Sakura Soul

Fandom: Yami No Matsuei

Author: Lothlorien

Email: girlthatyoufear@yahoo.com / daedra@hotmail.com

Rating: R

Pairings: None.

Disclaimer: I *wish* they were mine...

Summary: Shinigami are immortal, as such, the only way to die is either by suicide or being murdered. One of the four Shinigami everyone loves is getting dangerously close to the edge of sanity, and it will only take a small push to tip the balance...

Warnings: VERY dark fic. As in, very not happy. Suicide (or attempted suicide) of a major character. Angst galore.

Author's notes: Um...this is a VERY weird fic. Watari-centric. I was just thinking of him and as soon as I started writing this, Watari took over. I don't know how else to explain it. Quite seriously, I'm wondering if I can really claim to have written this...

Oh, and I can quite understand if you people don't like it, as I said, it's a bit weird.Comments welcome ^_^

***

"Don't try to fix me, I'm not broken..." ~ 'Hello', Evanescence

***

Sakura petals.

All around me.

Showering me, suffocating me, killing me.

Saving me...

I had never realized how much like a sakura petal we were. These petals, so short lived, fall from the trees before they've had more than taken a brief breath of life. So much like us humans. We live a short life, and then, a fall from the tree, down, down, ever down onto the burial ground. And then we'd be walked over, trampled irreverently into the ground, as if we had never been. And we'd be scorned, because our pretty pink color had disappeared, and we had become ugly and disfigured, our intoxicating scent spent, until we were nothing but a mere particle in a sea of sludge.

But some of us are luckier. They get caught in the trees, and don't fall. They hang on for their lives, watching all the rest of us falling to our death. And these beautiful petals remain forever young and forever wonderful. Sometimes some of them get detached, and then they fall down to what they had sought escape from for so long. Some of them are lucky enough to get another hold on the tree. Only a few never fall. Only a few escape oblivion.

Those beautiful, beautiful few. Tzusuki. Hisoka. Tatsumi. All of them hanging onto the tree, shining brightly for the rest of us to see as we fall, as we are inundated by the unlucky others who fall on top of us, burying us.

They shine. It's not easy on top of the tree. I know, because all three of them see me as a refuge. Sometimes I wonder if they know that I'm a falling petal, not clinging to the tree, and other times I wonder if that's why they trust me.

But then, most of the time, I'm sure they don't notice that I'm falling. They're so blinded by the wind trying to tear them off that they have no time for us short lived ones. They cannot see beyond their immediate level. They do not see the rest of us fighting gravity, not accepting our inevitable end. They don't know what happens when you lose hold of the tree.

***

If any one of them were to realize what my thoughts are like when I'm alone, they'd be shocked. Me, the one that convinces them to get on with their lives when they feel like giving up. The one who urges them to keep a tight hold on the tree even when they're weary. And sometimes, I find this all very bitterly ironic.

Tzusuki and Hisoka and Tatsumi. Tzusuki keeps Tatsumi alive. Hisoka and Tatsumi keep Tzusuki alive. And Tzusuki keeps Hisoka alive. It's like a love triangle, only they're not complaining, because they know that without all three of them, the triangle would crumble and fall, dooming all of them.

Tzusuki cannot live without both of them. They're too deeply intertwined into his soul. Both of them cannot live without him. Remove a factor from the equation, and it becomes invalid.

And me? I'm the outsider. I walk outside the triangle, always looking and observing, sometimes helping, but never inside it. They can't live without each other.

But they can live without me.

It's funny when you think about it. They're all so sensitive, so easily hurt on their own, and yet so strong with each other. They all come to me for advice, but when it comes to the grind, it's the thought of each other that keeps them going. Watari is forgotten. Watari is just the nice, eccentric, half mad scientist whose best friend is the owl. Good for advice, but not for much else.

But they don't even realize that, of course. They all think that I'm in the equation, but if I was out of the picture, they'd go on. Mourn a bit of course, but ultimately, the triangle is still there. But if a point of the triangle had to fall, then so would the other two.

Some would tell me I'm being pessimistic. Some would tell me I'm being a depressive idiot. And anyone who really looked would tell me I'm right.

Yesterday, it was Tatsumi's turn to be in the clutch of that lady we all know so well - depression. He brushed me off every time I asked him, but I know him too well by now. It wasn't the 'leave-me-alone' dismissal, but the 'bug-me-enough-so-that-I-can-pour-my-heart-out-without-feeling-weak' dismissal.

