Disclaimer: While I am working with the beautiful and messed up American legal system to gain the rights to the Harry Potter series, it has not happened as of yet. Therefore, the Harry Potter series is owned by J.K Rowling, and I own didley squat. No, owning the little dinky fan fiction does not ease my pain.
Western Blood, Eastern Life Revised
Hoshimi Yamino stood in the center of a bare room with naught but practice mats in the expansive space. Sweat beaded on her brow, but her hand did not rise to wipe it away. In fact, she did not seem to notice it as she shut her eyes and held a long pole with a small saber level with her eyes. Her naginata, was the only thing in her world right now, and she swung it outward beginnning another practice dance. Her body moved fluidly, a testament to her hours upon days upon years of practice. Every move was so ingrained into her muscles that her mind could wander and wander it did.
So he was dead. Her father. It was a surprise to be sure. She had thought he was still in Azkaban, serving for a crime he did not commit. It was what had kept her going all those years without him. How could he have been there for her when he was locked away by those sick bastards? But according to what that old man, Dumbledore her mind supplied for her, had said that he had been out for two years. How was that to be explained? It was simple she supposed. Her mother had always said that her father loved his best friend more than her. He would have been with his God son in those two years, never once thinking about his daughter or his wife. Now, she would never meet him.
She wasn't sad though, not at all. Instead she seethed with an indignant anger that she was not sure she could control. It burned through her veins and singed her skin in its attempts to find an outlet. She wouldn't express that anger though, even if it ate her alive. She had been taught to be a stone, to let all emotions wash over her, never breaking its placid surface, and she'd be damned if she let herself lose face. No, she was better off keeping it inside for the rest of life.
Dimly, as though from far away, she heard the door slide open, and a pair of near inaudible feet slid over the bamboo mats. The owner wasn't wearing shoes she decided as she stilled the movements and turned toward the interloper. She then dropped into a respectful bow as she realized it was her mother. What was she doing here? She was supposed to be having breakfast with Great-Uncle. She held the position achingly as she waited for her mother to address her, her curiosity starting to gnaw at her, out weighing her own inner turmoil.
"Ohayou musume-chan. How are you my daughter?" Hoshimi rose, not missing the underlying current of worry in her mother's words. It would've been undetectable to anyone else, but she and her mother were close, and they understood one another as no one else could. Was her mother worried on how she was taking the death of her father? She shouldn't have been.
"Ohayou Okaa-san. I'm fine. How are you?" Her mother's eyes regarded her carefully, the only part of her that sparked with any emotion, and that was hard consideration.
"I'm well. Your Great-Uncle was wondering if you and Asayake-san would join us for breakfast this morning." Hoshimi blinked, the only sign of her surprise. Why would he want to see her and Asayake? He didn't even like Asayake. He said that she was uncouth and wild. She did not say anything though. She merely bowed again.
"Hai, we'll be there as soon as we are able." Her mother accepted this answer and returned the bow before turning and exiting the room, the soft swish of the door sliding shut the only audible sign of her exit. Hoshimi did not sit there to ponder though. She put her naginata back on its stand and exited the room, turning in an opposite direction than she was sure her mother had gone, making her way back to her room.
She slid the door shut and slipped out of her clothes, wiping the sweat from her body with a towel and pulling on her kimono, the fragile silk sliding over her body, then tied tightly but neatly by her silk obi. She braided her black hair tightly then tied it up in an ornate style on the back of her head. She glanced into the mirror and appraised her appearance. She should've bathed. She knew that. Her great-uncle would not be pleased at such impropriety, but it was the best she could do on such short notice.
She sighed and sat, picked up her wand, its deep red wood shining in the morning light. What was all of this about? She cast the spell for apparition and found herself in Asayake's room, the only sound of her arrival was a slice of air, much like that a sword would make. Much quieter than the British's spell, she mused silently. Then she looked over at Asayake's bed and raised a slim eyebrow.
