fandom - Tokyo Babylon/X
title - Tobacco-flavored kiss.
rating - pg
pairing - Seishirou + Subaru
description – Subaru remembers his first kiss…when Seishirou was saying goodbye.

Disclaimer - Tokyo Babylon is by Clamp. I'm just too in love with this title to not do anything. XD

Tobacco-flavored kiss.
By miyamoto yui

He's never done that before.

He's been nervous. He's been shy. He's been horribly embarrassed. But in his whole life, logic was never overpowered by overemotional sentiment. His kindness is on a different level from empathy, but that is always towards other people. It is never for himself.
But why did he feel like someone was forcefully tearing his heart right out? His brain has turned to mush as he frantically runs out of the apartment, holding his hat firmly onto his head. On the verge of tears, his childish, passionate nature takes over again.

That is the kind of person this sixteen-year-old is: Selfless to the point of forgetting himself.

He moves like a small bird pushed faster with the violent wind under his wings, more than they can take. The boy runs to get the attention of the closest cab once he got to a main street. His sister trails after him, shouting for him to wait up for her. To not leave her behind…

So…this is what jealousy feels like.

This is so ridiculous. I shouldn't feel like this. Just because I feel like my fingernails are grating against a jagged surface of thick glass doesn't particularly mean that I have to act like it. It isn't their fault. Just because my brother doesn't talk doesn't mean I don't know what's going on.

Or so I'd like to think.

As my brother suddenly jumps into a cab, I barely catch the door to get in with him. In our whole lives, I've never seen him so agitated.
When I reach out to ask him, he already has his eyes closed, leaning forward with his right hand in a fist while the other hand clutches onto it tightly. He appears as if he's praying while looking so contemplative to the point that the shadows on his face are making me see the tears that are yet to be cried, a silent melody of only those who know what it's like to be trapped from within...

...cutting off your own wings for 'living's' sake.

And it suddenly hits me that even though I know I should do something, I don't know what. I'm not prepared for this situation, and the human part of me is taking over my better judgment as his sister. My role is rising to the surface again, but my heart is not there. It's not that I enjoy him suffering, but who will pick up the pieces of my own splintered heart when I secretly break down after this?

Don't you know that whenever you're in pain, I'm taking it up as well, little brother?

But as a woman, I'm chagrined. My heart begins to hurt as I reach over to pat your soft hair. I wonder what kind of prayer you're asking for now. All I want to know is if it's for yourself and for no one else.
Except you're not like that.

I'm the one that does that. I wonder if my powers will have the strength to envelop him. I want it to become enough to the point of coming true, but the more life I give, will it make you live? Will my hands be enough to make you fly, little brother?

As weak as my abilities are compared to yours…

Oh Subaru…

He gets out of the taxi after giving a wad of money from his pocket. The taxi driver remarks, "Boy, your change."
"Thank you, but I don't need it," he says while speeding off with his sister barely scooting herself out of her uncomfortable, squeaky seat. She bows her head with an oddly embarrassed smile while saying thank you, not excusing her brother's impetuous behavior at all. Then, she dashes off after him.

When did he learn to run so fast? Didn't he used to be so sickly because he couldn't control his powers before?

When did you grow up without me, even though you were right before my eyes?

She's hating the fact that he's going much faster than her, losing her because of his anxiousness. Subaru never did learn to do things half-heartedly when it concerned matters of the heart…

…even if it broke him completely to the point of never recovering.

The flashes of the fight were coming back into view…

++/++/++/++

Chop, chop, chop...

"I can't believe that people would do something like that," the boy said as he drank some coffee on the countertop, waiting for the dinner his sister was making at that moment. He put his coffee cup down and looked to one side to regard the profile that was staring at his sister.
He looked at the face carefully and then those lips said, "Why can't you? People are always like that. Nothing they do is unbelievable these days."
Caught off-guard, he couldn't believe that the kind veterinarian could say such a cruel thing. "But that's horrible, Seishirou-san."
He stared at the story of a baby abandoned in a coin-locker. And then he peered over the article with a train crash that happened because of a speed miscalculation.
"Just because something seems to be natural doesn't mean that it necessarily is. Besides, it's people who do the most heinous things, don't you think? Like when we avoid looking at the homeless on the street, that's a small incident, but what can we do?"