So I did. I even went to his apartment with him. He needed to relax, so I helped him. I'm very good at a massage, even if I do say so myself. And while I was kneeling with him prone between my knees, my thoughts wandered off, since Tatsumi was being so quiet. And I thought of the sakura petals again, and how little any of the three Shinigami knew about me. I could quote their life history backwards to you. I could tell you how Tzusuki walks when he's distressed and trying to hide it. I know how Hisoka goes rigid when there's something he's worried about. I see how Tatsumi's eyes shutter off when he needs solace.

But they know nothing about me.

The thought that they don't care enough was not an easy one to bear. I started crying, silently, on my own. Tatsumi was almost asleep when I finished, and I went straight to the bathroom. I spent a few minutes in there, trying to make myself look more composed. Luckily, glasses help to hide red eyes. And then it struck me - why should I bother? He wouldn't notice.

They never do.

So I walked out. I told Tatsumi I was leaving, but he only grunted in reply, and I reassured him I could let myself out.

The outside can be so cold.

It's funny how everyone listens so avidly to my counsel, but the second I start talking about something not related to their lives or their realities, they switch off, hearing my words but not really listening.

The sakura trees are my only refuge left. I've started spending a lot of my time beneath them, just watching the fight for survival. It's beautiful and yet so tragic. Sometimes I try to catch them, but there are too many to save. And what can I do with the ones I seize?

I keep thinking of how to end this. Shinigami don't die their second death easily. And besides, a part of me keeps wondering, what happens when we die again? Are we moved to a new, higher system, maybe keeping tabs on the shinigami we left behind? Are the ex-shinigami looking over us right now?

There are no easy ways for shinigami to die. The most effective has to be burning and then spreading the ashes. That way regeneration is out of the question. Decapitation maybe? But unless the head is removed I might actually survive that. Esanguination is probably not fatal.

Maybe I should ask Muraki. I'm sure he'd be very helpful.

A strong gust of wind makes the branches shake, making even some of the strong petals fall. But I hardly notice this, because I see a few petals have actually been blown right into EnMaCho. I run after them, and most of them have fluttered to the ground by the time I reach them. But one of them is still floating lazily in the air. I blow gently from under it, to keep it afloat.

Yes, this petal is me. Fighting for life, yet being pulled down slowly and inexorably down.

A few moments later it's too far down for me to be able to lift it higher without actually touching it. I could catch it of course, but that would be cheating. If I waited until it finally made it to the ground, then I could pick it up and keep it, preserve it. That way I could prove that a petal can still survive after having fallen all the way.

And finally it does. It rests on the carpet right near the fork of the corridor. I walk towards it slowly, reaching out my fingers to pick it up...

...and Tatsumi walks straight over it, treading on it squarely, as he stops in surprise at seeing me there, outstretched hand to the floor.

"Watari-san?"

I barely hear him. Tatsumi killed my petal. Tatsumi killed it. Tatsumi killed *me*. Something very much like a sob escapes me, and I push him back as gently as I can, kneeling to pick up the disfigured, blackened petal, cradling it gently in my hand.

"Watari-san? Why are you crying?"

I ignore him, looking instead at the remains of my petal - or myself. I'm not sure where one begins and the other ends anymore.

Without a word I stand up and walk out of the building, right to the edge of the lake. Then I let it flutter from my hand to the water, watching its progress with haunted eyes, seeing my dying soul riding on it - or was it the petal itself?

Tatsumi is behind me now, and he keeps asking me if I'm ok. Of course I'm ok. Sarcasm is a wonderful thing. "I'm dead," I tell him finally.

I've got my back to him, but I feel him shake his head. "You've been dead for a long time now, Watari-san."

"That was the first death," I said softly. My voice hardly sounded like myself. "This is the second one."

Silence. I can feel worry radiating from him, and suddenly I feel this crazy urge to laugh. Finally noticed that this scientist *is* as nutty as you all make him out to be, Tatsumi-san?

I start walking towards my sanctuary, making sure to avoid all the petals that were still unscarred and beautiful, to give them their last few moments of life. But Tatsumi is still behind me, and I suddenly realize that this isn't sacred for him, and that he doesn't know that the petals are lives.

