Author: Retse PM
Revamp of episode 11 of Zoku; Introducing Harry Potter as "special friend" of Natori Shuichi. Slight slash warning. established Harry/Natori, slight Harry/NatsumeRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Harry P. & Takashi N. - Words: 6,196 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 88 - Follows: 19 - Published: 05-31-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5101216
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Revamp of Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou Episode 11 - Assembly of Conjurers
Pairings: established Harry Potter/Natori Shuichi, a hint of Harry Potter/ Natsume Takashi
A.N. If you're following my other fics, sorry for the delay... my laptop died, taking with it the majority of my notes (and my soul! D:). So i've kind of been moping around for the past month doing but i think I might be back on track now (sorta). Have a few pages of FFT done... and this will only be a oneshot so won't clog up my other fics. As for why I wrote this, well Natsume Yuujinchouhas recently become my all-time fave anime and therefore fave anime + Harry Potter = WIN! (or at least in my books :P) Enjoy?
(by the way, some knowledge of Harry Potter is needed to read this while not as necessary to have seen the relative NatYuu episode though I guess it would kind of help too...)
Important Notes: In Japanese, the first part of a name is the last name and the second part is the first name so Harry Potter to the Japanese would be Potter Harry.
The -san suffix is similar to Mr/Mrs. The -kun suffix is used, in this case, as an endearment of sorts used to address predominantly younger males (there are other uses, just too lazy to go into them...). The -sensei suffix is used for a teacher/mentor. Lastly -dono and -sama are, very simply explained, used to address someone with great respect; for example, nobility. Any other Japanese I use will be followed by English in brackets because sometimes it just sounds so much better in Japanese...
Also, I address Natsume by the name Natsume and not Takashi because that is how he is generally addressed in the anime. And Harry is Harry because I've always thought calling him Potter was weird... (clay and flowers keep on popping up...)
BEWARE! Many clichés abound... they snuck up on me like ninjas and addled my brain so much that once I was done writing them and realised what I had done, there was nothing I could do to change them...
ALSO! It's 2am in the morning so.. -collapses-
"I'm sorry for making you come along, Takashi-kun."
The blonde teenage boy shook his head, "No, it's no trouble, Touko-san," Natsume Takashi said softly, smiling at the older brown-haired woman beside him, "I don't mind it at all." He wanted to help. Carrying some groceries for the her was nothing compared to the kindness she and her husband had shown him. Ever since the first day they took him in into their home, he'd felt like he'd done nothing but take from them. So much that he'd wondered if he could ever really pay them back for that kindness.
A low grunt brought Natsume out of his thoughts, his golden eyes casting a curious look at the cat walking beside him. Nyanko-sensei was a large white cat with a thick band of orange and grey stretching from the top of his head to his tail. Natsume knew though that Nyanko-sensei wasn't really a cat; but rather, he was really a powerful wolf-like spirit by the name of Madara who had taken the form of a "fortune cat" after Natsume had accidentally broken the seal that had trapped him for so long. Since then, the not-cat had taken up the role of Natsume's bodyguard, protecting him from the spirit's who wished to possess the heirloom of which Natsume had received from his grandmother; Natsume Reiko's Yuujinchou (Book of Friends).
A rustle of leaves and the sound of wings reached Natsume's ears, this time casting his gaze to the clear blue sky. Black wings... A bird? No... Golden eyes widened slightly, That's no bird...
Black feathers on two wings but it wasn't attached to a bird. Rather it had a human-like body with dark hair. Youkai? (supernatural creature) Something didn't seem right however, as he watched it weakly flap its wings.
"Um..." Natsume turned to look at her, "I just remembered something I forgot to do," he lied smoothly, "I'm sorry! Please excuse me," he said before rushing off, groceries still clutched to his chest.
Natsume didn't look back as he rushed out towards the direction of the youkai, Nyanko-sensei running by his side. He couldn't tell her. No, he wouldn't. Not that he didn't trust her (it wasn't that... as kind-hearted as Touko-san was, he was sure she would have accepted him, believed him if he told her the truth) but rather, he didn't wish to burden her. Burden her with things, youkai, that she could not see. Things that normal people couldn't see.
Things that he could see...
"It's hurt," Nyanko noted and, as if confirming his words, the bird-youkai dropped sharply from the sky, falling through the canopy of trees.