Chop, chop.

Subaru turned his whole body as he looked at Seishirou with a forlorn look. "Do you really believe that lives are that expendable?"
Seishirou continued to watch Hokuto's back with his hands folded while his chin rested in the balanced bridge of his interlocked fingers.

That's not fair, Subaru-kun.
When did you ever learn to argue back like that? Or is that honesty you treasure so well,
a trait I think humans can't ever truly embody because of the darkness that has to exist in order to know the power of light?

It was a trick question and they both couldn't look at one another. Cautiously, Seishirou replied, "There is purpose and meaning when one measures it against something else. But a personal view and an outside perspective both clash, and it'll ultimately be decided by the person who holds that life."
He turned his head to face Subaru. "But if someone's time comes, they probably deserved it. You are given time to live by the grace of an external force that lets you live to your fullest, until you are extinguished. But the more you take advantage of that, the more likely the cruelty and threat there is against your own life, like people die in freak accidents. However, if you do nothing, nothing changes either. So, in other words, there's really no meaning to anything unless we put it as so. And then, it all balances it out in some way because life is weirdly fair like that."

It made sense. Of course it did, but how could he have stopped the tears coming out of his eyes? It was for all those people that he couldn't save and even if he could, he couldn't do it for everyone. This was a question that repeated over and over inside his own head.

Then how about the people left behind? Then how about those that never started?

"You really think that," Subaru said as he got up with a dazed expression, wiping his tears with the back of his glove while Seishirou reached out his hand to touch the top of Subaru's head.
He pulled away and they both looked at one another as Hokuto finally turned around with a blank face, unable to find something to say.

"I…I don't want to believe-"
"Then, do you want me to disappear because you can't believe I can say things like that? That I can look at things like this with apathetic eyes and mean that I don't care, Subaru-kun?"
The boy's heart stopped ticking. "What are you saying-"
"You can't talk to someone who regards life so lightly, correct? It's like saying to rip an angel's wings away if they don't know how to use them once they've fallen to the Earth."

CHOP.
Hokuto dropped her chopping knife onto the wooden cutting board and moved over to stir the bubbling soup mixture.

Seishirou slowly got up. "Then I'll leave."
He turned around to go towards the kitchen door. "You can't be with someone like this."

Both of them didn't know if Seishirou's words were meant for him or for the both of them…

Finally, Hokuto's mouth blurted, "Get out."
Clang! She loudly slammed the soup ladle into the sink.

Then do you really want me to disappear from you?

Subaru's tears streamed down again. He couldn't help it. That's not what he wanted at all, but how could he fall for someone whose heart was so stone cold and hard.
But wasn't that a look of someone who also thought his life was worthless?

Why…why did you look like that, Seishirou-san?

++/++/++/++

He ran as fast he could until he saw him about to go on the escalator. "Seishirou-san!"
Immediately, he turned red and even Hokuto was taken aback even though she was way behind. She heard it loud and clear. Her soft-spoken brother never raised his voice unless he was very mad.
Though Subaru had shown many emotions in the entirety of his life and through his endless empathy, it was never for himself. It was always for someone else's sake and never his own.

We're the same when I think of that. We both think we're worthless, that's what you made me realize at that moment…
That's why I was mad more at myself than you, Seishirou-san.

People's eyes regarded the boy who was standing a few feet from the escalator as the person he called out to stood to one side for others to pass. He held his long black overcoat over his arm and a travel bag on the other hand. But he wouldn't even meet his gaze.
"Yes, Subaru-kun?" he asked in a slightly impatient, yet monotone voice.

This voice was unlike any other. Who was this? Was this the vet he always visited? The one that pursued him relentlessly for a date that he'd always be late for? The same person he'd see when he first opened his eyes to whenever he became too exhausted from using too much of his aura?

Subaru took a step forward. "Why didn't you tell me you were leaving?"