"Stop!" I turn to him suddenly, searching the ground to see how many he had stepped on. Letting out a cry, I saw that he had stepped on some previously beautiful ones. "Go away!" I said, running to where he was standing. He moved back, alarm evident in his eyes. And then I realized that to run up to him I had trampled over some of the petals myself.

I let out a wail of frustration, picking all the ones I was guilty of ruining up. "I'm sorry," I told each one, pressing it gently to my lips before I let them escape my grasp again.

"Watari-san," Tatsumi said, this time firmly, very firmly. Uh-oh. He wasn't getting any of this, and he wasn't happy. He pulled me up and started marching with me towards EnMaCho.

"Let me go."

"Soon."

I tried fighting him. I needed to get back to my beautiful dying souls out there, but Tatsumi is stronger than me, both physically and spiritually. I knew this, but still I struggled. I should have known better, then maybe I wouldn't have ended up walking with both my hands crossed in the strong grip of a single hand of his.

When he released me, it was in a locked room, and he deposited me into a chair. I scowled, but I knew that the only way to get out of there without going through the psychoanalysis session he had evidently planned would be to fight him, and that would just get me tied up for the rest of the session.

Great, just great.

Though maybe then it would lead to some hot, kinky bondage sex, which I never turn down.

Or never would turn down, anyway, since I'm never offered.

"Now, Watari-san, can you tell me exactly what the matter is?"

I say nothing, knowing that it is futile. I understand why he's doing this though. Shinigami are a danger - a lot of us end up going out with a bang when the strain proves too great. There are those who burn out alone, and there are others who endanger the whole system with their explosion. And dear Tatsumi was here to make sure that I wasn't about to burn out.

Or if I was, to do it quietly without singeing anyone.

"I asked you a question, Watari-san." I keep my silence. What's the use? "Yutaka," he sighs. "Please don't be like this."

I cannot stop a bitter smile. Yes, Tatsumi, butter me up. Call me by my name. Try to soften my view, whatever that may be. Make me cry my heart out to you because you called me by my name.

Actually, I'm surprised you even remember it. You never could see much beyond your Tzusuki-san.

"You wouldn't understand." He thinks he's gotten somewhere, and maybe he has, just not where he thinks.

"Try me."

I stare at him, mouth slightly open. They're always complaining because they can't understand my explanations even when they're really simple, and he thinks he's going to comprehend this?

"You killed me. You killed me and a few other petals. I was in mourning." If the fact that he doesn't understand wasn't so serious and so sorrowful, the expression on his face would be comical.

"You are a...petal?"

"Drop this while you still retain your sanity, Tatsumi-san."

He's getting more and more worried now. Afraid I'll take you down with me when I fall, Tatsumi-san? Don't worry, I don't think I can manage a bang, I'll settle for floating gently and quietly down, with a cry that no one else, not even the other dying petals can hear.

Except that I think I've already fallen and been ground into the earth.

"And you still have yours?"

I wince. Maybe that wasn't the best response I could have given him. "As much of it as I had yesterday."

He shakes his head and massages his temples in tiredness. "Watari-san..."

"Can I go now?"

"No you cannot go before..."

"Before you know for sure I'm not about to explode and take everyone down with me?"

He looks up at me, eyes slightly wide. No, Tatsumi-san, I cannot read minds. Just a lucky guess.

"Are you about to explode?"

I shrug. I think I already did, and this is just the fizzling away while my soul is extinguished. But I don't think this is a good thing to tell him.

He sighs again. "Watari-san, are you really expecting me to believe that you just went from being normal and great yesterday to a crackpot today?"

Yesterday I was normal, yes. My usual state of being. But great, no. I don't even remember what that feels like.

"Do you care for me, Tatsumi-san?"

"Yes, of course I do."

Automated response, my dear Tatsumi-san. No, you don't. You think you do. But there's nothing in your reality beyond your dear Tzusuki-san, and maybe Kurosaki-kun.

"Then please leave me alone and forget this."

"And what will you do?"

Who knows? Kill myself? Go to the human world, find a beautiful abusive lover who can fuck me senseless and then slit my throat, drink my blood, cut off my head and feed my body to the vultures?

"Work on my potion."

"And why is that so important?"

Why indeed? It's something that has been a part of me for so long that I don't even stop to think why anymore. I wouldn't use it if I created it. It has just been something which I used to need to do, then I wanted to do and so became the focus of my life.

