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Lyrics and translation from Rain, by Glay, copyright 1994

Sakurazuka Seishirou

[yume dake o kokoro ni dakishimete
in my heart I embrace only dreams]

In the wintertime in Ueno Park where the sakura blooms, when the wind blows, the petals fall from the tree like rain.

[aa omoi de nara kirei ni kowarete
ah if only memories would end in beauty]

"Ohayo, Seishirou-san!"

He felt the smile on the boy's face before he saw it, turning and waving at the black head peeking through the clinic door.

"Good morning, Subaru-kun. Off to work? Isn't this case taking a little long?"

The angelic face fell. Fall of an angel. "I know. I think…" he hesitated, then shrugged. "I'm going to perform the exorcism tonight. If the boy won't cooperate, I can't help him, but at least I can say I tried."

"So there is something."

Subaru nodded. "Something…I don't know what. Hokuto felt it too, that night we did the preliminary in the apartment before you arrived." He sighed. "Oh well."

He smiled. "Well, I hate to keep you from your work. No lunch today…I need to catch up on some paperwork. I'll see you tonight?"

"Tonight then." Subaru looked cheerful. "Ja ne."

"Have fun at work!" he called, but the door had already swung shut and he caught only a fleeting glimpse of the elegantly-clad figure hurrying down the street.

There flecks of dried blood on the white lab coat hanging on the coat rack. He wiped them away.

[madoromi ni kiete yuku kioku no sora o miageru
memories fade as I look towards the sky]

It started to rain halfway through the morning, when he was taking the sick parakeet's blood pressure, and the dog in the cage started barking. The last patient had been a cat with heartworms, and there was a snake that had somehow injured itself fighting with its cage.

The pets that people kept.

Noon. Hanging the closed sign on the door, to keep customers away. Away, the bold hiragana printed on the plastic card. Will return at 1300. The inside of the clinic was warm and slightly humid.

Running water. Sharp instruments, one by one laid out on the operation table like miniature swords, fit weapons for a miniature army about to do battle. The glasses slid down his nose and he pushed them back up, standing, thinking, wondering.

A rustle, the cat turning over in its sleep.

He opened the cage door and stroked the limp fur softly. There was a rumble deep from the creature's stomach, even in sleep feeling the touch of a human hand. He smiled. The fur on top of the head between the eyes just above the nose was warm and velvety, like the touch of a woman's velvet dress.

It was so easy just to squeeze. Just one squeeze, and it was all over.

There was a piece of bone jabbing into his hand and he saw the blood dripping onto the floor. Made no move to stop it. Just watched it drip, drip, drip, onto the clean floor. He would have to mop it after he was done.

Stroking the back, watching the limp, lifeless body hang from his hand, a graceful fall of bloody velvet, as he detached it from the cage. The fur was so soft.

[daekirenai kodoku dake ga karada o tsukisashite
only an unbearable loneliness pierces my body]

"What time did you tell them you'd be there?"

"Around seven. I didn't specify. It does give us time to eat first." Subaru lifted the chopsticks from his rice, stared at them speculatively, eyes going through the wood and into a private emerald world of his own imagination. "I…"

"Something's not right," he said, laying down his chopsticks. "What is it?"

Silence for a second. The chopsticks clinked against the bowl.


"I can't…I can't feel…anything," the boy said at last. "I've talked to Isamu's father…I went and visited his grandfather today, just to make sure what I had was right. I talked to the boy himself…"

"It's not the boy, is it?"

"I don't want to hurt him," Subaru whispered. Dark, deep, fathomless eyes. "But I don't know what else I can-"

"If it bothers you that much," he said gently, "don't do it."

"I promised-"

"If it bothers you that much," he repeated, more firmly, "don't do it."

Watery eyes. "You know how it is, Seishirou-san. I can't not do it."

He sighed. "I know."

"It's like…the boy isn't there. When I try to reach into him…he's just not there." Frustrated hands gripped the table. "I don't know how to explain it…"


The boy blinked.