There was a reason Asayake was disliked by her Great-Uncle, and that was her promiscuity. As Hoshimi looked at the tangle of bodies sprawled on the girl's bed messily, she tried to see how many there were, but lost count at four. Looked like Asayake had been having fun with out her again.
One of the young men, of which there were at least two, opened his eyes and saw her. He gave a grin and silently untangled himself from the knot of flesh, making his way toward her, fully unclothed, and unashamed of it.
"Ohayou Hoshimi-chan, did you come to join us?" He reached out and brushed her cheek with his fingers before pulling her gently to him and kissing her softly, full of intentions that Hoshimi wished she could have indulged in. Asayake was not the only one with a reputation at their old school. Both Hoshimi and Asayake had been famous for their sexual freedom and their willingness to share it, and the man knew that. He also knew her though. Very well.
She pushed him away lightly and shook her head. "I'm sorry Kanaye-kun, I wish I could, but I'm here to fetch Asayake. We've been summoned to break fast with Great-Uncle."
Kanaye raised dark eyebrows as he let out a low whistle and ran a hand through his gold streaked hair, his playful black eyes widening. "The Emperor wants to see Asayake? Does he want to force her to commit Seppuku?"
Hoshimi gave a small shrug and sighed. "I wish that I knew... Can you wake her for me? I have no wish to wake the others, and, hopefully, she can get back to them all later."
His hand was once again on her cheek as he turned her to face him. "Hopefully, you can join us." He didn't wait for her answer, knowing what it would've been. He instead turned and gently pulled Asayake from the tangle of bodies. The girl opened one angry red eye and shook Kanaye off, turning to face Hoshimi, fixing that angry red glare on her.
"What the hell do you want this early in the morning?" She whispered fiercely, making her way toward Hoshimi to the point that Hoshimi took a step back, afraid the angry naked girl would hit her.
"Great-Uncle has summoned us both to break fast with him. Get presentable." Hoshimi watched as Asayake stopped dead and her mouth opened and shut many times, giving her the appearance of a fish. Had Hoshimi still been at school, she would've laughed. Not now though. Not now.
Asayake continued to stand there and Hoshimi gave the softest of sighs, waving her wand and performing a cleaning charm on the girl, washing away the scents of liquor and sex. She then summoned a kimono for the girl and helped the shocked Asayake into it.
Hoshimi then pulled away and gave an apologetic look to the awoken party. "I'm sorry everyone. I promise she'll be back in a while." She then apparated back to her room followed closely by Asayake.
The trek to the dining room was a silent one. Neither girl asked questions of the other. They both knew that no one had the answers, but they still could not help but wonder. Why? Hoshimi knew full well that she was not her Great-Uncle's favorite like her mother. Quite the opposite in fact, the only thing that kept her in her Great-Uncle's household and not on the streets was the promise that Hoshimi would not behave like she had at school. Oh, how she regretted that promise from a year ago. She was effectively trapped by the constrictions of her life, and she wished she could run away from it. Something that would never happen. It was proving itself as she walked closer and closer to her Great-Uncle's room.
And closer she got. Before she truly knew what was happening, she was on her knees in front of the door next to Asayake, gently rapping on one of the bamboo frames. She heard her Great-Uncle calling her inside, and she took a deep breath, schooling her features into what she hoped was purely passive. She then opened the door, getting to her feet, and walked inside.
Her Great-Uncle looked up at her along with her mother, her mother with her black eyes and her Great-Uncle with his green eyes that glowed with the wisdom of his years. When she was younger, he smiled at her, but now, with her improprieties, he merely looked at her sternly. It was a well gossiped about subject in her family, how she fell from being the favorite to being the shunned. She ignored their whisperings but it still hurt.
