Sunday, December 31, 2000
The house was still decked out in festive colors. The Christmas tree was still fragrant in the living room. The snow was still falling with quiet, content, beauty.
Yet the house was empty.
Presents sat atop their wrappings, as if opened only to fulfill a mandate but without any interest on the items inside.
The air at the Compound was silent and subdued.
Akito was barricaded inside of his room, not even allowing Kureno to enter.
The others, the Juunishi, had not appeared for Christmas.
Though, there was no question that this was not the cause of the Head's distress.
Anyone who walked past his quarters could hear his broken, abandoned, sobbing.
She was going to leave on her next hunt.
She needed to.
Father Jamin had suggested she take a vacation but…after chasing the Demon for over ten years, she suddenly felt empty.
She needed to leave on her next hunt.
However, as she checked out from her hotel, she knew there was one thing she had put off for far too long.
The trek through Tokyo was not difficult, public transportation being as efficient as it was. The only difficulty she found was wrestling with her own guilt and self-doubt and worry and lack of direction.
For the first time in her life, Larissa Meyers was afraid.
Everything felt wrong.
Her skin, her hair, her hands.
She wondered whose forgiveness it was that she truly needed.
The boy was being cared for at the International Catholic Hospital at Naka-Ochiai.
She could have laughed, possibly, for, the irony of, that particular, boy being housed there, of all places, was not lost upon her.
It did not seem an occasion for laughing.
As she wrangled with the reception, she prepared herself to answer the questions she knew must inevitably come.
She navigated the sterile halls and entered the room, where the boy was being kept, without knocking.
The entirety of the former Juunishi awaited inside.
Though, it was the Dragon whose eye she first caught.
The man was seated closest to the bed, clutching anxiously at the coverlet.
She ignored the others and moved toward him.
He waited quietly as she commandeered a chair and sat before him.
She folded her hands in her lap and allowed him to speak.
She had expected a different reaction, a different question. Although, this one was simple enough to answer and she knew exactly what he meant.
"Chance. Not everyone has the magic and his barrier curse wore thin."
"Bloodline, he was the highest concentration of the original Cat in this generation. Demon blood is different from genes. It is passed on fully to whomever fulfills its requirements."
The man, she did not know his name, looked toward the boy. She did not know what he was called either.
The others all around her remained absolutely silent. She glanced at them and could, from their energy signatures, have named which animal they had previously possessed.
They must feel as empty and as lost as me. Having suffered and trialed for years, expecting to feel jubilation and relief when at last the bane of their existence had been expunged…but found only emptiness.
"The curse is broken." She offered. It was all she could do. She had done it for them. The boy, the Cat, had just been unfortunate; it was his lot in life.
"Yes, thank you," the Dragon replied tightly. He looked toward the child lying ashen and motionless in the hospital bed. His longing was not difficult to interpret.
"I'm sorry." Though it was hollow. Everyone was aware and some it ruffled, others it saddened.
The man, with his dark-hair and willow eyes, did not look at her again. However, he held one last question.
"What would have happened if the Demon had touched them?"
He meant the children.
"He was their father. They would have become his children."
"They would have become Demons." Not a question at all.
The statement was, perhaps, the most painful part of the entire proceeding.
Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Kyo lingered in the doorway, uncertain but exhausted. Since losing everything to the Demon, he had spent the better part of his time exhausted.
Hatori said the woman had explained before she'd left.
That they had all drawn heavily from residual magic and from the curse and from their animals.
Himself, most of all.
Without the Demon blood, without the Demon itself, without the Cat, without the beads, he was left drained and would have to rebuild his body slowly over time.
Hatori, of course, left out how she had said 'if he ever wakes up'.
That did not matter.
Kyo still bore thirteen wretched scars and one Holy bullet that had been too close to his organs to remove.
Hatori was uncertain as to how he survived, but he was willing to say it was the Gods will, what for his relief.
Now, Kyo lingered in the doorway. Tired and smelling of the herbal concoction Larissa had left to help speed his recovery.
It was nothing at all like orchids.
"Please come in, Kyo."
They had not spent much time apart since Kyo's awakening.
It seemed a physical impossibility to separate at times.
The smell of sand and of flowers was like an addiction, some part of themselves that still cried out desperately for the other.
"Are you sure?"
Somehow, he had eventually allowed Kyo to go back to school and to visit Kazuma. Yet it hurt him. Not just him, Kyo would always hurry back before his scheduled time.
The boy moved slowly, carefully, delicately, deliberately favoring his right side, which caused him less pain. He sat himself gingerly at the edge of the futon at the Doctor's side.
The empty space left by accumulative magic, which had set brewing for thousands of years, did not ache nearly so badly when they were this close together.
The redhead watched him in silence for a long moment and spoke at great length.
Kyo looked up at him through his lashes, cerise eyes full of an emotion Hatori had no difficulty identifying.
"I used to fool around with Haru."
"Would you like to get married?"
Hatori smiled gently, exposing his teeth, which…Kyo sometimes imagined were fangs once again. The thought sent shivers down his spine.
He reached out for the man, unsure and inquisitive like a true kitten. His fingers snagged on his shirt and…Hatori sometimes imagined they were claws once more. The thought made him embrace the boy.
"I don't think I can live without you, you know," Hatori explained, holding his demon tightly in his arms.
The boy shifted and looked up at him once more. "I know. I…me too."
"I'm sorry." His apology was empty; it was a heavy sort of melancholy that Hatori could not find within himself to exactly dislike.
Kyo stared at him in surprise and then pulled his head downwards, forcing their lips together.
For one desperately needed second their essences fought once more.
Demon Inheritance. Fire consuming Air. Draconic Magic. Air feeding Fire.
And then harmless tranquility returned.
"We'll celebrate tomorrow," he said breathlessly and the boy smiled drowsily in reply.
في النهايه. فليطمءن.