Natsume willed himself to go faster as they ran into the forest. Breaking through the bushes, finally catching a glimpse of the dark-haired youkai slumped over on the ground in the middle of a small clearing. He gave a small sigh of relief when he realised the youkai's injuries weren't as serious as he had feared as it sat up to stare at him.
Natsume frowned but before he could take another step forward, an ill-feeling came over him.
A loud crash and then, to Natsume's surprise, a giant, brown-skinned disembodied head with flowing white hair burst out from among the trees heading straight toward the bird-youkai. It's large mouth opened and in one fell swoop, swallowed the winged youkai whole.
Natsume watched, shocked and mortified, as the giant youkai chewed on the smaller one, splatters of blood mixing with fallen black feathers, seemingly unaffected by the screams of pain of its live victim.
And when it was finally done with its meal, it turned its beady eyes on Natsume.
The blonde tensed, subconsciously taking a step back as the youkai floated slowly towards him as if contemplating whether something so small was worth eating.
Nyanko bounded in front of Natsume, narrowing his eyes at the youkai who dared to eye his prey, "Don't even think about it!" he glared, ready to transform into his spirit form at any moment.
However, the youkaireacted in the completely opposite way he had hoped for and charged towards them, its giant white rows of teeth already parting in anticipation of the fresh meal. Immediately, Nyanko leapt up, drawing out the power within when suddenly, a dark red streak of light hurtled from out of the dark forest and slammed into the side of the giant head.
Nyanko froze, "Eh?"
"Ah!" Natsume gasped as Nyanko-sensei was thrown backwards by the force of the blast and straight into groceries still wrapped within his arms, knocking them and him to the ground.
The head-youkaigave a tortured scream and Natsume could see the gaping wound where one of its eyes had been. It wobbled for a moment, staggering under the pain, before it seemed to grasp the situation at hand and tore off into the sky, trying to get as far away as it could from whatever it was that had caused it so much pain.
Natsume warily gazed into the forest and wondered if he should grab Nyanko-sensei then do the same.
The leaves rustled and from them, a figure jumped down to reveal...
"Hiiragi?" Natsume blinked. But she didn't have the power to do an attack like that...
The horn-masked female youkai stared him for a moment before turning away, "Got away, huh?" she mumbled.
"So it would seem," a soft voice answered her. Natsume jumped in surprised at the sudden appearance of an unfamiliar dark-haired man, who was most certainly not Natori-san, crouched over the remains of the bird-youkai, his back to the blonde. I didn't even hear him come... Natsume thought, frowning slightly, Was he the one to attack that youkai...? Who is he? And how does he know Hiiragi...
The bushes rustled again, and the blonde man in the black hat that emerged, this time Natsume did recognise. "Ah, Natori-san..."
"Natsume? What are you doing here?"
Natsume first met Natori Shuichi accidentally during a walk through the fields with Nyanko-sensei. The blonde man had been taking a break, lying among the tall grass some distance from a movie set when the teen had been racing after his cat and literally tripped over him. The man was a well-known and popular actor (complete with squealing fangirls) but it wasn't until later did Natsume learn about Natori-san's side-job as an exorcist.
For the first time in his life, Natsume felt the slight kindling of hope that he wasn't alone in the world. Natori-san could see youkai too.
But after an event dealing with the exorcism of one youkai, it was obvious their views towards the spiritual creatures were completely different. However, despite this, they were still able to remain friends.
"He's dangerous, that one," Natori Shuichi remarked off-handedly as he and Natsume watched the dark-haired man scoop some of the blood into a small glass tube, Hiiragi standing a little off to their side. Natsume briefly wondered whether Natori-san was talking about the head-youkai or the man they were watching.
"He's been eating all the youkai in the area. He recently started going after the livestock too," the older blonde explained as the dark-haired man picked up one of the black feathers and pocketed it before standing.
The man turned to look at them and startled Natsume with the intense look in his eyes. His eyes, a breath-taking emerald green, as unique and as beautiful as his own golden irises. And under the inconsistent canopy of sun and leaves, he could have sworn they glowed.
