Disclaimer: FoR is not mine. Chapter title from Led Zeppelin.
Author's Notes: Sorry this took a while. I had some distractions. Next chapter should come out in one to two weeks. Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed! It inspires me to keep going :)
Hope you enjoy the chapter.
Chapter Ten: Nobody's Fault But Mine
It wasn't common knowledge but it shouldn't be such a surprise to know that flame casters had another providential ability other than creating fire out of thin air. They were also born with an exponentially high tolerance for fire. Their whole bodies could alight in a blaze and even the wispy edges of their hairs would remain unscathed.
And in one moment the universe decided to blindside both brothers. Kurei's blue flame touched the edges of Recca's knuckles and the most unfamiliar electric heat ran through the younger brother's skin.
The older brother didn't fare so well either. It wasn't so much the pain as it was the utter shock of feeling the heat of fire for the first time that caused him to stumble backwards. Kurei watched with detached fascination as his younger brother's orange flame climbed up the sleeve of his cloak, moving up his arms like a choreographed dance.
It must be nature's attempt at a joke that their very strength would be their one weakness.
The confusion in Recca's eyes was mirrored in Kurei's bright blue ones. Recca quickly dropped to the ground, trying to extinguish the burning flames that were steadily engulfing his body. The pain had seemed to go out but his vision had gone blurry and the only thing left was his sense of smell. And all he could scent was the pungent smell of charred skin.
His vision tunneled and right before he blacked out, Recca caught a glimpse of purple and wondered if he'd ever wake up again.
It had to be a coincidence.
Tokiya watched as the figure in black escaped his sights with such lithe and calculated movements. The build and the height were the exact same and the movements could not be anyone else's but it just did not make any sense.
There was chaos around him as both enemy and ally yelled at each other commands of pulling back but Tokiya remained standing where he was like a mindless statue, the picture of a man handling a sword in too familiar a manner playing in his head.
Tokiya felt someone grab his arm and he recognized the boy from one of his classes. He barely registered what exactly he said but got the general idea. They raced back towards the military camps but the vision of Tokiya's master, expertly piercing the heart of one of his comrade's continued to haunt his head.
Fuuko sat on the edge of the lumpy hospital bed. The paleness of her legs blended into the stark white sheets and she was enclosed behind a thick fabric of curtains. They had relegated her to one of the more private cubicles of the emergency room, no doubt because of who her father was, but she could still the chaotic susurrus outside of doctors and nurses healing soldiers and the occasional wailing of a relatives and loved ones as they searched for their family members in the heap of the wounded and the casualties.
They had given her a pair of gym shorts that were two sizes too big for her and a clean shirt although it did nothing to make her forget the deep wound running on her side. She had needed eight stitches although she couldn't remember when or how they did that. Everything had been a blur, the last thing she could remember was seeing Recca on the ground being swallowed whole by flames. It was as if she went on auto-pilot, simultaneously screaming for back up as she tried herself to extinguish the fire that was slowly killing her best friend. And the next thing she knew she was sitting on the edge of a hospital bed, listening to her brother Eisen as he told her to stay put and not to worry about Recca.
She heard the desperate cry of her name right before the curtains swooshed sideways revealing a disheveled Tokiya Mikagami still in his school uniform. She hadn't had the time to even study his form before she was wrapped in his arms so tightly that she couldn't stop herself from yelping in pain as his hands dug in to her bandages.
"Shit, where are you hurt?" he asked apologetically as his hands ghosted over her form, inspecting her with his eyes.
Fuuko put a hand gently over the side of her stomach. "It's not so bad. It just stings a little."
Tokiya looked at her disbelievingly.
She bit her lip and gave him an impish smile. "The pain was worse that first time we…you know." She reddened like a tomato and realized that she was just not ready yet to make jokes about sex.
He shook his head and chuckled softly at her attempt to lighten up the mood. He put his hands on the sides of her face and kissed her softly before resting his forehead against hers.
