Title: In Memory of a White Christmas
Disclaimer: Katekyo Hitman Reborn! belongs to Akira Amano
Pairing: Byakuran x Mukuro (10069)
Rating: PG-13 ~ PG-15
Warning: Nothing in particular. Pretty much worksafe. Aside from young boys' nudity.
Sometimes, they say, dreams bring back memories that you have long ago forgotten – those memories being pushed and locked securely away in a place you only wish someone could never find. The very back of your mind has become very dark – stained with bloody hatred and maddening sadness – yet those memories are never really lost, only just hidden…and when you happen to find the key – intended or not – they start to come, leaking from the old rotting chest, back to you…
—In Memory of a White Christmas—
…I dream of you…
The stone-paved street was cold against his bare feet…so cold that after walking or actually, staggering forward for a while, he couldn't feel anything but increasing numbness that weakened him more and more to the cold. Even the blood from his freshly daily cut open wound was starting to cake as if everything could be frozen in this world of chilliness.
Still, brilliant blue eyes never stopped wandering, looking around as if searching for something and then back up at the bottomless night sky.
It was a night so cold and dark that even the shining light from the lining street lamps wasn't enough to lead a stray sheep back. And because of this, only a few souls could be seen out strutting – all wanting more than anything to return to the warm coziness in such a night.
But a small boy in a rag was hoping those people he knew would not come and drag him back to their place tonight…if he couldn't have forever.
His legs, even though poorly, continued to carry him forward in his aimless quest. He couldn't really call this 'success escape' as he knew all-too-well that sooner or later those people would certainly find him just like those other times he had tried. They made it an easy task enough as if…it was his curse, his destiny to never be able to escape.
A chain promised of eternity of imprisonment that could never be cut.
He felt like nauseating just thinking of how those adults treated him and those who happened to share the same fate as him as if they were animals…lab rats…or just something less human. Even so, there was nothing in his stomach to puke out, for he hadn't eaten anything for…what? 3 days? Somehow, it seemed even longer…
At the thought of food, his body immediately negatively reacted. His legs suddenly gave up on him and he fell limply to the cold solidness. And as he lay there, he could hear the wind carry the enchanting sound of the chant of Christmas Carol…the song he had longed to hear.
Slowly, painfully slowly, the corners of the lips of the lying boy lifted, curving into a spiteful smirk – a smirk unfit for a boy his age – as a thought, a question he himself couldn't answer, occurred:
Since when had he learned how to sing a Christmas Carol?
I am human too…
Since when…had it started; this nightmare that seemed never-ending?
Or used to be treated as one…
Every day, there was always a new wound bleeding.
Even if I can't remember…
Every day, there was always a new tear being shed.
I just want to believe…
Why couldn't this be stopped?
A small sound escaped the boy's throat. It wasn't a sob…but laughter, laughing at the world and his own pathetic fate. He felt so tired but didn't dare to sleep because…
If he slept without knowing for sure the sleep was eternal, all he would find when he woke up would be nothing but nightmare again…and again…and again…
And yet his eyelids, which became heavier and heavier every passing minute, started to droop as the familiar fear of restarted nightmare became bigger and bigger in his heart, something white caught his blurring eyes…so white and pure like the beautiful snow he had longed to see falling from the great, endless sky.
The sardonic smile on the boy's lips widened…
"Are you…a snow angel?"
He then became unconscious almost too quickly to hear an amused chuckle.
"Snow angel? I think I prefer my 'Marshmallow Snowman'."
Warm. It was warm – so warm and cozy like he had imagined living behind those orange-lighted windows he had passed on the cold street. The warmth enveloped him like an embrace he had never felt, for it was only the embrace of cold darkness that was always around him, refusing to let him permanently free.
The warmth felt so good that he might have imagined he was now lying in an especially soft bed instead of the solid floor of the soulless street where he remembered to be. It was warm and yet…
Pale eyelids slowly lifted open and the first sight that greeted him was that of himself reflecting back at him from two clear orbs the color of amethyst that belonged to a cherubic face whose nose was currently brushing his in a terrifically awkward manner.