Pale skin, long dark hair and lithe figure didn't cover the fact the man was obviously a foreigner, Natsume absentmindedly thinking that if Natori-san was considered good-looking then this man was nothing short of beautifulif one could call another man that, and not for the first time, Natsume wondered if this man wasn't a man at all but a youkaihimself. But, no, that didn't seem right. The way that Natori-san looked at that man... it was not how the older blonde normally looked at youkai (emotionless for the most part, mingled with that slight hint of anger and distrust) nor was it the way he looked at the youkai who protected him, the ones he called his servants.
In fact, it was rather similar to the Touko-san looked at himself sometimes. No, that wasn't completely right either. It was like... the way she and her husband, Shigeru-san, would look at each other...?
"Ah, Natsume. Let me introduce you," Natori smiled (and Natsume noted it wasn't anything like those sparkling smiles he gave to his fans), casually weaving an arm around the dark-haired man's waist, drawing him closer to both himself and Natsume, "Natsume, this is my good friend, Potter Harry. He's visiting from England. Harry, this is Natsume Takashi."
"Shuichi's told me all about you," Harry said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Natsume."
"A-ah..." Natsume stuttered softly as he shook the older man's hand. To his further bafflement, he could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks, tingeing them a light pink, "It's nice to meet you too, Potter-san..."
As emerald eyes quietly studied him, Natsume fidgeting slightly under the gaze that seemed to look straight into soul. He must have found what he was looking because the raven-haired man graced him with a small smile, his eyes shining with a hint of admiration.
Feeling his cheeks warming one more, Natsume directed his gaze else way, eventually landing on the dark pool of blood behind them. Any hint of smile on the blonde's face immediately fell away.
"That bird-youkai... It looked like it was begging me for help..."
"Your spiritual power is strong, Natsume," Natori explained, "That's why it probably sought your aid."
Strong...?Natsume mused, his gaze shifting back to the raven-haired man, Then what about him...?
Harry met his gaze evenly and seemed to easily catch Natsume's unspoken question, "Ah, my power isn't quite... spiritual."
Natsume's brow crinkled in confusion. Then...?
"A Sorcerer, then," Nyanko spoke, a hint of suspicious in his voice. Natsume looked at his cat guardian in surprise, A Sorcerer? As is, magic?
"Wizard," Harry corrected, yet at the same time, speaking the word with barely concealed disgust. Natsume curiously watched Natori-san place a comforting hand on Potter-san's shoulder.
"Same difference," Nyanko said, brushing him off, "What I want to know what you think you are doing coming here again. Seriously, every time I see you, you get even more suspicious..."
"Nyanko-sensei...!" Natsume scolded the cat lightly but before he could say anything more, soft laughter caught his attention.
Harry chuckled at his friend, "Stalking teenage boys behind my back, are you?"
Shuichi mock-glared at him, "Be silent you," he said before turning back to the boy and his cat, "Tomorrow evening, there will be a gathering of conjurers."
Natori nodded, "This area is home to many youkai. Because of that, those who perform magic and rituals occasionally gather here." The older blonde paused as he studied Natsume's face before drawing out a bit of paper from his coat and giving it to Natsume, "Both those who can only feel the youkai's presence and those who can actually see them."
Natsume's eyes widened, people who can see youkai...
"Natsume," Natori continued, eyes softening at the expression on the teen's face, "Why don't come along too?"
That night, as Natsume lay face down on his futon, arms wrapped around his pillow, he made his decision.
A meeting...Natsume thought, looking sleepily at the paper Natori-san had given him sticking out of the pocket of his coat, hanging on a hook on the back of his door, if I go... will I find others like me? Maybe... maybe, it'll be the perfect place for me to figure out what I'm capable of...
Natori-san had said he had strong spiritual powers but Natsume didn't know how to use them. "Maybe I should ask Potter-san..." he mumbled, recalling the powerful spell he was sure the raven-haired man had cast.
"Hmm...?" Nyanko grunted from his own bed, the cat opening one bleary eye to look at his roommate.
"Potter-san... Do you think he will go to the meeting too, sensei?"
"I told you he was a Sorcerer so of course he will go."
"But he doesn't seem to like them very much..." Natsume argued, remembering the disgust in Potter-san's voice.
"Hmm, let me tell you Natsume... the conjurers tomorrow are very different to those Wizards. I don't much like humans to begin with but those ones... they're some of the worst. Narrowed-minded, prideful and far too much power for their own good... I'm not surprised that that Sorcerer could come to hate his own kind."