"Ohayou Great-Uncle..." She dropped into a respectful bow along with Asayake, and she could feel him appraising her appearance. No doubt he found it less than satisfactory. She really could not help it though, but she still found herself wanting to squirm under that disapproving gaze. Oh, how she wished he would let her stand up and face him.
Finally the command came and Hoshimi and Asayake took their places opposite Hoshimi's Great-Uncle and mother. Hoshimi cast her eyes downward and clutched her hands tightly beneath the table, waiting for her Great-Uncle to begin. Asayake, who did not much care that the Emperor of Magical Japan disliked her, was not so patient or so afraid.
"Why have you summoned us here?" Asayake asked, finding it hard to fight the sting present in her voice. In the case of Asayake and Great-Uncle, the feeling of loathing was rather mutual, and Hoshimi loved her for it. Great- Uncle looked at her in annoyance, but there was no surprise in those wise eyes. He was a typical Chi. one of the reasons that Asayake and Great Uncle did not get along was the loathing of their school clans.
Hi, the fire clan, was hot blooded and impulsive, but they were also the bravest of them all. Chi, the earth clan, on the other hand, was calm, the learners, and they were often the advisers, but they also liked to be in charge, something that conflicted with the Hi leadership quality. They clashed badly. Kage, the shadow clan, was Hoshimi's clan, and it happened to get on well with both clans. Sneaky and reclusive, the Kage were born spies and had no qualms with using underhanded tactics to get ahead. However, it was that attitude that was another factor of her Great-Uncle's dislike of her, and it showed as he ignored Asayake entirely and turned to Hoshimi with open disapproval in his eyes.
"We received word from the Hogwart's headmaster Dumbledore-san that Voldemort has made his presence known to the world." Nothing Hoshimi did not know. Her father had been killed in that spectacle. She felt her fists clench beneath the table as a flash of white hot anger burned through her. Who it was for, she did not know, nor did she wish to think on it. Instead, she focused on her Great-Uncle as he looked at her, something akin to consideration in his eyes.
Apparently he liked what he saw enough not to comment on it, because he continued with his little speech instead. "Dumbledore-san has requested our aid, but, after the last war, I am reluctant to give it." Coward, Hoshimi thought savagely and without remorse, never mind that he had lost his only son in that war.
He continued, unaware of his great-niece's thoughts. "This is why I have decided to send a couple of... surveyors to go in and assess the strengths of Dumbledore-san and his forces."
Asayake glared openly at the man as Hoshimi absorbed the information. Asayake looked beyond angry though and Hoshimi feared the next words out of the girl's mouth. Therefore, Hoshimi spoke first.
"You want us to go and work with Dumbledore-sama for the pure purpose of assessing their chances of winning. That's very American of you Great- Uncle." Great-Uncle did not react to the barb; he actually looked a little impressed that she would make such a connection, but that would not last long.
"In a word Hoshimi-kun, yes." Hoshimi fought the urge to grimace. She did not like the idea in the least, and she did not like that she and Asayake had been chosen for it.
"Why us Great-Uncle? Surely there are more experienced candidates..."
He shook his head, and she quickly fell silent, not wanting to be scolded. He did not seem to notice it though. "No Hoshimi, It would be best to send you two, because you are of age and can join the Hogwarts exchange program. Joining Dumbledore's school is a good cover."
"But no one has done that in over twenty years!" That was most definitely Asayake's exclamation of outrage, and Hoshimi could not blame her. Being sent to England for two years, the usual amount of time, was no idea of a vacation. These trips had been stopped, because not only did all the participants hate it, but they didn't learn anything new in Hogwarts. To be sent on one was the same as being exiled, and Hoshimi blinked to clear her eyes from the tears of shame filling them.
"Asayake-san, you are out of line." Her mother's voice. Asayake backed down. Asayake respected Kuroimi, and she was one of the few people that Asayake would listen to and not get angry. Kuroimi watched Asayake a moment longer before turning her attention to Hoshimi.
