Title: Snowfall

Author: Tiamat's Child

Series: Tokyo Babylon

Rating: G

Genre: Humor

Characters: Hokuto, Subaru, Seishirou

Disclaimer: All the characters contained herein belong to the lovely ladies of Clamp, who deserve much praise for thinking of them.

Summary: Hokuto wants to play in the snow.


Tiamat's Child

On the morning in question Subaru was woken up by the sound of Hokuto flinging his bedroom door open hard enough that it slammed against the wall, rebounded, and came back for another go. She did not stop moving however, and was in his closet before the door made its second bang. She slammed the closet door too.

Subaru struggled into a sitting position, blinking in bewilderment and an attempt to clear his foggy vision. "Hokuto-Chan, what-" Hokuto cut him off before he could finish his question.

"It snowed in the night and it's still snowing! We have to get out there before it stops! And before the city gets it all dirty. Come on! I'll find you clothes!"

Subaru stared. "Hokuto-Chan..." He glanced blearily at his bedside clock. "Hokuto-Chan it's five fifteen in the morning. Don't you think that's a bit early? The sun isn't up yet."

Hokuto pouted as only she could pout. "But Subaru, it's the first snow of the *season*. It's *special*." Her eyes went persuasive. Not big, or pleading, just...persuasive. "*Please* come with me?"

Subaru sighed. Why did he ever bother trying to argue? She always got her way. He'd think it had something to do with being female, except none of the girls he knew at school could manage it, and Seishirou was the exact same way.

Hokuto knew full well she had won. "Here, wear this, and this, and this...And, oh! This, and I have an outfit that'll match so we can wear the same thing, that's always so fun! We're even cuter when we match. Though maybe we shouldn't give Sei-Chan ideas. He belongs to you, not both of us." Subaru very carefully failed to follow this monologue of his sister's. He did *not* want to understand. He suspected that if he did he'd walk around as red as Hokuto's favorite floppy hat for hours.

Ten minutes later the pair stood on the sidewalk, clad in Hokuto's unique idea of practical snow wear. Subaru felt a bit ridiculous, but had to admit that Hokuto looked gorgeous and that the furry hats were not as silly as could have been. The boots were probably a bit too dressy though, since snow wasn't very good for leather.

"That way!" Hokuto declared, pointing in the general direction of Uneo Park. "The trees will be so pretty in the snow!"

"But Hokuto-Chan..."

"We'll take a taxi."

They did not take a taxi. They couldn't find one. Apparently all the taxi drivers in the city were home in bed. Subaru thought this was quite sensible of them, since there was a foot and a half of snow on the ground already, and it was still snowing rather heavily. Hokuto thought it was rude, inconsiderate, and very silly. After all, it wasn't a *blizzard* or anything.

They rode the bus instead. Hokuto was the one who managed to find it. Subaru didn't know how she'd done it, so he added finding buses to the list of mysterious skills that Hokuto had that he lacked. Finding buses when there shouldn't be any at all went quite nicely with the ability to actually tell clerks in stores what you were looking for instead of mumbling, "Just looking" in the hope that they'd go away. And with the knack for finding and eating all the chocolate in the house just before Christmas, no matter how well it had been hidden.

The bus was empty. The twins sat in the front, Hokuto loudly claiming the window seat just the same way she always did. As usual, she looked a little disappointed that Subaru let her have it without so much as a comment or sigh. Subaru, as usual, was momentarily confused by this. His sister really was a mystery to him sometimes.

When they got to the park Subaru realized that Hokuto had been very right. Uneo Park *was* beautiful covered in snow. Subaru stood by the side of the road (or possibly in the road, it was difficult to tell) while Hokuto thanked the bus driver profusely and wished him a very good day. She grinned as she joined Subaru and took his hand in hers.

"Well, she said, "What are we waiting for? Let's go!" The formalities of fair warning over with, she made a dash for the trees, dragging her stumbling brother after her.

They were both laughing by the time they tumbled to a halt. They stood together in the center of a grove of trees, shaking with mirth. Subaru couldn't seem to catch his breath and tears were beginning to leak out of the corners of his eyes, but her felt amazingly good. Hokuto threw her arms delightedly around Subaru's neck.

"I haven't heard you really laugh in so long, I'd almost forgotten what a nice sound it is!" She gave Subaru an affectionate squeeze. "Aren't you glad I made you get out of bed?" Subaru just smiled in answer. Hokuto smiled back and let go of him.

Placing her hands on her hips she gave the trees surrounding them her best appraising stare, the one that tended to scare the wits out of shoe salesmen. "Let's go this way now!" She said, bouncing off over the snow. Subaru followed her, trailing behind until she darted back and took his hand again, slowing her pace to meet his.

They strolled together that way for a time. The snow fell down gently on them, and when the wind blew, it blew softly. They did not speak, and so they seemed like a dream that has wandered into the waking world. Or perhaps they were nothing more than an echo of some distant past, allowed to walk the world again for this brief moment.

They didn't notice Seishirou leaning against the tree trunk until he spoke. "Good morning, Subaru-Kun, Hokuto-Chan." The twins spun around at the sound of their names. Upon seeing who it was, Hokuto darted toward her friend.