Natsume blinked at the dark tone his guardian had taken, "Sensei?"
"But I can sense that this Sorcerer is trustworthy enough. He won't be a danger to you as long as Natori trusts you. Actually, that man would go tomorrow if only because that creep is going... probably stuck together like glue, those two are..."
Natsume frowned at his cat, "What do you mean?"
"What? You didn't notice? Those two... they're together."
Together...? Together as in...? The teen stared at his cat, wide-eyed, "But... but they're both males..." Though I suppose Potter-san could pass as a female with how he looks... Natsume could feel his face heating up again.
"You forget that youkaido not distinguish between males and females or do you not remember those times they have mistaken you for Reiko?" Nyanko scoffed, "What does ones gender matter when it comes to love? Though I suppose, humans have shown to be far less tolerant in this," he said, slightly accusing in his tone as he glanced at Natsume.
The blonde vigorously shook his head before burying his head back in his pillow, "No, it's not that..." No, it'd be rather hypocritical of him to judge another person on something he did not understand. "It's just..." Natsume bit his lip; what was this uneasy feeling?
A sly smile crossed the cat's face, "Ah, I see. I didn't know you... what is it that humans say? Swing that way? Which one is it? Don't tell me it's that creep, Natori..."
Natsume turned his head so Nyanko could not see his reddening face, "I don't know what you're talking about, sensei."
And with that Natsume drifted off into slumber but not without dreaming of long dark hair and glowing emerald eyes.
Natsume glanced around the large hall in amazement; when Natori-san mentioned a gathering... he hadn't expected this many people. Do all these people know about the existence of youkai too?
No... not all here are human, he noted absentmindedly as he watched a strange creature float past his head.
Natori smiled at his young companion, "You can see all the youkai here, can't you..."
"Ah..." he agreed softly, remembering that the ability to see youkaicame in varying strengths. One of his friends from school, Tanuma Kaname, could sense a youkai's presence and sometimes see their shadow but, unlike Natsume, he couldn't see them at all, nor could he hear or talk to them. He gazed around the room, wondering how many of these people were like Tanuma and how many like himself... Or if they're human at all... It's hard to tell if they're human or youkai... he thought, recalling the many human-like youkais he had already met.
"I guess it's natural for those who don't know to look at me funny if I mistake them so easily..." Natsume mumbled to himself.
"It explains why Reiko didn't like them," Nyanko added as the cat helped himself to the sake (Japanese alcohol; rice wine), "Both humans and youkai."
Natsume Reiko, Natsume Takashi's grandmother, also had the ability to see youkai. And, like him, had grown up alone; alienated by the people around them for seeing things they could not see. But like Natori Shuichi, Reiko could not shake the resentment she had towards the very things that made her special.
"Hey, who's that kid over there?"
"Looks kind of familiar... Hey! Looks kind of like Reiko!"
"Reiko? You mean Natsume Reiko?"
Natsume tensed as soon as he heard that name; if they thought he was his grandmother... well, it wouldn't be first time he was attacked for his grandmother's heirloom, the Yuujinchou (Book of Friends), for whoever had this book controlled all the youkai whose name was written inside it.
A hand gently tapped his shoulder and Natsume immediately twisted around to face his opponent, only to overcompensate, losing his balance. The hand reached out and caught him by the arm before he fell too far however, pulling him forwards into a warm chest.
"Ah, I apologise. I hadn't meant to scare you," Natsume looked up to see glowing emerald eyes staring at him in concern, "Are you alright...?"
"Yes..." the blonde answered before swiftly disentangling himself from the older man, looking at anyone but the man in front of him, his blasted cheeks heating up again, only to catching the cheeky grin on Nyanko's face. Natsume glared at him, "No more sweet buns for you..." he said, knowing they were his favourite food.
The agape look on the cat's face felt quite gratifying indeed.
"Ah, I guess some unpleasantness can't be avoided..." Harry muttered under his breath beside him, having caught sight of someone he had wished to avoid.
Natsume glanced at him in confusion before following his gaze, landing on a smiling old woman with grey hair. He knew better than to underestimate her though, noting the two emotionless men wearing white masks on either side of her, the fact people quickly parted to open a path in front of her and the hush that had fallen over the room.
And she seemed to be heading towards them.
"Many whispers I hear as I walk through these walls," the smiling woman said softly as she moved closer and closer, eyes staring straight at him, "And among them, the name Natsume."
