Disclaimer: Don't own anything, you should know this.
A/N: This story contains only brotherly love, no Slash, Shonen-ai or Romance of any kind is suggested at all in this fic, so get your heads out of the gutters!
A/N2: I wrote this because Itsuki was my favorite character! I think he was the best part of the whole game! I thought it was so cool that there was a ghost that you could actually talk to. Of course his cute white hairedness was a plus . I love white hair!
The Night Before...
Troubled pale blue eyes tracked aimlessly across a wooden ceiling. The owner of those eyes sighed softly and glanced around the room. The room was a girl's room, decorated with bright red wall hangings and small female dolls. A single lamp stood in the center of the room in between two pillows. An alter was built into one of the walls, two identical male dolls were set in front of it facing each other. One of the dolls had a bright red string hanging from it's waist. The boy flinched away from the sight and rolled over on the bed, burying his face against his pillow, trying to block out all the reminders of what was to come within the next day.
Tachibana Mutsuki was awakened by his twin's movements and he rolled over, placing a hand on the other boys shoulder, "Itsuki?"
Itsuki turned his head so that he faced his brother and opened his eyes. He glanced up at his twins concerned eyes, eyes identical to his own, then looked away. He was having a lot of trouble looking at his brother lately.
Mutsuki frowned, "You can't sleep?" he asked gently.
Itsuki just shook his head, still refusing to look up.
Mutsuki nodded, "Just relax, close your eyes..." he said gently, rubbing the older twin's shoulder in a way that he had often done in the past when his brother couldn't sleep.
Itsuki grimaced and slapped his brother's hand away, sitting up, "How can you be so calm about this?"
His brother sighed, "Itsuki..." he started.
"How can you act like nothing's wrong...you're going to die tomorrow!" Itsuki cried.
"You don't act like it!"
"What would you have me do?" Mutsuki asked helplessly.
Itsuki paused for a moment, thinking then he gripped his brother's shoulders, "We could run away. Right now. We could leave here and never look back!"
But Mutsuki was already shaking his head, "And where would that leave us? Forsaking our duty and leaving all we've ever known behind?"
"I don't care, I don't care! Please Mutsuki!" Itsuki pleaded.
"If we leave, Yae and Sae will take our place." Mutsuki stated, "They would have to suffer for our cowardice. No, Itsuki, I will not do that to them, they don't deserve that. If it can be helped, I would see them spared."
Itsuki slumped, knowing there was no arguing. He loved Sae. If he ran she would die. Tears formed in his eyes and he leaned his head against his brother's chest, "I don't want to kill you! I don't want to kill you! Please don't make me kill you!" he cried.
Mutsuki held his brother close, stroking the black hair, "It'll be alright Itsuki. We'll always be together, I promise."
Itsuki shook his head, his voice thick with tears, "No we won't, I'll kill you tomorrow and I'll never see you again."
Mutsuki pulled back and lifted his twin's face, brushing away the tears, "That's not true. You will make me one with you tomorrow, and we'll always be together. I will always be with you brother, even if you can't see me."
Itsuki looked down again and shook his head, "I don't want to be one with you. I want you here, the way you always have been." he buried his face in his hands, "Why must I do this?"
"You must because you must. The Village depends on us." Mutsuki said simply, pulling his suffering twin back into his arms, "No matter what happens, you know I will forgive you. In the end, I will forgive you Itsuki."
Itsuki's only response was to break down into quiet sobs.
Itsuki clenched his hands until he feared his fingernails would break the skin. He kept his head down as he and his brother were led through the underground tunnels beneath the village. Nothing seemed real anymore, he couldn't believe that he was about to kill his twin.
The journey was too short in his mind. Mere moments until he was staring down at the pillows that served as a sacrificial alter...and the place of his brother's death. The Room was lit with seemingly hundreds of candles leaving much of the room in shadows and making the passage in front of him appear as a gaping mouth. Itsuki swallowed hard, feeling as if he was going to be sick.