"I've been looking for you for the last two hours and no one could tell me where you were. I was so worried," he whispered. His hot breath near her skin had the effect of calming her frazzled nerves.
"I'm so sorry, I wanted to look for you but my Dad wouldn't let me out of his sight," she tried to explain. She placed her hands over his and moved it down to her hips so that she could have a better look at him. "Are you okay? Have you had a doctor look over you?"
Tokiya shook his head. "It's alright though, I'm fine."
She couldn't help the look of awe and the feeling of pride for him. "No scratches at all, huh?"
He took one step closer to her so their bodies were flushed close together. "I'm not sure if you've heard this, but I'm probably the best swordsman of our generation."
Fuuko giggled as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him loosely, careful not to put pressure on her wound. She buried her nose in the crook of her neck, loving the manly scent of his sweat. "Stay with me for a while?"
"I don't plan on going anywhere," he promised as he kissed her hair.
"Am I interrupting something?"
Fuuko and Tokiya sprung apart immediately, an obvious guilty flush on their faces.
"Nothing, we were just…just talking," Fuuko stuttered out.
Eisen Kirisawa arched an eyebrow at his sister. He was neither dumb nor blind. He recognized Tokiya from earlier and knew him as the man who had broken the engagement with Yanagi. In hindsight, he should've at least thought it odd the way Tokiya had so familiarly stuck close to his sister earlier and the less than subdued heat in his eyes whenever he looked at her.
Eisen had rushed back to his sister the moment he had heard of Recca's current state and expecting to find her alone and doing something embarrassing like picking her nose. Instead he was greeted with the sight of Fuuko wrapped in too intimate an embrace by a boy that was by default the enemy (even if he didn't like Aunt Jun all that much, he was still fond of Yanagi). The big brother instinct made him want to pummel the Ensui master on sight but now was neither the time nor place. Besides, he doubted Fuuko would stand for that.
He pushed his personal feelings aside and opened his mouth.
Kagerou had the façade of impenetrability as she watched over her son. Recca's entire right arm was wrapped up in bandages that stretched across his shoulders. His face still had burn marks that were yet to subside and his skin was pallid and cold to the touch. He was deep in sleep, rendered unconscious by the pain medication the doctors had administered. She could still hear his cries of pain as the doctors cut off the sleeve of his uniform jacket which had clung to his damaged skin. It seemed like he was screaming for hours and all she could do was hold his unhurt hand as she tried to hold back her tears, whispering words of love and encouragement to her little boy.
Kagerou shut her eyes tightly as the moisture of her tears blinked past her eyelashes. The steady beep of the heart monitor gave her little comfort. It was a most cruel punishment to have a mother watch her child skirt death.
"Kagerou, we will need to do something."
Her eyes never left her son's face, as if she was afraid he would cease to breathe if she did so, as she spoke. "I realize that. But I cannot seem to think of anything else but my son's health."
Fujimaro sighed as he carefully shut the door behind him and walked up beside the Hanabishi matriarch. "In Kurei's eyes, Recca is the one person standing in his way. The people still see him as the rightful heir to the throne, eliminating him would be Kurei's number one priority. He caught a lucky break, no one had expected that their powers would negate each other's and fire back on both of them. But Kurei is smart, always had been, and is probably already coming up with a plan to work around this obstacle. As he stands now, Recca would have no chance against his half-brother."
Kagerou winced at the certainty of Fujimaro's assessment. But she knew that he had Recca's and Nashikiri's best interest at heart. "What do you suggest, General?"
"We need to send him to the Godfather. He is the only one qualified to finish Recca's training, which Ouka couldn't continue. And he could protect Recca from Kurei until he is ready, not to mention that Kurei would have no way of knowing the Godfather's very existence," Fujimaro said in one breath.
She bit her lip in consternation. She wanted nothing more than to keep Recca at her side and whisk away from all this chaos. But she knew that her son had a duty to the people, one that he values more than his life and like his father before him, he would never run away from a fight. "Prepare the caravan. Make sure that my son gets there safely."