"Would it help if I came with you?"

[all I need is your light]


"Just to observe of course," he said smoothly, groping in a pocket for his cigarette case. It seemed to have shifted during the walk to lunch. Ah. There it was. "I won't interfere, but I thought it might help to have someone you trust by your side. I'm driving you there as it is."


"Would I be asking if I didn't want to?" The lighter flared, and he exhaled the smoke into the air, drifting away like clouds of abstract light through stained glass.

Subaru's smile was sunlight through darkness, and he started as the boy grabbed his hand from the table, covering it with both of his. The palms were warm and soft and felt as pure as innocence, fallen innocence.

"Arigatou! Arigatou!"

He smiled at the boy, taking another drag of his cigarette, breathing in the smoke mixed with open air. "My pleasure." Looking closely at him.

Subaru blinked, then froze, then snatched his hands away, turning a brilliant shade of bright pink that Hokuto had always found so endearing. "Eh…gomen! Gomen nasai!"

He laughed. He couldn't help it.

"Shall we go?"

[I embrace your light, your memory]

The dripping of blood was loud in the stillness, the kind of blood that runs through the branches of the tress onto the leaves, dripping thickly down drop by drop into the pure white snow like flower petals.

[mou todokanai omoi o yume ni nurashite
drenching faraway memories in dreams]

The mansion was as forbidding in the dark as it was in the light, which was no surprise. He stopped the car with a jolt and turned off the engine and unfastened his seatbelt, and Subaru was still staring out the window at the way they had come.


The voice was soft, almost inaudible if he hadn't been listening for it. "I don't think…I should be here."

"We can go back if you like," he said. Placing one hand on the boy's slender shoulder, just enough to comfort. Just enough. "Tell the police the case was a dead end. You've done it before."

Fists clenched in the darkness.

He opened the car door, watching the dark windows of the house. Shoes crunching on not-quite-dry fallen leaves. He didn't close the door, simply waited.

The other door opened and he saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye.

"I'm ready," Subaru said. A sigh.

He smiled.

From somewhere in the brush beyond, a cat meowed softly.

[furisosogu ame ni kono mi o makasetemo
even if my body is defeated in the falling rain]

"I won't interfere," the father said sullenly, still as closed-mouthed and dark looking as he remembered from the first meeting. A man like that could die of disease before long. It was unhealthy.

"Thank you," Subaru said, bowing. The man remained looking at him.

"Just don't harm the boy. He means a lot to me."

He turned on his heel and walked out. The door echoed behind him, shaking the air.

"A lot of money to you, you mean," he said softly. He could hear Subaru's silken clothing rustling behind him, but he did not turn around. There were miniature gargoyles on the pillars of the doorframe.

"Do you need help?"

"I think I can manage." Muffled voice. When he turned around, Subaru was kneeling on the floor tracing out the circle on the tile. "I hope this doesn't stain the tile."

"I'm sure it won't," he said absently, scanning the shelves of books for anything interesting. Management books, finance. Economics. Get-rich-quick.

He frowned. The Art of the Occult?

That was odd.

"What's wrong, Seishirou-san?"

Waving a negligent hand. "Oh, nothing. Just seeing what the man keeps around a house as big as this one."

A sigh of acknowledgment. "I know! Such a huge house…it must get lonely."

[can't you tell me now]

"You think so?"

Subaru straightened, adjusting the fall of a silk jacket. "There. All done."

"Where's the boy?"

"I sent his father to get him…" the eyes under the fringe of black lashes were haunted. "Seishirou-san…I-"

"You'll do fine," he comforted softly, crossing the room, laying one hand on the boy's shoulder. Long-fingered hand, like a spider. "I have faith in you."


The moment slipped by like dripping time from the branches of a sakura tree, as he stepped closer, closer, to see the glint of light on fine ebony strands and smelled the musk that was uniquely of innocence and grief, and felt the trembling flesh under his fingers and the velvet skin so soft.