"Sei-Chan! This makes the morning perfect! What are you doing here?" She exclaimed, hugging him enthusiastically. Hokuto did a pretty good imitation of the sort of terrifying Russian bear hug that leaves the unsuspecting certain that they're never going to get out alive. Her hugs were regarded with a sort of bemused fear by most of her friends, but they never seemed to faze Seishirou. He just hugged back.

"I couldn't sleep and it was far too beautiful to stay indoors." Seishirou smiled over Hokuto's head at Subaru, who promptly went pink. "But what about you two?"

Hokuto stepped back and grinned. "Much the same thing. But I got to bring Subaru along for company. Pity you couldn't do that, hmm?"

Subaru found himself fidgeting with his gloves.

"It is indeed a pity." Seishirou sighed heavily. "But I think it will be quite some time before Subaru-Kun has a reason to be in my apartment at four in the morning." He sniffled dramatically. "If indeed he ever does..."

Hokuto smacked her fist into her open palm. "Don't give up Sei-Chan! That isn't the behavior I expect from my brother-in-law! It will happen one day!"

Subaru felt his ears turn hot and burning and resolved to never, ever, set foot outside of his room again. Except for jobs, of course. And school. And possibly breakfast, if Hokuto was making Belgian waffles with boysenberries. But other than that he was staying in his room for always. He really meant it this time.

"But really, Hokuto-Chan! Taking him out in the cold so early when it's still dark? What kind of care are you taking of my future husband?"

Subaru's usual reaction to the words 'future husband' set in. That is, he began to look desperately around for somewhere to hide. Not that he really expected to find a hiding place, there never was one, but looking always seemed so needful.

"Oh, but Sei-Chan, if I let him stay inside he'll wither away to nothing! And then he'll roll under the couch and get eaten by the killer dust bunnies!"

Subaru blinked. Killer dust bunnies?

"We certainly can't have that! Keep up the good work Hokuto-Chan!" Seishirou said, clapping his hands. Hokuto bowed like a theater diva, but as she straightened, she glanced about and sighed.

"There aren't any children to play in the snow."

Seishirou sighed too. "Truly sad."

Hokuto smiled. "I can fix that." She moved with astonishing speed, given that she wasn't snatching a hat she wanted Subaru to try on. Seishirou had a snowball coming at him almost as soon as she'd bent down.

The snowball hit Seishirou square on the glasses, coating them completely. Hokuto began to laugh, and Subaru could feel a drop of sweat trickling its way down his brow. He really did not understand his sister.

Seishirou just smiled. He carefully reached up and removed his glasses, wiping them off before stowing them in his breast pocket. Then he bent, and, with the same deliberate calm, packed snow into a sphere. Snowball in hand he stood up again.

Hokuto hadn't noticed any of this, as she was too busy laughing. However, she did notice when a snowball smacked into the side of her head. She stopped laughing with a gasp and stared at Seishirou, who smirked innocently back at her.

She grinned. "You realize, of course, that this means war." Seishirou just smiled.

And then the snowballs flew, thick and fast. Seishirou and Hokuto were well matched. Neither could get the upper hand. Subaru just stood back and stared, quite thoroughly bewildered.

Or at least he did until Hokuto turned and flung a snowball at him. It hit him hard on the shoulder. He blinked in shock and looked at the shattered remnants on his coat with a complete lack of comprehension. Then he looked up to stare at Hokuto. She giggled.

"Defend yourself, Subaru-Kun!" Seishirou called, and flung another snowball at him. That settled it. Subaru found himself rolling snowballs and throwing them at the other two with great vigor. Hokuto whooped happily.

"Three way snowball fight! This is-ouff!" One of Seishirou's snowballs hit her hard and threw her enough off balance to fall into the snow. "Oooh! You'll pay for that, Sei-Chan!" She scrambled to her feet and attempted to tackle the much taller man. It didn't work particularly well. He neatly dumped her into a deep snowdrift, where she sat sputtering and trying to get up while laughing too hard to breathe.

Subaru flung a snowball at Seishirou, a smile brightening his face. Seishirou turned to face him and laughed, a rather worrying glint shining behind his glasses. The snowball Subaru had been forming dropped from his fingers to the ground. He was panicking, but he couldn't move. Oh dear...

Seishirou crossed to the boy and put his hands on his shoulders. Subaru could feel his eyes going quite as wide as a giant squid's. Uh-Oh. He was now quite sure he understood what Americans meant when they talked about a deer in headlights. Seishirou smiled and leaned down, brushing his lips across Subaru's forehead.

And then...He pushed Subaru into the snowdrift behind him.

Subaru surfaced sputtering and laughing. He wasn't even sure that kiss had really happened, but he was sure that he'd just been shoved in a snowdrift. He decided to deal with the less confusing of the two first.

"Seishirou-San! That's not *fair*!" He grinned as he did his best to gather snow and struggle to his feet at the same time. He'd think later. This was going to be fun.

Sometimes Subaru truly loved Tokyo.