A/N- Hey, just another one-shot. It was stuck in my head, I couldn't get it out! I like it though, and hope you do too! Only warnings for this one are: Mild shounen-ai and child abuse. Nothing graphic, so enjoy!
"Hey, Tsuzuki, do you have those papers Tatsumi asked you to fill out?"
"Yeah Watari. Here you go."
"You feeling better, Tsuzuki? We were worried about you after... Kyoto..."
'You can't even kill yourself properly.'
'You had the chance to finally pay up for your actions-'
'I want retribution, damn it! I want your blood spilled!'
"I'm okay, Watari! A lot better! It's amazing what some rest and relaxation can do, isn't it?"
"That's good. You ever need anything, we're all here for you, you know that, right?"
'You're such a weak loser. You need their help to be able to deal with what YOU deserve.'
"I know, Watari. But I'm doing great! You'll be one of the first people I go to if I need to talk, I promise!"
"Good! Now, what do I need to get you to test my next potion?"
"Um... What is your next potion?"
"It's another batch of my Instant Sex-Change potion! Do you wanna try it?"
"Maybe another time, Watari. I have to get this paperwork done or Tatsumi will have my head. And even though I hate it, I'd rather not have anyone mad at me. Is that alright?"
"Sure! I'll hold you to it, though!"
"See you, Watari!"
'You're such a freak. How gross.'
'Don't you mean demon?'
'How about freaky demon?'
'Yes. That's what you are, Tsuzuki. A freaky demon.'
Tsuzuki gave Watari a bright smile and a happy wave good bye as he walked away, before looking down at the papers he had to fill out, trying to block out the voices, with his smile faltering only slightly.
'How many times do we have to tell you, Tsuzuki? We're not going to be leaving ANY time soon.'
'If we've been here since you've been dead, do you honestly think we're going to leave just because you try to block us out?'
'You're so stupid!'
Tsuzuki sighed as he bit his tongue to keep himself from screaming or whimpering.
'You're such a waste of space. Do you really think they want you here?'
"Do we have another case?" Tsuzuki asked Hisoka curiously as he looked over the file.
"Yeah. It's a small one, we just need to find this girl's soul and see what's holding her back from moving on." Hisoka told Tsuzuki, showing him the case.
'Going to take another life, Tsuzuki?'
'You're disgusting. How much blood do you have on your hands?'
"How old is she?" Tsuzuki asked his partner.
'Probably not even in college yet.'
'And you're going to be killing her.'
Tsuzuki frowned but didn't say anything other then, "Are you ready to go then, 'Soka-chan?"
"Don't call me that." Hisoka snapped.
Tsuzuki's hand twitched slightly as he abruptly quieted.
Hisoka looked at him oddly.
"Sorry." Tsuzuki smiled at Hisoka. "Are you ready to go S-Hisoka?" He corrected himself quickly.
"Yeah." Hisoka answered slowly.
'He's going to leave.'
'He's going to leave you all alone again.'
'Just like the others.'
'Just like Tatsumi.'
'Just like Watari.'
'Just like the countless other partners you had.'
'Why don't you just let him go?'
'He doesn't like you.'
'He hates you.'
Hisoka frowned as he watched Tsuzuki stare out of the window of the bus they were on, his eyes glazed over and face blank. It was a scary expression to see on the emotional man.
Hisoka had always had slight problems with reading Tsuzuki's emotions. He could always get the basis of them, (such as, if he were happy, sad, angry, worried, etc...), but there was almost like a thin veil of static between him and the real Tsuzuki. Almost as if, right before you got to Tsuzuki's true emotions, there was a thin sheet thrown over them. Thin and small, but just enough to keep Hisoka from being able to read his true emotions and thoughts. He scowled in annoyance.
"You okay, 'S-Hisoka?" Tsuzuki corrected himself again, turning to him. Hisoka frowned. How did it always seem like Tsuzuki could see the second his emotions changed but he, an empath, couldn't even read his as well as he should?
"I'm fine." He answered shortly.
'Just leave him alone, freak.'
'You'll just hurt him too.'
'Do you want to hurt him like you hurt us?'
'You'll kill him. Remember Kyoto?'
'How disgusting. He's stayed with you longer then everyone else yet you're still going to end up killing him in the end.'
Tsuzuki's hand twitched ever-so-slightly, something that no one would notice unless they were looking for it. Hisoka noticed this, however, and his eyes narrowed slightly. Something was up with his partner and he wanted to know what it was.
'You're so disgusting.'
'You should just leave. Kurosaki over there doesn't want you here.'
'He doesn't need you. He could work with Tatsumi or Watari. Hell, he could work with Wakaba or Terazuma if he wanted to leave. You're expendable.'
Tsuzuki cursed as his mug of coffee dropped to the floor after a violent flinch. He threw his hands up into his hair, tugging at it slightly as he growled in frustration before kneeling down and cleaning it up with harsh movements. When he was done he leaned back against the wall, his head in his hands and elbows on his knees.
"SHUT UP!" Tsuzuki screamed finally, his hands covering his ears.
