A R B E D
An Angel Sanctuary Fanfiction
By Hanashiro Shun'u
Tracing your wounds with my lips,
I'm plunged by a piece of a broken dream.
The knife of romance concealed deep within
Is pressed against my half-formed skin.
The night is without consolation.
I want you to rip it apart with your kiss.
You are the last romanticist left.
To the bottom of my heart… Darling.
I want my heart broken each time I fall in love.
To discover the afterimage of angels.
You are a romanticist lost in the streets.
Burn it all down with your frigid heart, darling.
I want to feel with each kiss you can give me,
Feel the tears of angels falling like rain.
Setsuna made a grab for his giggling little sister only to miss, as his fingers could not grasp the smooth fabric of her sky blue shirt. She slipped out of his reach and spun about to laugh in his face, agile feet taking her further away from him. Golden brown locks yielded to gravity to blanket her narrow shoulders and fall past a tiny waist. Puberty had begun two years ago for her, and every day he bore witness to her growing pains. His heart constricted painfully.
"Sara, I'm serious. Give it back to me," he said in a gruff tone. It was a vain effort to inject some authority into his still unpredictable adolescent voice.
"Nope." Sara childishly stuck her tongue out at him and skipped further out of his reach. She had the object they were fighting over behind her back. Setsuna desperately hoped that he would be able to get it back before she looked at it. Sara continued, "I want to see what my big brother was staring at so intensely while I tried to get his attention."
Sunlight danced on her long curling hair, making her appear angelic as the sun rose into the cloudless skies that could be seen from his open bedroom window. A light breeze made his plain white curtains flutter in time with wisps of Sara's hair. But he paid no attention to the former, as the latter held him in thrall. Somehow, rather than making her look unkempt, the short wispy bangs only managed to emphasize the delicacy of her heart shaped face. Setsuna became uncomfortably aware of two things: they were alone at home without a parent in sight, and they were still in their sleeping clothes. In his case, this consisted of a white tee shirt and dark blue sweatpants that he had pulled up to his calves. That wasn't part of his dilemma. The problem was that Sara was in a very soft, very silky looking ensemble that consisted of a button up shirt over drawstring pants. True, it covered her from neck to toe and had long sleeves, but the texture of the fabric made all of the difference in the world.
Setsuna squirmed and made a pretense of hugging his pillow, glad that he was still in bed and covered to the waist with his sheets. Recently, it had become extremely difficult to keep his eyes trained above her neckline whenever they were face to face. He scowled to hide his discomfort.
"Yes?" She smiled impishly; completely oblivious to the effect she was having on him.
He swallowed past the lump in his throat. Taking a deep breath, Setsuna tried pleading since ordering her about obviously wasn't going to work. "Please, may I have it back?"
Sara pretended to think his request over for all of four seconds as she tapped her lower lip with her right index finger. Setsuna actually fell for her trick and began to hope that he would escape the morning without humiliation. When she said, "No. I think that whatever this is, it's got to be good if you're willing to ask nicely."
And then she ran out the door.
Setsuna couldn't believe her! She was exasperating, invigorating, enchanting… He groaned. Somehow he could never bring himself to be irritated with her. If she ever found out how well and truly she had him wound about her little finger, he would never get a moment's peace. Setsuna suspected that he had already lost that particular battle as he leapt out of bed and ran out of his room to chase his little sister down as she made a mad dash downstairs.
"Sara," he yelled after her, "be careful on the stairs, you idiot. You can hurt yourself!"
"Catch me if you can, Oniichan!" Sara called back playfully.
"Ouch!" Setsuna swore under his breath as his bare toes made contact with the stairway railing. He somehow managed to continue hobbling after Sara. "Come back here *now*, Mudou Sara!"
Sara rounded the corner of their downstairs to arrive in the living room. Scanning it for a possible hiding place, she answered her brother absently. "You should be more careful, Oniichan. Did you stub your toe coming down the stairs?"
