Smiles of a Summer Night
Smiles of a Summer Night

By Maria Szabo

Disclaimer:  the settings and characters of X belong to CLAMP, their publishers and their respective distributers.  This is a work of fanfiction, no profit is being made and copyright infringement is not intended.  The title "Smiles of a Summer Night" is a tribute to the 1956 film by Ingmar Bergman and no infringement of his rights or those of his distributors is intended either.  The quotes at the beginning of each chapter are from Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" and are used only because I love the musical so much.  Please don't sue me!

Part 1

Perpetual anticipation is good for the soul

But it's bad for the heart.

Stephen Sondheim  Perpetual Anticipation

     He awoke with a start and at once realized he was dreaming.  The dreamscape spread before him like an endless plain of onyx, polished into a mirror-like sheen.  He was able to clearly see his reflection – as he looked down at his feet, an angelic-faced boy with sorrowful eyes gazed back at him in concern.

    "Kamui-san."

    He looked up suddenly at the sound of the soft voice and saw the dreamseer of the Dragons of the Earth standing before him, frail as ever, his kimono wrapped tightly around his too-slender frame. 

    "Kakyou.  What do you want?"

    "I have to show you something," he said, softly.  He beckoned with one thin hand.  Like Hinoto and Kanoe, it was difficult to determine his age.  Although his eyes were as tired as those of a very old man, he seemed much younger than the other dreamseers.  "The Dragons of Heaven…the Dragons of Earth…"

    The boy watched as the dragons poured from the floor and began to circle.  They looked much the same as they always did.  The Dragons of Heaven were white and brilliant, whilst the Dragons of Earth were dark and dangerous. 

    "So?  I don't understand.  I've seen the dragons before."

    "As have I." Agreed his reflection in a voice not his own.  "What is your point, Kakyou?"

    Kamui looked down in shock and this time saw not his reflection but the cold face of Fuuma Monou. 

    Something stirred briefly in the eyes of the dreamseer, but was quickly suppressed.  He merely pointed towards the dragons.  "Watch them…"

    The city of Tokyo became visible, as if a fog had lifted.  The dragons of heaven and earth converged and began to battle.  It was a horrifying, yet somehow magnificent sight.  Kamui drew closer to see if he could pick out whatever detail it was that Kaykou was concerned about.  Fuuma, still mirrored below him, followed like a shadow sewn to his feet.

     It really wasn't much different from the other visions he had seen.  The dragons postured threateningly towards each other, sometimes daring a feint towards the other side.  A few of the black ones went off on their own and thundered through the city, leaving destruction in their wake.

    "I still don't get it…" Kamui began, then stopped.  One of the dark dragons had twined its neck about that of one of the light dragons.  The dark dragon grasped the other one with it's claws and… "No!  Don't!  You'll kill…"

    "Wait a minute."  Fuuma's voice held a note of surprise.  "It's not killing the other one."

    Kamui stared and turned very red.  "Are they…?" he couldn't say it.  "They aren't…"

     They were.  Passionately.

     "They should really get a room."  Fuuma came out of his shadow and twined his arms around Kamui.  He could feel the older boy's hot breath on his neck.  "Or should I say 'We'?"

     "It's not you." Whispered Kakyou.  He pointed towards the Tower.  Kamui saw himself and Fuuma circling each other, with great swords in hand.

     Fuuma lifted his mouth off of Kamui's neck and stared at the Dreamseer.  "Then who?"

     Kakyou shrugged and gazed off towards the distance.

     "The future is determined." Hissed Fuuma, releasing Kamui.  He was visibly disturbed.  "You know that, dreamseer."

    Again, something stirred in his pale eyes.  He looked directly at Kamui then glanced away towards the dreamscape.  "Is it?"

     Kamui awoke with a start and the harsh light of morning told him he was back to the waking world.

     "So there we were.  The earthquake had knocked out the lights and no one really knew what was going on…and then, I felt her hands starting to wander…"

    Kusanagi Shiyuu rolled his eyes and finished off his beer.  Nagoya-san was obviously about to veer into one of his infamous (and highly improbable) tales of amorous escapades, no doubt peppered with exquisite details of the anonymous Ms. "T" and her taste for the sexually bizarre.  Ah, well, he thought, the card game had gone to hell anyway.

     He'd planned to get away from the barracks tonight, but he'd been roped into the game when Saito-san pleaded exhaustion and retreated to his bed.  Kusanagi usually avoided gambling, but he owed Yamaguchi-san a favor and so was forced to step in.  At least they had some good beer…after the week he'd had, he could use a good booze-up.  He looked mournfully at his empty bottle.