"Finally awake, sleeping beauty?" The cherub or his 'Snow Angel' as he remembered calling him smiled – the smile as angelic as he was.
Mukuro shrank back. Immediately. His sky-blue eyes were so wide as if he had seen a ghost instead of an angel.
On seeing his reaction, the 'Snow Angel' chuckled – even his laughing sound was melodic.
"Predictable reaction. You're a boy." And to make his statement clearer that the latter wasn't a question, he added: "I've checked."
Sky-blue eyes widened even further, if that was possible as the blue haired-boy was suddenly aware of his current situation. He was…naked – absolutely naked – under the blanket with…his 'Snow Angel' – also naked – on top of him.
Yet before he could make any protesting noise or move away, if that was also possible, the naked angel, still smiling brightly, quickly said: "What's with the face? I'm about to take a bath. It's not as if it's something you have never seen before, is it?"
All the blue haired-boy could do was just…staring. The white haired-one sighed. If the younger boy didn't call him 'Snow Angel' when he had passed out, he would have thought the boy was actually mute. Still, the condition of the boy – some still fresh and visible wounds and the traces of shackles – was enough to convince him that this boy probably belonged to an organization of the darker side.
Violet eyes narrowed. His father wouldn't like it if he knew he had unreasonably given resort – even if temporary – to something that could be called 'property' of those kinds. His father was too peace-loving a man – for peace was always his excuse to not move and thus, not doing anything – to have any desire to get in trouble with other mafia family. And because of that, he detested the word 'peace'.
Because peace did not also mean happiness.
The white haired-boy then shook the thought out of his head – even though it was still there in the back of his mind – and got up, offering the obviously younger boy a hand. He wouldn't mind what his father would think, for it wasn't some stupid, self-loving peace that he wanted.
"Come on. Let's take a bath. You were there out cold."
The younger boy was perplexed and yet…he let the other pull him away from his current sanctuary that was the bed. It then occurred to him, as if the mock his former raving ridiculousness, that the one had called Snow Angel's hand was pretty warm.
It felt like a dream being here when just only hours before he had been wandering down aimlessly in search of freedom he knew was too far to seek, funnily enough, on Christmas Eve. It was strange how he still knew what was Christmas and even knew how to sing a Christmas Carol even though he would never have a chance to celebrate it.
Maybe he called this cherubic boy who was lathering him with sweet-smelling soap an angel because he had never seen anything so white. Maybe it was just a childish hope to meet a snow angel and to ask him to grant him a chance – the only chance in his life – to see a white Christmas, for back into the dark cell where he was kept…
He had learned to long to see the sky. And maybe to see something fall down from that great sky that wasn't rain. Still…
A splash of warm water might not be as detestable.
The older boy stared at him – the evidence that was a bucket still in his grip.
He stared back. Warm, clear droplets of water dripped down his now thoroughly wet blue hair onto his unhealthily pale skin. He was so small and thin compared to the other yet he had already made it his specialty never to back down on a staring contest even if his contesters, mostly those men in his family, were to cut a new wound open in a minute.
The older boy continued to stare. Their gaze wasn't broken until…
A chuckle filled the air – the sound ever so bright and melodic – echoing in the steaming bathroom where mirrors had become already blurry.
"You are too quiet and indifferent, you know?"
The blue haired-boy raised one eyebrow, still not saying anything. He'd rather listen as the other continued to laugh. He had already decided he liked the other's laughter – it was clear like the chiming of the bells yet sounded so much deeper. Maybe…he should learn how to laugh though he doubted his laughter would sound as angelic.
Slowly, at the thought, his lips cracked…into a smile – more of a smirk – that he would later know could freak people out more than merely sweetly smiling.
"Yeah…that's better." The other commented.
