Inspired by prompts from the LJ community 31 days; taken from the March collection. Best read with accompaniment music -- choose some mellow, melancholic song from your playlist. If you have none, go find these songs by Rachael Yamagata: Elephants, Horizon, or Sunday Afternoon. You can also listen to Vienna Teng's songs, namely Recessional or Now Three.


~ even until tomorrow and the day after that ~

-

"Kyouya."

Sunlight.

"Kyouya, love, wake up," I blink, and you are there. Weave, weave, the sunlight in your hair, strings of gold smooth as silk. I reach up and tangle my fingers in them, draw you down for a kiss. It does not feel real, not real enough, so we turn over, you and I, tumble and tangle into a heap of limbs, except before I trap you down, you escape and suddenly stand by the door, coaxing me up with a smile. I did not even see you move.

"Come, breakfast is ready," you say. I follow.

Each morning is like this, a gentle awakening. Tea and rice; eggs and chopsticks. The yellow flutter of Hibird's wing against the back of my hand; my skin tingles in pleasant recognition. I wish you would sit beside me on cold days, but I never voice one complaint. The clothes on my back are enough to shield me, and it is enough that you are here, not in Italy.

From across the table you quietly watch as I eat, alone. You have had your breakfast because you often complain I wake up too late. Ten o'clock is not too late. Kusakabe sits by the far door, eyes closed, senses attuned. He says nothing when I snap at you, a sharp scowl of annoyance bowing my lips. You stare too much.

"Is there something wrong, Kyouya?"

And you worry too much. Do you expect me to answer you while I chew? I am not a slob. I glare at you, across the table—but damn that smile of yours, a smile that blinds. Ah, but I, who loves pain, cannot shy away from it, so I drink it in, lap it up, burn my retinas a little bit more everyday, staring at you and your infuriatingly blond hair.

"You look tired." A finger you slide against my cheekbone, fleeting and gentle underneath lashes that flutter. "Did you not sleep well last night?"

"I'm fine," I say, but I am not. The dreams roil of darkness and unease, such I cannot place. I banish them from all thought. "I do not need an herbivore such as you to care for me."

"Ah, but if I don't worry for you, Kyouya, how will you be taken care of? You don't listen to anyone else."

"Watch your ego, Cavallone."

The fire in your smile burns if a little bit brighter.

-

-

Not for the world will I let anyone see your hands on me, so I walk brisk and ahead, as you fall behind. Would I have preferred staying at home to read, but the Vongola cannot, for its life, do the job properly without help. You are completely unnecessary, but of course, the meaning of necessity has never bothered you in your entire life. In fact, your life is one big bundle of necessity and the lack thereof: you, the prince, provided for and taken care of by your own army of loyal men-in-suits. You can never define need from want, and so when you want to come with, you say you need to come with. I refuse to show my pleasure with your perceived need of me.

Walking into the briefing room is as satisfying as ever, as the Vongola brood quiets their respective discordant noises in fear of rousing my temper. You follow closely after, taking your place in the empty seat beside me.

"Make it quick, Sawada Tsunayoshi."

A spiritless smile, wan and if only a little intimidated, is what the biggest herbivore has to give before launching into the outline of a retrieval operation. Yet another of the puny little yakuza factions, one of the plenty plebes futilely refusing the underworld's authority, has interfered with and stolen from a high-end Vongola-sponsored business. It is but a mild consolation that they are not one of the Hibari clan's allied sections, for this relieves me of any personal responsibility to discipline and, if necessary, excise the wayward cancers in my clan.

Another hour passes in the drone of herbivore talk, and though I notice they are strangely quiet towards you, I refrain from speaking. I need not trouble myself with herbivore triviality, and I should hope that you are plenty capable of taking care of your own business without me, clumsy animal that you are.

