For lj user"givingground"

Who requested a TatsumixTsuzuki angst piece where love simply was not enough.

The boy was small, blonde and waspish. He was petty and demanding. He would be perfect, Tatsumi decided as he watched from his office window as Hisoka waved his finger chiding Tsuzuki who had just eaten an entire box of doughnuts that Watari had bought for the whole office. Tsuzuki had sugar on his cheeks, and Hisoka couldn't decide which was worse, his messy eating, his inconsideration for eating the twenty doughnuts or the fact that he had eaten them when they came from Watari who was notorious for putting things in the doughnuts to comical effect. Well, effects that became comical later.

Hisoka was getting more and more irate as the finger waved back and forth and Tsuzuki stuck out his lower lip and did his best puppy impression. Hisoka was perfect, Tatsumi noted, because it didn't phase him. He knew that Tsuzuki could summon all twelve of his shikigami and Hisoka would stand his ground on this.

Sometimes the other partners were scared of him.

Sometimes they felt sorry for him.

Hisoka felt neither of those things, if anything it was a mix of earned respect and complete disdain.

Once Tatsumi had been the one to chide, the one to scold.

It had been in Osaka. The night had been still and sweet, and the magnolia blossoms heavy. It was late summer and the air was hot and close. "Na, Tatsumi," Tsuzuki said sprawled across the mats, his yukuta open at the collar and he was fanning himself with a harisen he had made from one of their reports. "Aren't you hot? It's so hot, it's never this hot in Meifu."

"It's always spring in Meifu." Tatsumi corrected, "the weather never changes. We'll go back in the morning."

"Taaatsumiiii." Tsuzuki sing-songed. "I'm huuuungryyyyyy."

Tatsumi rolled his eyes, "I might still have something." He rooted around in his luggage and found three small rice balls wrapped in a kerchief. The girl had pressed them into his hand that afternoon. He offered them to Tsuzuki who clapped his hands together like a small child and holding one in both hands bit into it with his mouth. He always got rice on his chin.

Tatsumi didn't say anything. "Na, Tatsumi," Tsuzuki said, "you're my favourite partner." He said; the inference was because you always have food.

Then he was silent for a while and Tatsumi took the opportunity to watch him as he lay sprawled on the mats, his yukuta slightly open, fanning himself with his tightly folded report. He had no idea just how beautiful he was, even with the speckles of rice on his cheeks. He rolled unto his side, propping himself up with his elbow to show the sweat-bowl glistening at the base of his throat. "Na, Tatsumi," he said, "it's too hot to work."

So Tatsumi had gathered up his papers and sat beside the window where he was less likely to hear Tsuzuki complain. Tsuzuki stood up then, and grabbed Tatsumi by the hand, "Let's go for a walk, and catch some fireflies." And Tatsumi never could say no.

The grass was lush and moist under their feet and the moon was brilliant in an inky sky. The inn had a small courtyard in the centre of which was a magnolia tree. The tree had kept its blossoms remarkably well and laughing like a child Tsuzuki picked on and took a deep breath of the flower, then with a grin held it out to Tatsumi.

It was the last straw. Tatsumi could take no more. He grabbed Tsuzuki's hand and pulled him forward into a kiss. Tsuzuki tasted of the pickled plums in the rice balls. He tasted of the magnolia in his hands. He tasted of the candies he had eaten so frivolously. He was hot and good and sweet and his face felt sturdy in Tatsumi's hands.

He thought Tsuzuki would pull back, that he would push Tatsumi back. Instead he kissed back with a questing tongue and inquisitive lips.

Tatsumi had never felt such life as he did kissing Tsuzuki.

It was eventually Tatsumi that pulled away resting his forehead against Tsuzuki's. "Na, Tatsumi," he said softly, his breath hot and sweet in Tatsumi's face. "I thought you'd never kiss me." Then he pulled back, taking Tatsumi by the hand, "it's too hot tonight, but when we get back to Meifu we can talk and, well you're my partner." Tsuzuki prattled on but Tatsumi had stopped listening.

It was hours later that Tatsumi looked at Tsuzuki's sleeping face, at the young man behind the concern and childish behaviour, the beautiful face of a man that wasn't tortured. It was a face like his mother's. Tatsumi sat at the small desk and composed the letter there and then, resigning his position as Tsuzuki's partner. He wasn't strong enough for this fey and wondrous creature. He would destroy him, just as he had destroyed his mother.

He had been gone when Tsuzuki awoke and it was Kanoe who told Tsuzuki that they weren't partners anymore. Tatsumi had lacked the courage.

Now Hisoka used a cloth to wipe the sugar crystals from Tsuzuki's face scolding him as a baka and an idiot and a fool. Tatsumi snapped the pen in his hand with the desire to be the one. But he never could be. It was sixty years too late for that.

In the Victorian language of flowers Magnolia means this

Magnolia - Sweetness; beauty; love of nature; nobility; dignity; splendid beauty

And all because there is a magnolia tree outside my window. (It's my neighbours)