The many veiled village priests were still filling into the room, forming a circle around the two. Mutsuki glanced at his twin. Itsuki was terribly pale, and a faint tremble shook his form. The candles reflected off the glaringly red cord that connected them around the waist, giving Itsuki's ceremonial white kimono a reddish hue.
The priests finished filing in and the faint footsteps of the Ceremony Master could be heard as he approached from the same path they had taken. It was now or never, Mutsuki decided.
"Itsuki?" Mutsuki whispered.
Itsuki looked at his brother, his blue eyes looking wide. He didn't say anything but his eyes asked a question.
"I want you to promise me something." Mutsuki continued.
Itsuki blinked, "What?" he asked, please, please don't ask for something I can't give you...
"No matter what happens, promise me Yae and Sae will not have to go through this. Promise me that?"
Itsuki smiled wanly, "I promise, Mutsuki, I promise."
Mutsuki returned the faint smile and returned his gaze to the pillows lying before them. He reached to the side for Itsuki's hand.
Itsuki swallowed gazing at Mutsuki awhile longer before taking his twin's hand.
Itsuki resisted the urge to flinch when the Ceremony Master arrived, standing right behind them. The Priests began to chant softly and Itsuki gripped his twin's hand tighter.
The Ceremony Master signaled an end to the chant and stepped forward with a knife. He motioned the twins apart.
Itsuki reluctantly released his brother's hand and turned to face his twin as Mutsuki did the same.
The Ceremony master reached forward and, taking the red cord in hand, severed it at Itsuki's end, releasing it to hang free from Mutsuki's waist.
Itsuki knew it was just symbolic but he flinched as if he had actually been cut.
The Ceremony Master stepped back and joined the Priests without giving the twins any direction.
Itsuki and Mutsuki had no need of it though, they new what was expected of them. Mutsuki moved first kneeling on one of the pillows. Itsuki hesitated long enough that the priests began to shift uneasily. When Itsuki stiffly moved to kneel on the pillow opposite his brother the crowd visibly relaxed. Itsuki could feel his brother's gaze on him but he refused to look at him. Looking into his brother's eyes would surely undo him.
There was a long moment of silence. One of the priest's staffs hit the stone floor with a metallic clang and shattered the silence. The priest moved to do it again and the rest of the priests followed suite. Soon the entire chamber thrummed with the rhythm of the drumming.
Itsuki knew what the sound signaled and without looking reached for his brother's neck. His hands clasped smooth skin and he felt his brother stiffen.
"Itsuki..." His brother's voice was faint but he heard it like thunder. It wavered with fear.
Itsuki looked up sharply, hands clasped loosely around Mutsuki's throat. As he met his eyes he saw and felt his brother relax again. He gave a slightly encouraging smile. Itsuki's eyes widened as he understood. Mutsuki didn't want his brother to look away, he wanted to look into his twin's eyes.
Itsuki shook his head, no! No! He could not do this! He could not look into his brother's eyes as he killed him! He could not watch the light fade! NO! He started to retreat, his hands pulling away from his brother's neck.
The thrumming sound of the staves became louder and more frantic and the Ceremony Master stepped forward.
Mutsuki saw and grabbed his brother's hands, guiding them gently back to his neck, "It's all right Itsuki! It's all right! You must do this! Please! Itsuki please kill me!"
Itsuki shook his head, "I...I..."
"Kill me!" Mutsuki shouted, begged.
Itsuki was frozen by the cry. He saw the desperate plea in his brother's eyes. Tears blurred his vision as he forced himself to tighten his hands around his brother's throat. Mutsuki did not fight him and Itsuki tightened his hands until he saw his twin's breathing cease and he could feel the frantic pulse of his heartbeat against his palms. He saw the pain and instinctive fear in Mutsuki's eyes but he never once struggled. Mutsuki's hands fell away from his and he collapsed. Itsuki followed him down, gently straddling his chest to keep the pressure on his throat. If he let go now he would only have to start over. He would not lengthen Mutsuki's suffering...and he didn't know if he'd have the courage to do it again. Mutsuki's eyes closed and Itsuki's did the same. He concentrated only on the pulse beating against his hands. The rhythm of the staves seemed to throb in time with his brother's heartbeat. How long it was he did not know but it seemed centuries before the steady pulse fultered, slowed, then faded away all together. He continued to hold on for a long moment before his hands finally loosened and fell heavily to his sides. The thrumming of the staves ceased as one.
