A Thousand White Eyes
I: Doors On Doors
I love, I love, I love, she sang short and quick in
High thin beaten soprano and he knew the meanings,
The high chaser of laughter, the doors on doors
And the looking glasses, the room to room hunt,
The ends opening into new ends always.
—Carl Sandburg, "Circles of Doors"
Dimly, he was aware that his brother was actually at his side, but he still felt alone. A hallway of doors before him, and a hallway of doors behind.
The Hyuuga manor, specifically, the halls of the Branch House. But twisted, as things usually were in dreams.
Endless hallway. Just like the dreams he'd had as a child— Hiashi, running from him, fading fast, growing smaller and smaller until he was gone— and he had chased after, doors opening and closing around him.
But there was no Hiashi to chase now.
…that had always been his deepest fear, the nightmare he buried below his heart and did not allow his mind to touch. Hiashi and he had always been together; born without even the minutes that usually separated twins at birth— his mother had told him…
she was pale, and thin, and everything about her was quiet like the hush of nightfall, like it was never bright day in here, in her sickrooom– but then again he had never known her any other way. She smiled at her sons, a brave trembling of white lips, and Hizashi felt his brother flinch, and grab at his hand. Her smile became a little brighter as she saw that, focusing only on the closeness of her twins and not on how they feared the death that hovered around her.
"So close together," she whispered, in a voice like a wisp of cloth over a blade. "Always so close. Did you know, Hizashi-chan, Hiashi-chan, my loves, that…"
…that he had been born holding onto his twin's ankle. And he never wanted to be any farther than that.
And now he was; he was so far he couldn't even see his twin. It was a base instinct to activate the Byakugan, but he resisted. The Byakugan was powerless in dreams, and caused eyestrain upon waking.
He reached out, forcing his body to jerk in his sleep. A hand collided with a warm back, and the back jerked as well.
Within moments, his brother was shaking him awake.
There were no offers to talk about it. They were Hyuuga, and twinborn. He would speak as he needed.
He was shivering. Why was he shivering? He was not cold—
—except inside, and on his brow, where his seal sat like lines of ice on his skin—
—and he couldn't. Stop. Shivering.
And suddenly he was in his brother's arms, Hiashi holding him so hard that it hurt him and Hizashi wanted that, needed that, needed to be pulled against Hiashi so tight that he couldn't move away, needed to know that Hiashi was using all his strength on Hizashi and not one bit less.
He shivered again.
"The same one," Hiashi said, his voice throaty from sleep and almost a groan from the effort of gripping him. It wasn't a question because it didn't need to be. Hiashi knew.
'Yashi ALWAYS knew. To be one of them was to KNOW. Because that was what they did.
"Same damn hallway," said Hizashi when his brother's grip loosened.
"No. No you. Gone."
"Not going anywhere."
Hizashi laid his forehead against his brother's shoulder, focusing on Hiashi's warmth and not the chilled feeling of the seal. 'But you are,' he didn't say. 'You're the leader, you're the firstborn, you're going to be clan head.'
'And I won't. I won't be what you are.'
Instead he said, voice muffled, "Yashi, you need to stop stealing the blankets. Gets cold. Prob'ly why I can't sleep."
"I do not steal," his brother informed him, in that stiff-voiced way of his he only used when he was halfway between teasing and serious.
"I can see the blankets clear as you can," Hizashi replied. "Who's got 'em and who doesn't?"
Hiashi made no reply in words. Instead, he reached around behind them and grabbed the blankets, awkwardly cocooning the thick cloth around them.
"Never again." Whether he was talking about camping or blanket theft or nightmares, he didn't know. Probably all three.
"Half is not theft." He could tell by Hiashi's voice that his twin was smiling.
"That wasn't half."
"It is now."
Hizashi considered sticking his tongue out at his brother. Warm now, and the nightmare fading away in the all-too-real nearness of his twin, the arm he could feel against his skin, the quiet breathing he could hear like the beat of his own heart, he could feel a haze of sleepiness descend on him. They had trained hard that day. He hummed a little, content.
"Fine," he yawned. "And you don't take my half this time, okay?"
Hiashi watched as his younger brother floated off to exhaustion-deep sleep. 'No' he thought, reaching one hand to Hizashi's brow but stopping just before his fingertips would have touched the seal-lines. 'I've taken too much from you already.'
Co-written with Cyberfwolf. See if you can tell which of us wrote what.