Hisoka jumped as he heard the scream and ran into the room. What he saw immediately made him suspicious.
Tsuzuki was on his knees, shaking his hand with a wince with a few pieces of what looked like broken glass in his other hand.
"Did I wake you?" Tsuzuki asked, a slight pout to his lips. "I'm sorry. I dropped my coffee cup and was caught off guard. I didn't mean to scream like that. Sorry."
Hisoka frowned, suspicion written in his features. Tsuzuki acted as though he didn't notice it.
"You didn't wake me. I was reading. Why are you still up? It's three in the morning, baka." The suspicious frown was still in place.
Tsuzuki shrugged. "Why are you?" He countered with a grin. "There are just some nights where I can't sleep, Hisoka."
"Why not?" He questioned, frown deepening.
Tsuzuki frowned back. "Why so many questions, Hisoka? I'm fine. I'm actually going to sleep right now."
Hisoka heard the lie in his voice and called him on it.
Tsuzuki's frown deepened. "What makes you say that?"
"You're talking to an empath, Tsuzuki. Even with your shields I am still observant enough to tell when someone's lying or not." Hisoka snapped.
Tsuzuki shrugged nonchalantly, though Hisoka saw his hand twitch again and a dark feeling of acceptance rolling off of him as if someone had just told him something and he was saying, "Yeah. You're right." in a melancholy way.
"I don't know what you want me to say, Hisoka." Tsuzuki told him with a shrug as he stood up and tossed the pieces of the mug into the garbage can. He grinned at him, and Hisoka was struck by how carefully constructed it was. To anyone who looked carefully enough, it was obvious. It looked carefree and casual, but Tsuzuki was fighting for every muscle in his face to bend to what he wanted it to be. He was disgusted with himself for not noticing it sooner.
Tsuzuki walked out of the room before Hisoka could recover from his discovery. Hisoka's fists clenched as Tsuzuki walked past him, but knowing that he was defeated for the time being.
'Baka Tsuzuki. You're going to burden him with your troubles aren't you?'
'I wouldn't say troubles. I would go with punishment. You deserve everything that happens to you, Tsuzuki. Don't you realize this by now?'
'Freak. You think he cares? He's only asking because he's obligated to.'
'Not for long. Soon he'll either leave or be dead. Possibly erased from existence, knowing everything YOU have done to people.'
Tsuzuki wearily leaned his hands onto the wall of the shower, head bent and shoulders shaking slightly as water traced his scarred back. His hands shook as he turned the knobs off.
Kami-sama, he just wanted the voices to stop... Any relief from them would be welcome, just let them stop...
'Stop? You want us, to stop?'
'Did you stop when we begged for mercy? For you not to fan the flames?'
'Ironic, isn't it? We wanted you to stop, you wouldn't. You want us to stop, we won't.'
'You're stuck with us, demon.'
Tsuzuki wrapped a towel around his waist as he got out, taking a deep breath to compose himself. He was fine.
'If you count being an idiot fine, then yeah. You're great.'
Any chance they had they took to insult or guilt-trip him. And Tsuzuki, after years and years of acting like they didn't bother him, was cracking. He shook his head of these thoughts. He was fine. Or, he would be. He was used to this. It's not like he hadn't heard all of their complaints and insults and statements before.
He would be fine. He just needed to spend a few days on alert so no one noticed. Simple, right?
'But when can anything be simple for Tsuzuki?'
'You mess everything up.'
'What a disaster you make, freak.'
Tsuzuki let loose a sigh as he closed the door behind him, grabbing his clothes. This was going to be a long day, he thought as he pulled on his pants.
He jumped when the bedroom door slammed open and he quickly spun around so his back wasn't facing whoever was there.
"Hisoka!" He exclaimed, his voice slightly higher-pitched. "Did you need something?" He had expected Hisoka to be blushing for walking in on him, but instead he had a confused, but determined look on his face, his skin slightly paler.
"What was on your back?" Hisoka asked him coolly, walking forward. Tsuzuki took a few steps back, his face pale also.
"U-uh, t-they're nothing! Really!" Tsuzuki quickly said with a disgustingly fake laugh. Hisoka's eyes narrowed as he continued stepping forward, Tsuzuki still stepping back.
"Nothing?" Hisoka repeated, raising an eyebrow as he crossed his arms, still walking.
"R-really, Hisoka." Tsuzuki stuttered slightly.
'Looks like you're going to have another person to pity you, Tsuzuki.'
'Or perhaps he'll shy away from you like he should.'
'He'll probably be disgusted by you.'
Tsuzuki's hand flinched again and Hisoka stepped forward again, having caught that and also having felt the sheet come off of Tsuzuki's emotions for a brief second.
"You are such a terrible liar," Hisoka laughed harshly, glaring at Tsuzuki who grimaced and looked away, crossing his arms over his chest. Hisoka had never noticed, but Tsuzuki had many scars on his body. Weren't those supposed to disappear when he died? All wounds that didn't contribute to a shinigami's death were erased from their body. Why were Tsuzuki's still there? Were they part of his death? No, Hisoka remembered when he had looked at Tsuzuki's file. He had died from suicide, a slit at his wrist. So they were from before his death. Hisoka's eyes darted to Tsuzuki's wrist and his eyes darkened as he saw the many slashes on his wrist. Tsuzuki didn't notice, having looked away.