Itsuki's harsh breathing was loud in the painfully silent room. His eyes drifted open and he stared in shock at the still form of his twin, an angry red mark marring his throat. Itsuki swallowed hard and winced in surprised pain. He reached up and felt his own throat, discovering the same mark etched into his own flesh.
How long it was before he regained the strength to look up he didn't know but he immediately noticed the concern on the faces of the priests around him. He blinked. What was wrong?
The priests began to mutter amongst each other but the Ceremony Master made a sharp gesture to silence them. He motioned to the Mourners standing nearby.
Itsuki stood up as the Mourners picked up his brother's body and started carrying it to the pit further down the tunnels. The Ceremony Master gripped Itsuki's arm as they all followed the Mourners. Itsuki allowed himself to be led as he was feeling more then a little numb.
The passageway leading to his twin's final resting-place was a blank to Itsuki and he only truly became aware as the Mourners prepared to throw the body into the dark abyss. He moved away from the Ceremony Master and watched as his brother's body disappeared into the blackness. He waited for what was supposed to happen next...but nothing happened. No Crimson Butterfly flew from the darkness and Itsuki felt nothing but loss. There had been no joining. Mutsuki had not become one with him.
The priests bowed their heads and began to file out. The Ceremony Master let out a frustrated growl of "Failure!" before following them.
Itsuki remained staring into the pits dark depths in shock. Failure? He had failed...
He had slain his brother...for nothing.
Itsuki collapsed next to the pit, head bowed so low it nearly touched his knees. I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry...I failed you Mutsuki! I failed!
No tears would come though, he could do nothing more then stare. A strand of his hair fell into his eyes and he blinked, startled, touching it. He let out a loud sigh and let his hand fall limply back to his side.
His midnight black hair had turned completely white.
The Night After
Itsuki lay in his bed silently. He had been completely listless since the moment he had returned home. He had barely heard his sister Chitose's greeting and when her many questions had turned to the absence of Mutsuki, Itsuki had pointedly tuned out her voice. He thought it unfair that Chitose had been completely unaware of her brother's fate. Anxiety suddenly boiled in his stomach and he instinctively reached to the side for Mutsuki's hand. It was not there.
Itsuki blinked and glanced to the other side of the bed, empty and cold.
The reality of it all seemed to suddenly crash in on him and a strangled sob escaped his throat. His brother was dead.
He rolled onto his side and curled into a tight ball. Pain tore at his insides as the tears ran freely down his face. It hurt. It hurt so bad.
"Mutsuki..." he moaned. His throat closed and refused to let him say more. Why, he thought, why? Why did this happen? Why did I fail? Why did you leave me? Why did you have to make me kill you?
Why couldn't it have been me? You were always stronger then me Mutsuki always! Why did you have to be the one to die!
He finally abandoned the thoughts and simply let the grief take him. His tears soaking the bed mattress and body shaking with intense sobs.
So it was that he didn't hear the door to his room slide open, or hear the tiny bells chiming.
"...Itsuki?" a soft voice called.
Itsuki forced himself to stop crying as the voice of his little sister cut through his grief. He wiped the tears from his face as he turned to look at her. "Chitose? What is it?" he asked gently, his voice wavering slightly.
She shifted nervously, she had heard him crying and was worried. "I...it's very dark...I was scared..." she whispered instead.
Itsuki forced himself to smile and motioned for her to join him.
She returned the smile and closed the door silently behind her. She walked over and slid into the bed lying against the safety of her brother's body.
Itsuki wrapped one arm around her small body protectively and as was habit in these situations, Chitose was often frightened into her brother's room, began stroking her black hair.
