Written By: Lady Lunar Phoenix
Beta: … Maybe I should just be merciful and not bother with a Beta. No one needs to deal with this much work.
A/N: So now we have shout outs! I'm going to do shout outs to other series among other things. Today's shout out? Avenue Q.
He woke uncomfortably positioned on his couch. A blanket had been lazily draped over his form, a series of books had been left in front of him. Souji rubbed his eyes and a look to the left showed the small coffee table was littered with cards that he didn't own. All the cards were face down with a lone card resting in the center with two other face down cards resting close to it. Turning his body to study the cards more closely allowed for something on his lap to fall to floor. Picking up a manga that he read when he was much younger. Closing the manga he put it aside to study the cards on his table, the dark theme of the cards clearly weren't his.
The back of the decks' design showed a featureless face, split down the middle in black and white a card of duality. The base color was various shades of blue with black and a muted white, a checked blue and black background with a flare effect of black and white like a sun. The oval shape held an even series of spikes that reached halfway to the edge of the oval while the face rested upon it. What could be considered wire work framed the cards and they were scattered all about the table, while the center card was the lone upright.
Reading 'The Fool' underneath a black silhouette, an archetype of someone hitting the road with faithful dog in attendance. With a silvery blue checker board background, he understood what the card was a part of, this wasn't just a dark brand of playing cards. It was a tarot deck, and the moment Souji touched the Fool to pick it up, the first thing he smelled was the same manufactured air he smelled in that dream as well as the bitter sharp tang of blood on his tongue.
"So this is Igor's 'gift'..." Souji noted as he reached for the two nearest cards to the Fool. They turned into smoke rising into the air as others began to turn into smoke. They rose as high as eye level before slipping down like a liquid down a funnel, into the shape of a harmless small box sitting in the center of that table. He never studied the occult, and he wasn't big on letting his uncle see him towing such books into the house.
God praise the Internet, it was now for more then just porn.
But that would be later, his alarm suddenly went off with such a loud squawk which meant he woke up early.
It also meant that he felt that strange being inside him start in surprise and the untimely death of his alarm clock. He sat there with wide eyes for a moment or three, watching as sparks shot out into arcs briefly and as the small snake like fingers of smoke rose into the air.
"Twas for both our protection?" Because apparently this being was a quick study, since there was a subtle sense of inquire and confusion mixing into the slowly lowering alarm sense.
"It was an 'alarm clock'."
"Truly, for I art most alarmed..."
"It's purpose is to wake me up in the mornings."
"For what purpose does thou think the sun rising as?"
"A pretty walk to school because I can easily sleep through sunrise?"
There was a very long pause...
"Twould seem I hast made an error in mine judgment, however; I art unused to such methods and only sought our safety."
Souji ran a hand through his hair, he could use his cellphone or buy a new one easily enough, so instead he let his eyes go back to the books around him. "And this would be?"
"Twould be wise to learn of this modern age, yes?"
"Yet I find a manga in my lap," Souji countered with a smirk as he got up, putting the books up quickly before getting ready for school.
"Yeah, that's what this is... It's a... book that tells a story through images and words," Souji explained, before it occurred to him that he was talking to a voice in his head.
"I'm talking to a voice in my head," Souji shook his head in self depreciation even as he felt the questioning concern from that voice. "Ok, so what's your name?"
"I art thou, thou art I."
"That is not a name," however; there 'was' a strange sense of evasiveness to that question. Did that voice know who it was? Because Souji was dead sure it wasn't that he was going nuts.
"I art aware of that," the voice snapped, a type of concern at something it was hiding. A lack of knowledge, self awareness that was lost was being asked to be produced. The shame that came from that lack of knowledge bothered him.
Souji didn't say anything to the reply, instead his feelings told him what he needed to know. He shook his head in the end, deciding to let the being be for a while.
"Thine kin seems attracted to a certain toy she saw upon the magic box. I..."
"Wait..." Souji stood shirtless, the school uniform hung loose in his fingers as he 'heard' that. "Where was I?"
"Thou fell into a light slumber in the bathing room. The child insist that thee come out for thine meal. I left in thine stead, I art not so proud to say I followed thine person all that well. For all I did try to not scare thine kin, and she seemth to take it well... She did not scream."
"No, 'I' went out to eat, I remember that and helping with the dishes..." Souji blinked as he tried to remember what he had that night.
"'Light' slumber, thou drifted between the waking and sleeping worlds, for that I knew some of what needeth to be done. Mayhap thou saw mine actions and mistaken them for thee, but the truth is a little..." and Souji found himself shrugging for no reason save that the spirit was shrugging. An act that brought chills to his spine as he realized just 'how' close the connection between them was.
He began sliding his arms through the sleeves and noted the way it felt seemed different, much akin to how he thought before. Everything felt 'new' to him, as though he had never experienced such things before. Given the shrug, given the fact that he could lifted from his knees like a puppet on deeper thought, how much control did this nameless being have over him?
"How are you doing this? How can you make my body just 'move' without my consent?" Souji demanded, his tone hard enough to give this being a moment of pause.
The response that welled up was pure confusion and a little annoyance. "What be it that I doth have such a skill? Thou are willingly allowing this to continue, I art not the type to take that which does not belongth to I. Thou needeth help, I provide thee, if thou wished it not, would thou not state such?"