With his orders in place, Fujimaro exited the room swiftly, giving the mother and son a few more quiet moments before they had to part ways.
Raiha lifted Kurei's left hand and held it against his lips. Kurei had been livid as he heard Raiha bark orders for their army to retreat. Even under great duress, Kurei had his eye on the prize. But Raiha would not let his friend intimidate him into submission. He may be the leader of this revolt but Raiha still played by his own rules. Kurei's greatest goal was to take over Nashikiri, but Raiha's only reason for being here at all was Kurei. Even if it meant earning the ire of the blue-eyed man, Raiha would do everything to make sure he was alive and well.
Raiha could still remember that day back in school when he could not find Kurei anywhere and no one had known what had happened to him. No one seemed to care but him. When he went to their home and found the shack burned to a crisp, he had been hysterical. For weeks, he had been inconsolable, desperate to find any news on Kurei and if he was okay and well.
A month after Kurei's inexplicable disappearance, Raiha received a letter in the mail. It had no return address, save for a foreign name that he remembered was the title of one of Kurei's favorite books that he had always carried with him. He ripped the yellowing envelope open, his heart beating wildly in anticipation.
Kurei relayed to him a story that he now knew was complete hogwash, not wanting to burden him with his problems. The neat writing could not disguise the utter desperation that his friend must have been feeling at the time. He could still remember the last words Kurei wrote in that letter. 'I miss you, Raiha-kun. I'm all alone now.' It had broken his heart, knowing Kurei was out there alone and there was nothing he could do.
Throughout the years his and Kurei's friendship deepened, even with just the exchange of letters. When Raiha turned eighteen he had asked his parents if he could take a vacation in the Americas the summer before he was to start military academy. It was there that Raiha saw Kurei for the first time after almost seven years of separation. It was there that he learned the truth about Kurei's true ancestry, about Ouka and about Reina's death. There was never a question in his mind; he loved Kurei above anything and anyone else.
"Why did you stop me?" Kurei's voice croaked out, his piercing blue eyes looking steadily at the purple haired man that stood at his bedside unfailingly.
Raiha gave him a soft smile and placed a gentle kiss against his palm. "I could not continue without you."
Kurei scoffed even as he winced as he felt the bandages dig in to his skin. "You're awfully sentimental, Raiha-kun. This is war."
The loyal ninja shook his head and carefully settled himself on the bed, sitting near Kurei's hip. "This is your war, that is true. Your cause is your own. My cause has always been you."
Kurei couldn't help the rare smile that graced his lips. "You're still a fool," he admonished, but the softness of his tone belied his true feelings. "A fool that I would exchange for no other."
Fuuko kept up with Tokiya and Eisen, even with her injury, as they rushed up the staircase of Nashikiri General Hospital. The intensive care unit was on the third floor and she had considered kindly requesting they use the elevator but her ego got the better of her.
She huffed as they reached the final landing. The moment they turned down the hallway, the trio was met by Shuichi Kirisawa.
"Where's Recca?" she blurted out immediately.
"He's no longer with us."
Fuuko let out an audible gasp as her hand rose to clutch her chest.
"Christ, Shuichi, you want to give your sister a heart attack?" Fujimaro appeared beside his eldest son and smacked him upside the head. He turned to his only daughter and said, "Recca's fine and stable but he has been moved to a safer location."
Fuuko sighed in relief. "Well, where? I want to go see him."
The general shook his head. "I'm sorry, princess, I'm afraid I can't tell you. That's classified information."
"But I'm his best friend!" she cried out petulantly, short of stomping her foot on the ground.
"And this is a matter of national security. But I assure you he is alive and safe. You will just have to wait to see him again," he answered sternly.
Fuuko pouted but knew there was no point in arguing with her father.
Her father turned his eyes towards Tokiya, as if he'd just been made aware of the Ensui master's presence. "And what is your business here?"
"Dad! Don't be rude," Fuuko cried out in protest.
He stopped her with a steely gaze before focusing once more on Tokiya.