"But fine. If you aren't going to tell me, then I can't do anything about it." Hisoka said bitterly, though he stepped forward again. "But don't think this is over." His eyes narrowed again, Tsuzuki having backed into a wall and Hisoka standing there and glaring up at him, before spinning around and walking back out the door.
Tsuzuki, watching the door warily, grabbed his shirt and threw it on slowly, his back still to the wall and eyes glued to the door. When his back was covered, he threw on his suit jacket and trench coat, along with black gloves and his shoes before walking out, a slight timidness to his posture.
'He's going to toss you away like yesterday's garbage. That's what you are. Garbage.'
'Poor Tsuzuki. Looks like you're finally starting to understand a fraction of what you put us through.'
"Come on." Hisoka said, acting as though the thing in the bedroom hadn't happened. "We have to go. The girl is being attacked."
"Okay." Tsuzuki said as Hisoka grabbed his clothed arm and teleported him out of there.
'Another kill on Tsuzuki's list.'
'Haven't you done enough? Isn't there enough blood on your hands?'
Tsuzuki stared blankly ahead, his arms drooping at his sides. Suzaku had left after he summoned her. The demon had been destroyed by her, Suzaku was far too strong to be taken down by a low-level demon, but he had killed the girl. Her soul was finally at rest, but she was not meant to have died yet.
'Another life cut short. And it's all your fault.'
'Are you going to go kill someone else now, Tsuzuki?'
"You're right." Tsuzuki murmured under his breath, his amethyst eyes dulling to indigo blue. "You've always been right."
'Of course we're right. Unlike you. Stupid idiot.'
'Freak of nature.'
"Tsuzuki? Do you have the paperwork for the case you and Kurosaki were on?" Tatsumi asked boredly. Tsuzuki looks up, eyes still indigo instead of the amethyst they should be, not that anyone noticed. He gives him a bright, forced, smile and nods, handing him the vanilla-colored folder.
"Here you go, Tatsumi." Tsuzuki said before turning and walking away, his smile fake but no one noticing.
Tatsumi didn't say anything about the shinigami's odd behavior, though his forehead creased slightly with worry.
Tsuzuki's hand twitched as the voices became louder all of a sudden, until they were screaming in his head at him.
'You're such a failure! Why are you still trying?!'
'Die already! Die you stupid freak!'
Terazuma growled as he walked into Tsuzuki, who was standing there and staring blankly ahead. He began to insult him, but Tsuzuki didn't even say anything, still staring ahead. He grabbed him by the shoulders, annoyed by his silence and shook him slightly, though he stopped when he saw the dull look in his eyes.
"Hey, dumb ass." Terazuma snapped his fingers in his face. "What's wrong with you? Kurosaki, what's wrong with your dumb partner?" He asked as the blond came up.
Hisoka looked at Tsuzuki in shock.
"I... I don't know. His emotions are muted, his shields are going strong..."
Tsuzuki stared ahead as black dots came into his vision. He stumbled slightly, before letting out a soft groan and falling to the ground in a boneless heap.
'You going to cry, Tsuzuki? We'd love to see your tears. You saw ours, it's only fair we see yours.'
'Let's here you scream, murderer. Let's hear you cry for mercy.'
'You're stuck here with us now, Tsuzuki. You're our toy to play with for the rest of eternity.'
They all cackled around Tsuzuki, who was chained down to the ground with long and thick silver chains, and staring down blankly.
This was his mind. This was his torture. This was his punishment.
Around him stood the sources of the voices that had always been in his mind, the voices that always spoke to him and put him down.
There were ten of them. Two were his parents, his father with his brown hair, brown eyes, and brown suit, and his mother wearing the pink dress she always did with her own brown hair and brown eyes. It would have been easy to mistake them to be related instead of married.
The next three were his cousin, aunt, and uncle. They all had darker brown hair, almost black, along with mocha brown eyes. Their skin was darker then his parents, though it was also obvious they were related to his mother. They were all dressed in suits and dresses too.
The next four were boys who were related to Tsuzuki in some distant way. One had platinum blond hair and bright blue eyes. Another, red, frizzy hair and cold, black eyes. The third had black hair and butterscotch brown eyes, and the fourth, dark brown hair and dark blue eyes. All of them were dressed in jeans and white tee shirts, sneering down at him.
The last person hurt the most, but was also the most out-spoken of them all. There, in front of Tsuzuki, stood his sister Luka. Her hair was cut short, just above her shoulders and the same shade of brown as his own. Her eyes were the same brown as their father's, though they were so much colder towards him. She was dressed in a white dress, a flower in her hair.
All of them sneered down at him and Tsuzuki bent his head, unable to look at them.
"What's wrong with him?" Hisoka asked Watari, who sighed and sat down heavily, putting his chin in his hands as he looked at the unconscious and pale Tsuzuki lying on the bed.