There! She might not be able to hide herself, but she could definitely hide the book that her brother had been reading with single-minded focus. Reaching up to the marble mantel in their pastel living room, Sara quickly tucked the little leather bound book behind the pendulum clock set atop gray marble shot through with veins of gold. With that done, she bypassed the alcove that served as their dining room and ran into the kitchen. And just in time to hide in the broom closet, too, as Setsuna closed in on her. Sara tried to slow her breathing down and calm her racing heart. She hoped that her brother would think that she had escaped through the side door of their house and go looking for her outside instead of searching the kitchen. That would give her ample time to run back upstairs, before he figured out where she was, and lock the door to her bedroom. For once she had a use for the lock that her mother had unaccountably insisted be put on her door. Why in the world would she want to lock out her family?
Setsuna slammed through the kitchen's swinging door with a loud bang, and let it swing closed behind him. Seeing no sign of Sara, he came to the logical conclusion that she had fled outside and quickly followed. Releasing a pent up breath, Sara waited for the screen door to squeak shut before she carefully opened the broom closet to take a peek. With her path clear, Sara stifled her laughter and ran back upstairs to her room. The door locked behind her.
"Sara," Setsuna called. Frustration gnawed at him when no one answered but birds and their neighbor's noisy Poodle. Where could that girl be? He had been just behind her. There was no way for her to disappear into thin air like that. Fruitless searching finally convinced him that she could not be outdoors and he was forced to backtrack to the house.
Everything looked normal in the kitchen. Yellow and white tiles checkered the floor, a gleaming chrome sink reflected points of early morning light, and towels patterned with little ducks were hung neatly by the counter. Everything was as it should have been… except for the open closet. Setsuna swore and took off for the second floor. He knew exactly where Sara was hiding.
Utilizing a stealth that he had not though himself capable of, Setsuna made his way towards Sara's door. He could just barely distinguish a faint shadow in the small gap above the ground, where the door did not quite make contact – which meant that Sara was hovering right behind the closed portal. Setsuna took hold of the knob, testing it, only to find that his suspicions were true, and that the door was locked from within. He smirked.
"Sara, I'm giving you ten seconds to move away from that door."
Sara considered his warning tone of voice, and then promptly ignored it. He would never hurt her. "Or else what, Oniichan?" She had always liked goading him, if only just to see how he would react. Her greatest goal in life was to make Mudou Setsuna react; young as she was, she instinctively knew that he only did so when he cared.
"Or else you're going to get flattened under the door once I get through," Setsuna said. He got as far away from the door as he could in the corridor, and then angled his body so that his shoulder and arm would make first contact when he charged. "I'm giving you fair warning, Sara."
She didn't believe him. If he broke down her door their mother would throw a fit. Surely her brother wouldn't dare to antagonize her… surely... but then she heard him start to count down the seconds.
Sara's eyes widened. "Oniichan! You wouldn't dare break my door."
"Two." Setsuna rotated his right arm to loosen it up. If she didn't let him in he had every intention of following through with his threat. And it was going to be *really* painful…
Sara gasped. "What?! Oniichan, that's cheating," she complained.
Setsuna sincerely hoped that Sara would give in. He could just picture the scene now. His mother's furious, disproving face as she came home to find that her son, whom she openly hated with a passion, had broken down her beloved daughter's door. She would call him a demon, an unnatural child, like she always did, and accuse him of harming Sara. Setsuna unconsciously tensed. He would *never* hurt Sara. She was his life; the only good thing he had in the world. He would rather gouge out his own heart with a dull spoon than even *think* of harming her.
Anger filled Setsuna – to hell with his mother and her sanctimonious accusations. He had to follow through with this. Not doing so would be setting a bad precedent, and Sara would think that she could walk all over him. Setsuna grimaced with the thought that she already got away with everything short of murder where he was concerned. He never had the heart to say "no" to her. Maybe this would be a good time to start.
"Ooh!" Sara stomped her foot knowing that, although he couldn't see her actions, he could hear her well enough. "I know what you're doing, Oniichan. You're just trying to scare me. But let me tell you, it isn't going to work. I'm not moving one millimeter from this spot."
"Nine," Setsuna said that especially loud just to rile her. She was so cute when she was mad. He added, "Sara, I'd suggest that you move out of the way. I'm coming in whether you're standing there or not."