"It's the halfway mark, my dear, Subaru?"
"Excuse me? What does that mean and what does that have to do with anything? If this is over that fight we had-" The boy's eyes searched hopelessly for a remnant of the man he knew.
This man continued to look towards the window with no emotion in his tone or his visage. "When you push something into the flesh, it naturally bleeds, doesn't it?"
"Yes…" the boy remarked, confused.
"But what happens when there's no blood left, but you're still living? Are you still considered living?"
"I-I don't get-"
"The further you press, the wound deepens, never wanting to recover, Subaru."
"And what does that have to do with us?"
"Everything. I need time to think."
"And you think it's all right to just take your things and leave?"
"Yes. It was the perfect opportunity to, but you went ahead and chased after me. After all that time you pushed me away, you still came after me. You're a funny, persistent boy, Subaru-kun. You're the one I don't seem to understand after all."

"Only…only for you…" Subaru held his head up high as he said these words, his pride sinking to depths unknown. He didn't know how he found his voice to say anything at all…

"For you and me, that's the reason why I need to leave." He was about to step on the escalator when Subaru bowed his head with his arms straight out and his leather hands in fists. "Sumimasen, Seishirou-san! For wasting your time with someone like me."
At that moment, Seishirou walked over and pushed Subaru's head towards his chest. Looking around, he cursed himself for being unable to turn away from him or let other people see this crying face, something that should have only been for him.

Like an oni, he wanted to suck him dry. All those emotions must be captured and brought out for him. He was selfish and childish that way, like the previous Sakurazukamori.
He truly was his mother's son, wasn't he?

It was the perfect excuse to leave. He calculated that he was to be kicked out, but he brought himself back into the labyrinth called emotions. And the whirlpool was named Sumeragi Subaru.
Or was he a luscious, parasitic mirage created by innocence?

"I was going to come back after a few days, you know."
Subaru just cried as he held his fists even tighter than before and lifted one to hit Seishirou lightly on the chest, sliding his gloved hand two centimeters downwards with a pained expression on his face. "Why do you do this to me?"
He didn't know if he wanted to do more: laugh or cry? Both? "Why do you like making fun of me?"

"I wasn't planning on coming back…but you called my name, Subaru-kun." Seishirou looked up to the high ceiling.

Subaru's eyes opened as he saw his tears hit the shiny, tile ground. He didn't know what to believe. Every time this man made him hope, there was always an obstacle that would definitely block his way, which was made by Seishirou-san himself. And when he finally came to understanding him, there would be a new twist against what he'd previously thought.

Are you telling me the truth?

Seishirou's grip became a little gentler, but all the more possessive.

To tell something like that is…

Hokuto stopped walking and even though she wanted to walk over, her cue wasn't up yet. Somehow, he'd grown up without her. And despite her being close to him, she'd gone a different way than both of them could have ever thought. Who was she going to listen to? The logic of a sister or the petty emotions within human nature? She didn't know. She really didn't, but the voices of nature within this dark forest were as persistent as the saltwater that wanted to flood her eyes.
Forcefully, she pushed herself to walk towards them as her whole body tingled from the numbness that captured all of her body the moment Seishirou turned around. And now, her nerves were sending prickly shots of pain all over her, awakening at their re-use.

You can't help someone who wants to stay lost...

But she stopped as Seishirou reached down for Subaru's chin to pull it upwards towards his face. Leaning forward, without any regard to everyone staring as they passed by, he kissed him.

That was the day that Subaru learned what tobacco really tasted like.

Subaru blinked at him with an apprehensive face that said, "Why do you…"
"To heighten my senses for things," Seishirou answered aloud while turning around to go towards the escalator, making a clean, yet cruel break to prove his resolve to himself.
He wouldn't give into that little boy again, would he?

Subaru, of course, didn't know what it meant at the time. He just watched Seishirou as he was about to go on the escalator. Seishirou looked up to the ceiling and smirked. Now whether it was out of his will to stay or Subaru's torture to make him go, likely no one would ever know…

"If you say to stay, I'll eventually leave. If you say to go, I'll stay for a little while."

"You never make any sense," Subaru said in frustration, not knowing how to feel or act at that moment.
He always blocked these things from himself too, hadn't he? Whenever he got attached to something, he didn't ever want to let go of it, no matter how unreasonable it was. Whether it was his pureness or a tint of his own selfish nature, he was too confused to figure it out.