"It seems that Tsuzuki has been fooling us all for a very long time." Watari answered in a murmur, adjusting his glasses.
"What do you mean?"
"Shinigami don't pass out for no reason, bon." Watari sighed again. "The only reason we pass out is if something happened to us mentally or emotionally. You pass out because of the emotions that overwhelm you when you're exhausted, not because you're exhausted. It's how our bodies work. We don't need to eat, breathe, have a heartbeat, or sleep, but we do simply because we want to."
"So why did Tsuzuki pass out?" Hisoka snapped irritably.
"Something must have been happening with him in his mind. Mentally, I'm assuming." Watari frowned.
Tatsumi had walked in when they started talking and he murmured, "Is it possible he's having a relapse?"
"A relapse? A relapse of what?" Hisoka questioned sharply, but he was ignored for the moment.
"It is possible, but this is different then what was described." Watari admitted, looking over Tsuzuki's folder. "From what they wrote, bon would be able to feel everything coming off of him. He can't feel anything but muffled echoes of Tsuzuki."
Tatsumi frowned and he crossed his arms in thought.
"What are you talking about?" Hisoka asked in a forced calm voice, eyes glinting.
"When Tsuzuki died, he was in a hospital," Watari explained to Hisoka carefully. "He was...er..."
"He was insane, Kurosaki." Tatsumi told him flatly. "He was trapped inside of his mind, delusional, and insane. He was schizophrenic. There were, apparently, voices of people from his life that accused him of something which was not his fault. And this caused him to commit suicide countless times.
"He was the first shinigami to have the healing factor, which is something he had even when he was alive. Enma-Daioh thought it was useful to have and started giving it to every shinigami. It's the healing factor that took away all scars and injuries from when you die. Tsuzuki's, though... When he died, all of the scars that he should have had but his healing factor kept him from, appeared.
"So each time he tried to commit suicide, he was unable to because of his healing, until his last time he tried in which he nearly cut off his hand in the process."
Hisoka didn't know what to say to that, so he stayed silent.
"That time back in Kyoto, when he summoned Touda... That was one of the times he had a relapse of his schizophrenia, we believe." Watari told Hisoka.
"But back in Kyoto his emotions are the same as they are now. Muted and muffled. So could he be having a relapse again?"
"The first time he had a relapse, there had been a telepath here. I had just started, actually and I was getting taught by the old scientist at the time. It was about twenty years ago, I think," Watari pondered slightly. "The telepath, his name was Ryu, I believe, had never been able to read Tsuzuki's mind. The old scientist here, Raiden, had been able to make a potion that switched mental powers, such as telekinesis, telepathy, and empathy. It had worked and switched Ryu's to empathy, just as Tsuzuki was having a relapse. Ryu had explained what he felt so we would be able to tell if Tsuzuki was having one again. Perhaps he read the emotions wrong unknowingly? I'm not sure, really."
Hisoka frowned. "Tsuzuki's emotions aren't incredibly different from what they normally are. I've always felt a sort of veil over his emotions. The only difference right now is that I can't tell if he's awake or not and his surface emotions aren't very stable. They change very often, I can't even read what they are."
'You're a monster.' His mother hissed at him, slapping him across the face, her long nails digging into his cheek and causing slash marks to appear there. Tsuzuki didn't say anything, just stared at the ground in acceptance. 'I'm disgusted to be related to you.'
'Disgusting. That's what you are.' His cousin taunted, grabbing Tsuzuki's hair and pulling on it roughly so he looked up, his tearful amethyst eyes looking at the people with pain.
'A freak of nature who has no right to be here!' His aunt screeched. 'You should be dead! You should be rotting in the ground!'
'Burned to ashes!' His uncle hit him with his cane on his back, causing Tsuzuki to gasp slightly. 'Or beaten to death!' He hit him multiple times, causing Tsuzuki muffled cries of pain.
Hisoka stared in shock at Tsuzuki, who was lying on the bed, still not moving or showing any expression other then a slight whimper coming out of his throat and his eyebrows creasing slightly. He hesitantly reached a hand out and wiped the blood that had appeared on his face off. There were three scratches on his face, not healing, that had just appeared out of nowhere.
'How many lashes, son?' His father sneered at him. 'How many do you think you deserve?' A loud crack echoed in Tsuzuki's mind, along with another cry of pain.
'You're so disgusting.'
"What do you mean you don't know what's wrong with him?!" Hisoka screamed.
"I mean, that schizophrenia doesn't cause this to happen, bon!" Watari shouted back. "There must be something inside of Tsuzuki causing these injuries!"
"Well what can we do to stop it?" Hisoka asked, suddenly sounding very lost.
Watari relaxed and he was about to answer when Tatsumi instead did.
"You could try to use your empathy to look into Tsuzuki's mind." Tatsumi suggested.
Tsuzuki flinched violently when Luka sneered down at him. He could take the sneers and glares from everyone else, even from his parents, but Luka...
'You're worthless,' Luka sneered, piercing Tsuzuki's soul with her words as she stepped forward. 'Nothing in this world could make me look at you with anything other then disgust.' Tsuzuki gave a dry sob as her words hit him, trying to move his hands but unable to because of his bindings.