"Mudou Setsuna, I'm never going to forgive you if you get us in trouble for this!" Sara yelled back at him. Setsuna offered a brief prayer that God would listen to him just this once, and get Sara away from the door.
"Ten!" He pushed off and launched himself at the door.
Sara yelped and dove onto her bed, rolling off of the other side to duck behind it as her brother crashed into her door with enough force to rattle the house. For a moment she thought that he had failed. Then hinges creaked and snapped off of a too flimsy wooden frame. A loud crash followed. Sara stared wide-eyed as drifting dust particles cleared to reveal her 14-year old brother standing in clear view where there was once a solid barrier.
In a faint voice, she broke the laden silence. "Oh dear."
Setsuna gave one of his rare, sweet smiles that he reserved for her alone. Sara knew she was in trouble then. Keeping eye contact, she came to her feet and ever so slowly edged around the foot of her bed. For every step she took, he mirrored it in order to maintain their short distance from each other. A trickle of sweat ran down her temple to drip off her slightly rounded chin. All of that running and yelling had gotten her blood flowing. Now his predatory gaze was making her nervous. For the first time in her very young life, she actually felt faint.
"W-wait, Oniichan," Sara bit her lip. "I'll give the book back to you."
He never let up on his smile. "Too late, Sara-chan." He abruptly stopped smiling when Sara's eyes widened and she stared in visible horror at something over his shoulder. Setsuna's gaze narrowed in uncertainty, which turned to dread at her next spoken word.
Tension crackled in the air. Setsuna felt his expression stiffen into his habitual, cold mask of indifference as he turned about to face his mother's inevitable condemnations. And met with…
"SARA!" he roared.
Sara was unrepentant. It was a dirty trick to play on her brother, but the ploy had worked. In those few seconds when his attention had been directed elsewhere, Sara had been able to get around his back and closer to the denuded doorway. However, it wasn't close enough. Try as she might, Sara was incapable of dodging Setsuna when he was all out mad. There were reasons why his teachers called him a delinquent and his classmates whispered in hushed tones that he was the best fighter of their school.
She released a startled scream when his solid arm collided with her middle and he tackled her onto her bed. The jostle of their landing made Sara dizzy as her head smacked into the well-sprung mattress. Busy gathering her bearings, Sara was thoroughly trapped by the time she was able to focus her vision. Only to find that her brother had her pinned by sitting on her stomach, and that her wrists were clamped over her head by his single-handed hold. Sara slowly raised her brown eyes to look into his.
"Gotcha." Setsuna didn't even bother to hide the gloating in his voice. Victory was his.
Twisting her wrists, Sara tried to get out of his grip. Not wanting to be the cause of her bruises, Setsuna was actually thinking of stopping the game and letting her go, when she completely ruined his train of thought by wriggling. Panic set in soon thereafter.
"Stop that!" His voice was hoarse.
"Let go, Oniichan." She continued to struggle ineffectually.
Setsuna tried. He really, truly, honestly tried. But damned if he didn't have to bite his own tongue to stop the moan from rising out of his parched throat. He was an idiot. How could he *not* have realized what their horseplay would lead to given the right circumstances? This was precisely what he had been avoiding for the past year: ever since Sara had started to develop hills and valleys where she had no right developing them when he was trying so very hard to be noble and ignore the changes in her youthful body. It had already been difficult enough with just her big brown eyes to deal with, or her silky hair that always managed to wrap around him whenever they were in close proximity. But did God have to torture him with *this* as well?
Belatedly, he realized that the silence was deafening, and that Sara had somehow picked up on his distress. He had to calm down before she figured out his secret. Unaware of the reason behind her brother's inner conflict, and her lower back aching from the pressure of his weight, Sara arched upward to relieve some of the dull pain.
There was no way in hell that he would be able to calm down. With a groan of resignation and acceptance, Setsuna slid off of her waist. Sara thought that he was finally letting her go when he nixed that idea by rolling back to lay fully on top of her, chest to chest, hip to hip. Her cheeks burned. It was the closest they had been in over a year, and she was beginning to see why her mother had forbidden Setsuna from going around the house shirtless. She could feel the already well defined muscles where there used to be just skin and ribs.