Natsume gasped softly as the women walked right up to him, gazing down into his unusual golden eyes, "Tell me... Do you know Reiko? Natsume Reiko?"
Natsume's eyes widened in surprise, "You knew my grandmother?"
"Grandmother? You're her grandson?" she said, looking surprised herself, "Ah, no... My apologies... I'm afraid I didn't know her personally but I do know a little about her. I often hear of her from the youkai. They say she is exceedingly beautiful, and just as powerful..."
"I see..." Natsume answered, a little disappointed.
"Is she still well?"
"No... she died quite young, I'm told."
"Yes... I don't know the details..."
"Did you never think to ask?"
Natsume hesitated, "I wasn't in a position where I could," he replied uncomfortably. No one... no one had ever asked about his grandmother like this. No one had cared. She'd died alone; as the creepy girl who talked to herself and saw things others couldn't see.
"I see... I beg your pardon." The woman studied him, "But that will change now that you have come here," Natsume looked at her in confusion, "You need not fight alone anymore..." she said as she reached out to touch his cheek.
Before she could however, there was a flash of movement to their right and a hand clamped down onto the old woman's wrist, just inches from Natsume's face.
The smile on the woman's face changed. "Oh, my, now if this isn't an honour..."
"I'm afraid I can't say the same, obaba," Harry replied coolly as he released her. (A fairly rude way of saying "old woman")
"Show Nanase-sama the proper respect, Heathen!" one of the old woman's masked guardians growled, taking a threatening step forward. The old woman immediately raised her hand however, halting him in his steps.
"Peace, Hayato. One should not charge into battles that one cannot hope to win."
Natsume tensed when the old woman raised her other hand in Potter-san's direction; the older man's slightly disgruntled though otherwise calm demeanour the only reason the blonde didn't do anything more. That man could take care of himself... right?
His fear seemed unfounded when the old woman flicked her wrist and all that came from it was a light gust of wind that blew towards Harry, the breeze flicking his long hair and fringe.
Or maybe not... Natsume thought as the people around them stared at the raven-haired man in awe, gasping and bursting into loud whispers. Looking at Potter-san again, he couldn't see why... wait, what's that on his forehead... a scar? A thin red line ran down pale skin, marring his otherwise perfect skin. But, unlike most scars, it did nothing to detract from the man's beauty as it zigzagged down his forehead.
Like a bolt of lightning.
"My apologies, Potter-dono..." the masked man bowed, anger completely diminished to Natsume's amazement, before returning to his position behind the old woman.
"Potter-dono, your presence here is certainly a pleasant surprise," Nanase smiled though it held no real warmth, "Or maybe not so much of a surprise..." the old woman murmured as she watched a blonde stand next to Harry.
"Nanase-san," Natori Shuichi greeted politely, casting his English friend an uncertain glance, hoping to diffuse the potentially volatile situation.
"Ah, Natori," the old woman's smile widened, "I believe we have you to thank for Potter-dono's appearance today?"
Natori hummed non-committally. To Natsume, he did not seem uncomfortable at all despite the situation though he supposed it was because the man was a professional actor after all.
"Hmm..." Nanase's mouth curled in amusement, "I heard, Natori, that you will seek out that youkai."
"Yes, well... there's a bounty on its head."
Natori shrugged, "If I can't get rid of it, I'll just seal it."
"I see," the old woman said but she wasn't looking at Natori anymore, her gaze having turned back on the dark-haired man beside him.
For a moment, the two just stared at each other but then something changed and emerald eyes darkened considerably. Natsume shivered and he wasn't the only one. Even those who had only minimal spiritual awareness could the power brimming from that lithe body. "You should take care to employ the advice you yourself give to your servants, obaba," Harry's whispered words echoing amidst the silent hall. He reached out to grasp Natori's arm and then elegantly swept out of the room, gently pulling his friend along behind him despite his anger.
"Ah..." Natori stumbled slightly in surprise at the sudden action but quickly fell into step with him, Hiiragi following close behind.
The teen glanced at Nyanko-sensei, who had perched himself on Natsume's shoulder in that tense moment, and nodded. And as he hurried to join the two men, he caught a glimpse of the old woman out of the corner of his eye.
He really didn't like that smile...