'I'm sorry.' Tsuzuki sobbed, violently thrashing in the restraints. 'I'm sorry Luka, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to, it wasn't my fault!'
'Of course it was your fault!' Luka screeched, slapping him across the face and digging her nails into his skin, causing more tears to fall from his amethyst eyes. 'You killed me! You killed Father and Mother! You killed all of us! You killed our entire family! It's all your fault!'
'It isn't! I didn't mean to!' Tsuzuki cried, falling to his knees.
'It is! It's your fault we're dead! You killed us! You caused the fire and you killed us! You're nothing more then a demon that brings death!'
'I-I'm not a demon-'
'You are a demon! You killed us!'
'I-H-He said I'm human.' Tsuzuki whispered as he cried, tears falling down his face.
'He lied!' Luka screamed, stomping her feet. 'He lied to you! You are nothing more then a demon!'
'I hate you!' Luka screamed even louder. Tsuzuki felt his heart stop at those words. 'No one could ever love a demon like you! No one could love a freak like you! You're so pathetic! Everyone hates you!'
'Did you honestly think someone could love you? A demonic murderer? A freak of nature? The only thing anyone could feel towards you is hatred! I hate you!'
'I don't.' Another voice said quietly from behind the other voices, causing everyone to look up at him, including Tsuzuki. 'I could never hate you, Tsuzuki Asato.' The voice said as he pushed his way through the other people.
Out stepped Hisoka, who walked forward and knelt down next to Tsuzuki, running a hand gently through the man's hair as the other hand carefully grabbed Tsuzuki's other hand.
'Didn't I tell you just a few months ago that I needed you? That I wanted you to stay with me instead of dying in the flames in Kyoto?' Hisoka murmured softly, caressing his face with a pale hand, before leaning over and taking the restraints off of him with gentle hands, while Tsuzuki watched him with amethyst eyes filled with awe, confusion, hesitance, and incomprehension. 'None of these people matter, Asato. They have nothing truthful to say to you. You are not a demon.'
'You are not a demon, Asato. You are the most humane person I have ever met,' Hisoka assured the older shinigami, who was crying silent tears. 'Would I trust a demon to protect me?' He questioned Tsuzuki. Not waiting for an answer, he continued on, 'Would I tell a demon about my past, about what happened when I was alive? Would I wake up and talk to a demon on a daily basis? Would I worry about a demon if they were feeling unwell?' Tsuzuki shook his head silently.
Hisoka caressed his face, gently wiping away the crystal-like tears from his face. 'I love you, Asato. And I don't want to see you in pain anymore.' Hisoka wiped a few more tears away from Tsuzuki's face before standing up and hovering protectively over his partner. 'It's time for you all to move on. You've tormented Asato long enough.'
'Long enough?' His father scoffed, crossing his arms and putting his nose up into the air. 'He hasn't even begun to atone for everything he has done to this family.'
'No, I believe he has.' Hisoka countered flatly, glaring at them all. 'You brought your deaths upon yourself. You tried to kill him, you tried to murder him in cold blood, each and every last one of you. It isn't his fault that you were unable to succeed and he was able to survive in the fire YOU all caused. Now it's time for you all to move on.' Hisoka stretched his empathy powers out and, with a forceful shove, threw them out of Tsuzuki's mind.
Hisoka came out of Tsuzuki's mind with a slight intake of breath while Tsuzuki woke up with a sob, tears falling from his eyes as he wrapped his arms around himself and cried brokenly, his face towards the ground. He jumped nearly a mile high when Hisoka put a hand on his shoulder and, with gentleness that Tsuzuki didn't expect from the usually cold shinigami, brought him into an embrace, rocking him back and forth to calm him. Tsuzuki clutched onto him and buried his face into his chest.
Watari and Tatsumi watched and turned questioning eyes onto Hisoka, who, once Tsuzuki was calmed down enough that he was just sniffling and holding onto Hisoka, answered the unspoken question.
"There were ten souls who had stayed in his mind as an attempt to stay alive," Hisoka explained quietly, knowing that Tsuzuki wouldn't answer anytime soon. "They were family members that believed him to be the cause of their deaths. They constantly told him it was his fault and insulted him. And when I say constantly, I mean, every second of the day they were spouting out everything they could, telling him that he was a monster and crap like that."
"How long were they with him?" Tatsumi asked, expecting to hear a small amount of time, like a week or month.
"Since before he was in the hospital where he died." was Hisoka's quiet answer. Tatsumi choked slightly and Watari gaped. Tsuzuki buried his face deeper into Hisoka's chest while Hisoka ran his hands through the older shinigami's hair.
"Tsuzuki, why didn't you say anything?" Watari asked in horror.
"When he was alive, they thought he was schizophrenic. When he was dead, he didn't want people worrying about him. And he believed what the souls told him. He hated them but he believed them." Hisoka answered for Tsuzuki, a frown on his face.
"Why did they stay with him? And why did they blame you, Tsuzuki?" Tatsumi asked, face pale.