Trembling breath.

[all I need is your love]


There was a knock.

The moment vanished. The boy stepped away hastily, eyes downcast.

"Come-come in!"

The small body in the doorway was almost swallowed up by the darkness beyond as the door swung open and he could feel the darkness emanating from…somewhere. The darkness. The trembling. The entirely right and not-so-right feeling of the moment, seeping into his bones.

Just for a split second, and then it was gone.


The smile back on the face, turn around. "It was nothing, Subaru. Just thinking."

"You froze," Subaru said softly. "Something's not right."

"No, I-"

Subaru rose swiftly, fluidly, from where he knelt, motioned the boy into the center of the circle. "Isamu…I need you to come here. I won't hurt you. Come to where I'm standing." Gloved hands, gesturing like a breath of wind through the night sky. White gloves, white like shrouds. Subaru's voice…so soft.

He remembered the velvet fur, stained with blood.

[can't you stop the rain]

"Good. Isamu, listen."

He watched, almost detached, as Subaru knelt, whispered in the small boy's ear, one hand on a shoulder. Boy to boy, creature to creature. Boys were like foxes, mercurial and changing, slipping away through the cracks of the owner's fingers.

One opening of the cage door too wide, and they were gone.

He could almost hear the crystal notes of the violin.

"Do you understand, Isamu?"

Cold strands pricked at the back of his neck and he saw Subaru stiffen, knowing he felt it too. He felt the strands thicken, lengthen, felt the black body start to form at the edge of his consciousness.

No. Not yet.

"Not yet…"

[hageshii ame no ato de waratte yo
smile after the pouring rain]

A shiver of wind passed through Ueno Park, calling to him from the branches of the tree, the branches writhing and grasping like the hands of the dead, stained with the blood of the innocent.

[nureta kokoro ga hikisakareru mae ni
before it shreds my drenched heart to pieces]

Subaru closed his eyes. There was a rush of scent, as of flowers opening in the late spring, when everything blossomed and ripened in the glowing sun, carpets of grass and sakura blossoms and the lean bodies of boys.

He waited.


One word.

The boy cried out.

"Om." Subaru repeated firmly, eyes shut tight, hands clasped in front of him. The circle was glowing. He heard the creak of tree branches, a swirling of petals blown by a wind that was not there, circling, circling.

"Papa!" The child cried. "Papa!"

He raised one hand, fingers outstretched, grasping. A flicker of smoke, a smoldering unmasked, and he trembled as the wind howled through him, through the room, and the lights went out.

"Papa!" The child shrieked.

And the wind howled…and then it was not a wind but the screaming of a woman, a woman's screaming with the creaking of the sakura tree and then he suddenly understood what had happened to Isamu's mother, because long ago the woman who lay buried under the roots of the trees had been young and lovely and she had been singing when he had cut out her throat, because the music had been so beautiful he could not stand it.

[hageshii ame no naka de utatte yo
sing for me in the pouring rain]

"Om kyari shawa om dhari shawa!"

Crystal strings, crystal notes, the edges of sharp crystal were razors and he was standing on a razor blade so thin he could feel it cutting into the soles of his feet, and the howling from the chasm was too great. He pulled the strands.

The shikigami cried out, once, twice, still unformed in the planes of existence between the fantastic and reality, and a single black feather shredded the darkness. Black crystal, and as he caught it in his hand he felt it pierce skin, flesh, and bone, and tasted his own blood in his mouth as he raised it.

And threw.

The child staggered, once, twice, arms moving in a grotesque parody of a concerto for the dying, and the ghost of the woman flared around him as the house began to crumble.

He ran, flew fluidly into the center of the circle. The ghost's eyes were empty sockets and he remembered the feel of her flesh in his hands, warm and pliant.

I won't let you have him!

I don't intend to take him, he replied, and pulled again, and she screamed, a high keening sound that would have scraped at the edge of his soul, if he had had one.