"This is not the only reason you specifically were chosen Hoshimi-chan. As you know, you have many cousins around your age that could have been chosen." Hoshimi nodded and her mother continued. "You were chosen because you have to carry on your father's wishes, and meet your betrothed, and protect him as your father had done."
Hoshimi looked up at her mother, fighting the urge to lash out. Marry or die for a boy she had never met and had no wish to meet? Was she really supposed to stand for this? She looked over at her Great-Uncle, trying to hide her desperation.
"Great-Uncle, surely you will not let me marry some uncouth Brit, who's no better than an American." Immediately, Hoshimi knew she had gone too far. Her mother slammed her fist on the table and glared angrily at Hoshimi, who flinched visibly and lowered her head.
"Yamino Hoshimi! You will do well to remember that you are half an uncouth Brit, and it is showing right now!" Hoshimi looked up at her mother and jutted out her small, pointed chin, silently challenging her mother. Of course, she lost and lowered her head, murmuring apologies softly.
Great-Uncle nodded his head and regarded Hoshimi a moment, and she thought she saw a flash of pity and regret in his eyes, but it was gone the moment she blinked. Had she imagined it or did her Great-Uncle agree with her? She would never find out, because, in the next moment, Great-Uncle had clapped his hands together solemnly, and all eyes turned to him.
"With all of this settled, you girls are dismissed to go and pack and say your final farewells, term starts tomorrow and you have a long apparition trip ahead of you."
Asayake opened her mouth to protest again, but Hoshimi's fist crashed down onto the girl's leg, and she smartly shut up. Then, both girls stood and bowed, murmuring farewells and backing out of the room.
Once the girls were out of the room, and had walked a little ways, so as to be out of earshot, Asayake promptly put her foot through one of the screen walls and let out a shriek of frustration.
"What the hell is wrong with those... those... Kisama!" Hoshimi winced at the word. Though she had used many times in the past, Asayake always managed to put an emphasis on it that made it sound worse than it was, if that were possible.
Hoshimi led the girl back to her room, shutting the door and placing silencing charms on it. No one would hear what they had to say.
"Hoshimi! How can you let them boss you around like that?" Asayake cried at Hoshimi as the silent girl sat down on her futon and buried her head in her hands. Asayake sat down next to her and pulled the smaller girl into her arms. "You weren't always like this Hoshimi-chan."
"And that's why I'm in this mess now..." Hoshimi sighed and buried her face in the side of Asayake's neck, closing her eyes and enjoying the feeling of Asayake's hands as then undid her hair and let it fall loose down her back.
"Hai, I know." Asayake sighed as well, running her fingers through Hoshimi's long dark hair. "Well, there's only one thing to be done now."
Hoshimi raised her head and looked up at the girl who was in many ways her mentor, her friend, and her lover. "What?"
Asayake grinned and ruffled Hoshimi's hair. "We pack, we get changed, and we throw a party at my house that no one will forget. I know for a fact that a certain boy, who has been missing you. will be there."
Hoshimi's eyes widened a little. "Who?"
Emperor Kisho watched his great-niece and her less than savory friend leave the room before he sighed and got up from his place behind the table. He turned and made his way out to the veranda and watched the sun climb into the sky. He could not help but regret sending Hoshimi away from Japan. The land of the rising sun was the girl's home, and she felt the same affinity to it that he himself felt, and she was the only one who reminded him of his son Ken'ichi, who had died all so long ago. She had such vitality. Well, she used to anyway. She had been noticeably subdued since he had discovered her school activities and put a stop to them. Ever since then it was as though she had lost her appreciation for everything.
Now, he was sending her to the dismal and rainy England to go to a school he knew she would dislike, to marry a man she did not know, nor wish to know. She would never love him. He knew that. That boy had kept her father away from her, and, now that the scum underneath Kisho's boot was dead, she would never forgive the boy for it. He let out a soft sigh as his sister's daughter came up behind him and kneeled in the doorway, waiting to be addressed.