"They w-wanted me to be punished for killing them. They blamed me because I-I was the cause of their d-death." Tsuzuki choked out, his eyes shut tightly closed as he held on to Hisoka tightly.
"What happened?" Hisoka asked Tsuzuki, even though he already knew since he had been in his mind and received the memories of the night since he had been specifically looking for it. He knew Tsuzuki had to get this out or he would never be able to move on.
Tsuzuki tensed extremely before he relaxed, resigned, and began his tale.
"I-it was when I was fifteen... I would be in Muraki's grandfather's hospital in the next year... The entire family had shown up to visit for Luka's birthday, she was going to be eighteen and getting married so it was a big deal... I had been forced to sit in a corner with my eyes covered, no other family members were allowed to see them or know I was anything but normal in my father's point of view. I was to be quiet and not talk to anyone unless the talked to me while having on a hat that covered my eyes.
"Well, that didn't work too well. There were some distant cousins that were older, I was the youngest one there, they were about nineteen. They wanted me to get up and play some sport with them and when I refused they started to sort of throw me around some. The hat came off and my eyes were exposed for all to see." Tsuzuki shuddered slightly, his hands' grip tightening. "Long story short, they were all quite angry with me and after a long beating session from all of them they set my room on fire with me in it. I survived because of my healing factor but they didn't get out of the room in time before I made the fire move faster by knocking a lantern over that was filled with gas. The house basically exploded because of the lantern." Tsuzuki had tears falling down his face as he put his head into his hand. "I didn't mean to kill them... I didn't want to... I just wanted them to stop... They were still hurting me as the fire started a-and I just wanted them to stop..." Tsuzuki bit his lip as he covered his face with his hands. "I'm sorry..." He choked out, closing his eyes tightly. "I'm sorry..."
"Tsuzuki, it's not your fault," Tatsumi soothed, sitting down next to Hisoka on the bed and putting a gentle hand on Tsuzuki's shoulder, who instinctively flinched at the touch. "It was self-defense. Anyone would have done what you did in your position. It was not your fault."
Tsuzuki laid down on the bed, not moving a muscle or even breathing too loudly. It had been a long hour in which Tatsumi and Watari gave him reassurances with Hisoka by their side, telling him that it wasn't his fault and that the souls were wrong, though safely in the afterlife now.
"Tsuzuki?" Hisoka asked hesitantly as he walked into the infirmary.
"What happened to Asato?" Tsuzuki questioned with a soft laugh.
"Would you prefer I call you that?"
Hisoka sat down on the bed next to Tsuzuki and tilted his head to the side ever-so-slightly.
"It's so... Odd, not hearing them anymore." Tsuzuki whispered quietly, sounding almost awed by it. "I would talk loudly so I would be able to hear myself over them. I would do everything loudly so I could hear what was going on over them. But now... I can hear silence. I can hear nothing. But when there is sound, I can hear the slightest of things. It's amazing, but confusing..."
Tsuzuki leaned back and closed his eyes. "It's so... Nice... I love the quiet... After eighty years of loud voices, the quiet is so soothing..."
Hisoka stayed silent, knowing he needed this.
"You know why I was never able to pay attention to anyone or anything around me, or why I didn't move up when I could?" Tsuzuki continued after a slight pause. "I couldn't pay attention because they would tell me what I was doing was wrong, that I was messing everything up. It was hard to concentrate when one was telling you to go jump off a building and another telling you that your grammar was wrong. And I didn't move up for more then one reason. One, because I didn't trust myself in battles. You've seen me freeze up when Muraki would say something. They would all follow what he said and tell me that Muraki was right, that I should just give myself up to him and die. They knew what buttons to press and when to press them. They could easily cause me to freeze up on a case in a life-or-death situation or when I needed to pay attention. I didn't want to risk that." Tsuzuki fiddled with a string on the sheet covering him. "The first two years of me being a shinigami I worked on making a reputation that would fit everything that was wrong with me because of them. Eventually I came to the 'happy, overly cheerful, slacker of a shinigami for Kyushu, a slow-working part of Japan'. People wouldn't worry about the overly cheerful Tsuzuki unless he was really upset, ne? It was almost too easy."
Tsuzuki laughed slightly as tears entered his eyes. "I had my breakdowns, Tatsumi knows, but no one ever pushed further. And as much as I wanted to keep it hidden, I wanted someone to care enough to look further, to look and see if I really was okay." He shook his head slightly. "When you came along and I started to get to know you better, I had unconsciously been lowering my... mask, I guess you could call it. You caught a lot of my 'real' moments, more then others had.
"I was so angry with you for such a long time for making me relax around you. For making me want to spill everything out to you," Tsuzuki gave a small half-laugh as tears glittered in his amethyst eyes. "But I couldn't stay angry with you. I cared about you too much."
"Asato..." Hisoka was caught off guard when Tsuzuki turned and hugged him, burying his face into the crook of his shoulder.
"Thank you, Hisoka," Tsuzuki whispered brokenly as tears streamed down his face.
Hisoka hugged him back hesitantly, rubbing his back softly.