He's MINE!

[toki no nagare ni hikisakareta ai o
of love washed away by passing time]

And through the storm of sakura petals he saw the one whom he had vowed to protect, eyes empty and mouth moving soundlessly against the wind. Watched as the angelic face contorted. Watched as Subaru fell.

His arms moved out almost against his will and the body was strangely feather-light against the weight of the dark ghosts he was used to carrying, or maybe that was because he had already claimed Subaru and there was nothing left to carry.

Subaru was a part of him.

My own body. My own flesh.

Begone, he said to the ghost. Go back to where you came from. Go back to where I sent you.

The taste of sakura petals was bitter like the taste of wine mixed with blood and he breathed in the heady scent, feeling his senses sharpened, and pulled once more.

You belong there.

The woman screamed, and the child began to unravel, slowly piece by piece, eyeless, limbless, voiceless, fine crystal splintering in the wind. He imagined he could hear the wild notes of violins, their bodies and faces crumbling as the strings broke. One by one.


Toshiko Isamu, he breathed, looking into her distorted, eyeless, white face, never existed.


And neither…did you.

And everything ceased.

[can't you stop

There are corpses buried…under the sakura tree…aren't there?

the rain]

He was watering the plants in the study when Subaru awoke. He never understood why Hokuto kept plants. She of all people had never been a plant person and would never be a plant person, and the leaves were wilting. He felt sorry for them, so he decided to water them. Because it was something to do.


He wiped his hands, turned. The boy was awake now, sitting up on the couch and rubbing his eyes.

"Did you sleep well?"

"What-what happened…?"

He frowned. "What happened? What do you mean…?" He put down the watering can and walked to the stereo, checking to make sure that there was a CD in the player before he turned it on. Listened to it whir for a bit. "Nothing happened. I came over for dinner and you fell asleep on the couch afterward." Smiling. "You looked very peaceful."

Subaru put a hand to his head, winced, as if it ached. Pulled it away as if he expected to see blood there. "I…must have had some very disturbing dreams…?"

The music filled the silent room. He didn't know where Hokuto was. It didn't matter.

"What is this music?"

"Beethoven, of course," he said smoothly. "My favorite. You should know that. Romance in G Major…"

[mou todokanai omoi o chiribame nagara
scattering memories that will never again reach you]



"Nothing." A dusky murmur, a note of question, and he let it hang in the air for a moment, feeling the music, the long held chords of the violins, draw him in.

"If you're troubled, Subaru-kun, please don't hesitate to discuss it with me." He smiled, a gentle smile. "I'm here to help you."

"I feel like…there's something that I should be doing…"

"Thinking about work again?" He tsked softly. "That's not good for you. Relax. Listen to the music."

Subaru smiled wanly. "I am. Thank you."

He made sure the boy was turned away, staring at the ceiling, pensive, and then came around the side of the desk, resting his cheek on the dark hair. Subaru shuddered slightly, once. The green eyes closed.

"What's wrong, Subaru?"

"I…I don't feel…"

The notes spilled into the air like shining crystal, and one arm slid across the boy's chest, ever so softly, so smoothly, and Subaru sighed.


"Perhaps," he whispered against the silken hair, "you have never existed."

"Perhaps…" the voice sounded sleepy, and he smiled.

"Perhaps…neither have I."

[all I need is your light]

The breathing was relaxing and he felt a surge of…something as he got up, prepared to turn off the music, to leave the light on while Subaru slept.


He paused.

"Don't leave me…"

He smiled again and then leaned forward, pressed the lean body against him, felt the heartbeat against his chest, so small and frail and so…fleeting.

"I'll never leave you, Subaru."

[nureta kokoro ga hikisakareru mae ni
before it shreds my drenched heart to pieces]

The sakura petals drifted down as the wind caressed the boughs, bringing with it the scent of summer and perfumed nights and the sound of violins, as the thunder rumbled overhead and it began to rain.