Spoilers for anime. Written for lanerose for the yaoi-challenge obscure fandom challenge.


Kai was probably the only person Sei knew who could make the opening and closing of a door seem ... exuberant. The door to the small room they shared clattered open, disgorged Kai and practically bounced closed. Sei winced over his homework, and wished momentarily that he had a quieter roommate, or at least one who would stay in his own room just next door rather than camping out in Sei's -- he would never wish Kai away, of course, remembering how quiet his little single room could be, but he could wish for Kai to be a little ... less energetic, sometimes. Especially now.

"Whoa, I'm hungry. Cafeteria is already closed, though," Kai groaned, swinging his sling bag onto a chair and dropping himself on the bed behind Sei with an "oomph". "So tired!"

Sei held in his sigh and considered the matter for a moment. His head was hurting. "You should have come back earlier for dinner, or asked me to keep something for you." He tried to ignore Kai's pathetic moans behind him for a while, then gave in with a long-suffering sigh. "All right, get up. I'll cook you some instant noodles."

"Instant noodles again?" asked Kai, and managed to sound even more pathetic and ill-used than before.

Sei closed his book, turned, and fixed him with a level stare. "I don't know where you have been going after football practice, but I have a test tomorrow and a paper to hand in, and I don't see you offering to help with the cooking."

Kai looked contrite. "Sorry, I was ... I just. We've been eating instant noodles for three days now." He bounced up, full of energy again. "I think we have some vegetables left -- I'll cut some carrots and potatoes, and we can have instant curry to go with the instant noodles! Sounds good? You look like you could use some food too."

It was impossible to stay angry with Kai when he was like this, all thoughtful and concerned, much less resist his growing enthusiasm as he planned their supper. Sei checked his bookmarks one last time, feeling paranoid, and followed him out.

As they walked down the hallway towards the kitchen, Sei thought he smelled smoke. He grabbed Kai's sleeve and looked around, trying to find the source. A dull red flicker out of the corner of his eye caught his attention: he looked out the window and saw that it was one of the sempai's rooms in the next building.

The fire was not serious yet -- more like a large campfire or bonfire than an inferno, but it looked ready to spread. "Why isn't the alarm sounding?" Kai asked.

"I don't know, but we need to call the fire department! Wait, look!" The flames leapt up high into the air suddenly, and Sei flinched back in surprise. Kai caught hold of him and steadied him as he stumbled backwards. "I thought I saw someone inside!"

Kai tried to look, but the fire was too bright and large by now. "We need to do something! The fire department won't get here in time if they haven't been called yet!"

Sei shot him a panicky look, and glanced down at the djinn charm on his wrist. "But we've used water and fire ... can we use wind to control the fire?" he asked, struck by a sudden inspiration. "Can wind -- um, keep air from getting to the fire? Can we make the air stop moving?"

"We could try," Kai said grimly, and as he spoke, the words, light was already slicing out from the charm and wrapping around Sei.

Light. Lightness. Sei felt buoyed up by the light, detached from the earth, weightless. The light coiled softly around him, felt like a caress, like a lover's touch on his body. He slowly opened his eyes. Kai was watching him, wide-eyed, looking as enraptured as he felt, and a rush of some warm but indefinable emotion filled Sei.

Sei held out his hand, feeling strangely tranquil. Kai took his hand, rising into the air with him, and they flew through the window into the night sky.

The stars were bright. Moments passed before he realised that Kai was tugging on his hand. "The fire, remember?" Kai was asking, impatience warring with concern in his voice.

Fire. Sei remembered, swooped down, and Kai let out a whoop of delight at their rapid descent. They spiraled to a halt before an unconscious sempai Sei thought he recognized from the computer club that was always complaining about the noise from the soccer club practising on the field outside.

Sei swept away the smoke to get a better look. The sempai was lying by the bed -- he must have fallen asleep and let the cigarette fall on his books, then, waking to the fire, become overcome by the smoke before he could get far. Sei lost interest and turned back to the fire, prompted by Kai's tugging hand.

The swirling currents of smoke and air, the wavering of heat thermals, they fascinated Sei. The fire was dazzlingly bright. He thought he could make it brighter.

Then came a stinging blow to his cheek. Sei blinked. Kai was shaking him, calling urgently to him. "Sei, get a hold of yourself! What are you doing? Put out the fire!"

Sei's eyes opened wide in horrified realization. The fire was larger, and creeping towards the door and bed, and the helpless sempai passed out at his feet. He could feel the magic already beginning to fade and trickle away. Gathering the last of his power, Sei blasted the fire away from the door, grabbed the sempai and dragged him through just as he fell back to himself and the ground.

How long he lay there stunned beside the sempai he could not tell, but it could not have been long, because the corridors were still empty and Kai was half-cradling, half-shaking him. "Sei, Sei, look at me, are you all right? Sei!"

He reached up, touched Kai's face. It was wet. His own eyes were burning, he couldn't tell from the smoke or because of shame. "I was going to ... I ... what's wrong with me, Kai? I could have killed us all!" He gasped for air, Kai looked around, frantic, and hurried him down a quiet stairwell that didn't lead anywhere in particular as the other residents of the dorm began to arrive, yelling into their cellphones and bearing fire extinguishers and a fish tank. "I'm sorry," he said, only half-coherently.

"Sei," Kai said, tightening his embrace, and Sei thought, he could probably feel Sei's newly defined bones through his clothes. "You haven't been eating, have you? You've been stirring your instant noodles around without eating them and then throwing it away, and I thought you were just too tired to cook. Why didn't you tell me you weren't feeling well?"

He sounded frightened, and Sei felt guilt settle in his stomach like a stone. "I'm sorry," he told Kai. "I don't know what's wrong with me."

Kai crushed Sei painfully against him and buried his face in Sei's thin shoulder, ignoring the muffled commotion outside. "I'm sorry," he burst out, a strange, profound agony making his voice tremble. Sei couldn't think why, but hugged him back, trying to comfort him. "There's nothing wrong with you. It's all my fault. I'll take better care of you. I'll protect you. I'm so sorry, Sei. I love you."

Sei didn't know why Kai was so upset, or what he was supposed to say to such a declaration. Something had changed that he did not understand; an unseen force changing direction. But he felt a little better anyway. He pushed Kai a little, and Kai let go of him. "Let's go back to our room before we get discovered in here."

Kai nodded, wiped his eyes, and they went.

the end