Title: Someone Who Will Cherish Me
Disclaimer: All characters and situations belong to Shuri Shiozu.
Notes: Kanau is my favourite character. So, of course, I write what is possibly the longest one-shot I've ever written about him in pain. (Yes, 2000 words really is long for me. Mostly I end up finishing at about 500 words. Stupid, isn't it?) This is also partially an exercise in present tense for me. Please forgive any mistakes there might be. (I was three hundred words from the end when I first thought 'you know, this might not be the best idea I've ever had'.)
It's been a long time since Kanau died, but he remembers every second of it; how the cold, black river filled his lungs, making it impossible to breathe; choking as he inhaled icy water; struggling to speak, to cry out senpai and help. As everything goes dark, he wonders vaguely if he has drowned in his own tears.
He awakens to find himself intangible and he has certain epiphanies. One is that senpai killed him and this hurts Kanau, hurts him so much that he wishes he were still in the river and properly dead and gone. The second is that he cannot hate senpai, cannot hate the face that (sneered) smiled at him so lovingly, cannot hate the hands that (let go) held his so tightly, cannot hate the mouth that (lied) touched his in such achingly beautiful kisses. He cannot hate senpai, and it is this, more than anything else, that makes him wish that the darkness had never left him.
Fifteen years pass, in one way or another, and Kanau is not absolutely unhappy until one day, he sees a boy with senpai's smile and the sweetness that senpai had always seemed to have is apparent in every gesture.
Fascinated by this boy (senpai), he moves closer, watching the play of emotions on his face as a bigger boy comes up behind him and slides his arms around his waist.
"Ha – Hasunuma!"
Hasunuma smiles and lets go, but not before planting a kiss on the boy's (senpai's) cheek.
"Mitsuo…" drawls Hasunuma teasingly. "Come on, the bell's already rung. We'll be late if you don't hurry."
"H-hai!" stammers Mitsuo, blushing deeply, and he scuttles down the corridor. Hasunuma's long legs easily catch up in moments, and Kanau speculates fleetingly; if he had had those legs, that kind of body, would senpai have loved him more? Then he dismisses the thought, because senpai married at twenty, a girl with short legs and dark, intense eyes and he's never known if she saw the sad, haunted look in senpai's own.
Kanau can't resist the temptation to follow Mitsuo (senpai? Senpai, help…) to class and he is even more intrigued when Mitsuo appears to sense him. For a week he plays at being Mitsuo's shadow and he finds out more about the boy's (senpai, oh, senpai) life. He finds out that Mitsuo barely notices Hasunuma's feelings for him, despite the fact that the taller boy drapes himself all over his friend at every opportunity, and he becomes irritated. It reminds him too much of how it used to be when he was alive, months and months before he died, when he ran around, trying to be the perfect kouhai, trying to show senpai that he would do anything for him in the only way he knew how.
Kanau wonders for a moment how things would have been if he had gone about things in Hasunuma's way, but he knows he could never be like that, for he has none of Hasunuma's confidence and too much of his passion.
When Mitsuo comes to school on Monday, he is constantly flanked by Hasunuma and his other friend, Ichi, and Kanau realises why when he tries to approach the boy and the world spins. He catches a glimpse of the sutra painted on Ichi's hand and backs away. He will find Mitsuo later, when he is alone.
He finally discovers Mitsuo dozing on the school roof, long after the last bell has sounded and the most dedicated of students left for home and dinner. Spirits hover around him, waiting for their chance to possess the boy and make his will theirs. Kanau warns him and defends him from the attackers, and afterwards, he explains about how ghosts become active at night. Gaining Mitsuo's trust is easy, the promise not to possess him rolls glibly off Kanau's tongue – it is hardly a sacred vow, he himself would never have fallen for it.
He tells Mitsuo a story about a ring getting lost in the river – after all, it's true, and Kanau does want it back – and Mitsuo searches faithfully for it. He comes down with a bad cold because of it and his loving friends (senpai, don't you miss me at all?) try to force him to stop. Mitsuo refuses, but Kanau says it's all right and do me one last favour. He asks Mitsuo to meet him in the drama club room alone after school and when the boy agrees happily, Kanau understands that there's another way in which he and Hasunuma are alike – neither of them would have countenanced such a thing, especially when Kanau was the one who warned Mitsuo away from the school after sunset in the first place.
Kanau is unable to keep the scorn from his voice when he speaks and he calls the younger boy gullible and naïve. He can't help the sardonic note when he adds I just love that about you. He'd thought that he loved it in his senpai, too.