"That woman is the... secretary of sorts to an exorcist by the name of Matoba-san who is the president of the Matoba Group," Natori explained, "We don't really get along so well."
Natsume glanced at Potter-san. The dark-haired was obviously still angered from his confrontation with that old woman as he stalked down wooden pathway three metres ahead of them. He was curious as to what had happened between them that last minute but decided not to question it. Instead he asked, "Is this a party for that Matoba person?"
"No, there are many other groups here. Theirs just happens to be one of the largest. This is just an opportunity for them to gather for information."
Hmm? What's that?
Ahead, a section of the wall beside them was covered in many, many pieces of paper and on each, was a different rough ink drawing. Youkai? And one of them, he recognised...
"...the one from yesterday?"
"Aa," Natori agreed, "He's eaten the servant-youkai of many humans, so they put a bounty on his head."
Natsume stared at the drawing as his thoughts drifted towards that bird-youkaithat he had watched being eaten. And the way he had looked at Natsume before he died...
It may be the law of nature for the strong to prey on the weak but... he had sought me for help... I wonder... isn't there anything I can do for him?
"Potter-san!" Natsume called out. The dark-haired man stopped and turned to look at him, a dark look on his face. The teen hesitated, maybe that was bad idea after all...
"Harry," Natori chided lightly.
The Sorcerer glanced at him, emerald eyes softening, and sighed. He ran an agitated hand through his hair, Shuichi smiling fondly at him when it stuck up all over the place at the action despite it being longer than it had once been. "I'm sorry. What is it, Natsume-kun?"
"Will you... will you help me find this youkai?"
Harry smiled in vague amusement, "And what makes you think I can do that?"
"Ah... well, I..." Natsume bit his lip; had he been too presumptuous?
"Harry!" Natori scolded again, this time with a laugh, "I'm afraid without a name to go by, even Harry's magic won't be able to find him. I'm a little hurt though," he mused, "that you asked him for help and not me."
"Oh! Um... I'm sorry..."
"Now who's the mean one?" Harry chuckled.
Natsume frowned; were they toying with him?
"You humans get weirder everyday," Nyanko muttered from his perch on a hand railing, and then he said louder, "Natsume, this guy's too weak to find that youkai without a name-"
"-but you're not," Natori finished for him, "Especially with so much spiritual power in the area."
Natsume nodded, "Let's try it then." He fell silent as he watched Natori-san's lizard-youkai tattoo crawl up his neck, resting on his cheek. It surprised him every time he saw it...
"That thing never fails to be creepy," Nyanko remarked, eyes narrowed.
"Sensei!" Natsume frowned.
But Natori only laughed, "It's okay, I'm used to it," he then smiled slyly, "Plus anyway, Harry likes it."
Natsume glanced at the dark-haired man in time to see the man smirk widely. The teens cheeks started to heat up again but didn't ask, even if for some reason... he really wanted to know...
"Just put your hand above the circle," Natori instructed as Harry, Nyanko-sensei and Hiiragi observed from the sidelines of the small room they had chosen to do the ritual in.
Natsume nodded, holding out his hand as the older man place a paper doll in his palm.
"Now, close your eyes and picture him while ordering the doll to seek him out."
Natsume shut his eyes tightly, concentrating on his memory of that youkai in his mind. For a while, nothing seemed to happen and then, the paper doll gave a tiny twitch. And then... "Go!"
The paper doll flew up out of his palm, fluttering there for a second before it shot of like lightning through the glass pane of the closest window, showering Harry in glass shards.
Harry blinked at them, a hand raising to touch his cheek, "Ah, forgot to open the window," he mused, studying the blood on his fingers with interest.
"Harry, don't joke about this," Natori said, concerned as he gently checked the man's skin for any lingering glass before pressing his handkerchief firmly on the injury.
"I'm so sorry..." Natsume stood guiltily off to the side, wishing there was something he could do. Instead, he forced himself to stay put despite having been given a perfectly good excuse to get closer to the dark-haired man if only to check the injuries himself...
Harry, however, just waved them off, "It's no big deal; I heal fast. But to succeed on your first try..." he looked at Natsume with growing admiration, "Seems like it's too fast for us to follow though," he said, peeking out the window.
But as he said that, the paper doll flipped through the air and came flying back towards them though at a much more sluggish pace. It floated past them and through the door behind them.