Mukuro didn't know how it came that he never protested whatever this weird 'Snow Angel' said. To him, the other boy seemed like an enigma. But again, aside those empty-eyed children caged like lab rats like him, he had never met a normal child. Yet he was pretty sure the other boy was anything but normal. It was as if he had strange power about him that made others seem to do as he pleased.
"Open your mouth. Here." The older boy said, smiling as he held a fork carrying a small chunk of something to the younger one's close lips.
Odd even to himself, the blue haired-boy immediately complied just to let in something that tasted soft and really sweet on his tongue. Blue eyes looked at the other's face and the other's smile widened.
It was too easy to nod.
That power, he should fear yet he was feeling too contented as he sat near the window, wearing a little bit too loose clothes albeit warm and fresh and munching on an all-too-sweet chocolate marshmallow cake as he and the other boy together waited, as he was told to believe – and he did believe – that it would snow soon.
And it did.
Snow. White, white snow fell down from heavenward, glittering like diamonds. It was magnificent…so beautiful…like a dream. But maybe this was a dream, for it was like a dream that he was here – so warm and contented like a whimsical wish he secretly hoped for every single day – that he feared he would finally wake up and return to the nightmare that was the always brutal reality where there would be no angel smiling brilliantly at him.
This boy who looked like an angel…whom he had known in time so brief…he didn't why he trust him so much. And yet he didn't trust himself enough to ask this angel to be friend with him.
For he knew he was eternally cursed.
So he watched – watched, as if fascinated. He watched the snow he so longed for falling from the sky and then the bright, angelic smile on the cherubic face that he knew one day would be too charming to resist, mesmerizing them as the fondest Christmas memories of this day before finally waking up and slowly forgetting everything.
He would leave before dawn tomorrow…without ever asking the Snow Angel's name or telling his own, for he knew he couldn't be here forever and didn't belong here. His only place was in the dark where he could see nothing bright under the concrete ceiling that deprived him of the great, great sky. Yet for now…
He would sleep…sleep and let the Snow Angel embrace him as he wanted, remembering that…the Snow Angel wasn't as cold as snow but so warm…
Before he woke up and forgot everything.
Mismatched eyes opened. The first thing he saw after waking up was nothing different from before. It was the same obscurity. And he was still chained and artistically bleeding. His lips curved into a smirk. As a sadistic and flower-loving mafia boss, Byakuran sure knew where to make him bleed…beautifully. It was a surprise he was still alive and breathing. But again, you couldn't expect anything ordinarily reasonable from Byakuran.
The man was an enigma – an epitome of demon and angel mixed into twisted perfection.
Mukuro liked perfection, and aside from choices of appetite, there was nothing else in particular that he liked. Still, he knew that he hated Byakuran. He hated him because of his pristine perfectness that he knew so well was nothing but an amusing façade of deceits and lies. And he hated him even more because…in his sadistic way of torturing his 'guest', the man also made him remember…
Light flooded into the room as the door was open and the false angel stepped in – white and bright as ever. Mukuro's eyes narrowed, hating the absolute whiteness, which soon came to be before him – apart by only an inch of hairbreadth.
He hated everything about him. He hated his color, his voice, his smile…hated the way those lips moved and the sound of his name left them in fluid syllables. He hated the sound of his laughter and the tasted of his lips as they always pressed down and devoured his. He hated the feeling of being unable to protest and the long shut away memories and feelings that leaked out of the locked closet when being near him.
He hated to lose.
But he did.
And he couldn't stop a single tear that suddenly fell from his one blue eye – for the other was now as red as blood – even if he didn't want and told himself that he didn't recognize it as those lips moved against his, forming words that weaved into sentences – so clear even if they were mere whispers:
"Buon Natale, Mukuro-kun."
And he hated him even more because…
"It is snowing today. Do you want to watch?"
He knew he couldn't protest…his Snow Angel or once again escaped him.
His reply was…only and only…a smile.
…And Still Dreams…