But there is one thing he misjudged, and that is Hasunuma's speed. He throws himself out of the window after Mitsuo and grabs him round the waist, manages to break the boy's fall. Kanau watches as Mitsuo catches his breath, turns to see what has become of his friend and sees the dawning horror on his face when he realises that Hasunuma isn't waking up. He feels a sudden, sharp, agonising pain in his chest, the kind of pain that he hasn't felt since just after he died.
If only…if only my senpai had cared that much for me…I would…
Kanau knows that he would have done anything. And it is now that he feels the resentment burning in his heart, his anger towards Mitsuo mounting, because it's not fair that Mitsuo gets the love he would have killed for and doesn't do anything with it.
Even now, he can't take his eyes away from Mitsuo and he follows him to the shrine. Mitsuo senses him and screams at him to leave, but not before Kanau sees Hasunuma's spirit and comprehends the thoughtfulness in his eyes. He hears the priest telling them about how he died, but he doesn't care any more.
The look in Hasunuma's eyes haunts him, however, and he finds himself returning to the shrine that night to try and explain himself, to let Hasunuma know that it wasn't just a whim that made him hurt Mitsuo. He stalks the boy – young man, even – through the sacred grounds, unsure of how to approach him, worrying that anything he says will be taken the wrong way.
"You shouldn't think so loud, Kanau," says Hasunuma, without turning round and Kanau feels the tension drain away now that the decision to speak has been taken out of his hands.
They sit down together and Kanau tries to make Hasunuma understand the seething multitude of envy, pain and anger that consumes him, the boiling mass of jealousy and heartbreak that has burdened him since the moment senpai let go of his hand. In the end, he sags, tired of remembering, tired of feeling the same old hurt time and time again.
Somehow Hasunuma seems to comprehend it all. Kanau sees the sympathy in his eyes as the living boy gazes thoughtfully at his knees. There is sadness there, too, but he barely has time to register it before he realises that Hasunuma is disappearing.
Suddenly, Kanau is thrown back against the wall and the priest steps out and threatens him. He is wise enough to fly – the priest wouldn't hesitate to blast him into smithereens.
For hours, he wanders the streets, unsure of what to do or where to go. Speaking to Hasunuma gave relief to a pain long held inside, an agony that had ruled him for what feels like centuries, now.
Kanau looks up at the building his feet have taken him to and realises that it is Hasunuma's hospital. He knows better than most how susceptible the boy's body is to possession and contemplates helping him by protecting it from enemies. As he thinks this, he floats up to the room where the boy's shell lies.
Kanau has never possessed anyone before, but it is easy – too easy, he worries, is he doing something wrong? However, all seems to be well and he rises from the bed, walking slightly unsteadily to the door. There, he sees Mitsuo and shocked, he thinks: but he is just Mitsuo…
Seeing through someone else's eyes makes the world a different place, a place where even though Mitsuo has senpai's eyes and senpai's face and senpai's smile, he is not senpai. His astonishment at the revelation halts Kanau in his path for just long enough for Mitsuo to realise that something is badly wrong, nevertheless, Kanau is too fast for the younger boy and he runs quicker than he ever has before. Even so, Mitsuo catches up and takes him down in a flying tackle inside the temple itself, knocking the wind out of him. For a moment, he is content to lie there, exhausted, but the priest's voice makes him glance up and the sight before him flabbergasts him.
Mitsuo is furious and the sounds of him beating the priest echo in the large room as Kanau helps Hasunuma's spirit stand up and redress. Leaving the body is the work of a second and Hasunuma winces as his lifeless form drops to the ground with a sickening thud. Kanau grimaces apologetically.
A few minutes later, when Mitsuo finally calms down, they sit down and the priest, who appears to be called Mikuni, admonishes him for his actions. Kanau tries to explain himself, can feel his face crimsoning as Mikuni sneers at his reasoning. However, it's worth it to see the gratitude in Hasunuma's eyes and the smile touching his lips and Kanau sighs in relief as Mikuni offers to return Hasunuma's soul to his body. Unfortunately, even that is short-lived, for Mikuni then mentions words such as "replacement" and "maid's outfit". Kanau doesn't think he could ever run fast enough to get away from them.
Not long after, Kanau stares down at himself and wonders one more time why he didn't just run. Then he looks at Mitsuo nestling into Hasunuma's arms and the look of bliss on the taller boy's face and feels his lips curving into what has been an alien expression for so long.
What I did to Mitsuo and Hasunuma is unforgivable. But I hope one day…I'll meet someone who I will cherish…and who will cherish me.
"Come on, Kanau." He flinched, swinging round to face his adversary. Mikuni held up a headband with cat ears attached to it. "Wear this. It'll look great on you."
Of course, Kanau sighed mentally, this isn't exactly what I had in mind.
Any comments? Suggestions? Should I be shot on sight?