Tokiya gulped, feeling rather intimidated by the general's seeming distaste for him. It seemed as if Fuuko's father was inspecting him from head to toe and trying to delve into his mind. If he could read minds, Tokiya might not live to see the next second. "I was seeing how Fuuko was, sir."
"Shouldn't you be at home with your parents? You don't look like you need to be attended to in a hospital," Fujimaro questioned.
"I live alone, sir. My parents are an airplane ride away."
"Are you being smart with me, boy?"
Tokiya bit the inside of his cheek. "No, sir."
Fujimaro lifted a thick eyebrow and eyed Tokiya once again from head to toe. "Eisen, take Fuuko home if the doctors have dismissed her. Drop this one off too," he said, cocking his head towards Tokiya.
"No buts young lady," Fujimaro interrupted without thought. "I'll see you at home."
With that he turned on his heel and left his children and Tokiya to fend for themselves.
"Well, you heard the old man, let's go," Eisen immediately ordered. Fuuko could do nothing but follow him.
The car ride had been awkward. For some reason, Eisen wasn't his usual clownish self. His eyes remained on the road and not even a curse word another vehicle cut him came out of his mouth. He had insisted Fuuko sit in the back beside Tokiya, as if daring them to do something suspicious in his presence.
When they had dropped off Tokiya at his rather posh apartment building, Eisen watched them closely from the rearview mirror. Just to spite him, Fuuko leaned over and gave Tokiya a kiss on the cheek and bid him farewell softly. Her boyfriend, for his part, looked like he'd just been given the death sentence as he scrambled away from the car.
They had been on the road not more than five minutes when Eisen spoke up. "Tell me what's really going on between you and that guy, Fuuko."
"We're friends," she returned quickly.
"I know you're lying so you might as well give up now."
"I am not!" she cried defensively.
"Your right eye twitches whenever you're lying, squirt," Eisen returned with a smug grin.
Fuuko's hand immediately flew to her right eye. "It's not twitching."
"And I'm the Queen of England," he returned sardonically. He stopped at the side of the road and put the car on park. "Fuck it, Fuuko. You're seriously getting involved with him? Have you forgotten that Yanagi's our cousin?" he admonished, still looking at her from the rearview mirror.
Fuuko shifted in her seat guiltily and averted her eyes.
Eisen laughed hollowly. "Oh, I get it. You're the reason he broke up with her. Is that it? He tell you some bullshit about how he loves you and not her?"
Fuuko flushed with anger. "Shut up, Eisen! Don't talk to me like I'm some stupid slag!"
"Shit, you had sex with him, didn't you?" he said knowingly. He punched the steering wheel in frustration, torn between wanting to kill the asshole and wringing his sister's neck. He was a man and he knew how guy's minds work. It made him squeamish to admit it, but he knew Fuuko was a looker. She may not have Yanagi's beauty queen good looks but Fuuko was exactly the kind of girl boys that age lusted after. Obviously, this Tokiya character wasn't any different. Tokiya was good looking, rich and seemed to have an ego the size of Mt. Fuji, he'd be the type to want someone like Fuuko in his bed. He just didn't want to see his sister hurt.
"Eisen, I'm not dumb, I know what I'm doing. I trust him," Fuuko said pleadingly.
Eisen turned around to face his sister. "Fuuko, you realize what he did to Yanagi, right? They've been engaged forever and he drops her just like that. What makes you think he can't do the same thing to you?"
"I know he won't."
And he could tell she truly believed what she was saying.
"I'm going to tell Dad about this, you realize that?" Snitching, especially about his siblings, was something Eisen found abhorrent. But this was different; he didn't want to see this get worse. And he knew their father could put a stop to this.
"Don't please," she asked, hands squeezing his shoulders painfully. "I'll tell him, okay, just give me some time."
He could never say no to her when he gave her those innocent, puppy dog eyes. "A week, that's all I'm giving you."
Fuuko smiled up at him gratefully. "Thank you," she whispered. "He's not bad, Eisen. I…I think I'm in love with him."
