Five Worlds Where Byakuran Said Hello, and one where Shouichi said goodbye

1) iIrie Shouichi/i, the name sticks in his mind, iIrie Shouichi/i. The kid, he had to be around thirteen or fourteen, had definitely looked younger than the picture on the ID. Still he had reacted to being called 'Shouichi-kun' and he had been carrying around a set of heavy looking books. Irie Shouichi, Japanese. Byakuran would not lie, he found the Japanese fascinating. Their art, their culture, their language. It was all very different from his own. That was why Byakuran had learned Japanese in the first place.

That, and it was easier than German.

Byakuran still had Irie Shouichi's ID card, and really should return it to the other student. That, and Byakuran wanted to know more about him, for some reason. Byakuran could not tell you why. So he tracked down Irie Shouichi. It was not hard, Irei Shouichi was not popular among Byakuran's classmates, but he was known by those in the engineering field.

'He usually hangs out in the library on Thursday afternoons' Byakuran was told, and that was the day Byakuran had first bumped into the redheaded teenager, so on the following Thursday Byakuran headed for the library. At a table near the back Byakuran saw a red head of hair leaning over an opened up math book, several other heavy books and a folded up newspaper surrounded him. Irie Shouichi had a set of headphones on over his ears, and his pencil tapped in rhythm with whatever he was listening to.

Byakuran smiled. It was no effort at all to tug the headphones down and wave the ID in front of Irie Shouichi's face. "Hello, Irie-kun." Byakuran smiled when wide green eyes peeked up at him through curly hair and thick green glasses. "My name is Byakuran."

2) All Byakuran has to go on is location, basic looks, and the name. He gets terrible headaches when he tries to remember more of their meeting. Irie. Irie Shouichi. The man should be around twenty four… but he should also not be there. Byakuran can feel something coming along with the headaches. A sense of purpose, more than Byakuran got from his job currently. Something… It hasn't come yet, but Byakuran can see the way people react differently now, backing off, bending to his whims. It's different, and similar. More than that, Byakuran can do things he couldn't do before, knows things that he didn't (even if they give him headaches) and everything seems to come together, like a puzzle.

It's like solving a rubiks cube for the first time.

So Byakuran looks for Irie Shouichi, he looks, and he asks questions, and he asks the right people the right questions… and he finds him. Shouichi is backed against a wall, holding his guitar case. The man is older, he looks more like the image of the ID than the small teenager Byakuran had met, but they are similar in the same way brothers are. Something, the pain in his right temple maybe, tells him that this is Irie Shouichi, that this is who he is looking for.

"I'll pay!" Shouichi says, clutching at his case and backed against the wall. "I have a gig tonight, I'll-"

"A job?" The man with the Mohawk smacks Shouichi, and Shouichi is knocked to the alley floor. "Somewhere else?" He pulls back his leg to kick Shouichi.

Byakuran coughs. "Excuse me." The Mohawk and his accomplice turn. Byakuran smiles. "I'll pay for him." Byakuran pays them in cash, he brought quite a bit with him, and then they leave. Byakuran kneels down at Shouichi's side and lifts his face. It's bruised, and his lip is split, there is a crack in his glasses. "They'll come back, you know, so we should get out of here."

Shouichi licks his lips, and his eyes focus on Byakuran slowly. Concussion? Perhaps. "Thank you."

Byakuran smiles and stands up, not bothering to help Shouichi. "You'll repay me, Irie-kun." The headache already feels like it's getting better.

"I don't think I know you…" Irie says, stumbling to his feet, but his eyes, shifty, show that it's a lie. He really has no ability to lie, it seems, and his music skills must be poor. Irie's face is thin. "How do you know my name?"

"We've met before, Irie-kun." Byakuran smiles, and starts walking to the end of the alley. "But let me say it again. Hello, my name is Byakuran."

3) When you're the dictator of the world, it is not hard to find one man. Except, of course, that you've just decimated the world, reduced great portions of it to rubble, and created a sizable gypsy population. Byakuran sighs, and watches his newest find, Kikyou, usher a group of rebels out of the room. They are scheduled for public execution tomorrow, they were given one last chance to beg for forgiveness, and offer Byakuran some reason to let them stay alive. Most of them had remained silent, the ones who spoke up had nothing he wanted to hear.

Except one name, 'Irie', the man had said, 'Irie Shouichi, he is in charge of our cell.' Byakuran had been interested, but the man had known nothing more. A pity, he would die like the others.

Proof that Irie was alive was nice, though, and Byakuran now had a good idea where the man was hiding. Irie was mixed up with rebels too, which meant that sooner or later Byakuran would have him caught and brought in. The power, the knowledge from other worlds, it really was all quite wondrous. Byakuran has no idea how he could live without it. Well, he does, he has the memories of the world where he is a 'good person' and does nothing. Byakuran finds the memories cute, if only for the ideas it gives him on how to ruin others lives.

Irie's family, his mother, father, and sister were long dead. Namimori was destroyed. The ferocious young man who had defended Namimori to the last was dead as well, and many of the mafia families which had banded together in an attempt to keep him off their turf were dead as well. The Vongola, who were actually a threat to him in some worlds, were dead in this one. Byakuran liked it that way. Threats were meant to be eliminated.