     Yamaguchi leaned over.  "I've got more in the room.  Want to make a run?"

     He nodded.  Anything to escape Nagoya-san's ramblings.  He stood up and followed the shorter man out of the common room.

    "Damn, that man has an imagination." Muttered Yamaguchi.  "As if that woman would consider doing anything with him…"

    Kusanagi smirked at the shorter man.  "You know the elusive Ms. "T"?"

    "Oh, yeah." Yamaguchi's eyes glinted, but he said nothing more about her.  "What about you, Shiyuu-san?  Still seeing that pretty young thing?"

     He gave the other man a Look.

    "Ok, ok!  Don't ask, don't tell, I know, I know."  He waited while Kusanagi opened the door to the room they shared.  "Man, I never thought that rule would be used against me!"

    Kusanagi hid a smile.  Yamaguchi-san tended to juggle several women at a time, and after a disastrous episode where he'd mistakenly admitted to one girlfriend that Yamaguchi-san was on a skiing trip with another girlfriend (it wasn't his fault…he'd thought it was Yamaguchi's sister Emi, not the girlfriend Emi), "Don't ask, Don't tell" became the golden rule.

    He opened the small refrigerator and pulled out a couple of six-packs.  Yamaguchi replaced those with a couple of more he'd dug out from the closet.  Drinking was a popular pastime in the Self-Defense Force, and they had it down to an art.

    "Well, back to the game…Nagoya-san's probably still at it." Sighed Yamaguchi as he shut the refrigerator door.  "Could you open the window?  It's stuffy in here."

    It WAS hot.  Autumn was just around the corner, but they'd not yet passed the summer heat.  Kusanagi unlocked the catch at the sill and pushed open the window, hoping some of the night's coolness would seep in.

    The phone rang suddenly.  Yamaguchi almost dropped the beer.  Kusanagi rescued it with a timely catch.  The other man dashed for the phone.

    "It's probably Misao-chan…she said she'd call" he sputtered, and grabbed the receiver.  "Hello?"  He was silent for a minute.  "Shiyuu-san, it's for you.  Sounds pretty."

    Kusanagi took the phone quickly, ignoring Yamaguchi's kissing noises.  "Yeah, this is Shiyuu."

    Her voice was delicate and a little breathless.  "How are you?"

    He immediately forgot about Yamaguchi, the beer, the game and Nagoya-san's stupid stories.  "I'm doing ok.  How are you?"

    "Oh, I'm fine."  she sounded a little nervous.  She cleared her throat.  "Um…I was wondering…are you working tomorrow?"

    "Nah, I'm off this Sunday.  Got something in mind?"

    "Would you like…no wait..um…" she was very nervous.  It was cute.

    He had pity on her.  "You want to do something tomorrow?"

    "The summer festival…I thought it might be fun…"

    "Are you asking me out on a date?" he teased, gently.

    She gave a little laugh.  "Um…yes?"

    He laughed, too.  "Fine.  When and where?"

    It was turning out to be a beautiful day, thought Sorata Arisugawa as he stepped outside the door of the Inomayama mansion.  Subaru-san was already waiting, taking the opportunity to indulge his nicotine addiction.  He turned to look at him and his one good eye widened.

    "Are you really wearing THAT?"  He asked in disbelief.

    "What?  These are my festival robes!  Aren't they cool?"  Sorata turned around to display his finery.  Actually, they weren't any different from his normal robes, but he always welcomed an excuse to be out of the boring school uniform.  "The women love a man in a robe, let me tell you!  Hey, you ought to wear yours, Subaru-san!"

     A cloud of smoke drifted into his face.  "I don't think so, Arisugawa-kun."

    Sorata coughed and fanned the fumes away.  Subaru-san was no fun at all.  "So are you coming to the festival, too?"

    The onmyouji shrugged.  "Kamui suggested it."

    Good for Kamui.  Subaru-san was way too melancholy for his own good, but even he needed to have fun every now and then. Plus, Sorata thought with a grin, if Subaru-san was squiring Kamui around, he had a better chance of getting some time alone with the lady of his heart.  Provided she ever showed up…maybe he shouldn't have made that joke about wanting to see her in a yukata…

    They both turned at the sound of the front door opening.  Kamui peeked out at them.  "I wondered where you guys were."

    Subaru quickly stubbed out his half-smoked cigarette.  "Are you ready?"

    "Let's wait for the girls…they should be coming downstairs soon."

     "Kamui, are you feeling ok?"  Sorata was concerned.  He looked like death warmed over.

