DISCLAIMER: CLAMP owns all, I'm just a lowly ad-libber.

20

It wasn't really so bad, once you came down to it.

Sakurazuka Seishirou took a rare moment for himself, sprawled elegantly on the black chaise lounge by the window. Tokyo was its usual breathtaking self by night, all a dazzling myriad of lights and a multitude of blurred colours. Lurid beacons dotted the landscape like stars in the sky. His apartment was too high up to hear anything other than the faintest hum of the traffic and activity going on below. High up in the penthouse, the only other sound was the hollow whistle of the night wind, the silence of the dark, cloud swept air, which was a beautiful sound in its own right.

Hollow, and yet strangely poignant.

Ash fell from the end of his lit cigarette, tumbling haphazardly in a miniature snowfall into the thick glass ashtray placed on the small side table by the side of his seat. Yes, Tokyo was beautiful, and tainted, and oblivious. And that was precisely why he enjoyed living in the city. There was a pleasing juxtaposition to it, a city that enjoyed itself, all the while marching towards its doom, towards the inevitable conclusion. The Sakurazukamori traced the skin underneath his right eye with a sure finger as he had several times during the day, thus avoiding surprising himself with the touch he couldn't see coming. Conditioning. He smiled with hooded eyes, lids with their jet lashes obscuring the celestial orbs, more akin to the sun and moon of late, one amber eye with its molten gold, and the blind eye, as pale and wintry as a December sky, frozen and clouded.

Of course there were many benefits that came with the loss of his right eye, the assassin mused, the remainder latching onto a particular car as it coasted down one of the streets below, pursuing its course until its driver turned and it pulled out of the range of his viewpoint. For one, everything was intensified, as if doubling over the aesthetic values of all things to compensate for the decrease in the number of windows to look at them from.

Colours were more potent. The Sakurazukamori's lips parted, letting the smoke escape slowly in one warm mouthful before ghostly tendrils snaked out and traced vanishing lines across his seemingly perpetually unmarked face.

Yes, everything became more focused now that he only had one eye to look at the world with. The end of the cigarette flared into an orange glow as he drew smoke into his lungs again, leisurely, savouring the action. He could turn his head to face the blind spot, and suddenly Hokuto's face would be more impish, her inimitable laugh punctuating the mischief which seemed more compounded in her face. Subaru-kun's eyes would be more dazzling, a deeper emerald green than the finest in nature and any jewellers could lay claim to. His skin would be an even more flawless porcelain, his onyx hair in soft feathers around it. The young onmyouji's fragility would appear more acute, his vulnerability more tender. Seishirou smiled. Of course it was an inconvenience, having this wall, this part of his vision shadowed, and could have made lesser men more unsettled, weaker. On the contrary, the dark onmyouji mused, stretching out a long leg, it seemed his blind eye became less of a chink in his armour and more of a honing technique to his abilities. His already sharp hearing improved as a necessity, his instincts all the more ready, more poised.

And there was the aesthetic benefit as well.

The assassin's smile turned razor keen. Now he was the wounded soldier, the ravaged hero to his Subaru-kun's beautiful onmyouji in distress. There was a certain nobility to the wound, he supposed. It spoke of sacrifice. And, as far as Hokuto could tell him in one breath at the hospital, it also said something of courage, loyalty, the need to protect and suffering for a higher cause, and what higher cause could there be than true love, Sei-chan? Subaru-kun will spend the rest of his life making it up to you, ne?

The assassin turned to the window again, laughing under his breath, the sound a low vibration in his throat as he remembered his reply. Then it is a small price to pay for my Subaru-kun's everlasting devotion, although I would be ashamed to ask him for his hand now. You wouldn't want your beautiful brother married to such a disfigured invalid, now, would you? He turned to see the onmyouji's face colour a breathtaking shade of rose, those captivating eyes widening in pain, and - was that guilt? And Hokuto's truly unique laugh in the background at her brother's embarrassment. He had had to turn almost all the way round to see the young Sumeragi clan head try to speak before clutching desperately at his wrist and long dextrous fingers, caressing them nervously between white hands.

Beautiful.

Of course it speaks of protection, Hokuto-chan, Seishirou thought; I always look after my own. One hair of Subaru-kun's head coming to harm will result in the lifespan of whoever is responsible being dramatically, and painfully shortened. He is my prey. He will belong to no other.

And it wasn't as if the remaining eye was being put under any stress as a result of his display of behaviour as befitting a white knight. Before his vision had been perfect, 20-20. That, and the heightened ability that came as a consequence of being Sakurazukamori meant an expert eye for detail, clarity over long distances and a precision-honed aim. One eye still had perfect sight, at least. Does that mean I have 20 vision, then, Hokuto-chan? You with your never failing optimism have come up with a thousand reasons why being blind in one eye is a blessing in disguise, and could doubtless think up a thousand more, each more absurd than the last.

Tokyo lights hung static in the darkness, a sea of stars.

The assassin twisted the fading cigarette butt between thumb and forefinger, boring it into the thick cut glass of the ashtray. Sometimes he caught himself turning to face the owner of a voice addressing him more quickly, if that voice belonged to a green-eyed boy with implicit trust in him that radiated pure and unadulterated from his face. It was a game he liked to play, so that Subaru's beauty would be more startling once it came within view, and the young clan head's ethereal face would become almost painful to look upon, all that beauty filtered through the lens of only one eye instead of two. Almost.

Am I your wounded hero now, Subaru-kun? Seishirou scrutinised the dark sky with an air of amusement, his lips toying with a smile. He could well imagine Hokuto's suggestions of having her brother wait on him hand and foot, and admitted the pleasure it would give him having Subaru attending to his every need, eager to please the man who saved his life.

Then why dispel the illusion, the dark onmyouji considered. For now, let me be your wounded hero, your battle-scarred protector, your self-sacrificing idol. It binds you closer to me.

Blindness was easy to deal with. Ignorance is not so, Subaru-kun.

Tokyo rampaged on, electrical pulses of energy and light. The mournful song of the wind as it caught and snagged round a steel tower.