I stalk out of the room, waiting for none, not even Sawada Tsunayoshi's dismissal. Should he think of me as his subordinate, I will disembowel him in the most painful way imaginable—he knows this well, himself. You follow after me, obedient and quiet; behind us is a keen Gokudera Hayato, eyes piercing through illusions that are not there. What he thinks he sees I do not know, but those eyes annoy me, they dare rest upon me. They are not worthy.

"Gokudera is just doing his job, Kyouya," you murmur quietly with a laugh, your breath ruffling the backs of my neck. We step out into sunlight, within the peaceful grounds of the Namimori temple. There is a breeze ruffling the trees about.

"I do not recall stalking me as a part of his job description." Kusakabe follows behind you, mute and nondescript. Romario is nowhere to be seen, perhaps tending to business you are forsaking for your time in Japan, but that is alright; you consider me as your family, and as such, I enable you to fight should the need arise.

Again you delight a laugh. It cloaks, water-like, over the skin of my ears. "He's just a very observant person, Kyouya. It's his job to make sure the Guardians of the Vongola have what they need, do what they need to do. I sincerely do feel for him, the poor boy. If only Yamamoto would move faster, hmm? They should honestly get on with it."

"Chatterbox, Cavallone. Shut your chatterbox of a mouth." And then I add, "Since when did you become such a gossiper?" We slide into the car, to be driven back to the house.

"Well, since I met you, Kyouya," the car pulls away from the temple's driveway. You lean into me, against me, and place your mouth against my neck. "I realized then that I needed much verbal nonsense to fill the silence in between us that precedes bed."

I try to repress it but a smile pokes through. The rest of today is free; you will be with me.

-

-

Listen.

Listen, you tell me quietly, when I lay in your arms.

Listen closely, to the trickle of water, imaginary. Listen to the spur of notes by nimble fingers, fluid and graceful, a testament to the song. Listen as the trickle stops, or it seems to stop, and then reveals itself from beneath the slush of the stream, vibrant and triumphant, reborn.

Listen, you tell me, because this is a piece of music you love, and you wish to share your love with me. How long has it been since the days when I refused you? How long has it been since your hands were gashed and bloodied before they could touch me? How long has it been? Ten years. Ten years of nothing but you; I have been desensitised.

I have known nothing but the wicked of the world before you; I was taught to defend. Defend myself, my heart, my soul. Born as I was into a clan of hard lines and lack of gaiety, I cannot be blamed, now, can I? I knew nothing else; I was justified. Because what is a heart, my mother tells me, when it is a broken heart?

Nothing.

Nothing but pieces, shards of glass, irreplaceable into its once majestic form. A heart, she says, is best untouched, untarnished, unloved. A heart is best gleaming in its purity, a sheen so reflective it is bright, brighter than any, in the eyes of those who see.

But she never told me, she never did, what to do when one as persistent and greedy as you sets eyes upon mine.

-

-

Perhaps, then, perhaps I can recover some independence from you in battle, because I, I am indomitable and proud. I am Hibari Kyouya, and at the painful end of my weapon, all the world kneel. This would have been ideal, a self-sufficiency worthy of the heir of the Hibari, but ideals are always cast out and crushed by the cold and wicked world, are they not?

The soonest we step into the chaotic fray, ideals fly out of the window. Vision is dotted, here and here, with bursts of light, blasts from the Vongola's right hand, one of the more capable herbivores I admit. Atmospheric pressure ripples under the ingeniously crafted maximum-impact medium-range hand grenades—and surging right behind the blasts is Yamamoto Takeshi's sword, deadly in its precision, a modicum of support for Gokudera Hayato. Should anybody survive the scorch of the blast, the sword waits in eager thirst for blood.

I watch, closely, as the two work through the mob of angry yakuza. Foolish yakuza, that is what they are. They stand no chance against the Vongola, though the family is nothing but a clump of generally useless herbivores. But these yakuza are lower in the food chain; they deserve to be eaten, for it is their rightful place.

We walk into the fray, you and I, together, side by side. Flesh, arms and feet, flex into battle, but ah, before I know it, I fall into a pattern, well-learned and ingrained into the very bones of my body. I protect you.