    He shrugged.  "I didn't sleep well last night.  I had the oddest dream.  I think it was a warning."

     "From who?"

     Was that actually concern in the Sumeragi's voice? Wondered Sorata.

     "Kakyou—the dreamseer of the Dragons of the Earth.  But what he showed me…" he cast a glance at Sorata, then stopped.

    "Aw, c'mon Kamui, spill it.  What did you see?"

     "It..was a mating between a Dragon of Earth and a Dragon of Heaven."

     Subaru went pale.  The onmyouji's reaction surprised Sorata, since he'd always considered the Sumeragi somewhat of a cold fish.  What was even more interesting was Kamui's obvious concern about the older man.  Obviously, there was some history that he, Sorata, was not privy to.  Yet.

    "So…" he began, "…is this of significance for the end of the world?"

     Kamui shook his head.  "I don't know.  Kakyou seemed to think so.  Fuuma seemed surprised."

    "Hell, I'm not surprised."

     Both Kamui and Subaru turned to stare at him in shock.

     He smiled.  "I'm not surprised at all.  I always said we were the pretty ones—it's no wonder they want us!"

     Subaru let out a sigh of irritation, while Kamui picked himself off the ground from his face-fault.  "Can't you be serious for once, Arisugawa-kun?"

    "I am serious.  We seem to have gotten all the pretty women on our side, plus beauties like Kamui and even you, Subaru-san.  It's probably that Fuuma guy—it seems like every time we have to deal with him, he seems hell-bent on seducing  Kamui here."

     Kamui went bright red.  "It's not us.  In the dream, we were having some kind of duel on Tokyo Tower."

    "Cool…who was winning?"

     "I couldn't tell."

    The clatter of geta sounded in the hallway.  "Kamui-saaaan!  Hold the dooooor!"  Yuzuriha-chan's voice sing-songed.  Her little hell-hound (as Sorata privately called him) came barreling out, tail wagging.  Yuzuriha followed in short order, dressed in a bright yellow yukata with a green vine and flower motif.  She was pulling a reluctant Arashi with her.  "Don't be shy, Arashi-san!"

     The shrine-maiden of Ise stood in the doorway.  She also wore a yukata—a conservative blue one with a modest design of white flowers.  Her dark hair was tied up off her neck in a traditional hairstyle, with a sprig of wisteria as it's only ornamentation.  She was a vision of perfection…and looked like she wanted the earth to swallow her whole.

    "You look so cuuute!  Don't you think so?"  The younger girl gave an appealing glance to the guys. 

    Sorata didn't need to be asked twice.  "Nee-chan!  No, it can't be…it must be an angel from the heavens!"  He tried to sneak his arm about her shoulders.  "Please allow me to escort you to the festivities, Lady."

    There is a particularly vulnerable nerve-cluster that lies in the webbing between the forefinger and the thumb.  Arashi had never failed to find that nerve and take full advantage of its sensitivity.  With heartless precision, her nails pinched into his hand.

    "ooooOuch!"  He moved his arm very quickly.  "Nee-chan!"

    Subaru raised an eyebrow, Kamui hid a smile and Yuzuriha just giggled.  Meanwhile, his Belle-Dame-Sans-Merci stood expressionless.

    "Are we all here, then?" asked Kamui, changing the subject.  "The Chairman…"

    "Oh, he already left." Replied Subaru-san, with a shrug of indifference.  "The other two were with him."

    "Then let's go!" chirped Yuzuriha-chan.  She seemed a little more excited than normal today.  "We're ready, aren't we, Inuki?"  The inugami yipped in agreement and circled around the girl. 

     "Alright, then!"  Sorata declared.  "Food and fun await!  Onward!"  He turned towards Arashi, only to find that Subaru had offered his arm to the girl.

    "May I?" the onmyouji asked her, quietly.

     She took his arm with a smile.  "Thank you.  I could really use an escort."

     Subaru smiled back at her, a rare smile that left Sorata thinking that what the stuck-up Sumaragi could really use was a lightning bolt in the butt.  He glared as the two walked together down the drive, then turned to Yuzuriha-chan.  "Shall we?"

     She blinked.  "Oh!  I have to meet..someone…I'll see you later at the festival!"  She then ran down the driveway after Subaru and Arashi, her geta clacking loudly.

     Sorata hung his head down.  "No luck at all today."

     Kamui hid a grin.  "You have me."

    "But you're not a girl…" he reached over and mussed the boy's hair.  "But what the hell…let's go find something to eat.  I want to hear more about that dream."

To be continued