A/N: For the Livejournal 10 whores writing challenge using the prompt freedom. Written back in 15.07.08 and I only now got around to posting it. Fail!author is fail.

Warnings: None.

Disclaimer: CLAMP owns. I'm just borrowing their characters for non-profit purposes.


For the longest time dreaming had been a solution for Subaru. It meant to once more see those whom he had loved and to live for a second time through days long gone by. Dreaming for him was a chance to remember what is was to live, instead of just existing from day to day. Dreams were a reminder of what it meant to feel, to be happy. But all good dreams had the tendency of turning into nightmares. Subaru's dreams were no exception to this. Often he jerked awake, shaking himself free from a bad dream, or maybe a bad memory, and reached for a cigarette. Most of the time he lit it, took a few drags and then watched it burn down, the ashes falling between his bare feet on the cold floor.

Subaru did not know whether he was running from the dreams into reality or from reality – into the dreams. Both ways, it hurt.

And Kakyou's appearance in his dreams hurt even more because he too had known Hokuto. Because Hokuto had changed, if only a little, Kakyou's life as well. She had raised Kakyou above the dark, monotone life he had led before, had opened a new world for him only to have him fall back into an even deeper darkness on the night of her death. Being able to lead any semblance of life only in dreams, Kakyou was feeling her loss more than anyone else; or so he said the first time he spoke with Subaru.

At first Subaru had tried to pry out any information regarding Hokuto from him, but Kakyou had been reluctant to talk. He was painfully surprised to see another person with Hokuto's face. It had taken time for him to adapt and to get used to this thought; to accept that this man looked exactly like the girl whose death Kakyou had foreseen, but had not been able to prevent. He also knew the reason why she had had to die; he had looked into Subaru's dreams, his past and his future, and even his present. He now knew that Hokuto's sacrifice would not be wasted, not quite. It did not mean, however, that he stopped resenting that night.

When Kakyou started talking about Hokuto, Subaru no longer wanted to listen. He had finally accepted her death, her sacrifice, and he was looking forward to his own. Kakyou tried to stop him, to talk him out of it. He cheated himself, thinking that he was doing it for Hokuto; for the bright, cheerful girl that had added colours and sounds, and freedom to his lonely dream-life. He looked at Subaru and saw Hokuto. His sight became clouded and he could see nothing in the future. He only saw Hokuto and a chance to save her and himself from damnation, and for a while he did not notice that it was leading him back into the hell he had long forgotten existed. The feeling of déjà vu had taken over his senses and had trapped him in an illusion of the past.

Kakyou had seen hope for a second time, had found a goal to fight for, a path back to light and love. When Subaru refused to listen to him and dismissed his well-meant advices, he lost it. For a second time he was plunged into the darkness. For a second time he was forced to watch a loved one die. Because, truly, Subaru came out changed from his fight with Seishirou. Subaru became his own worst enemy – a legitimate heir of the Sakurazuka clan whose only reality was death and darkness lay on his path wherever he turned.

And darkness and eternal dreams were the only things left for Kuzuki Kakyou.