And you protect me. We whirl in a circle, dervishes bathing in spatters of blood, you on your right, I on my right, balanced and perfect as Yamamoto Takeshi and Gokudera Hayato in their similarly intricate dance. Ours, though, our dance is intentional and aware, and theirs is not—because as you have said, they are slow little herbivorous animals, and we are better than that, are we not? At least I am, for I would never dillydally with matters as they do.

Come the end of the massacre and we wade through limbs and blood, ruining leather and fine suits but it does not matter because plenty more there are from where they came from. I have taken blows I normally would not have because you, herbivore, do a sloppy job of covering my left. Hope is lost on you and it is a true miracle how you survive the cruelty of this world, this world that selects against your kind. At that rate, herbivore, one day you will fall—and do hope that I am not near when that does happen, because I will follow you into your own personal Hell, animal, and butcher you ten times over for leaving me behind.

-

-

"Are you alright?" the herbivore asks, and it is all I can do not to butcher them in the heady bloodlust. A glare is all I can give the insolent animal, a particular Gokudera Hayato, far too worrisome and worrying for his own good. Yamamoto Takeshi tries to offer help but of course I refuse. I need no animal's help.

Darkness entrenches me in her arms as I walk away from the dimmed lights illuminating a grisly scene of blood and severed limbs on the ground. Yamamoto Takeshi and Gokudera Hayato are now huddled close together, conversing in hushed tones. Perhaps you can hear them from where you stand as you survey the damage, wordless and unnoticed. Perhaps you can hear what they say, why Gokudera Hayato shoots such sharp eyes at me.

But you pretend not to notice. Of course you pretend not to notice. You have always been too much of a pretender, Dino Cavallone, that I wonder if you ever do show your real face to me, when we are alone. If you do not, I will simply have to rip off your puny little masks and expose you for my owning.

Kusakabe readies the car when I approach, still spattered in generous blood, some of which are mine. The man gives a worried eye but knows never to speak unless spoken to. He has been trained well.

It takes a while before you conclude your business with whomever you talk to outside and follow after me into the car, but I am content to wait and calm the rush of rage in my veins. It is only when you slide into the seat next to me that I rap on the glass partition to signal for our departure. Gokudera Hayato remains with his incisive stare upon us as we pull away from the spent blitz.

-

-

And at home you lead me quietly, your fingers insistent as it plucks on my sleeves, towards the awaiting scorching shower and pleasant hot bath: a cleansing, a washing, of all the blood away.

"Your hands," you say to me, "were never meant to be smeared with lowlife blood." You and your nascent romanticism, both never tire. These fingers you kiss one by one; thin and supple, sliding against your lips. Chest to chest and feet to feet we stand under the torrent of water as you anchor one lip after the other on my skin and my skin and my skin. In the breath of cooling steam your hands are greedy platforms of desire and want and need, and ah, the cascade against your neck, against my face, washes away the grime of the world and leaves here only one and one, together, a whole.

Perhaps I fall asleep in your cradle, I know not, but when I stir I am in bed and you are beside me and I am warm. Hibird flutters merrily within his cocoon of princely silk and warm soft cloths. All is right in the world, you and I; all is as it should be.

Such is the opposite of dreams.

-

-

In these dreams, you die. In these wicked distortions of reality, you die, we stand, you fall, I remain, you die. We stand together in a blood-bathed darkness and you fall prey to another's jaws. You have sworn to never fall prey to another's jaws.

This was a mistake, a miscalculation, an aberration in the equation. Things were falling out of place, were not supposed to happen this way. Gokudera Hayato's plans are perfect to the dot—only, I discover that it was not him who has planned this raid, but Sawada Tsunayoshi. And of course, what better can I expect of a lowlife as him? He knows nothing of the intricacies of the dance, knows nothing of the line we follow and the rhythm of our bodies. He has ruined it all, curse him and his wretched puny soul, and there he goes happily about, not one ounce of realisation to shatter his life of a sheltered child.

