Of Promises and Lies- Chapter 1
Above, birds chirped and flew merrily above the tree foliage, fluttering their wings in the air. Insects crawled on the ground, scavenging for their next meal. Animals prowled and ran through the woods, predator and prey both.
The wind blew gently, prying into any unoccupied spaces and filling them in. Tree leaves rustled in a quiet manner, whispering to each other secrets only known to them. Nearby, a river roared over large rocks, its clear water shining brightly in the sun.
But, in a clearing where it was dark and the ground was cool, a small child was crying, sitting on the earthy forest floor. He was lost. Playing in the woods right behind his home, he had wandered too far in and forgotten which direction his house was. Dark green eyes were leaking with tears as dirt-covered hands and sleeves tried to stem the flow.
There was a slight sound of soft footsteps and a hand lightly tapped his shoulder. He picked up his head, surprised, to gaze into inhuman violet eyes.
"W-Who're you?" he asked, hiccupping. The kneeling man gently smiled and offered a handkerchief. The boy took it with thanks and hastily wiped his tears away. Then, he held it back out to the man, and the cloth was taken back despite its disheveled and soggy state. The man put a comforting arm around his shoulders and pointed in a direction.
"Is that where my house is?" The boy asked. He didn't know why, but something told him that the man didn't mean him any harm and genuinely wanted to help him.
The man nodded, and nudged him forward slightly, silently encouraging the boy.
He got up and uncertainly started to walk in the direction he was given. Looking back, he saw the man shooing him and flash him a small grin of encouragement. He nodded in understanding, but before turning back, he remembered to thank the man. The man just waved a hand, hurrying the boy along.
"Goodbye!" he bid his mysterious savior, and then started running in the direction he was given, careful not to stray.
Violet eyes watched the small figure vanish between the trees and branches with a faint pang of nostalgia, and then turned to leave until they too were swallowed by the undergrowth.
After ten minutes, the boy saw his house, a Japanese-styled home. With a cry, he ran up the path and jumped up the elevated walkway. He slid the door open with a bang and ran into the room, not bothering to slide the door shut. Another door slid open and a woman stepped out from behind it.
"Suzaku-sama, where were you?" the maid asked harshly. "Jiro was sent out to look for you. Kururugi-sama isn't pleased with you either." The little boy, Suzaku, looked at the floorboards shuffling his feet ashamedly.
"I'm sorry, Chika-chan." He mumbled. "I got lost and couldn't find home." The woman's eyes softened at the response and sighed tiredly.
"You were out for a long time. I was just worried about you." she said in a more gentle tone, and then straightened herself, "Now, you're father is in the study. He said he would like to speak to you as soon as you got back."
"Yes, Chika-chan." Suzaku said, trudging to the door. He passed through another room to stand before another rice-screen entrance. He straightened his posture in preparation to confront his father. He straightened his back, lifted his head, and smoothed any wrinkles from his clothes to make himself appear somewhat presentable. There were dirt and grass stains visible on the white shirt, but it was too late. He couldn't do anything about it now. He raised a hand to knock. Three light raps were made before there was a response.
"Come in," Suzaku breathed nervously, and then slid the door open. He settled on a cushion to wait.
Suzaku watched his father, the Prime Minister, finally stamp the last document. The red ink glistened wetly in the flickering candle light. When he had arrived back to the house from the woods, it was already getting dark. Now, darkness dominated the sky and cast shadows in the room's corners.
He watched patiently as his father carefully placed the stamps into their box where they belonged and place the box on a shelf. Then, Genbu Kururugi turned to face his son. Suzaku swallowed.
"Now, I hear you went into the woods after lunch and failed to come back in time for dinner. Is that correct?" he started. Suzaku nodded, clenching his fists tightly on his lap.
"Yes, father." The man nodded, returning to his seat.
"You came back home late when you were clearly instructed to come home before dinner, am I right in assuming so?" The boy just nodded again, this time staying silent.
"What was that?"
"Y-yes, father. I did." The Prime Minister folded his hands on the desk out in front of him, looking sternly at his son.
"You know you are going to be punished for this." Suzaku didn't speak. The man continued on. "So, starting now until further notice, you will not be able to leave the property surrounding the house unless given express permission from myself, and no dinner for you tonight. Understood?"
"Yes," the boy said softly, looking at his lap.
"Look at me and say it like you mean it, Suzaku." His head inched up slowly. Genbu just waited until his son could look at him straight in the eye.
"Yes, father!" The man nodded proudly at the boy and Suzaku felt a tingle of approval run through him.
