customers. Sometimes she didn't even get paid enough to eat. She grew more and more silent… depressed… and I couldn't help. I worked every job I was paid for, but it was never enough. We were dishonored and it weighed on her. She had left a loving husband, a man who had sacrificed his honor and himself for us, and she had to adjust to not only the loneliness, but also the changes in her lifestyle."
Tatsumi had truly done almost everything, except sell his body for the nether purpose of entertainment. But in the end even that had sounded promising as hookers were paid well if the service was satisfactory. Still, Tatsumi had avoided that last shame.
"We were never safe. We moved from village to village, sometimes staying in the middle of nowhere for an extended amount of time to escape detection, because the shogun's men were still looking for the family that had brought dishonor to him as well. Mother's depression got so bad… she rarely even spoke or ate any more. She blamed herself so much for everything, even though she had obeyed her husband and had saved our lives."
Tatsumi squeezed his eyes shut and felt tremors race through him.
"She couldn't bear it. She was a shadow of her former self, of the beautiful woman I had always known and loved. Kiko… she took over my mother's profession to get money. Many men desired her, but they also beat her, abused her… shamed her. The shogun's men were so close. And one day…" He swallowed. "They found our mother. She knew what awaited her. Not just the shame but also the torture, so she took her own life. I found her body…"
Tatsumi inhaled shakily and pushed back the darkest of memories. A gentle hand touched his and Tatsumi noticed he was trembling. So much time had passed and still it haunted him. Was it any wonder he clung to his existence? That he was still here?
"She was barely alive and.. there was nothing I could do but watch her die. And then they came. They had been waiting for us, hoping we were still together, and I took Kiko and ran. I tried to defend her as they caught up with us, but there were so many and they were skilled fighters. They took my sister… and me… and they… what they did to her..."
The warm hand enveloped his and Tatsumi looked up, meeting the calm, amber golden eyes. He felt some calm spread through him, touch him, diffuse the black memories a little.
"I couldn't protect her any more than I could protect my mother. I had to watch and see it all. When I could finally free myself, I grabbed a sword and attacked, but they were so much faster. Before I could kill my sister to free her from this torture, they took my life instead. I died seeing only her eyes, her beautiful face… and her tears of pain and suffering."
Tatsumi fell silent, his stomach churning, his soul restless. So many years had passed since then, but it was still a sore spot.
He exhaled softly.
"That's the whole sordid tale."
"Thank you, Seiichiro," Watari said. "For sharing."
He smiled wryly. "Now you know."
The warm hand touched his face, the smiled didn't dim. "Yes, now I know. I feel honored you trusted me with that part of you." Watari regarded him solemnly. "You still hold on to that guilt," he only murmured.
"Not completely any more. Not really. In close to two centuries I found my absolution, but sometimes things come back. Memories are hard to kill and there are always reminders."
There was a wistful expression in the handsome face. "Don't I know it, Seii." He tilted his head a little. "So it was Tsuzuki who reminded you of so much and kept you bound to Enma-Daiou realm."
"Yes. In a way. I felt he needed me."
"You left him after three months."
"Yes." Sometimes he hated the quiet observance, the way Watari stated his thoughts without so much as a little bit of tact.
Of course, the blond could really put his foot in, but he rarely cared. He was straight-forward and open.
"I stayed because of him. He reminded me so much of my mother, of her guilt and shame and despair. I wanted to protect him so badly, but I never could. All I did was make him cry."
"And since it never really settled in him… you're still here."
"No, that's no longer the cause. I knew he was like my mother, but he found stability. Hisoka gives him what he needs."
"So the question remains… why still serve here instead of ascend."
Blue eyes held golden ones. "Because I still have a reason, 'Taka. I don't want to leave my happiness behind."
"Happiness isn't what makes a shinigami."
"Maybe not, but for this one it does." Tatsumi interlaced their fingers. "I love you, Watari Yutaka. I won't give that up even if Enma-Daiou himself would ask me to."
The stunned expression was worth the rare, open confession. Watari truly hadn't expected this.
Tatsumi leaned forward and their lips met in a gentle contact. "It's the truth, nothing but the truth."
Watari Yutaka – speechless. Tatsumi had to grin. Yes, it was well worth jumping over his own shadow. He framed the handsome face with both hands and pulled his lover toward him. Their lips met, their bodies melded together, and the couch caught their descent.