Curse him, curse him, curse him, you have gone.

Curse you, oh curse you, curse you, since when have I wanted you so much it hurt when you are gone?

There in the muting silence of the dream I whirl and sprint on swift, quick feet and demolish all those who stand in my way. Because I cannot beg, because I cannot save you, I avenge you instead, far away from you when you fall, never there to hear your last breath. Because I cannot beg. Because I cannot save you. Because this is all I can do.

This is all I know to do.

Am I to be blamed?

-

-

No, I am not.

No, I am not, because why should I be held accountable for the mistakes of such herbivorous animals not even worthy to be named? Why should I pay the price of their shortcomings and suffer your loss? Yes, I am suffering, damn you, I am suffering, because the moon is worth nothing without its sun, now, is it? You have taken the untarnished heart and on it you have left your thumbprints stark and unforgiving as marks of ownership on the smooth and reflective glass.

And now the porcelain is broken, now it is broken, the heart is broken, never to be the same.

Except this is all a dream, is it not, and when I wake you will be beside me, warming me, close to me, alive?

Yes, yes, you are alive—here you are, are you not, solid and real. I wake into a dark half-clarity lit by the faint lantern burning, but no matter. You are here. You are enough of a light to illuminate the night.

"Is everything okay…?" you sound uncertain. Have I worried you? I have, yes. These dreams, these fears, are bothersome things.

But since when was I conquered by petty fears of death? My hands, claw-like and painful, snag your tie and drag you down. By force I hold you and by force I kiss you and by force, by force, we rock together in an animal coupling, all heat and scorching passion in the half-wakefulness of my morning.

You resist at first—your great ego worries too much of me. But I am not some weakling cub wanting for the soft reassurance of the mother's teat. I am a predator wanting flesh and prey; I am a grown man, damn you, so do your job and buck. It is not long before you kneel behind me and I feel your heat slick and slide above me and ohh to the pleasure I have grown accustomed your hand is well familiar. The musty quiet is punctuated with heartbeats rising in dual crescendo, slaps and suckles and moans to please, groans of pleasure and release.

This is real, I can tell myself now. You are real, I feel you, real.

It does not matter when for a blink of confused consciousness you have dark hair and dark eyes and a dark, painful smile as you labour above me and beneath me and around me and inside me, because you are you, Dino Dino Dino, the sun, the everlasting, the burning inside the cold glass heart.

-

-

We were in Florence one summer night, when you gave me a ring on a chain: a simple plait of gold and silver, with the tiniest of diamonds littering its round route. You had proposed to me, that night; you had asked me to marry you. We both know this to be impossible, for both our responsibilities stand in the way, but it is a night of pretend, of fancies and love, so I take it, you give it, you loop it around my neck.

It is a leash, a leash I have on reality. It is my bond to you, your bond to me, a promise. I am not one to believe in promises, but a bond is a bond, you say, and belief is but a tiny thing against it. It exists whether I deem it worthy of my attention or not—so why bother dawdling in the river of denial? Such is for herbivores like Yamamoto Takeshi and Gokudera Hayato.

An ugly habit it has become, I must say, that I touch and fondle this ring at random when I talk to you. Your smile, perhaps, a blinding and disorienting thing. It is not conducive to rational thinking. I would never say this to you, not in a million light years, but do I need to? No. As much as it displeases me, I know you read me easily as a wide and open book.

I touch the ring again, today, as I sit by the pond watching the koi. Kusakabe is a silent spectre haunting the grounds, a shadow always present in the corners of my vision. I wonder what he thinks of you and I, sometimes. Around I turn to ask you, but you are not there. The garden is devoid of but dancing sakura in the playful wind, and as they whirl about in their own kind of dance, they create phantoms of things that are not there. The ring remains cold and shimmering against my skin.

-

-

The next day is a day of debriefing, trapped inside the Vongola headquarters. Only but a few have retained any lasting injuries, and those of mine are such inconsequential things they are now as good as healed. Sasagawa Ryohei is the one with most accrued hits, but never is the sheep-like directionless herbivorous enthusiasm deterred by injury or pain. The man is ever as extreme as possible.