Eisen couldn't help but grin at his sister. "It's always love at seventeen, Fuuko."
Fuuko stood in front of the floor length mirror in her bathroom. Her bathrobe hung open exposing her in nothing but a pair of pink panties. She inspected the cuts and bruises on her body and worried about how they would leave a permanent scar on her body, then she berated herself for being such a girl about it. Well, she thought again, she was a girl. She can tough it out better than any man out there but she had always been a bit vain about her skin. She knew she had a better body than most girls and it was complimented by her luminous and flawless porcelain skin. That wouldn't be the case for long.
The dermatologist had given her an ointment that would help flatten out the scars as her wounds heal but she knew it would never go back to the way it was. But she wouldn't take anything back. These were her battle scars, proof that she was a capable ninja and that she helped defend her country and her people. She sighed and tied the belt of her robe loosely.
When she turned around she almost screamed at the person that greeted her by the door.
"Fuck, Mi-chan, you scared me to death!" she said in a whispered scream. "How long have you been standing there?"
He grinned mischievously. "Long enough."
"Perv," she muttered under her breath. "How'd you get in here anyway?"
It suddenly occurred to her that he was standing inside her bathroom. She hurriedly pushed past him and into her room and made sure her door was locked.
"I climbed the trellis outside your window," he explained when she turned back around to face him.
"How'd you get past the guards?" she asked.
"Yeah, you might want to tell your father that your security detail's a bit inept," he said cheekily.
"And how do you propose I tell him how I found out about that?" she said sarcastically.
Tokiya looked at her sheepishly. "I'm sorry. I didn't come here to fight with you."
"Well, why did you come here?" She knew she was being a bit unfair to him but she had been on edge since her talk with Eisen and he was the unwitting recipient of her frustration.
He walked up to her wrapped his arms loosely around her waist. "I couldn't sleep. I wanted to see you."
Her expression softened at his words. "I missed you too."
He bent his head down and kissed her lips. Her arms reached up to tangle in his hair. His lips glided savagely over hers as his tongue invaded her mouth with wild abandon. There was something desperate in the way he kissed her, as if he was afraid he would never have a chance to do so again.
Both breathed heavily when they parted, foreheads leaning against each other as they stood against the moonlight.
"Your brother knows something," he said surely.
Wide purple eyes looked up at him curiously.
"He was looking at me earlier as if he wanted to skewer my balls," he explained with a bit of humor.
"He talked to me earlier," she said, eyes focused on the buttons of his shirt.
He put a hand under her chin and forced her to look him in the eye. "You're not changing your mind, are you?"
She shook her head. "Never."
"When you tell them, I'll be with you," he promised.
Her lips quirked into a smile. "That might not be the best idea you've ever had. They're very protective."
"I don't care. We're in this together," he assured her.
She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him down for another kiss. "You always know the right words to say, don't you? You can make a girl agree to anything."
He pulled her flush against him. "I highly doubt that. Otherwise we'd both be naked by now."
Fuuko punched his arm lightly. "Perv."
Tokiya's eyes roamed around the room. He hadn't paid much attention to how it looked when he first went in through the window. He'd been distracted by the sight of Fuuko staring at her half-naked form in front of the mirror.
"Your room is pink," he said incredulously.
She laughed at his words. "My mom was the one who picked the colors and everything else. I think she got a bit excited when she found out she was having a girl." She bit her lip at the memory of her mother. "I didn't want to change anything. It's one of the few things I have left of her."
Tokiya tucked her hair behind her ears. "I bet your mother's as beautiful as you are."
Fuuko nodded, a picture of her mother flitting inside her head. "She was very beautiful."
"Do you want to talk about her?" he offered.
She shook her head. "Someday I'm going to tell you all about her, but not now. I'm kind of tired."
His expression changed to one of worry. "Right, you should rest. You should've told me earlier."
Fuuko grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the bed. "You can sleep here if you want."
He looked a bit constipated.