"Good, you may go to bed now." The boy stood up from his seat and bowed in respect. Then, he turned to exit the room.
"Good night, father."
The door slid shut with a soft noise and Suzaku sighed. He started walking towards his room and his stomach growled. He wrapped his arms around his midsection in an attempted to stifle the noise, but failed. His hunger just demanded food in an even louder sound. There was a voice and Chika came from behind a wall.
"Suzaku-sama, here's something for you to eat, I'm sorry it's not much but it was all I could get." She whispered. An onigiri was pressed into his hand. Suzaku looked at the housemaid gratefully.
"Thank you, Chika-chan," The woman smiled and winked.
"It was no problem. Just make sure you don't get lost in the woods next time." Suzaku nodded.
"I won't!" he said. Chika chuckled and ushered the seven-year-old off to bed.
"Now don't forget that, and eat the onigiri before going to sleep."
"Okay. Night, Chika-chan!" the boy beamed. "And thank you!" The maid patted him on the head.
"You're welcome and good night to you too. Now, run along." Suzaku happily skipped to his room, prize in hand.
Once he was in his room with the door safely shut, Suzaku said a word of thanks and took a bite out of the rice, grinning. The rice ball's filling was umeboshi, an apricot-like fruit, his favorite.
As he munched on his dinner, his thoughts drifted to the strange man from the woods. He had clouded misty eyes, the color of a deep purple. Suzaku had never before seen eyes like those before. They were special, he decided. The man was special. Nobody else had eyes like that.
He finished the last bite of his onigiri and started changing for bed. Would he meet the violet-eyed man again? It was highly doubtful, since he was grounded to the house property for an unknown amount of time, which was probably a long period of time judging from past experiences. But, he could help but want to know the man better. Something compelled him to, a strange feeling he got when he saw him.
Suzaku slid under his bed sheets on his futon, still thinking. Where had he come from? Why was he in the woods? Did he have his father scolding him and sending him to bed without dinner too? Did he have a nice person like Chika-chan to get an onigiri from? With a jolt, Suzaku realized he never got the man's name. He would have to ask for it next time they met. He yawned.
But for now, sleep sounded very nice. As he dozed into a dream, he wasn't aware of the sitting figure just outside his room on the other side of the sliding door. A sitting figure he met earlier that night, with violet eyes.
He sat outside of the room, eyes closed, completely still. His breathing was slow and deep. To an outsider, he appeared to be sleeping if it wasn't for his straight back. His dark clothing contrasted with his pale skin and hair. Metal buckles and clasps with leather straps dangled loosely on his frame. Not one of them made the slightest sound of clinking against each other as he breathed.
He sat there, memories dashing across his vision behind closed eyelids. Happy memories, sad memories, angry memories, guilty memories, and regretful memories, he saw them all. They were the reminders of his purpose, the reason why he was here.
To fix, to heal, to atone.
But never would he accomplish the last one, the most important and vital of them all to his very own being.
The man took another slow breath, immersed in his thoughts. Since his arrival, he had been consciously trying to avoid this country, this person, by hiding in Australia. Later, his curiosity let him to Britannia. But, recently over the past few years, he had slowly drifted closer to Japan, where he was now.
Through the rice screen door, he could hear the soft breathing of the young boy he was so close to, yet so far away from.
This time, he wondered, would everything remain a secret?
Would it end better?
Or, would it end in disaster?
Kururugi Suzaku sighed, for the umpteenth time, as his tutor droned on and on about Japan's history. He was so sleepy today. The room was warm, the sun shone through the open door, and a small fly buzzed near his head. His eyelids felt like there were lead weights on them.
In his tiredness, a hazy shield of dreams washed over his mind. The brush he held in his hand grew lax and the inked tip teetered dangerously above the rice paper to ruin his hastily made notes.
He didn't notice the room go suddenly silent except for the fly's insistent buzzing.
A wooden ruler used as a pointer snapped down onto the desk he was dozing on. It also efficiently eliminated the threat of the bothersome insect. The sharp noise cracked in the air. Suzaku bolted upright in surprise.
"Suzaku, I do not understand how you can sleep during class and still learn the material I am teaching you. Perhaps you would teach me a thing or two about your ability to do both at the same time?" The boy flushed in embarrassment at being caught in the act.
"I apologize. I wasn't paying attention." The stern teacher nodded briskly at the answer.
"Pay better attention next time," he sharply said. Suzaku nodded.
"Yes, Toudou-sensei." He heaved another sigh, and caught himself when his eyes began to droop again. It wouldn't do for him to be caught sleeping in class again. He would get extra work to do, again. And that would mean he would have less time to play, again. His focus was directed towards his instructor with a light rap on his head. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes and resignedly started taking notes.