You sit beside me, again in the empty seat. Sawada Tsunayoshi congratulates his small army of loyal soldiers for a job well done, and as usual, showers praise and gratitude upon an abashed Gokudera Hayato. Beside me, you cluck your tongue in what I read as pity for the boy, who works his herbivorous brain so hard he barely has enough time for anything else. The Vongola is most fortunate to have such genius, you murmur under your breath.

I cannot see where the genius is, though; I cannot see it past the annoyance clouding my judgment. Gokudera Hayato has been getting on my nerves, with those sharp and piercing eyes, dark as if in knowledge of something I know nothing of. The animal turns to Yamamoto Takeshi, today quiet and subdued, to mutter something into the swordsman's ear. I watch attentively, but those lips barely move. Yamamoto gives a nod.

Instincts have never failed me before, and instincts tell me that they whisper of us. I chance a glance at you, but you are gleefully smiling at whatever Sawada is explaining; you are as much an idiot as the rest of them. Fluid emerald eyes lock with mine across the table and frost gilds my countenance; Gokudera Hayato is a daring little bastard to look at me like that. You pretend not to notice the mounting tension, because outwardly you laugh, but tentative and soothing you slip your fingers into mine, tangle them so they keep, and squeeze to comfort and reassure.

I let go of the glare and turn to bark at Sawada: "Hurry it up, herbivore. I've not time to waste on your petty dillydally."

Only a half-hour more do I last until I give and tug my hand away from yours. The doors are wide open for me when I stalk past them into the hallway; I head mindlessly for the solitude and comfort of the Namimori temple. There I sit for an hour, two, three, watching Hibird flutter about with Gokudera Hayato's mindless furry cat. The bird outlasts and outwits the silly creature, of course.

Hours pass and I am calm and disquieted in turn. After a time I begin to doubt that you will ever come up to follow me, but soon you are back, a warm and enveloping presence, cradling me from behind, your chest against my back. Here it is quiet and secluded; no one will see, no one will see, even if we touch and indulge in the languid heat.

"You were dreaming the other night, Kyouya," you murmur against my ear. "What was it about?"

"In my dream you had died," stark and painfully honest is the statement I give, because there is no point in lying, not to you—false words never pass through you undetected.

"Oh, Kyouya," a sigh against my neck, "oh, beloved Kyouya. I would never leave you. Not for the world, not for the universe. Never."

I never did say I believed such dreams, but I accept your consolations, for what they are worth, for what warmth they give. The glass heart is now warmed to your temperature, and the heat is glorious and bright; but any more, any more, and the fragile glass will break.

-

-

Gokudera Hayato approaches, finally, when we are making for the car to retire home for the night. On the herbivore's shoulder is the baby, casual but grave. Behind, far behind, loitering as if afraid to breach a limit, shadows Yamamoto Takeshi, bearing a sorrowful expression, and broken, broken eyes.

"What is it," I bark. "Make it quick."

The baby remains resolute as always, but Gokudera Hayato bows his head. In a quiet moment's heartbeat, the fluid emerald eyes rise again, and Gokudera Hayato says to me, "You need help."

I remain quiet.

"You need help. You're obviously not coping well, Hibari. I know you don't like help, but you—" and all Yamamoto has to do is to rest a placating hand on Gokudera's shoulder to silence the flustered man. Gokudera refuses to meet my eyes now, and looks away; so does Yamamoto, what a strange pair of animals they are. They would indeed go well with each other.

I turn to the baby; it is now up to him, as it always boils down in the end, to resolve things.

Reborn says, "Hibari, you do know that Dino is dead, right?"

I blink. "What are you talking about? He's right here beside me."

-

-

"Kyouya."

Sunlight.

"Kyouya, love, wake up," I blink and you are not there.

-

-

A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.

( Robert Bolton )