He turned to look at her, taking in her still beautiful features, still young. She could easily take another husband. She wouldn't though. She loved that Sirius Black too much to dishonor him in such a way. Never mind that the man had not seen his family since his daughter had been born, which was nearly sixteen years now. He would not question her decision though. However, he would speak his mind on Hoshimi's behalf.
"If she does not wish to marry the boy, I will not force her." Kuroimi looked up in surprise, her black eyes meeting his green ones in undisguised shock. What had she been expecting in all truthfulness?
"Tooji-sama, why? It was decided between us when they were born." He beckoned her to rise and pointed up to the sun, its rays shining down on the land.
"This is her home Kuroimi-chan; I will not make her marry someone who will take her away from that. If she can find a better alliance, which she has, I will not keep her from it." Kuroimi watched the rays, her black eyes pools of shadow, so dark that he could not tell what she was thinking.
"What better match has she found Tooji-sama?" He turned to fully face her and waited until she looked at him.
"Kanaye of the Ryuu family is one of her lovers, and he provides a very good alliance with a very powerful family, and she likes him, unlike this boy you want her to marry, who I strongly doubt she will ever come to more than tolerate."
Kuroimi sighed and buried her face in her hands. "I hope you're right Tooji- sama..."
Loud music, lots of liquor, plenty of good young men and young women, plenty of sex, and, most importantly, plenty of Kanaye and Asayake. That was how Hoshimi spent her last night in Japan and she did not regret a minute of it. It was really quite a send off, and she didn't even mind the buzzing in her head that came from the after affects of the alcohol. She merely curled closer to the male body beside her as the grey of pre-dawn slipped through the windows and over to their corner. His arms came tighter around her, and she knew then that he was awake. She did not hurry to look up at him though, knowing that if she showed herself as awake, she would have to leave, and she did not want to leave, not yet, not now, not ever.
"Hoshimi-chan, it's nearly time for you to get up." Damn him. Didn't he want her to stay? She whimpered and buried her face against his chest, stubbornly ignoring him.
She heard him chuckle softly and felt his arms wrap around her, his hand burying in her knotted hair, a testament to her activities last night. His other hand gently stroked her side, and she shivered against him. Damn him for knowing how ticklish she was.
Luckily, the hand was only there a moment before it came to her chin and tilted her head up, so that she could face him. He gave her a smile and kissed her lips gently; a kiss which quickly deepened and turned more heated, but, before it could go anywhere, he pulled away, stroking her cheek with his thumb.
"I'm going to miss you," she murmured and was rewarded with another kiss. It was obviously what he wanted to hear. She would miss him too. She liked him, and she liked what he could stir in her. But she knew better than to get attached to him. Nothing lasting would ever happen between them anyway, so loving him was not worth the tears.
Sighing, she pulled away from him and pulled herself up, working her way through the sprawled limbs over to the pile of clothes in the opposite corner. She retrieved the short black dress that she had worn to the party the night before and slipped it back on. But before she could go any farther, Kanaye had reached her, and he looped his arms around her waist, pulling her against him, and running kisses along her collarbone.
"When will you come back and see me?" He whispered softly, his voice husky as he bit into her skin, causing her to gasp. Damn him for knowing her body so well.
"As soon as I can." She rasped out then stepped out of his embrace, grabbing her coat and fishing for her wand. She pulled it out of the pocket and pulled on the coat. Then she turned back to Kanaye and pulled his head down, kissing him fiercely and passionately.
When she finally released him, they were both breathless, and he was grinning, despite the situation. "When you get back from all this, We'll talk to your Great-Uncle about marriage ne?"
She swallowed roughly and quickly smoothed her face, making sure she didn't give anything away. Then she gave him an uneasy smile and kissed him again. "We'll do that. I'll see you in about two years. Sayonara."
Then she apparated back to her room before he could say anything more.