Souji had to pause and think on that, because i it was true. Souji had been in no condition to ya or nay what happened to him during those moments. This being didn't know who they were, beyond a male voice there was nothing. No past meant he lacked a present, as far as this being was concerned he was just...
"Ok, how do 'you' see this situation? Being in my body I mean," he finally asked, forcing his voice to calm itself. Instead of focusing on the being he focused further on getting ready for school, leaving the bedroom finally to go and use the bathroom. Only to find it being used by Nanako...
She was going to have to remember to lock the door and he was going to have to remember to 'knock'.
"Safety... within thee I feel safe. I know not of this world, these things, yet thou art aware of them. I awoke to find myself within thine body," the voice replied, as though shamed to admit fear.
'And the 'I art thou, thou art I' line you came up with?' Souji thought, to himself.
"Seemed suitably dramatic? I awoke with those words upon mine lips..."
Well apparently Souji didn't have to hold all his conversations out loud and look like a lunatic for doing so. Also apparently the being came preinstalled with some sense of humor that had an odd way of expressing itself, considering the situation.
Just as the being finished speaking the door opened and Nanako stuck her head out. She looked up at him with her overly shy and uncertain gaze before walking out the room. She was dressed and heading for the kitchen when Souji thought to ask her about the night before.
"Ummm. You were asleep, he came out and had dinner with me... He didn't seem bad...He helped with the dishes..." Nanako stood before the entry way of the house her posture subservient and timid. Something that still bothered Souji.
"Why do you think it wasn't me?" Souji asked, dropping down to one knee to see her better.
"Because you looked like you were sleep walking with your eyes open, and they were a mix of gold and red. Like how dad's eyes change when the fog comes," she answered before turning back towards the kitchen.
And that being felt so smug about being proven right, while Souji walked into the bathroom. But he didn't want Nanako to feel like he was hounding information out of her, she was clearly a guarded child. Her mother's death and father's work habits coupled with whatever happened during the fog had not broken her.
"Where be her mother?"
'She died when Nanako-chan was younger,' Souji explained feeling a sense of disbelief.
"'Younger' art thou's words? She be but a babe now! How much younger couldth thine kin be at the time? In her mother's womb?!"
Yep, voice had a solid grip on sarcasm. But he ignored it for the moment while he brushed his teeth, odd that he didn't need to pee or anything. Then again did the being know how to use the toilet? Maybe that being went for him during the night? But Souji didn't want to ask a million questions of the stranger and finally after he finished the last of his routine looked at himself fully in the mirror. 'Red and gold mixed eyes' were Nanako's words and Souji sought to see that gold.
Indeed as he inspected his eyes he saw small splotches of gold that should have been black. The gold was a surprise, but the feeling of that being growing curious took a new turn. Suddenly it was 'he' looking over the shoulder at his own body staring into the mirror as his own eyes turned completely red.
"That be gold?"
"I'm not in my own body... How..."
Souji would have panicked, save that the being turned to look directly at him, even if he had no reflection in the mirror. He was visible to this being, a being who looked confused and uncertain.
"Why art thou out of thin body? Tis empty without thine soul here."
"Uh I didn't go willingly, you pushed me out!" Souji replied, noting the look if surprise and confusion on his own face.
"I... I doth apologize, twas not mine intent. I... was merely curious, yet, thine kin doth said 'gold' that..."
Souji watched as the being turned to look at the mirror again, his eyes what had been white was now pink, the iris' were red like heated rock and the pupils were bordering black. It was strange standing in the bathroom of his uncle's house outside his own body, bizarre even. Leaving Souji, once again, wishing his mother had told him what she meant as he reached out to the being in growing concern. He wasn't sure if the being was just going to walk off and leave him. Not when he didn't know what the world was like to begin with. He felt the warmth of his own body and realized how cold he was where he stood, but in that moment of contact the being turned to look at him. A spark of energy numbed his hand as though he was being rebuffed from the contact. But the being reacted in surprise, before the being reached out and took the spirit hand.
This wouldn't do the being decided, his own words came back to him. 'I am thou, thou art I, thou art the one, who opens the door'. He didn't know who he was, he 'had' to stay with Souji if he was to survive to find out who he was and what this 'door' was. Instead he pulled that spirit hand into Souji's chest. "Just walk in to thine body, I see not why it would fail."
Trust men not to over analyze anything. Souji did as instructed, unsure if this was supposed to even work, but at least the being didn't add that he saw it on the 'magic box' or the manga. So there was 'that'.
Walking into his own body was far too dreamlike to him, yet that was what he was doing. Each time that being did anything before, it had felt like puppetry, and now he knew why. That being had never fully been 'inside' his body, just standing behind him over his shoulder almost. Because the moment Souji stepped in with that being he caught a glimpse of a whole new world. It was ozone and the numbness of electricity in every flex of a muscle, the twitch of a finger felt as though lightning had shot to that digit.
The air was sharp with the tang of new scents that he long since stopped noticing and it was in that amazement that he looked up at the mirror. Red pupils, gold iris and and there was just something 'else' that he couldn't name shimmering in the unique place where he and that being was meeting. It was a state that made him reach out to the mirror as though the answer could be found in the touch of that smooth surface.
"Um, is everything ok in there? I have to go to school," Nanako's voice broke into the moment before his fingers could touch the mirror.
"I'm fine, go on ahead," Souji called out even as he rushed the door. Damn he was going to be late wasn't he?