"I wanted to change into a girl. Not anymore, but I still want to create it."

"And why did you wish for that?"

Because I was an effeminate boy anyway. Because I was always getting picked upon. Because I was too pretty for a guy, but still not a girl. Because I liked the boys, not the girls. Because the ones I fell for never looked at me twice because I'm male. Because of that beautiful boy who had hit on me. And because of that disgusted look he gave me when he realized I was not female.

"Because I never looked like a guy even when I cut my hair. Might as well make myself what everyone wanted."

"You should never change just because..."

I let his words wash over me. I've heard this drivel a hundred, a thousand, a million times before. Always be yourself, don't let anyone change you, blah, blah blah......

Sometimes, I wonder if the reason I'm like this is because I can't get laid.

Funnily enough, I'm not a virgin. Surprising to myself, that is. I don't know what the others think about me, but the only time I've gotten laid was by those three guys some years before my death.

Devils, rapists, evil - that's what a lot of people would have called them.

I called them angels.

When you've spent your entire life wishing that anyone would look at you and notice that you weren't just the nerdy guy in glasses who knew more than anyone about academics but was so woefully inept at social interactions, those guys seem heaven sent.

I'm pretty sure that the person who enjoyed that little fest most was myself. I was their perfect little fucktoy. I had never enjoyed anything that much. It was what I had spent my entire life longing for. The touch of someone, even if it wasn't loving so much as abusively sexual, even if it meant nothing beyond satisfying the physical need of there and then, someone had finally accepted me.

My life took a better turning then. Instead of the poor, blushing, awkward guy, I turned into the wacky student everyone knows today. Saying stupid and weird stuff which makes people laugh, but that's ok, because they'd laugh anyway even if you didn't, and this way they'd be laughing with you, not at you, and even when they did, you didn't mind.

And inside? The scared little Yutaka was still there, but Watari had now taken over, and Watari stood for no nonsense. Keep Yutaka happy to keep Watari alive, but make sure Yutaka remains hidden, because if Yutaka appears he'll break down and both of them would die. But Watari was good at keeping Yutaka safe inside, even if he couldn't stop him from looking out.

But Yutaka had been slowly growing, and finally seemed to have burst out. Now it was Watari who was inside, lending support to Yutaka while he watched.

Tatsumi had finished his little speech by now. "Understood, Watari-san?"

"Yes, Tatsumi-san." And Yutaka felt like giggling, because Tatsumi didn't know that it was Yutaka, not Watari, and it felt good to know something that he didn't.

"And how do you feel now?"

Like I want to jump you and fuck you silly. No, make that be fucked silly by you. Like I want to jump off the highest building in the world, except that it wouldn't be high enough, however high it is. Like I want to dance in a fire, except that the dance would burn me and Watari away. Or maybe it would burn only me away. Or maybe only Watari. Who would remain?

"Like I could really tackle a couple of experiments I've got in my mind."

He nods, half convinced. Never been too good at seeing inside anyone other than Tzusuki-san, were you, Tatsumi-san?

"Then you can leave. If you need anything, you know where I'll be."

Yes, in your office. Adding up your precious numbers and 'being there' for Tzusuki and little Hisoka. Unless you're feeling depressed. In which case, drop by Watari's lab. He's always there to lend a hand and a comforting shoulder.

Except that Watari's not there anymore, it's Yutaka in control now.

"In your office of course," I stand up while he unlocks the door.

"Anything else?" he asks as he opens the door.

Inwardly I giggle. What could I tell him?

I'm horny.

I feel like singing, crying, yelling, whispering, loving, hating.

I'm going to go kill myself now.

"Not really."

And he lets me go. And off to the human world I go, happier than I've ever been. It's easy to start a fire. All you need is a big Australian forest and a tiny spark of fire. Within minutes, it's a blazing inferno. A tribute to the gods, or to the demons?

It doesn't really matter anyway.

A laugh, a run and I'm in the middle of the blaze. I don't know if I'm laughing or screaming until my vocal chords don't exist anymore.

The sakura soul falls to the ground. And the others fall on top of him, burying him, hiding him beneath them, as the other three, the luckier triangle, holds on tight to the tree and to each other.

And the sakura soul is ground into the earth.

~ Fin.