Setsuna was lost in heaven. He buried his face in the crook of Sara's neck and breathed in her familiar, light floral scent. Murmuring his pleasure, he pushed his knees between hers to get more comfortably settled.
"Oniichan?" she whispered. Confusion swam in the depths of her eyes and colored her voice.
"I, you, um, that is…" She came to a stumbling halt when he blew a warm breath across her collarbone, quickly followed by the fleeting touch of his lips. Her abdominal muscles tightened of their own volition. Then he bit her neck. Sara gasped and jerked away.
Setsuna came up on his elbows and looked down at her with drowsy eyes. "Shh," he leaned down and whispered into her sensitive ear. Taking a moment to lick the delicate shell. Loving every little sound of confused distress that she uttered. "It's alright. I won't hurt you," he promised – he just wanted to consume her, but that was a distant worry and he could only focus on one thing at a time.
"Trust me." He meant to sound reassuring, but somehow his words came out with a questioning lilt at the end, as if her answer meant the world to him – which it did.
In response to the fear of rejection in his every expression, Sara could only nod once, as her vocal cords failed her yet again. With her acquiescence Setsuna practically purred as he leaned down again to taste her skin. The merits of animalistic behavior were rapidly outweighing the morals that had been beaten into him since birth. Setsuna saw the spot right under her left ear, that he had bitten just moments before in a moment of sheer possessiveness, where there were now two semi-circles of red teeth marks.
A brief flash of remorse was followed by the smug knowledge that he had marked her. It was frightening; it was liberating. And he was too overwhelmed by the vortex of emotions to sort anything out.
"Say my name, Sara."
When she did, it came out as a soft sigh. He didn't think that he had ever been happier than in that moment. But it was not meant to be. For some unknown reason God had forsaken Mudou Setsuna long ago, and made his life one ironic twist after another. Denying him even the simple joy of being with the one he loved. Every time he thought that he could cheat destiny, it came crashing down on him with jarring force, never allowing him the small comfort of illusions.
That day, interference came in the form of their parents returning home. Abrasive, quarrelling voices carried through the peaceful morning to shatter it into broken pieces. Setsuna reluctantly left the warmth of Sara's presence. An eternity passed as they stared at one another; revelation of Setsuna's feelings a heaviness in the air between them. There would be repercussions to what had happened in their mother's absence.
Setsuna knew all too well that he would suffer the consequences for daring to capture even a small piece of his dream.
Later that day, as he was packing his bags, Setsuna remembered the small book that Sara had hidden from him that morning. He considered asking Sara where it was, so that he could hide the incriminating words written in his journal, but thought better of it. His mother already knew how he felt. His father turned a blind eye to everything so even if he was to find it, and the pictures Setsuna had pasted within, he would reason it out to something harmless and forgettable. What Setsuna hoped would happen, was that Sara would remember the book and retrieve it. He hoped that she would read it, and learn the truth of how he felt. Because Setsuna was a coward when it came to confessing his heart to Sara – maybe in this way, he would be able to tell her that he loved her.
I feel as though I ended that rather abruptly. O_o However, I had to end it somehow without them going any further. -_-; If you've seen Angel Sanctuary, you know that their mother is a very moral woman (sometimes I wonder if she has complexes herself…). I didn't want to write a scene of her throwing God and Hell into Setsuna's face, so it had to end there. You can imagine for yourself how she would react at finding Sara's door broken through, but I set this up so that the family is finally split up after this event. It's the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Anyhow, this is my take on Sara's first realization of Setsuna's more than brotherly love for her. Although I'm sure that Setsuna always felt passionate love for Sara, I think that Sara's developed as she grew. The reason for this is that in the beginning of AS Setsuna always felt that his love was one sided. It made me wonder if Sara never showed the depth of her feelings until the events that took place in the manga/anime.
I know that I made them really playful, but that's the sense I get of their relationship. Sara and Setsuna not only love one another, they're also best friends and confidants. Theirs is the perfect love with the single exception being that they're siblings. If that weren't between them then they are the epitome of what love should be between two people.
So if you haven't gotten Angel Sanctuary yet, go get it already! It's worth the money you have to dish out to get the DVD. (Plus there's an art gallery and sketches included in the DVD-ROM.) ^_^