Except Shouichi. Or at least, not yet. Byakuran would like to see him first.

To say hello, and then perhaps to say good bye.

4) The headaches continue to plague him. Perhaps it is because he blocks it out, blocks them all out, tries to suppress the power that well inside of him and has no release. Byakuran can not stand the thought of destroying cities, killing people, of *controlling* the *world*. The thought turns his stomach, really, really turns it. The headaches get so bad that sometimes Byakuran is literally sick, hunched over a toilet bowl and vomiting. It is those times when cool fingers brush his hand pack and a wet wash cloth is plastered over his forehead.

Byakuran pushes wet bangs out of his face, his mouth tastes acidic and gross, like barfed up tea and a cinnamon donut. Barfed up cinnamon tastes gross. "Hello, stranger." Byakuran says, his head pounding and pounding and filled with unending pain. The screams of death ricochet in his ears while his extremities swell and contract with pounding blood. He feels so hot.

Shouichi hovers, haloed by the dim light of the shower. The main bathroom light is turned off, and the shower curtain is drawn. The bathroom is dim, but the light still hurts Byakuran's head. "Byakuran-san, I thought you said you were doing better."

Byakuran has been doing better. The medications the doctors put him on have been working, and while Byakuran feels slow and tired because of them, the pain has been manageable. It has been months since Byakuran curled up over the toilet bowl, or passed out on the floor. "I nearly broke my record," Byakuran unclings from the toilet; Shouichi always makes the pain feel better. Byakuran knows why too, but refuses to say it or think about it. He will not blame the headaches on Shouichi. "It's been two months since the last time, right?"

Shouichi reaches up to touch his face, and then turns away to the sink, filling him a glass of water so he can rinse his mouth.

5) Byakuran stands on the prow of his ship, smiling at the flooded city surrounding him. Buildings stand at dangerous angles, threatening to topple over any second. It is a sign of a well done job, and Byakuran enjoys doing his jobs well. On a boat in front of him Byakuran can see the wind battered and ragged looking citizens. Some of them wear yellow ponchos, most wear multiple layers. It is windy, and the waves are often high. Byakuran can see black hair, brown hair, but no red hair. Which is a sign that there are still people hiding. "Search the hold again." Byakuran orders the black suited men on the opposite ship. The civilians mutter, but freeze when Byakuran's men point guns at them. They are not people Byakuran needs to kill, they're not rebels, or insurgents, they're scavengers trying to make a living. They don't even smuggle people who Byakuran dislikes.

Except one, but they didn't know that did they? And they had all hid when Byakuran's men boarded the ship, so it strikes them as no surprise that Irie Shouichi would hide too. It amuses Byakuran that in all but a handful of worlds Irie Shouichi avoids him, tries to run from him, but inevitable is caught. Byakuran knows that he is closing in on Irie in most of the worlds, in all the worlds were Irie is not already by his side. The redheaded man comes willingly enough, not jerking away from the black suited soldier's hands. He does freeze when he sees Byakuran on the prow of the other boat, his green eyes wide, but seeming so small without his glasses. Byakuran will have to get him a pair, he knows that Shouichi's eye sight is terrible.

Shouichi is lead up onto his boat, and forced to stand in front of him. "Hello, Shou-chan." Byakuran greets, cheerfully. Then he turns to look at the scavengers, and at his men. "How have you been?"

Shouichi stares, like he's not sure how to respond. It makes sense. Byakuran is sure that Shouichi can't remember the last time they met. They have met so many times, in so many ways. Byakuran decides to leave Shouichi speechless for now, and turns to give his men on the other boat their next order. "Kill them all." A fitting present welcoming Shouichi to Byakuran's side.

1) Byakuran feels empty now. Empty and alone and utterly helpless. The ring on his finger glows softly, a light orange color instead of the bright flaring fire of seconds ago. It is little use now, not against the Vongola, not for the 7^3. Uni stands next to Shouichi, the pacifier around her neck glowing, her puffy hat and short shorts shedd for a free flowing white gown and a slim black ribbon used as a headband. Sawada Tsunayoshi, so young, so innocent, so powerful, stands at Byakuran's feet, his gloves flaming brighter than Byakuran's ring had.

Shouichi had been that innocent once, but nowhere near that powerful. Not then. Byakuran can still remember the countless times he has met Shouichi, the different worlds Shouichi had stumbled into. The memories grow fainter with each passing second, and the power on his ring flickers out. Shouichi is the one who approaches him. Shouichi limps, the wounds on his face still healing, his eye covered by a white compress. Byakuran tries to speak, but he can't, the air burns in his lungs. Shouichi kneels, and the world begins to grown dim, black around the edges.

"I'm sorry, Byakuran-san." Shouichi kneels and slides the ring from Byakuran's finger.

Byakuran wonders if, in the world where he resisted, where he refused to turn this power to his own ends, things are going better. Byakuran stopped listening to that world years ago.

"Good bye."