Tsuzuki's grip loosened and, as he fell into a peaceful sleep for the first time in eighty years, whispered, "I love you, Hisoka."
Hisoka's eyes softened even further as he gently laid Tsuzuki back down and kissed his lips chastely before whispering, "I love you too, Asato."
Tsuzuki was eventually let out of the hospital wing after Hisoka vouched for his mental health and the wounds caused by the souls had closed. They hadn't ever been able to find out why the wounds they caused him in his mind had appeared in real life, but Watari had assured them that Tsuzuki was okay.
The entire office was surprised at the sudden change in one of the oldest shinigami when he arrived back for work.
Tsuzuki hadn't been as overly excited as usual, instead being much more subdued and quiet. He still was happy and still obsessed with sugar (something, Tsuzuki admitted to Hisoka, wasn't part of his mask. He really did love all sweets with a passion), but it was in a different, more relaxed way he went about everything. He was a lot more calmer and just seemed more at peace with everything.
Terazuma was stumped at the sudden change in his rival. He had walked up to him and insulted him quite plainly, trying to rile him up. Tsuzuki had looked at him, blinked, turned away, and walked off without saying a word. Five minutes later Hisoka came storming up to Terazuma and punched him across the face. Tsuzuki had been following him and face-palmed.
"Hisoka, I'm not going to have a mental breakdown from one insult from someone whose opinion is worthless to me." Tsuzuki told him, his voice muffled from his hand.
"Doesn't make it okay." Hisoka shrugged before walking off.
Terazuma stared in shock at Hisoka's retreating back, while Tsuzuki sighed.
"Sorry, Terazuma. Hisoka's being slightly overprotective." Tsuzuki said as if that explained everything before walking off.
"What the hell just happened?!" Terazuma yelled in annoyance after a slight pause.
Hisoka was extremely overprotective over Tsuzuki ever since he saw into his mind, since Tsuzuki was still extremely fragile. He had even persuaded (coughDEMANDEDcough) that Tsuzuki move in with him, at least temporarily, not that Tsuzuki was complaining.
Hisoka had taken it upon himself to make sure that Tsuzuki recovered from the eighty-some years of mental abuse, glad that the sheet over his emotions had disappeared and he could now read them clearer then he ever could with anyone else.
Larger cases were rarer in Kyushu for Tsuzuki and Hisoka, though they had a lot of very small ones. They went a lot quicker since Tsuzuki was able to pay more attention and wasn't distracted as easily, and Hisoka was grateful for it. He had been getting tired of doing all of the thinking in their partnership, so it was nice to have help with the paperwork and everything. Tsuzuki was working hard, and Hisoka was relieved to feel that his emotions were so much happier then they were before, even though Tsuzuki was infinitely more timid and insecure. Not more, Hisoka realized, but more openly timid and insecure.
After two months, people got used to the different Tsuzuki, though they weren't sure what caused his abrupt change.
Tsuzuki sighed in contentment in the silence of the office as he leaned back in his seat, a mug of hot chocolate in his hands. Hisoka had banned him from having coffee, saying that it wasn't healthy and that Tsuzuki needed to get into a healthy sleep-cycle which coffee could only hinder. As much as Tsuzuki wanted to be annoyed with Hisoka for being so protective, he couldn't help but be touched and giddy. It was nice to have someone care for him.
So when the door slammed open loudly, Tsuzuki jumped and fumbled with his almost empty mug so it wouldn't fall.
"Tatsumi? What's wrong?" Tsuzuki questioned, placing the mug down carefully as he noticed the angry/slightly sadistic glint in his eyes. Wait, that glint only showed up with two people-
"The Count has invited us to another ball," Tatsumi said in a calm voice.
Tsuzuki gained a slight smirk on his face and he let out an evil cackle of glee.
Tatsumi looked at him worriedly. "Tsuzuki. This is the Count we're talking about. Please tell me you haven't really gone insane."
"This is good, Tatsumi!" Tsuzuki still cackled evilly. "You know why? I finally have MONEY to pay him back with!"
Tatsumi's head whipped around to him. "You actually have MONEY? Since when?"
"I got an extra job at a bookstore and I did some chores for Gushoshin," Tsuzuki shrugged. "I owed him a little over a thousand dollars. And actually doing work and not getting pay deductions all the time really stacks up." Tsuzuki cackled again. "If only I would be able to see his face!..."
Tsuzuki smiled as they sat in the car on the way to the Count's castle. Hisoka was watching him, prepared to teleport him out of there if either A) They were around the fumes of the candles and a hallucination started, or B) If the Count tried to lay a hand on HIS Asato-chan...
"Relax, 'Soka." Tsuzuki told him lightly, smiling at him. "Just try to enjoy yourself."
Hisoka grumbled and leaned back, muttering under his breath about, "perverted, invisible men who had better keep their hands to themselves."
Tatsumi hid his grin while Watari outwardly smiled. It was so cute when Hisoka went into, as Watari called it, "Protect-Tsuzuki-Mode".