When class was finally over, Suzaku impatiently, but politely bowed to his tutor. Then, he shuffled to the door at the maximum speed he could achieve without offending the man.
As soon as he closed the sliding door, the boy took off in a run and ran along the wooden walkway grinning widely. He neatly turned around the corner only to run into the housemaid, Chika. They both fell into heaps of laundry with shouts.
"Ah, Chika-chan," he exclaimed. "I'm so sorry!" He started to grab a few pieces of clothing and throw them back into the basket. The maid was humored at his state and bore no ill will towards the boy.
"It's alright, they were dirty clothes anyway." She stilled his hurried movements. "Why don't you leave this to me and go play?" Suzaku smiled, but was uncertain.
"Are you sure?" Chika nudged him aside.
"I'm positive, now go." He beamed a wide smile.
"You're welcome. Don't forget to stay around here and keep out of the woods!" The boy waved reassuringly back.
"Don't worry, I won't!" Then, he jumped down to the ground and started up the winding path to a nearby alcove. The small pond area wasn't too far away and he could easily see the house from there. A small grove of loosely spaced trees surrounded the water, giving him a sense of privacy he wanted.
Suzaku walked to the small bridge at the center of the water. He stepped onto the path with no fear, despite the two feet diameter of stone. When he reached the center, he sat down swinging his legs idly. Looking at his mirror reflection in the pool, he pondered on what to do.
Having the Prime Minister of the country was nice at times. He wasn't ever hungry, had a comfortable place to live in, and could visit this small place whenever he wanted to, after his studies of course. But, there was one part he hated and despised about it with a passion: he had nobody his age to play with. There was his father, the Prime Minister, Chika, the housemaid, Toudou, his tutor, Jiro, the bodyguard, and Suzaku, himself. There was no one else around to play with and it could get dreadfully lonely around the place.
The boy mentally ticked off the list he had. The forest, obviously, was banned from him a week ago. Skipping stones were boring, and so were chasing butterflies. Tickling fish didn't sound particularly appealing either, having fallen in the water last time two days ago. Reading his study books back at the house didn't sound that nice either. It wasn't something fun, in his opinion.
His eyes landed at the water near the shallower edges of the pond. He hadn't played with the tadpoles for a while though…
First, he would wait until a large number of them were in one area. Then, he would try to catch them with his hand, only for them to disperse into the large pool. When they were all gone, the simple cycle would start again.
Suzaku giggled at the sight of the little black wriggling bodies swimming frantically away from his hand. That was his ninth try. He was lying down vertically on the bridge. He watched the tadpoles gradually return to the area again before starting his tenth attempt, swinging his legs behind him.
Just before he reached into the water, however, he noticed a familiar presence. His hand was only a scant inch away from the reflecting surface, but was withdraw in favor of waving happily at the figure.
"Hello!" he said, getting up to run to the end of the bridge. "Thanks for helping me find my house the other day." The man smiled and nodded, but was as silent as always. His expression soon turned to delighted surprise as Suzaku threw himself into his arms. Quite clumsily, the boy was caught by the stumbling man. They landed in a pile on the ground.
"Sorry." Suzaku looked sheepishly at the violet-eyed man in realization. "Wow, I seem to be saying that a lot these days." The man waved a hand lazily in a motion saying no harm was done. The boy smiled.
"My name's Suzaku Kururugi. What's yours?" He leaned forward so their faces were only a few inches apart, his eyes full of childish curiosity. The man stiffened at the sudden closeness, shoving the boy to the side. Suzaku yelped at the unexpected action and rubbed his sore bottom.
"Oww." He complained. "If you didn't want to tell me, you could've just said so." Pouting, he raised his back with his elbows. "You didn't have to push me."
The man, gone over his shock, now looked at the boy with a strange expression, as if in conflict. Then, like he had come to a final conclusion, he sat up and offered a hand to the downed boy. Suzaku accepted it without hesitation. As his hand closed around the pale fingers, his eyes widened as he heard something whisper in his mind, what should have been an impossible feat.
'I have many names, but I would prefer it if you called me R.R., Suzaku Kururugi.'
And there's chapter one! I hope it wasn't terribly bad. Well, tell me what you think. Are there any mistakes? Is it good? Bad? Is the title okay? I have to admit I'm a bit worried about you reader's reactions. I haven't written fanfiction in such a long time! Do you have any suggestions? Though if you do, you might not seem then in effect too soon. I already have a few chapters written up. I just couldn't upload them for some reason...
Thanks for reading!