"Tell me why you came here."

"To understand. To understand you and myself."
"It can't ever be as simple as for you to make me stay or to push me to go, can it, Subaru-kun?"
"That's not the way you really like it, right Seishirou-san?"

Seishirou's head moved to looked straight in front of him as the clock changed its number with the rolling labels of the flights departing, arriving, or being delayed. Sometimes, without knowing, the boy knew more than he consciously would admit…

At that moment, Subaru went along with his own wants. He wrapped his arms around Seishirou. From behind, he held him closely, burying his face and tears onto the starchy dark suit. "Can I be selfish? Just this once, won't you let me be selfish, Seishirou-san?"

I've drenched my hands for these wings and they're now all mine.

Hokuto could no longer move towards them as Seishirou pointed his head arrogantly towards her. He glanced at her audaciously with a triumphant smirk on his lips.

My little bird never learned to fly.

"You'll be here when I come back then."

It wasn't an answer to an end. Neither was it for a beginning.
Seishirou made sure it was inconclusive,

for both of their sakes.

++/++/++/++

Years later, the grown-up boy's pressing his ungloved fingers onto the icy glass windows, watching the planes as they leave and return. He carries a pack of Mild Sevens, and wants to light one even though he knows he shouldn't.

But he stands there waiting like he did many years ago. There's no point in coming back and staying for something that will not ever happen, but humans can't help but wonder with those words, 'what if'. These dreams have their own kinds of wings.
His heart stops whenever he sees someone that reminds him of that man's strong, tall figure. But his eyes are always frozen at that moment in time when he sealed his life away, of his own will, when he answered the man, "Always."

I'll always wait for you.
Whether or not you expect me to.

And it's kind of sad.
The lives he values most and
protects with all he can,
are far away from here
when he no longer values his own,
or had he ever?

Was this the true answer that the vet and that man together, being one and the same, wanted to prove to him?

He looks at his fingers and pretends there's a cigarette in between, a symbol of their true unspoken promise. His eyes half close with a wistful expression, half in hope and half in nostalgia. There is a glint of innocence clashing with the reality of becoming an adult:

It hurts to believe in anything, any more.

Then, he presses his hands once more against the glass and remembers that time that he was watching the passengers going to their flights on the other side of that thick glass. And Seishirou put his things down to put one palm onto the glass. Then, he wrote with his other hand, on the surface in hiragana with his right index finger: "A-i-shi-te-ru."

He pointed at him and then bowed his head to pick up his things and put the bag over his shoulder. Looking at his profile, Subaru's mind superimposed the memory of that boy's shocked and suddenly lost expression at Ueno Park with Seishirou's sorrow-filled smile.
Impulsively, Seishirou laughed as he kissed the glass.

And Subaru naively, yet honestly kissed back, almost tasting the tobacco in his mouth all over again.

The words he says aloud are exactly what he thought then: "Why did you ever believe in someone like me?"

After all this time, his mismatched eyes begin to cry, but only the green one sheds any tears because the amber one is always dry. He presses his hands even more while looking upwards through the clear window.

You must have thought the same thing, didn't you?

He thinks of the fight all over again and Seishirou's words still grind into him like a pestle into his mortar heart made of marble. Subaru mumbles softly as his eyes still stare at the darkening sky,

"But when an angel falls, they know exactly what they're doing it for.
Even if they don't know how to explain why."

Owari.

Author's note - After much contemplation, I just said, "Oh screw it. Stop thinking so much and just write the fic. Even if it comes out much more different than you imagined, it's better than just keeping it in your head."
So, instead of trying to make something linear ('cause I don't feel like being conventional today), I experimented by flashing perspectives upon one another, even if it was confusing. But, ah, my job is to make you think with the characters I love most in the world.
If you were confused, then think of it this way - the left is Seishirou, the right is Subaru and Hokuto's in the middle. ^_~ They're 'feathers' of thoughts, being pulled and plucked.

Thanks for being such a wonderful beta, Rei-chan! Your comments always make me think and help me SO much!

(And this is the late anniversary fic for Iroirona fanfiction!)

Love,
Yui

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
2:12:27 AM