They walked in, Hisoka's arms crossed as he looked around carelessly, Tsuzuki looking around with a polite smile on his face, while inwardly he wondered where the Count got money to make everything so lavish and expensive. Tatsumi and Hisoka were both prepared to attack the Count anytime he tried to make a move on Tsuzuki, while Watari was anxiously waiting to see what food was going to be there.
"Welcome!" The Count cried happily as he walked down the stairs.
"Hello, Count." Tatsumi said calmly. Hisoka gave a nod while Watari chirped a, "Hi!" Tsuzuki was staring at the ceiling, eyes glazed over.
"Tsuzuki, how are you my darling?" The Count asked.
Tsuzuki jumped. "Oh! Hi!" He waved at the Count belatedly. He could almost see the invisible man raise an eyebrow.
"Are you feeling well, Tsuzuki-san?" He questioned politely. "Do-?"
"Oh, I'm fine Count." Tsuzuki answered, knowing he was going to make some sort of perverted comment unless he interrupted. "Just lost in thought."
"Thought?" The Count asked in surprise. "I didn't expect to hear those words come out of your mouth, Tsuzuki-san." He commented with a slight laugh.
Tsuzuki just shrugged nonchalantly. "You'd be surprised." He told him casually. "So which way is it to the main room?"
Hisoka mentally cackled as he felt the waves of shock coming off of the Count. Tonight was going to be fun. Tsuzuki, though he was calmer and more able to focus, was often found just thinking to himself and falling into a daze. If he HAD to pay attention he would be able to, but when he didn't have to, he was more often then not found daydreaming. Hisoka found his daydreams amusing when he was able to catch them over his empathy. It appeared that Tsuzuki would have made a wonderful writer had he been given the chance. He came up with the most wonderful of story ideas in his head, whether it be a tragic love story between a ghost and a still alive girl, or an adventure story about a hardened soldier who had to rescue a boy that had been kidnapped. Hisoka would have to try and convince him to write them down someday, though he didn't mind the entertainment during the more slow days at work.
The Count was stupefied at the change in Tsuzuki. The man, where he had been extremely animated, talkative, obnoxious, obsessed with food, and utterly LOUD, was now composed, relaxed, casual, still obsessed with food but not as fast in eating it, and almost silent other then when he was talking. He didn't make a sound when he walked or moved any of his body parts, and his hair had grown out just slightly, enough for it to occasionally fall into his amethyst eyes, only to be pushed away by a gloved hand.
Tsuzuki hadn't been able to hold in his hysterical laughter when he saw Tatsumi and Watari, both drunk, stumbling around. Hisoka had cracked a smirk, while the Count had sweatdropped. Tatsumi was not meant to be drunk.
Tsuzuki danced with Wakaba a few times before raising an eyebrow in challenge at Terazuma while holding out Wakaba's hand, as if saying, 'You man enough to take it, buddy?' Terazuma glared at him, taking the challenge and, after grabbing the gloves Tsuzuki had been wearing and putting them on, took her hand. Wakaba had been thrilled and ended up dancing with him the entire night, Terazuma grudgingly enjoying himself.
"That was a nice thing you did, Tsuzuki-san." The Count told him, a slight purr to his voice. "I thought you hated Terazuma."
Tsuzuki shrugged. "I do. But Wakaba is sweet and I did it for her, not him."
"Ah." The Count nodded, before he changed his position and put a hand on Tsuzuki's face, who barely restrained a flinch. "Now, Tsuzuki, about that debt you owe me..."
As his hand began to trail across his body, he was caught off guard as Tsuzuki was pulled from his grasp harshly by Hisoka, who grabbed Tsuzuki's tie and pulled him down for a harsh kiss, before turning to the Count and growling, "Touch him again and I will rip you to pieces, Count."
The drunk Tatsumi and Watari both cheered and cat-called loudly for them before falling over each other and laughing.
Tsuzuki blushed slightly but, turning to a shocked Count, pulled out a wallet and placed it in the invisible man's hands.
"The money I owe you and the money to pay for the favors you did for me." He told him over Hisoka's voice as Hisoka dragged him out of the castle, snarling loudly. "I had fun, Count, and please make sure Tatsumi doesn't attempt to drive while he's drunk." He called out quickly before Hisoka shut the door closed behind them.
Tsuzuki yelped as Hisoka slammed him against the wall and attached their lips again, before relaxing in his hold and kissing back, putting his hands in the younger shinigami's hair.
Slowly, the kiss began to slow as Hisoka's temper calmed down, and Tsuzuki was left blinking and stunned as Hisoka leaned his head onto his chest while murmuring, "I love you, Asato."
"Love you too, 'Soka." Tsuzuki gave him a soft smile.
Yes, Tsuzuki had changed since the voices had left. But he was still the man Hisoka fell in love with, and seeing him, being with him without all of his masks just made Hisoka love him even more.
And as Tsuzuki hugged Hisoka to him, them both looking up at the stars as they walked home, he reveled in the comfortable silence Hisoka gave him.
The voices were gone, Hisoka was in his arms, and he was finally starting to heal.
Tsuzuki had never been happier.
The only voice that mattered now was Hisoka's.