Chitose snuggled in under the covers. She hesitated a long moment before speaking, "Itsuki?"
"Yes?" Itsuki's voice was more silent and hesitant then she ever remembered it being.
"What happened today...why are you so sad?"
Itsuki stiffened slightly, "I...cannot tell you Chitose. " he sighed finally, "One...day you will know, but not now."
Chitose frowned, "Where...where's Mutsuki? No one would tell me."
She heard Itsuki swallow hard and his breathing quickened slightly. She regretted the question...but she was worried, about both of her brothers.
"He...he had to leave...you...you won't be able to...see him...again." he replied, his voice was terribly shaky and she felt something wet through her hair. He was crying!
Chitose didn't know how to take this. One of her brother's had left? Wouldn't be coming back? Why? She felt tears prick her eyelids. "Is that why you are so sad?"
"Yes, Chitose...I...miss him...very much...I feel as if I have...failed him. I couldn't...do what he asked me..."
"What did he ask you?" Chitose asked innocently. She was curious but she also wanted to help. Itsuki sounded so sad, it made her sad.
"He made me promise something, but...now I can't do what I promised..." Itsuki had failed the ceremony, now Yae and Sae would have to do it. He couldn't protect them.
"Why?" Chitose's second innocent question made him stop.
His failure in the ritual would mean Yae and Sae would have to perform it but there would be some time in between then and now.
Time enough to escape.
They could leave using the same path he had wanted to use with Mutsuki.
He would help them escape and fulfill his promise to his brother.
He smiled faintly and hugged his sister.
"It's not so important, don't worry about it ok?"
Chitose blinked at the change, but his voice wasn't so faint and he wasn't crying anymore. Everything was fine again. Smiling she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Itsuki remained awake, thinking through his plan. It had to work.
Even if it cost him his own life in the end, Yae and Sae would be free.
With that last thought, Itsuki allowed himself to sleep.
Yup, that's the end :) Thank you for reading! You only have one thing more to do!
Gogo: Obviously someone didn't read the author's note at the beginning! There is no shonen-ai in this fic! There is no Twincest here! So stop implying that there is cause there isn't, I should know, I wrote it! Two guys who care about each other doesn't make them gay (not that I have anything against Gays, I think it's cool, but there is none of that here). And they share a bed, so what, they are Identicle twins! A lot of Identicle twins share rooms and sometimes beds when they are younger. Other then that, I am glad you liked the story and am happy you reviewed:)
Miyuki: Thank you! You didn't finish the story? Or do you mean you didn't finish the games?
Ssss: What the...don't you have better things to do then to send one letter long reviews?
Garnet Marionette: Thank you! I get a lot of that with this story :)
Manami: I know it was... here have a cookie, make it all better:) gives a cookie
Kurai Yume: Yeah, Itsuki's awesome! Hehe! Glad you liked the story!
aya-yahiko: hehe! I already responded to your Review but hey! So what! I felt exactly the same way! Itsuki was my main attraction to the game in the first place!
Grasshopper-chan: Mine too! Yeah took me awhile to notice it too. I'd pretty much given up on the idea after they didn't put it up after myself and others bugged them over and over again to add it.
Apple-chan: I feel exactly the same way! The Tachibana characters were the best and I hated fighting Chitose too! Felt so sorry for her! If I think of any other ideas I will surely begin writing them. :)
deity ritual: Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
Crimson Sacrifice: I'm sorry you cried! gives a cookie there all better!
ZeroShot: Yeah, it is :) Angst is fun :)
In a mix: for all the twins and how they're connected? A fic about that? That would be incredably long...and boring to write...maybe you should write it...anyway, I'm so glad you liked the story:)
Violet Blossoms: Well yeah, I think that too, but this was written from Itsuki's perspective...and somehow I don't think he sees it that way...well, yeah, glad you liked the story :)
Maria Haruka Takino: I actually got the lyrics from someone else, so yeah, I thought I had done my work, well anyway,they're gone now so it doesn't really matter :) anyway glad you liked the story!