She chuckled at his expression. "No one's home. Eisen left shortly after he dropped me off. Dad called and said they won't be back until tomorrow afternoon." She paused and gazed up at him. "And I just really want you near me."
Tokiya caressed her cheeks with his knuckles. "Then I'll be glad to stay."
Fuuko slipped under the covers as he shed off his clothes, leaving him in just boxers. He turned off the lights and settled beside her, their heads facing each other. His hot breath fanned over her face as they studied each other's faces, swathes of moonlight highlighting their features.
He knew she wanted feel some intimacy but he didn't dare make the first move. He didn't want her to feel as if he just came to her because of that. Three minutes passed, and yes he was counting, before she leaned up and kissed him.
Tokiya let her take the lead, letting her know that she had complete control of how far she wanted to go. Her hands snaked around his neck as she lied flat on her back, pulling him to settle over her body. He let his weight rest on top of her, mindful of her injuries. Their tongues danced together, reveling in each other's sweetness. Her hand guided his towards the knot of her belt and he groaned at the insinuation.
He untied her robe and pushed the terry cloth apart. His hands traveled up her sides, wincing as he came in contact with her bandages, before finally settling over her breasts. He massaged her tits and swallowed the pleasurable moans coming from her mouth.
Tokiya moved down, placing wet kisses along the column of her throat. He left love bites on the top of her breasts before placing a kiss on the tip of each mound. He sucked her nipples hungrily, her breathy moans were like music to his ears. After he paid homage to her tits, he shifted down once more until he was faced with the bandages around her stomach.
His fingers caressed the white cloth lightly before he placed a tender kiss over her stomach. "How'd you get this?"
She sighed heavily. She placed an arm on her forehead while her other hand played with the fringe of his hair. "My enemy. He had a mace. I made a wrong turn and one of the spikes slashed me."
He pillowed his head over her breasts. "You hurt him?"
She smiled ruefully. "I destroyed his mace."
"When you see him again, you're going to crush him. Or I will, if you don't mind," he said.
"So chivalrous," she teased.
"You're my girl. I don't like to see you hurt," he said seriously.
"Are you sure you're talking to the right girl? You know I hate being patronized," she chided.
He reached up to cup one of her breasts, squeezing it before playing with her nipple. In an odd way, it wasn't sexual at all, just comforting. "You can't stop me from feeling that way, though."
"Well, you're going to have to resist your baser instincts. I plan on getting him back for this myself," she told him with a teasing voice but he knew her words were serious.
"I'll be cheering you from the sidelines."
They smiled at each other in understanding. It scared her sometimes, how quickly she had fallen in love with him. But at this exact moment, she knew there was nothing to be afraid of.
"Something else is bothering you." His words weren't a question. It was surprising how easily he could read her.
She nodded. Her index finger traced the contours of his face as she spoke. "I'm worried about Recca."
"Your father said he was fine," he reminded her.
"I know. I just really wish I could see him for myself. I don't know if you can understand, but he's…he's more than just my best friend."
"Should I be worried?" he said, arching an eyebrow.
She giggled. "No, silly. He's family. I worry about him so much."
Tokiya moved over her, his elbows beside her ear as he cocooned her with his body. "I'm sure he's really worried about you, too. But you should trust your father when he says that Recca is alive and safe."
"I just need to see him, if I could just see him or just talk to him, I wouldn't worry so much," she insisted.
Tokiya sighed, knowing how stubborn and obstinate she could get. "Maybe you could try to talk to your father tomorrow. I'm sure your father knows where he is. Right now what you need is a good night's rest."
"I'm glad you're here."
Tokiya kissed her before lying down beside her once more. He wrapped an arm around her waist and tucked her head under his chin. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
To be continued…
A/N: So much fluff! Whee! I love writing Raiha/Kurei, haha. Next chapter, Fuuko scheming, Domon moping and Tokiya perving. Hahahahha. And plot moving forward and such.
Also, I wrote another ToFuu fic called 'Not Dating'. Give it some love!
THANK YOU FOR READING AND PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO REVIEW!