"Did I fail?" Natsume spinning to face the older men.
"No, it seems it's in the building," Natori replied seriously.
"People with great spiritual power are especially delicious," Nyanko-sensei explained, "He probably came to eat them all."
The two blondes immediately rushed out of the room, realising the danger all the humans present were in, Hiiragi and Nyanko quick to follow their charges.
"Can't be helped..." Harry sighed. He didn't care for humans any more, even if he himself was one, ever since that whole Voldemort fiasco. The actions of the wizarding world pretty much ruining his opinion of the entire race. He didn't care much for youkai either to be honest (some of them did try to eat him after all), but he'd always found more reliable companions in the supernatural than in humans so his dislike for them was a lot less.
But he'd found something much morethan a friend in Natori Shuichi and he had to admit, Natsume had grown on him (the teen's obvious crush on him was kind of cute...) so he supposed he was inclined to help a little bit a least, not particularly wishing to play hero again. So he carefully pocketed Shuichi's handkerchief, large specks of blood the only remaining evidence of any wounds on his smooth cheek, and calmly walked out of the room.
"Okay, the circle is complete. Natsume, remember to do exactly as I told you."
Natori and Natsume heard a crash. Looking up, they could see the head-youkaibeing attacked by the massive white wolf that is Nyanko's true form. "There he is... Alright, let's do this Natsume."
The teen nodded tensely before he clapped his hands together, a piece of plain white paper clasped in-between, and began to chant with Natori-san as he had been instructed too.
I seek thine hand..
Seize him... oh, defender of Darkness!
The bottle in the middle of the circle shook and then suddenly, black vines burst out from the tiny opening, stretching out towards the sky towards the two battling youkai. Madara, Nyanko's true name, swiftly dodged out of the way as the vines wrapped itself tightly around the giant head-youkai.
The beast roared, struggling against its prison, refusing to be pulled into the sealing bottle. "It's not enough..." Natsume clenched his fists; what could they do now?
Natsume's eyes widened as a giant fireball hurtled towards the youkai, engulfing it entirely. The monster gave one last roar, severely weakened, before the vines drew it through the tiny opening of the bottle.
"The seal!" Natori gasped as the bottle shook.
"O-oh! Right!" Natsume darted forward, shoving the cork into the opening, sealing the youkai inside. The bottle stopped shaking.
Both blondes sighed with relief. "It's over..."
Only to get smacked in the head by Nyanko on his way down, "You idiots! You almost got me sucked in too!"
"Ah, but I'm sure such a thing could never happen to the great Madara," Harry mused as he stepped into the clearing, smirking slightly.
"Hmph. You're right about that of course, human," the cat stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Harry just shook his head in amusement, "Hey, you alright?" he asked softly, helping Shuichi up.
The blonde smiled, "Yes. Thank you for the assistance," he said, referring to the fireball as he gently caressed Harry's healed cheek with one hand. The dark-haired man shrugged nonchalantly but leaned slightly into the touch.
Natsume watched them until he had to turn away. The longing within was too much, ...will I ever find someone who understands me?
Beside him, Madara watched him sadly.
"So you're going back to England?"
Harry nodded, "Just for a while. I leave Shuichi in your capable hands until I return," he joked.
Natsume couldn't bring himself to laugh along.
"Hey, don't look so grim. What's wrong?"
I'm going to miss you that's what, Natsume frowned at himself, "It's just I was hoping you could help me with my spiritual powers..." he said instead. Liar.
And Harry seemed to realise that too if the amused smile was anything to go by. Natsume glared at him. Unfortunately, it only served to make him smile wider. Bastard.
"Take a break, Natsume," Harry said, "There's no rush. Humans don't get stronger by force, you know. First, you need to know yourself. The rest... well, I'll explain it when I get back."
Know myself, huh...Natsume pondered, ...wait, did he just say? "Do you really mean that?" he said, looking at the older man wide-eyed.
Harry laughed softly, "Of course," then he leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss to the side of Natsume's mouth, "It was fun working with you, Natsume-kun. Until next time." And with one last smile, the emerald-eyed man disappeared with a loud crack.
Natsume stared, stunned, at the empty space the older man had once occupied, his fingers ghosting over the spot where their lips had touch and...
"Did he just kiss me?!"
EDIT [6/6/09]: added a brief description of Natori..